Two years ago the mainman behind Rocka Rollas, Cederick Forsberg, released one of the most exciting albums in years. Blazon Stone’s “Return To Port Royal” was truly a continuation of the work of legendary speed metal pirates Running Wild, and far superior to anything they have done since the mid 1990s. Just a couple of years later (which is almost an eternity for Ced), Blazon Stone is back with their second record, “No Sign of Glory”. It’s debatable as to whether or not it tops the first album, but it is definitely one of the best speed metal releases of the year.
After the classic yet cliché intro track, Blazon Stone unleashes the catchiest tune on the album: “Fire The Cannons”. The opening riff of this song channels Rock ‘n Rolf incredibly well, with some speedy playing. This song later displays a common theme on this album: abuse of tremolo picking. These unique melodies that Running Wild came up with were always a defining feature of their music, and Blazon Stone similarly uses them without feeling like they’re stealing old Running Wild riffs. “Fire The Cannons” also offers a huge chorus, where lead vocalist Georgi Peychev provides one of his best performances.
Despite being a seasoned Blazon Stone fan, I have to admit that the vocalist change really isn’t all that noticeable. Peychev is not a dead-ringer for Erik Nordkvist, the band’s old singer, but he’s close enough and good enough that it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t sound too much like Rolf, as he has a pretty heavy accent, but his voice is still quite fitting for this style of metal. His performance at times makes the record very immersive. The best example is on “A Traitor Among Us”, where he delivers the chorus of “Listen to me, there’s a traitor among us” so convincingly that it sounds like you’re there on the ship with him! As you might imagine, this song is another highlight of the record.
Unlike the first album, the quality on “No Sign of Glory” drops a little bit after the first couple of tracks. It isn’t so much that there is anything bad on this record, but these two songs (“Fire The Cannons” and “A Traitor Among Us”) are easily the best songs Blazon Stone has ever written. The remainder of the album delivers material that is in the same vein as these two songs, but just not quite as catchy. Tracks like “No Return From Hell”, “Fight Or Be Dead” and “Beasts of War” are still highlights as well, and deliver plenty of killer riffs and shredding solos.
Ultimately, “No Sign of Glory” is another album that is sure to please fans of Running Wild. Blazon Stone has captured the spirit of that band perfectly, and often times even offer up better songs than the originators themselves. Alongside this record, Ced is also releasing albums for his other projects (Rocka Rollas and Breitenhold) on the same day, but the Blazon Stone album is the strongest of the three because it’s the least ambitious. The songs are simple structurally, and that works to the band’s advantage. Either way though, you’re going to want to buy all three of these as there is no person writing better speed metal in 2015 than Ced!
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“Fire The Cannons”
“A Traitor Among Us”
“No Return From Hell”
“Fight Or Be Dead”
4.7/5 or 94%.