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Running Wild - 'Shadowmaker' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     May 28, 2012    
 
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A real return to form.

Whilst there are probably few who would dispute that the mighty Accept are the only place to start when it comes to Teutonic metal (as they’ve proven once again with the brilliant ‘Stalingrad’), there are a couple of other bands that epitomise the uncompromising bombast of the ruthlessly efficient German war machine.

Leaving aside Helloween who were pioneers themselves (but in a whole other field) that leaves just two ... I’m talking of course about Rage and Running Wild. Eschewing the former for now (although ironically they too have a hard hitting new platter on the launch pad), after a protracted seven year absence from the metal collective, Rock ‘n’ Rolf and his bunch of bad assed renegades are back! Dating back as far as the mid 70’s, it would be the early 80’s that really established the band in the mindset of Europe’s metal audiences, their swashbuckling image (first introduced via 1987’s third album ‘Under Jolly Roger’) epitomising the cavalier free spirit of their riff strewn attack. Although they’ve often been accused of being overly simplistic in the past – especially when compared to bands with a more progressive bent – they’ve nevertheless retained an unerring clarity to their music, a stoic adherence to the principles of metal in its purest form laid down long ago. And, whilst ‘Shadowmaker’ sees one or two new elements creep into the Running Wild psyche, it is essentially those principles which form the backbone of the album.

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Take it or leave it, this is fist waving, chest thumping, pure unadulterated heavy metal ... amphetamine fuelled and ready to repel boarders! It isn’t Shakespeare (thankfully), and judged by today’s standards the lyrics to tracks like ‘Me & The Boys’ can appear a little asinine, but when you take into account the sincerity and sentiment behind them, the ‘secret brotherhood against the world’ mentality actually begins to make sense. But more than that, the Lizzyesque riffs of ‘Sailing Fire’ or the thunderous epic ‘Dracula’ which closes thing out are evidence of a band who’ve absorbed a multitude of influences over the years, and yet still managed to distil and refine them into a sound that is essentially Running Wild.

Given a kick ass production with the guitars turned to the max and gifted some of Rolf’s strongest hook lines to date, not only is ‘Shadowmaker’ a real return to form, it should also endear the name Running Wild to a whole new generation of metal warriors who’ve emerged in the last seven years!

Dave Cockett

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