Running Wild


Gates To Purgatory

Running Wild - Gates To Purgatory ©1984 Noise Int.
1. Victim Of States Power
2. Black Demon
3. Preacher
4. Soldiers Of Hell
5. Diabolic Force
6. Adrian SOS
7. Genghis Khan
8. Prisoner Of Our Time
9. Walpurgis Night
10. Satan

Running Wild, who can more sufficiently be describing as Loping Tamely on Gates to Purgatory, began their recording existence as a speedy, Judas Priest inspired (both in image and a bit of their sound) metal band. What they lacked in talent, they tried to make up for in sticking to heavy metal archetypes and silly stage names like "Rock'n'Rolf" and "Preacher". This debut release from the band shows that they had far, far to go in their quest to become metal superstars. In fact, they currently still have far, far to go, but back in 1984, that road was even longer. Given the flat, tepid production of the album, the mumbling vocals that lack both power and ability to deliver with intensity and forgettable songs, Gates to Purgatory is certainly just that if the listener chooses to place himself in aural limbo for the duration of this record. It would take a couple releases for the band to decide they would become "Pirate Metal" and just as many releases to forge even the slighest bit of identity. As far as debuts go, this one is purely forgettable and less than even a footnote in the growth of German speed metal and thrash.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2001

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Under Jolly Roger

Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger ©1987 Noise Int.
1. Under Jolly Roger
2. Beggar's Night
3. Diamonds Of The Black Chest
4. War In The Cutter
5. Raise Your Fist
6. Land Of Ice
7. Raw Ride
8. Merciless Game

If you ever visit Las Vegas, be sure to check out the Treasure Island casino on the strip. Each night they feature a live pirate show that is thrilling for the kids and fun to watch for adults alike, albeit cheesy. Somehow I get the feeling Running Wild should be the hotel's house band. This German power/thrash band has been beating the pirate drum for well over a decade now and Under Jolly Roger is simply the most prominent and telling album in their history. As with the Treasure Island show, Running Wild is overtly melodramatic and goofy in a fun way. Even the "Loud Sound Effects" warning sticker on the cover is a hoot. Musicially, Running Wild isn't anything particularly worth raving about. Their style offers a touch of Germanic thrash as well as a bit of a Maiden touch to their guitars. Where Running Wild falls short is mostly in the energy that some of their contemporaries (Sodom, Rage, Kreator) were able to harness. Running Wild definitely has second tier status which makes them enjoyable, but hardly mandatory.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2000

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Port Royal

Running Wild - Port Royal ©1988 Noise Int.
1. Port Royal
2. Raging Fire
3. Into The Arena
4. Uaschitschun
5. Final Gates
6. Conquistadores
7. Blown To Kingdom Come
8. Warchild
9. Mutiny
10. Calico Jack

My first taste of Running Wild came over ten years ago with this particular release for those wacky German pirate metalheads. Port Royal initially blew me away back then but over time it has been relegated to a nostalgia type of listen. Aside from the handful of killer tunes, much of the album is simply filler or overly dramatic schlock. Running Wild's sound was fairly identifiable, dwelling firmly in a Maiden influenced realm with just a touch of German thrash to give it an edge. Rock'n'Rolf's singing is hardly on par with Iron Maiden, but is still a voice that is instantly recognizable. Throughout this album, I do feel a better guitar production would have helped improve the overall listen. On the good songs, such as the anthemic and rollicking "Conquistadores" or the opening "Port Royal", the band's enthusiastic melodic approach works well. Moreover, the instrumental "Final Gates" is very unique and original, utilizing some interesting bass techniques. But on the "epic" "Calico Jack", the band gets carried away in a melodramatic lyrical battle for cheesiness, such as the very silly soliloquy the lead character gives to the judge. On other songs, such as "Blown to Kingdom Come" or "Into the Arena", the band just goes about things by numbers and fails to interject the songs with any real drive or ambition. So what one gets overall is an EP's worth of good material and a whole lot of reasons to push the skip button. Port Royal is an okay destination, but do be sure to book the cheapest cruise for it at the CD store.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1999

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Black Hand Inn

Running Wild - Black Hand Inn ©1994 Noise
1. The Curse
2. Black Hand Inn
3. Mr. Deadhead
4. Soulless
5. The Privateer
6. Fight The Fire Of Hate
7. The Phantom Of The Black Hand Hill
8. Freewind Rider
9. Powder & Iron
10. Dragonmen
11. Genesis (The Making And The Fall Of Man)
12. Poisoned Blood

Running Wild is another one of those 80's thrash/power metal bands that disappeared from American consciousness (assuming they were ever there to begin with). To the best of my knowledge they had vanished altogether and it wasn't until I read about them on the internet that I actually found out they've continued along merrily ever since. Black Hand Inn is the first new music I've heard from them in ten years and strangely, they are still playing the same style as Port Royal, albeit more consistent and refined. Rock'n'Rolf is still using that same midrange singing with just a touch of rasp and the music is galloping along quite contentedly. Running Wild seems to be entirely immune to all the trends that have come and gone in the past ten years. Rather, they have found a style that is easily identifiable as their own and are exploring the territory there. Black Hand Inn isn't exactly a world shaking album, but overall it flows nicely and all the songs are neither better nor worse than any of the others. While it's not the album to convince me to tattoo their logo on my tummy, it is wonderful to see these guys are still up to what they do best.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/1998

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Victory

Running Wild - Victory ©2000 Pavement
1. Fall Of Dorkas
2. When Time Runs Out
3. Timeriders
4. Into The Fire
5. Revolution
6. The Final Waltz
7. Tsar
8. The Hussar
9. The Guardian
10. Return Of The Gods
11. Silent Killer
12. Victory

Those who read my reviews may be wondering why I am reviewing this disc. No, Running Wild is not my normal choice for metal. No, I have not changed from being a fan of progressive metal. But I have found a surprisingly mature disc that I want to recommend to your attention.

Rock 'n Rolf has been the anchor of Running Wild for a very long time. The band has always been a source of good, energetic power speed metal. The content of the songs never really mattered all that much because they rocked. The downside to this was that one Running Wild disc was pretty much the same as any other. I hadn't really paid much attention to the band after the release of Port Royal. Sure, the discs were fun, but they were terribly shallow. Victory is not shallow. Victory is one of the biggest surprises to hit my CD player in a long time. Rolf explains that this disc is the conclusion of a loose trilogy comprising Masquerade, The Rivalry and Victory. There is a thread running through all three discs to make a loose story. Reading that intrigued me enough to go buy the other two discs and listen to see what this story was. I'm a sucker for concept discs.

Masquerade begins the thread by giving us a series of songs pointing to the general greed and corruption within those offices to which people look for leadership, namely the courts, state and church. The Rivalry continues the story by offering songs about the struggle between good and evil. Victory concludes the story by bringing out the winner of this struggle. The end might surprise long time fans of the usual vein of Running Wild's musicology. The ending track of this CD is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. I keep hitting "repeat" when it plays.

The hallmark bouncy, galloping style of play that earmarks classic Running Wild is omnipresent throughout this disc. The execution, however is precise and timely. The twin guitars riff along like classic Iron Maiden and are very enjoyable track to track. The songs move along cohesively except, perhaps for the cover of the Beatles "Revolution" which is a fun sing, but seems somehow out of place amid the deeper theme of the disc. This disc will surprise those who have given up on Running Wild as a tired, uninventive band rehashing the same old formula disc after disc. This disc has taken up residence in my player and keeps finding its way back there. It certainly deserves your attention. This is a tremendous disc from a band that has shown once for all that they can be very serious about their music and song writing when they set their minds to it. Intelligent metal from Running Wild? Believe it.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 02/2001

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