RUNNING WILD - VICTORY - GUN/ PAVEMENT
I truly believe life in Metallian Towers would take a turn for the drab were it not for record company-supplied bios. With virtually no profile in the USA or Canada the line, ' Running Wild's Victory is now ready to conquer the States' rings as true as a used car commercial. Witticisms aside, it is a delight to hear something new from Running Wild, a band that I had not heard anything new from in some 13 years. In the mid-80's we invested a lot of time cranking Running Wild albums and so the last album I had purchased from them was 1987's Under Jolly Roger. An album whose pirate themes the band still maintains. No surprise to note then that RW has changed little. The riffs are instantly recognizable and the band shifts its trade mark heavy metal from mid-paced to fast and back consistently. New drummer Sasso sounds too mechanical, especially on opener Fall of Dorkas; but given the song's fictional theme it might be appropriate. When Time Runs Out is a great song with Rock'n'Rolf's voice a dead ringer for Bif of Saxon - something I previously hadn't noted. The more one listens the more Saxon comes to mind vocally. Timeriders is a great song which rocks with great speed and lead guitars - only Germans can execute these fast and melodic metal guitars - and shows again that RW rocks. And so the songs go! Previous RW fans, German HM lovers or anybody into Painkiller era Judas Priest should purchase this CD. I wish I could be present at the band's performance at this year's Bang Your Head festival. - Ali "The Metallian"
RUNNING WILD - ROGUES EN VOGUE (LIMITED EDITION) - GUN
The last two Running Wild releases, Victory and The Brotherhood, were harshly criticized because of uninspired songwriting and the use of a drum computer with the name Angelo Sasso. Needless to say that no one has ever met Angelo Sasso in person, even though Rolf Kasparek (better known as Rock n’ Rolf) still claims that Sasso is a close friend of his.
Rogues En Vogue features a human drummer again, Matthias Liebetruth. The drums sound clinical anyway, though probably because of digital production techniques. The guitars are a bit thin in the overall mix, but loud enough. The opener Draw The Line is a boring mid-tempo song and definitely a bad choice to start the album with. But Angel Of Mercy is really fast and reminiscent of Pile Of Skulls material. Skeleton Dance features a cheesy chorus and is again a disappointment at the beginning of the album. Most people might quit after these three songs! But after that, it gets better and better. Skull And Bones, my personal favourite, begins with an acoustic intro, then changes into a pounding rhythm, drifts off into a fast part, and then returns to the original acoustic theme at the end. It is well written and brings up memories of Black Hand Inn. Born Bad, Dying Worse is another of those pirate songs like Lead Or Gold once was. Black Gold is a song about current issues, as they sometimes appear on Running Wild albums (see Bad To The Bone or Fight The Fire Of Hate, which were both against Nazis). The song deals with the Iraq war and the war for oil in general. Soul Vampires begins with an AC/DC type riff. The title track, also the album’s general lyrical theme, talks about corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen. They are the rogues who are currently en vogue in the world. The riffing of the song is very Port Royal like. Winged And Feathered is a weaker song about the Pegasus. Dead Man’s Road tells a story about TV-casted bands and commercial pop songs without substance. Whether such a song needs to be on a Metal album is debatable. After all, who cares about pop music in the Metal business anyway? The War, a ten-minute epic about World War One, surprises with its happy melodies. These are said by Rolf to represent the blind patriotism in that war. The song itself is a matter of taste. It could have been three to four minutes shorter. The limited edition features two good bonus tracks, Cannonball Tongue and Libertalia.
All in all, the album is a step back in the right direction for Rolf but Running Wild is not a real band anymore. Except for the drummer and the occasional bassist Peter Pichl, Rolf has done everything by himself. New musicians could revitalize the songwriting and deliver better lyrics. As it is, only fans will buy this CD. People who have never heard of Running Wild should either check out the early stuff (Branded And Exiled or Gates To Purgatory) or the later pirate albums like Port Royal or Black Hand Inn. - Andreas Herzog