THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...RUNNING WILD Crossing The Blades (SPV)
Running Wild, metal’s original – and best – swashbuckling scourge of the Seven Seas, are back with a new EP ‘Crossing The Blades’, released as a teaser for their upcoming studio album which is due to land next summer. The Hamburg band, fronted by the roguish guitarist/frontman Rock ‘N’ Rolf Kasparek (the only member who can trace his lineage back to the band’s earliest incarnation, 1976’s Granite Heart, and ably assisted by guitarist Peter Jordan, bassist Ole Hemplemann and drummer Michael Wolpers) have hit some choppy seas over the years, but since Kasparek relaunched the outfit in 2011 consistency has been the watchword, never straying too far from the template but always delivering the goods all the same.
Taking the lead from the musketeers of old, the title cut (which will appear on the album in different form) is an instantly hummable, crowd-pleasing slice of traditional heavy metal with a Maidenish run in the middle section and a jaunty, all-for-one split solo that nods to their cavalier background. ‘Stargazed’ is cut from similar cloth, short on words but big on attitude, and although a bit of a B-side a cracking solo redeems it. ‘Ride On The Wildside’ ditches the history and serves up an anthemic nod to a night on the town with a hacking riff and a shout-it-out-loud chorus, and ‘Strutter’ – a thank you to the band that was one of Kasparek’s earliest influences – is played out with nothing added and nothing taken away, although a punchy guitar sound gives the song a lot more muscle. What’s not to like? Tell Santa you’ve been good, and would like a copy for Christmas.
© John Tucker December 2019