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Wishbone Ash - Clan Destiny CD (album) cover

CLAN DESTINY

Wishbone Ash

 

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2.98 | 56 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Looking for ghosts?

It took some four years for Wishbone Ash to return to the studio after the release of "Bona fide". In the interim period, second guitarist Ben Granfelt had moved on, having recorded just one album with the band. He was replaced by his former tutor Muddy Manninen. The reason for the album title is not immediately clear, but may be taken from a 1996 computer game about ghosts in a Scottish castle.

The album opens in rather low key fashion, with the slightly understated "Eyes Wide Open". Such a song would normally find its place on a Wishbone Ash album lower down the order, prime position being reserved for something more up-tempo and direct. The following "Dreams outta dust" reverts to a more traditional band feel, largely due to the lead vocals of Andy Powell. Manninen's vocals are noticeably different to what we are used to from the band, "Healing Ground" emphasising this is particular. The more bluesy nature of his delivery can be compared with Uriah Heep's transformation when David Byron gave way to John Lawson. The strong guitar rock backing is still there, but on tracks such as this, the mood of the piece is somewhat different, due entirely to the vocal style.

"Steam town" is one of the more prosaic songs here, the "going down to steam town, gonna lay my money down" lyric sounding as clichéd as it reads. The track is however partially saved by some good lead guitar. ""Loose Change" is an all too rare Wishbone Ash ballad. For me, some of the band's best songs ("Leaf and stream", "Everybody needs a friend") have come about when they slowed things down. This is more of a power ballad, especially on the guitar driven chorus, but the song works well, with Manninen's slide guitar adding some nice colours.

"Surfing on a slow wave" is the only instrumental on the album. Naturally, it features lead guitar, but here the sound takes us back to the Shadows or Duane Eddy! "Slime time" reverts to a more standard Wishbone Ash style, but without lighting any fires. I cannot help but feel that, had sufficiently strong material been available in quantity, "Capture the Moment" and "Your dog" would have among the first to be left off the the album. There is nothing tragically bad about these songs, they just drift along in a rather lacklustre way.

"The Raven" is actually a love song of sorts, delivered as a pleasant fast/slow number with some fine lead guitar soloing. For me, it is probably the best of the bunch here, Powell's vocal delivery being commendably strong. The album closes with the oft covered Negro spiritual "Motherless child". Wishbone Ash's version is adequate, but fails to offer anything substantially new or interesting. The expected guitar solo on the track is well up to standard though.

In all, it is debatable whether "Clan destiny" was worth the wait. While it makes for a pleasant if unremarkable listen, there are no stand-out tracks here and thus nothing to lead me to recommend the album to those who do not already have it.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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