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Totally Badass - 95%

DeathRiderDoom, December 26th, 2009

One of Running Wild’s only video releases here shows a legendary German speed metal band at the high point of their career. ‘Death or Glory – Live in Dusseldorf’ (filmed 17/10/89) is a fantastic metal VHS that will not disappoint fans of the band. Filmed during the bands heyday at the turn of the 1990s, this one features many great tracks from the highly regarded first four albums. The bands performance is absolutely top notch too, with recording/sound quality to back it up – and it ends up sounding as solid and flawless as a studio recording. From the backstage footage and tomfoolery of the intro, with overdubbed crowd chants of “Branded and Exiled” to rip-roaring pirate anthems like ‘Tortuga Bay’ and the incredibly atmospheric bass solo by Jens Becker, to shots of the hyped crowd, this video kicks major ass. The band just shreds through an awesome set full of classics, and the bands performance is on form, HARD. I strongly recommend this one to fans of the band, and promise you, you won’t be disappointed..

Visually, the band doesn’t quite have the status of Dio, hence this live performance doesn’t take place on a stage with 40-foot animatronic dragons, and massive sets with huge backdrops that change every song like Iron Maiden. The stage features some art work at the sides of the stage from the album their touring for, and there are some smaller scale pyrotechnics which are put to awesome use (in tracks like ‘Conquistadores’ fire shoots up into the air, adding the evil ambience of the track). The band is adorned in awesome pirate/metal costumes which are far more badass than any “puffy shirt” from Seinfeld, layered with studs and shimmering metal and shit – and they just look fucking awesome. The light show is pretty sweet to, well-co-ordinated in awesome tracks like the awesome and very Iron Maidenish ‘Raw Ride’ which kicks total ass. There’s quite a few cameras in use, and thing is shot pretty decently, though not to the same incredibly high-standards as Dio or Maiden DVDs. What we’ve got here is a slightly less-succesful band putting on a fucking sweet show, and doing the best they can with production/stage values they can with their less monumental budget.

The venue feels kinda small and intimate, but I’d imagine it’s gotta be a 2-3,000 seater. The stage doesn’t seem to be too high up, and it gives a cool feeling of intimacy with the band and crowd – like some kind of awesome pirate metal brotherhood. The crowd is packed in tight, and loving every minute of this solid, Germanic speed metal attack, and there’s some good sing along moments too (see the chorus in the classic anthem ‘Raging Fire’) and they give out some pretty big cheers after tracks as well a lot of clapping along in the slower, pounding moments. After big hits like ‘Raging Fire’ the crowd yells “Running Wild” repeatedly in quick succession. Dripping in sweat, they are as stoked as you’d imagine, and the show they’re getting treated to is certainly enough to make any of us jealous. You can hear them roar with excitement during the awesome melodic speed metal riffs in ‘Tortuga Bay’ and there are shots of an ecstatic audience clapping along with hands in the air on this one too. In between ‘Conquistadores’ and the amazing ‘Prisoner of Our Time’ the crowd are chanting along in typical Eurotrash soccer fan fashion, “Running Wild, Running Wild, Running Wild!” By the time the set is through, footage of the audience shows a content bunch of sweaty Germans crying out for more, some of whom are being treated to Rock ‘n Rolf’s guitar picks.

Basically, this is just awesome German pirate metal being belted out, hit after hit – the band is killing it, and Rolf is a fucking machine. From the undecipherable German ramblings of Rolf Kasparek introducing songs, to the explosions of pyro which kick them off, and the awesome, clear guitars and pounding drumming, this is magical shit from start to finish. Case and point: the awesome and incredibly pirate-y, atmosphere building bass solo by Jens Becker, following the classic ‘Uaschitschun’. The cameras are on him, with a blue light, surrounded by pitch black, when smoke begins to rise, as begins to finish up, the crowd cheers ecstatically, and we are catapulted into the amazingly classic intro riff of that fan favourite ‘Conquistadores’, and Kasperek runs out to the front of the stage – lights flashing above his head. Just magical! Kasperak’s fronting of the band is strong, and his voice is amazing – it sounds exactly like on the albums, whereas the remainder of the band is incredibly tight and professional. The guitar solos in tracks like ‘Conquistadores’ sound utterly crisp and beautiful. Majk Moti is one badass solo-ist and he throws fists in the air in between chords when he’s not belting out amazing wizardry on the axe (check out the awesome outro to ‘Prisoner of Our Time’; really something).

I could go on for hours, but basically, this is one killer live video. The sound and performance is seriously top-notch, and this video showcases an exceptional and unique heavy metal band at their finest hour. Tracks played are of course excellent, with many of my personal favorites being present, like ‘Raw Ride’, ‘Riding the Storm’ and materials all taken from the early block of albums. These guys are exceptionally tight, lead by the awesome ‘Rock’ n Rolf’ whose juggernaut performance (including plentiful hair flicks) should be studied by all who dream of metal stardom. For fans of this band: I urge you to check this thing out. I’m not sure if it has/is getting re-issued as a DVD or anything, but if you can track it down, you will not be disappointed. Well, you will if the tape is damaged and ruins the sound or visual of this awesome live performance. There’s not really anything bad to say about it at all, believe me – I’ve thought about it, but it’s just a cool thing to watch if you love this band. All those cool riffs this band does are even more badass when they’re being shredded out by sweaty Germans on stage in killer pirate costumes. Would have been a hell of a show to catch, but at least you can pick this thing up. Essential viewing for fans.