It’s been three years since Running Wild wowed their fans with their (still) current album Rapid Foray. Three years in which a lot of water has passed under the metal galleys of time and the fans’ requests for new songs have become more and more vociferous. To ease the wait so that his supporters won’t have to hold out until early summer 2020, Running Wild captain Rock´n`Rolf Kasparek has come up with a real masterstroke: on 6 December 2019 – Saint Nicholas Day! – the band have a special little gift for their fans and will release the EP Crossing The Blades on Steamhammer/SPV, featuring four brand-new tracks, including an exciting cover of the Kiss classic, ‘Strutter.’ But more about that later.
First of all, the focus is on the EP’s opener, ‘Crossing The Blades’. What’s so special about this song is the fact that it’s a harbinger of the next regular album, scheduled for release in summer, but will remain unique in its present incarnation. Because, explains Kasparek: “This version will only be available on the Crossing The Blades EP. The album will feature a different version, completely re-recorded and with a number of little changes.” ‘Crossing The Blades’ is an unusual composition in other respects, too. Rolf: “Normally, a Running Wild song is based on a guitar riff. In this case, however, it’s a bass line, with the guitar only contributing the chords; a unique feature in a Running Wild number.” By the way, the theme of the song is the old musketeer motto “all for one and one for all”.
The EP’s second track is called ‘Stargazed’ and should be familiar to a lot of Wacken attendees, after all Running Wild had presented the song exclusively at the 2018 W:O.A, to an enthusiastic response. The dynamic riff number suits the biggest heavy metal festival in the world perfectly and blends in remarkably well with the list of greatest Running Wild classics.
Number three is – as already mentioned – the Kiss cover ‘Strutter’, which has its own special story, as Rock´n`Rolf explains: “A few months ago, the Kiss show in Hanover during their farewell tour brought back memories of my beginnings as a musician. Kiss were the reason why I founded my first band Granite Heart in 1976, a predecessor of Running Wild. At the time, I found two songs particularly outstanding: ‘Deuce’ and of course ‘Strutter’. At that Kiss show in Hanover I noticed that they don’t play ‘Strutter’ live. That’s why I decided to record my own version, as an homage to my first idols, of course in typical Running Wild style and with a little more steam than the Kiss original.”
Last but not least: The new EP closes with ‘Ride On The Wild Side’, which – thanks to its powerful pace and high compositional quality – would almost have made the shortlist for the upcoming album. Now it enhances the Crossing The Blades EP, particularly because Kasparek recorded the guitar solo on a Fender Stratocaster – instead of his tried and tested Gibson Explorer – to do justice to the track’s rocking flair. Definitely well worth listening to!
Running Wild – Crossing The Blades (SPV/Steamhammer Records)