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Review: X-Wild - Savageland

Label: Blue Merle Records
Year released: 1996
Duration: 61:42
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: December 27, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (14 Votes)

I picked this up on a whim, and I am really, really, really glad I did. This was the third and last album from this rather obscure band made up of a few guys who used to be in Running Wild. You may have never heard of these guys, but they kick some massive amounts of ass on this CD.

X-Wild (probably a reference to several of the members being "X" Running Wild members) play crunchy, full-throttle Heavy Metal that sounds a lot like RW with a dash of old Accept thrown in. There are even bits here and there that remind me of Def Leppard's first album (before they went all poppy), and some of the leads sound very Maidenesque. The singer they recruited sounds a LOT like Udo Dirkschneider, with that signature ‘rough but still melodic' sneery style. These guys really knew how to write a song, and this is just a massively entertaining CD. Most of these tunes are full-on double-barreled stompers like "Braveheart", "Bred For War", the mega-cool title cut and the simply awesome "Die Like A Man". There are some slower cuts here too: "Children Of The Underground" features a children's choir on backup, "Dragonslair" is a doomy, riff-heavy epic, and "Field Of Blackbirds" is simply a great song. X-Wild show a dedication to an old-fashioned metal-riff style that has largely faded from the scene these days. I simply cannot believe this was released in 1996, as it sounds about 10 years older than that.

The CD cover is simply one of the worst paintings I have ever seen, putting all 3 Cauldron Born albums to shame for sheer amateurishness. This is a concept album, but it's a pretty cliché concept and they don't lean on it too hard. It's your typical "Hero fights to save his land from EVIL" thing. The lyrics are actually not bad, certainly better than a lot of Power Metal bands manage. Though the hero's name is "Braveheart", and this came out in '96. Hmmmmm. Wonder where that came from? I can't guess…

This just rules. There is not a single song here that I would skip or leave off. This is just one great metal-hammer tune after another. If you like any of the bands I mentioned above, or you love old-style Heavy Metal, then you need this album. It can be hard to find, but I guarantee it's worth it.

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