Old news: RUNNING WILD main pirate Rock'n'Rolf is very picky when it comes to his crew. Something that definitely was not old news, though, was three former members of the classical Heavy Metal act from Hamburg getting together to show their old captain they can do just fine without him. And thus it came to pass that Jens Becker (bass), Axel Morgan (guitar) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums) founded the band X-WILD - such a fitting name! Completing the line up is vocalist Frank Knight.
The first product of this formation was the 1994 album "So What!". Musically best described as "RUNNING WILD with a different singer", they set out. This, of course, earned them plenty of ridicule from RUNNING WILD fans and the media as well, but hey, if they want to play that kind of music, let them -- as long as they do a good job. And that they did. Not the most independent kind of sound, yes, but "Can't Tame The Wild" still remains one of the best songs on the X-WILD debut.
Many riffs do remind you quite significantly of these guys' musical past. The beginning of "Beastmaster" in particular might as well have been written by Rolf, but I think it's a shame X-WILD were so hopelessly underrated back then. Admittedly "So What!" couldn't hope to hold a candle to "Black Hand Inn", released in the same year, but it still is a solid piece of Heavy Metal regardless. Nowadays they'd likely receive plenty of praise for it, considering what RUNNING WILD have been putting out on CD for the past four years.
(Online November 29, 2006)