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Running Wild
May 2012
Released: 2012, SPV
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

It seems like just yesterday that Rock ‘n’ Rolf Kasparek announced he was ending his venerable German metal institution after an incredible 30 years of service. In truth, that was three years ago, but it speaks to the band’s standing amongst fans that they were still sorely missed despite the passing of time. I was definitely among that group; indeed, I even found enjoyment in the band’s lesser regarded later works like ROGUES EN VOGUE and VICTORY. All this is by way of saying that, despite the “WTF?!?!” reveal of the new album cover, I was still excited to have Running Wild back in action.

Now, after many listens to SHADOWMAKER, am I still thankful they are back? Hell yes! Does that mean that this album is on par with past classics like BLACK HAND INN or THE RIVALRY? Hell no, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album – far from it. Still, most Running Wild fans’ favorite songs from the band were the rollicking & fast power metal anthems and unfortunately SHADOWMAKER is sorely lacking in that regard. Sure, the title track fits that bill perfectly, but the album is weighed down by several lumbering filler tracks (hello “Locomotive” and “Black Shadow”). The biggest question mark though is the hard rock sing-along of “Me & the Boys”. Already there has been a loud outcry from fans regarding this song saying that it has no place on a Running Wild album – and I have to agree. I actually like the song, but it’s definitely NOT a Running Wild song. Then again, this is Rolf’s baby and he can do what he likes with it (“I Am Who I Am” indeed).

Despite the questionable middle section (tracks 4 – 6), the album actually begins and ends strongly, with a suite of songs that proudly carry on the band’s fine tradition. Don’t be dissuaded by the naysayers; SHADOWMAKER still (mostly) delivers what you want from Rock ‘N Rolf. Besides, the fact that the guy can still write solid heavy metal after well over a quarter of a century in the business is goddamned impressive.
Track Listing

1. Piece of the Action
2. Riding on the Tide
3. I Am Who I Am
4. Black Shadow
5. Locomotive
6. Me & the Boys
7. Shadowmaker
8. Sailing Fire
9. Into the Black
10. Dracula


Rock ‘N Rolf: Vocals, Guitar
Peter Jordan: Guitar, Backing Vocals


Next review: » Running Wild - The Brotherhood
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