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What an album to say goodbye to the ‘80s with, huh? Port Royal destroyed the competition and marked the point where the band truly found their sound. The blend of heavy metal with speed metal energy and power metal enthusiasm was too much for one album to contain so quickly, but it only took a year (less, since recording is usually much earlier than the release date) to comeback with an album that surpasses even Port Royal. It’s hard to say where I rank Death Or Glory, but I can assure you it’s up there… way up there. The cover art doesn’t do this release a damn bit of justice (just to let you know)
The production got better, the vocals got better, the drumming got better (in every aspect), the tone got better, the Berlin wall was torn down, I mean everything that could possibly happen occurred and it’s just amazing the way this album turned out. Everything that you could have asked for just went poof, made its way onto this album, and now there’s just too much to praise this for. I’ll give the rundown on a few, namely the leads and how god damn catchy this album ended up being. For one, it’s twice as loud as the last album, Port Royal; not obnoxiously loud, either. The guitar tone is shredding-powerful and Rolf’s vocals aren’t very distant anymore – he’s very commanding and wails like crazy with a ton of soul. Get it through your head that the leads are infectious as fuck, and not like STD infectious – we’re talking more-than-Eiffel-65-infectious.
They’re so melodic, profound, impressive, and grand – the song I’m thinking about specifically (and humming to) is “The Battle Of Waterloo.” The bagpipe opener, the war drums clamoring from beneath the racket of musket fire, and that riff… dear Rolf that riff. You wrote that song, you wrote those lyrics, and you wrote that damn riff. Coupled with that harmony on the upside and we the song that killed “Calico Jack” in the epic department. “Riding The Storm” was the first song I heard from this album, but “The Battle Of Waterloo” shot me down like a troop formation’s volley. The song throughout is incredibly grand, launching the band into the stratosphere of classic, heroic legends. So many harmonies and melodies twisting, and the powerful guitar tone behind it makes the song a battle in itself; very catchy, interesting, and full of life.
While that song in particular is ripe with leads, the rest of the album holds its own ground in the midst of the war going on. Each one is loud, proud, and much more polished than before – no digital, glossy polish, so don’t be fooled. The first few albums felt very local and true, but this one goes beyond all expectations and throws itself right out onto the world stage, showing off everything it has to offer. Rolf and the gang knew this one would blow our minds, so they put everything into it and gave it the charm it deserves. The bass is hefty alongside skullcrushing riffs and that drum kit sounds fantastic. No more tin-tin bashing, and the echo still resonates long after the hits make their mark.
It’s just an overall steal on your part – if anything, this album is worth more than you could afford. The fact that this isn’t widely distributed or recognized more in the metal community (hell, the world) is a testament to mankind’s ignorance and / or stupidity. When anyone mentions heavy metal or it’s respective genres, Running Wild should be at the forefront (next to Maiden, of course). You don’t even have to be talking about heavy metal, for that matter. The band speaks for itself, people, and they’re sure to live on longer than you and I will.