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Early Running Wild isn’t exactly my cup of tea. Branded And Exiled I’m all for, but I prefer the golden age beginning with Port Royal; the band truly shined during this era. What we’re offered with this EP teases us; it acts as a demo for the debut album that would be release shortly (at the time). “Victim Of States Power” would appear as the first track again on the debut, but the following two tracks weren’t added until the CD edition later on.
“Satan” doesn’t sound diabolical like Bathory’s haunting tracks being recorded and released around the same time, but very raw, polluted heavy metal with a “take no prisoners” attitude. Rolf and the gang didn’t take shit from anyone, proudly proclaiming how awesome evil and heavy metal were. As juvenile as that sounds (compared to the super awesome pirate / regal theme after that), the song is bludgeoning and daunting. The guitar tone for all three just smudges forward one grubby riff after another. The bass is the buttercup – so muddy and plodding like dirt on a cupcake. It’s disgusting, but tasty and heartless – punkish, speedy heavy metal with not much emphasis on catchiness.
“Victim Of States Power” is a pretty dull song – dull riff, dull drumming, and dull energy aside from Rolf’s vocals. His lines are classic, especially during the chorus. The satanic themes are heavily prevalent, but it’s the edgy attitude that characterizes this particular release (and subsequent album) more to me. The production of all these tracks match the ones found on the debut album, but the atmosphere in “Satan” and “Walpurgis Night” cloud about more than the other songs on the main album (“Soldiers Of Hell” still takes the cake, though).
“Walpurgis Night,” which is what this EP should be officially called, is the track that showcases the band’s Di’Anno-like catchiness and melody. Rolf’s vocals are less grunty and the riff is very reminiscent of early Maiden; proud, fun, and escorted by a twisted solo with a ton of harmony. Yeah, this track would fit right with Iron Maiden – sounds like a totally different side to Running Wild. Too bad the song cuts off way too early; I’m talking very abruptly without any indication of an outro.
Take it for what it is – all these tracks make it onto the debut, so no need to hunt this one release down. Hell, it’s hard enough trying to find a decently-priced copy of the debut album, as the band still hasn’t given that (or most of their albums) widespread distribution. God damnit…
PS: I swear W.A.S.P. heard the ending riff on “Satan” and used it for their song “I’m Alive” on Inside The Electric Circus.
"...six sixty six is his number, he takes the crown of earth, his sign is the circle of the beast, destroying only the worst..."
As a caboose to their exceptional Gates to Purgatory lp, these brothers German hire "Victim of States Power", one of the debut's hairier tracks, as an overseer to a new pair of fairly lively, yet formulaic, occult-browed songs that follow a mindset beaten into form by the debut.
Like all of their songs grooved to vinyl prior to this, once a song's momentum takes off it's pretty much etched in stone, meaning if you're looking for a rollercoaster ride of tempos during a tune, you may as well expect to find a canoe in a phone booth. Okay, maybe the momentum on this ep isn't such a straight shot as far as the dashing "Satan" goes. Its initial British gust of repetitive and agile fretboard aerobatics is a nice reversal compared to the other songs here that barely shift gears, as if to say 'yeah, we can do that too'. That's fine, because with "Satan" the band finally throw some caution to the wind and change up the tempo with a nifty adventuresome shift at midway and then a change that's less dynamic at the end, but hey, at least there is some change.
In the meantime,"Walpurgis Night" is kinda common in its mild catchiness and is probably a little too heartening for the overall tainted ideals the band orders forth, meanwhile the vocally staunch Rolf throws an uncommon ear-splitter into the atmosphere for good measure. Basically it's a song that could've gotten shoved into the shadows on a full-lengther, but has nowhere to hide here and tends to derail things a tad.
Unlike hotcakes, the ep didn't sell all that well and is responsible for its collectibility that's on par with the picture disc versions of Gates to Purgatory and Branded and Exiled, the latter of which would be up at bat in about a year.