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Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: Running Wild - Rapid Foray

I have been a Running Wild fan since I listened to Gates to Purgatory for the first time. Although their first two albums are amazing, I still enjoyed when they changed the sound from a raw speed metal with satanic lyrics to a pirate-oriented heavy/power metal. However, likewise many 80’s metal bands, I do not really like their work from the early 2000’s, such as “The Brotherhood” and “Rogues en Vogue”. This sequence of bad albums (without mentioning the ones that came after this) is what made me so wary about reviewing “Rapid Foray”, but I could not resist a new Running Wild release.

Black Skies Red Flag opens the album with energy, showing this is going to be a journey back to that earlier 90’s sound. It reminds me of the amazing “Pile of Skulls” and “Black Hand Inn”. The riffing and the lyrics are not exactly inspired, but the general feeling is good. Warmongers follows the same line, its chorus a little too repetitive, but still a good song. Next comes Stick to Your Guns, a 70’s hard rock song with a sticky sing along chorus. The weakest track to this point of the record. The title track, though, is a different kind of monster. Everything works on here, singing, riffs, melodies, even if the song is not different from what has been done before by the band. By the Blood in Your Heart is that kind of anthemic, pounding song that works better played live, like United from Judas Priest (or Overkill’s In Union We Stand, if I am not taking things too far). The drums are poor and it gets evident in this one. Rock n’ Rolf, leader of the band, is known for using drum machines to record the last few albums and that is a shame. Get a real drummer, for f*ck's sake!

The Depth of the Sea (Nautilus) is an inspired instrumental piece that leads to Black Bart, the first released single for the album. It was an excellent choice, as Black Bart is one of the standouts songs on the entire record. Hellestrified keeps the rhythm with a good guitar work and excellent vocals in the unique Rock ‘n’ Rolf style. The next one, Blood Moon Rising, seems to come just from the old days. Those three last songs are very solid and it is undoubtedly the highlight in “Rapid Foray”. Into the West, on the other hand, is just a too happy song that only emphasizes how lame is the computer drum machine. It is nice party tune, though, but undermined by guitars and drums that should have been better. The 11-minutes epic Last of the Mohicans closes the album with great style. The songwriting and performance are very good. I did not even notice the song was that big the first time I listened to it.

“Rapid Foray” is the best Running Wild album in many, many years. Unfortunately, it is still far behind the glory years of the band. If Rock ‘n’ Rolf decides to get a real band to record the next album, maybe we can see the Jolly Roger flag waving again on the top of this heavy metal pirate ship.

“Weigh anchor, hoist the sails!”

01. Black Skies, Red Flag (4:44)
02. Warmongers (4:29)
03. Stick To Your Guns (5:08)
04. Rapid Foray (4:47)
05. By The Blood In Your Heart (5:27)
06. The Depth Of The Sea - Nautilus (instrumental) (3:53)
07. Black Bart (5:06)
08. Hellestrified (4:22)
09. Blood Moon Rising (4:20)
10. Into The West (4:34)
11. Last Of The Mohicans (11:11)

Rock 'n' Rolf: Bass, Guitars, Vocals
Peter Jordan: Guitars
-- Ole Hempelmann– bass
-- Michael Wolpers– drums

-- Live shows only.

Written by Anderson Tiago

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