Running Wild – Crossing the Blades (Steamhammer/SPV)

Friday, 6th December 2019
Rating: 8/10

Resolute in a traditional, old-school oriented Teutonic metal stance, Running Wild aim to please the faithful and themselves in delivering anthems from a powerful perspective and not really varying from that formula. Rock ‘n Rolf (aka Rolf Kasparek) has led the troops since their 1979 start – retiring the group in 2009 only to resurrect things by 2011 to release three studio albums while continuing to be a stable entity when performing live, especially on the summer festival circuit. Crossing the Blades is the band’s latest record, a four-song EP featuring three original songs and a Kiss cover to placate the listeners until the next full-length hopefully hits the market in 2020.

If you are unfamiliar with Running Wild, imagine a mixture of Judas Priest in terms of steel riff strength, add in a mix of Thin Lizzy-like cultural flair, plus the finesse and catchiness of older acts like Kiss or AC/DC, and that will give you a base for where these Germans come from on the vocal/musical front. Be it mid-tempo and slamming with simplified, sing-a-long choruses during “Stargazed” or street-oriented anthems with bluesy/emotive lead guitar accents to elevate adrenaline for “Ride on the Wild Side” – these are songs meant to be enjoyed in the company of thousands, beer flowing and denim/leather infested hordes galloping in gleeful bliss. The cultural/Celtic circular riff that moves the main musical hook of the title cut is classic Running Wild, perfect for Rock ‘n Rolf to weave his words of ‘unity stands, all for one, and one for all’ commandments. And reaching back into the early 70’s archive for “Strutter” shouldn’t be a shocker as Running Wild has always spoken of their affinity for this US hard rock institution – nailing the bluesy swinging aspect and catchy as hell riff/chorus combination.

Ideally the band would consider dropping the drum programming aspect that has been a part of the studio recordings since the 2000’s – traditional metal deserves that human touch slamming the snare and thunderous kick/fill aspects – but it doesn’t deter the pleasurable enjoyment of Running Wild churning out more metal to the bone songs. Sharpen those swords and join the festivities with this one.

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