Running Wild – Blood On Blood
Reviewed: November 2021
Released: 2021, Steamhammer
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
It’s baffling to me that Rock ‘n’ Rolf has been able to keep up with the pirate schtick for over 40 years. You’d think at some point the guy would run out of swashbuckling tales to tell, but you’d also be wrong because Running Wild is about to drop their 17th full length studio album, BLOOD ON BLOOD. Does it have its fair share of campy moments? Of course, it’s a Running Wild album. But it’s also a solid collection of old school heavy metal tunes that’ll put a smile on your face faster than you can say “Davy Jones’ Locker.”
The anthemic jig inducing title track kicks things off with its disarming upbeat proclamations of unity and wine drinking, it’s immediately likeable. Tracks like “Say Your Prayers” and “Diamonds & Pearls” (not a Prince cover) wade into more serious territory, but are chock full of Priest-like hooks and sing-along chorus’ that you’ll find yourself humming along to hours after the album concludes.
The likes of “Wild & Free” and the ballad-esque “One Night, One Day” though are drenched in a veneer of 80’s metal schmaltz. I’m sure it’s good intended and the tunes do have their own merits, but it’s those kinds of moments that derail the momentum that BLOOD ON BLOOD has been building up to. However, the 10 minute-plus album closer “The Iron Times (1618-1648) is epic in the Iron Maiden tradition of doing things epically, and is easily one of Running Wild’s strongest tunes from the last 10 years. With a strikingly even keeled tempo from beginning to end, Rolf spins his yarns while his latest supporting cast of musicians weave slick licks and powerful melody lines throughout the track.
BLOOD ON BLOOD shows that 4 decades in pantaloons hasn’t softened Running Wild’s creativity and that there’s still treasure to for Rolf n’ crew plunder. Raise the black flag and your raise your fists in the air, because Running Wild have returned.