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X-Wild – So What! (Reissue)

X-Wild
So What! (Reissue)
by Mark Machlay at 05 May 2022, 5:25 AM

Another blast from the past, X-WILD re-released their debut full-length album “So What” on April 1st, 2022 – rather unfortunate release day but someone has to have it. Back in the year 1993, three ex-members of the moderately famous German metal band RUNNING WILD formed a new band called X-WILD. With Jens Becker on bass, Axel Morgan on guitars and Stefan Schwarzmann on drums, they were hot on the search for the perfect vocalist to compliment their sound. They finally found it in Frank Knight from Manchester, England who had been in a handful of bands previously but had never recorded anything permanent. The band had moderate success and even had a stable lineup through their debut album and their follow-up “Monster Effect” in 1995 until cracks started to form. They lost drummer Schwarzmann in 1995 with Rainer Heubel of MANIA to fill in for that year until Frank Ullrich joined and became the last known drummer for the band. They would release “Savageland” in 1996 but by 1997, financial problems would spell the end and ultimately result in the breakup of the band.

But, for X-WILD’S debut album “So What” they were firing on all cylinders. They met several times for songwriting sessions in Rendsburg in the north of Germany before they finally entered the studio to record their debut album. The recordings took place in the famous Studio M in Machtsum near Hildesheim in Germany during the period of November and December of 1993. It should be noted that the two most successful RUNNING WILD albums – “Death or Glory” in 1989 and “Blazon Stone” in 1991 – were also recorded at this studio as well as being engineered by the same man, Jan Nemec. With this this re-issue, it will mark the first time that the record will be available to purchase on vinyl with a special limited purple/black splatter design 180g vinyl with a limited printing of 300 copies. Currently, Jens Becker plays for German power metal band GRAVE DIGGER, Stefan Schwarzmann plays for PANZER, Frank Knight sings for both KNIGHTHOOD and WILD KNIGHT, and Axel Morgan is part of SAVAGE CIRCUS.

As with most re-issues, they can be hit or miss, but I can firmly tell you with delight, X-WILD seems like a buried gem and their debut certainly showed an inventive and creative fusing that seems more like a factor of time than talent or quality. By 1993, metal – especially the heavier variants like thrash and speed metal – had become passe and “So What!” may have just been given a bad rap. With all the heavy ferocity of METALLICA combined with the creative vocals of MEGADETH, “Can’t Tame the Wild” hits hard but belies the many styles this bands goes through on this album. Next and throughout much of the album, singer Frank Knight adopts a more sober sounding Bon Scott kind of rasp and things slow down and sound like an adult, mature version of what MOTLEY CRUE could have become. The recording is certainly a product of its time but the drums are suitably punchy and the vocals are surprisingly clear. The downside is some of the guitar tone is washed out but that classic motorcycle-like tone is certainly recognizable and iconic. From the glorified bass solo “Into the Light”, to the primal scream that rips open the speed metal “Sky Bolter” and even the slow burn of the AC/DC-like “Thousand Guns”, it’s a monument to what the band could have been.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Can't Tame the Wild
2. Dealing with the Devil
3. Scarred to the Bone
4. Wild Frontier
5. Skybolter
6. Beastmaster
7. Kid Racer
8. Into the Light
9. Freeway Devils
10. Mystica Deamonica
11. Thousand Guns
12. Different, (So What)
Lineup:
Jens Becker - Bass
Axel Morgan - Guitars
Stefan Schwarzmann - Drums
Frank Knight - Vocals
Record Label: Rock of Angels Records
     


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