Fireworks

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Running Wild - 'Gates To Purgatory' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ee/6c/85/running-wild-gates-to-purgaratory-81-1371604639.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 19, 2013    
 
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Classic metal by a band not afraid to show off their influences.

It’s hard to believe that 28 years have passed since Running Wild unleashed their debut album ‘Gates To Purgatory’ in December 1984. At the time there were some interesting things coming in from Europe – Helloween, Grave Digger, S.A.D.O and Railway, for example, alongside Hellhammer/Celtic Frost – and if you hung around Shades, the infamous London import store, for long enough you pretty much soaked them all up by a process of osmosis.

But Running Wild were, in my opinion, a bit different from the rest and they had some truly great songs, probably because they’d actually been a band of various line-ups since coming together in 1976 (with the rather awful name of Granite Hearts). Taking a new name from the Judas Priest track, in 1979 a new-look band started making waves and were invited to contribute two songs to a compilation LP being put together by Noise Records. The rest is history and is summarised nicely in Malcolm Dome’s excellent booklet notes.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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‘Gates To Purgatory’ is the sound of a band struggling to find its identity and that’s part of the album’s charm. The obsession with pirates wouldn’t come until the third album ‘Under Jolly Roger’ (not such a great title, on reflection) but from these early roots Running Wild – captained by Rock ‘n’ Rolf (or Rolf Kasparek to his mum) – would go on to release something like 14 studio albums to date, with ‘Shadowmaker’ appearing on SPV earlier in 2012. The original album featured just eight songs of what was back then being called speed metal by some, although in reality it’s just good old-fashioned heavy metal played to a rhythm laid down by a testosterone-fuelled drummer seemingly hammering together a flat-pack bookcase. But for all that it’s the stomp of ‘Preacher’ that does it for me, coupled with that solo in ‘Soldiers Of Hell’ and album closer and pseudo-theme song ‘Prisoner Of Our Time’ – classic metal by a band not afraid to show off their influences.

The CD couples the original album with the two non-album cuts ‘Walpurgis Night’ and ‘Satan’ which were recorded at the same sessions and which appeared on the ‘Victim Of States Power’ 12”. Two years (and one album, ‘Branded and Exiled’) later Running Wild were opening for Helloween and Celtic Frost at a one-off gig in London, and boy, were they good!

John Tucker

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