I really want to enjoy “Victory”. I really do! As a RUNNING WILD fan, I just feel as though “Victory” has some moments that I enjoy but overly ceases to ever rise above mediocre during the duration of play. Considering how Rolf is normally a very skilled writer and musician, this album (believe it or not the band’s 11th full length studio effort) drags on far beyond its worth and just falls flat on almost every level.
There could be a lot of reasons for this sudden falter in a normally very consistent band. Perhaps Rolf became tired of writing this kind of music and just decided to run through the motions on “Victory”. Perhaps there was pressure from labels or time to get the album done sooner then it should have been. Perhaps ninjas sabotaged it. But in the end, this is what I have coming out of my speakers and its disappointing.
At first, I was having fun and the opening “Fall Of Dorkas” is a fairly solid mid-tempo Power edged pirate anthem but then we get the second track and it basically sounds like track one. And then track 3 sounds like 2. And then track 4 sounds like 3. Then we get a pretty interesting BEATLES cover and then it goes right back to its repetitive and lack luster ways for another 7 songs. It’s a long album (with some significantly long tracks like the 7 minute “Tsar” which ironically is one of the better songs on the album) and when it has a similar sound and a less then energetic push behind it suddenly “Victory” becomes a test in tediousness rather than journey across the seven seas.
Some of the blame for this can be placed on the drummer (or lack thereof). “Victory” marks the first time RUNNING WILD would use programmed drums on their albums and although the performance and writing is consistent from song to song the lack of feeling and creative force behind it hinders this album far more then it should. Throw that on top of a pretty lack luster approach to the writing (as I said before it really sounds like they are just simply going through the motions now) with Rolf doing his normal speedy riffs and semi-catchy vocal work and this is pretty much everything we’ve heard before. If you like RUNNING WILD then I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy on “Victory”, but its pretty subpar to some of their other work.
I’m not sure how else I could describe the listening experience of “Victory” other than as repetitive and lack luster. It’s not ‘bad’ per say as one would attack an album, but it doesn’t make too much of an effort to be better than the last few either. Mostly for RUNNING WILD fans only, although the occasionally Metalhead might find it rather fun.
Songs to check out: “Fall Of Dorkas”, “Tsar”, “Victory”.
(Online November 21, 2009)