Rock ‘N Rolf will always be the Captain of our Pirate Ship that sails on to the Seas of madness, dreams and Heavy Metal. Still his brave and innovating once Speed/Power Storm has turned into a Hard n’ Heavy Rain, that for many years just can’t quench our thirst for the best heavy/power/speed metal band that humanity ever made. Remember how glorious Running Wild’s catalogue is; the instant classics albums, the rough vocals, the lyricism, the (real) drumming, the catchy choruses, the razor sharp that stick to your mind guitars, the thick bass playing that Running Wild delivered have no equal, so simple, so true…
‘Blood on Blood’ is the band’s 17 studio album and the 4th since their resurrection in 2021. As the majority of Rolf ‘s fans were born before 1985 and since he can’t perfuse to smaller audiences, he can easily play the card of nostalgia; don’t forget that after all Mr. Kasparek is a stubborn composer and he knows his game perfectly but it is the only game he can play…So after many years of groaning and complaining, it seems that he actually made second thoughts and listen to his fans and tried to dig in the pirate past carefully, trying to please his fans and not only his (brilliant) ego. The main problem to solve was to stay relevant and refreshing while also paying respects to his past.
As a result we have “The Shellback”, for instance, a revisit to the classic and beloved theme of 1994 classic ‘Black Hand Inn’, creating a prequel to the story of that album, in music and lyrics alike. As you may already understand the story goes like a couple of excellent moments, some filler, and a couple of disappointments… ‘Diamonds and Pearls’, the first single is a decent track in which Rolf struggles to find a fist pumping chorus. ‘Wild & Free’ alongside ‘Wild, Wild Nights’ have this nonsense ‘80s hair metal aura. ‘One Night, One Day’ is weak almost embarrassing, ‘Crossing the Blades’, a hymn to The Three Musketeers, “Wings Of Fire” and “Say Your Prayers” being about the prophecies of John of Jerusalem, co-founder of the Order of the Knights Templar who predicted organ trafficking back in the Middle Ages are really cool but a bit flat in the reasoning of Hard n’ Heavy (if not Rock) party anthems. The closer “The Iron Times (1618–1648)”, is probably one of the best songs Rolf has written for years and can stand with pride next to his classics. It speaks about the Thirty Years’ War, and shows us that Rolf isn’t finished and has many more to give.
Putting “Blood on Blood” next to “Shadowmaker” and “Resilient”, it can make you see it as a masterpiece; Ok I overreact now, you can see it a worked-better version of “Rapid Foray” mostly. But it is not a masterpiece. And you know it. And the fans or music journalist that lie to Rolf know it. But that doesn’t make it an awful work or a bad effort. It has its moments and it’s a decent, honest album. Fanatics will get it. And I guess that if it is the album that will bring Running Wild to our shores for a live show, it will become immediately one of our favorites!!!!