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Running Wild - Crossing the Blades

Running Wild
Crossing the Blades
by Kira Schlechter at 30 December 2019, 3:45 AM

Another EP comes to wrap up the year and set the stage for an upcoming release, this one from RUNNING WILD, the Hamburg-based godfathers of all the German bands that would follow them and the founders and standard-bearers of pirate metal. Less prolific in the 2010's than since their inception back in 1976, they’ve been slowly cranking back up since their re-formation in 2011. “Shadowmaker” and “Resilient” came out in rapid succession, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, then a three-year-break led to 2016’s “Rapid Foray.” Now comes “Crossing the Blades,” a four-track EP designed to tide fans over until a promised album in 2020, one that’s currently being written.

It begins with the title track that will be reworked for the new album, as singer/guitarist Rolf told METAL TEMPLE in an interview earlier this month. Sparkling and clean, with that pirate, seafaring swing, and dual guitars that blaze through the spirited intricate riffs with precision and style, it’s a paean to bravery and unity in battle, to brotherhood and trust. Rolf’s voice is laced with whiskey and grit, elastic and still strong after four decades. It will be interesting to see how the song changes on the upcoming release.

“Stargazed” is muscular traditional metal with the swagger and ease that comes with years of steeping in the genre. It’s tinged with a bit of the supernatural and breaks no new ground, but it’s the stuff we all grew up on – perfectly constructed, with those so-familiar chord progressions that still fire the blood and stirring guitar harmonies in the solo section. A cover of KISS’s “Strutter” is mixed to mimic the original – a little dirty and bass-heavy, with sharply-played riffs. It’s an homage, as the sound clearly differs from the other three tracks, but they still make it their own.

And “Ride on the Wild Side,” a tribute to the excitement and release of the live show, is filled with that anticipation of waiting for the band to start – the tension, the exhilaration, the energy – a feeling they capture perfectly here.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Crossing the Blades
2. Stargazed
3. Strutter
4. Ride on the Wild Side
Rolf “Rock ‘n’ Rolf” Kasparek - Vocals, Guitar
Peter Jordan - Guitar
Michael Wolpers - Drums
Ole Hemplemann - Bass
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer


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