Reviews roundup – Running Wild vs. Solution.45 vs. Blackfoot
Steamhammer / SPV
I’m so old I saw Rockin’ Rolf and his scurvy crew on the ‘Under Jolly Roger’ tour. That was thirty years ago and they weren’t a new band then! The band actually split up in 2009 after a farewell tour, but that lasted about as long as a monk in a brothel, and they’re now on to their third post reformation release.
They’ve been flying the flag for melodic power metal for a long time now and the latest incarnation can raise the Jolly Roger safe in the knowledge that they’ve done a bang up job. For sure there is nothing new under the sun in the world of Running Wild, but that’s not what I or the other jack tars who’ve followed them are looking for.
And this latest album has more than enough top tunes to keep me happy with the likes of “Black Skies Red Flag”, “Black Bart” and “Blood Moon Rising” all getting the air guitar dusted down for some galloping riffology. It’s a formula, but a good one, and even at this stage in their career, they can still pull something like “Last of the Mohicans” out of the bag, a tune that stands amongst their finest.
Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II
The brighter sparks amonst you will have notice that this is called ‘Nightmares In The Waking State-Part II’. That’s because last year saw the release of the cunningly titled ‘Nightmares In The Waking State-Part I’, a record I have yet to hear.
This was recorded at the same time as Part I, so those of you who lapped up that offering of Swedish melodic death metal will really enjoy this. I imagine. And for those of just catching up with Solution .45 this serves as notice that they are a band worth listening to.
They’ve got some of the best clean / dark vocals I’ve heard in a while, and some of the guitar work from Patrik Gardberg and Jani Stefanovic is absolutely outstanding. It’s not all brutality as the shades and atmosphere of “The Curse That Keeps On Giving” ably demonstrates but if you are looking for a punch to the gut then try out “Built On Sand”.
It’s a powerful and strong album that bodes well for the future.
Loud & Proud
Blackfoot mainman Rickey Medlocke knocked Blackfoot on the head a couple of decades ago to concentrate on his Lynyrd Skynyrd gig. Original members Jakson Spires, Greg T. Walker and Charlie Hargrett got together in 2004 with Bobby Barth (a latter day member of Rickey Medlocke & Blackfoot). But Medlocke owns the name and decided not to renew his deal with his former colleagues and decided to put a new version of the band together in 2012 with no original members, not even him. In case you’re wondering Walker and Hargrett then amusingly named themselves Fired Guns before changing it to Warrior’s Pride.
Regardless of that I really wanted to like this and with Medlocke co-writing, producing and playing guitar alongside his hired hands I had high hopes. Which have been thoroughly dashed. Medlocke has got through a lot of folk since 2012 but while the current version of Rick Krasowski (vocals, guitar), Brian Carpenter bass, vocals), Tim Rossi (guitar, vocals), and Matt Anastasi (drums, vocals) may be a competent modern rock band, they’re no Blackfoot.
I wasn’t expecting seventies southern rock, but with a terrible production, tinny percussion and poor vocals, even the better songs struggle to be heard. It’s a short album, which is a good thing, with three covers alongside the seven originals. The only song that comes close to modern bands like Whiskey Myers and Blackberry Smoke is “Take Me Home”, a Marlon Young song and a cover of the Procul Harum tune “”Whiskey Train”.
But I want more than a competent cover band, and this isn’t it, which is a real shame. I’ll hold on to memories of seeing them live in 1981 / 1982 and insert a sad face emoticon.