‘’Shiver me timbers!’’ ‘’Splice the main sail’’ ‘’Land Ahoy!’’ and all manner of other Pirate type shenanigans! Of course it can only me one thing and one band: the mighty RUNNING WILD. Very few bands last the course and very few bands have a sound that is instantly recognisable but Rock ‘n Rolf (gotta love that name) and his band RUNNING WILD is one of those bands that attract fanatic loyalty and hatred in equal measure.
Why a German has adopted the Pirate image is beyond me but during the course of RUNNING WILD’s twenty years or so in the Metal business they have managed to record a dozen of so albums that all pretty much sound the same. A bit of MAIDEN, The PRIEST and ACCEPT all rolled into one. However when albums sound like ‘’Black Hand Inn’’ then you’ve got to raise the peg leg to Rolf and what ever sea going ragamuffin’s he has enlisted to sail the good ship RUNNING WILD.
I’ll agree that recent RUNNING WILD records have been pretty flat in the water and for the most part complete insane drivel but in the 1980’s and early 90’s RUNNING WILD were bringing out some very fine fist in the air, melodic, riff heavy chanting infectious on the crest of a wave Heavy Metal.
So it all sounds the bloody same but ‘’Black Hand Inn’’ sticks out with a rare convection that says why reinvent the wheel when it’s already been done and few can argue with the total sheer Heavy Metal-ness of tracks like ‘’Black Hand Inn’’, ‘’Soulless’’, ‘’The Privateer’’ and ‘’Phantom Of Black Hand Hill’’ The riffs thrash, burst, in a bombastic Metal assault. The double bass drumming creates shock waves, the chorus are big breakers and the raspy unique voice of Rolf encapsulates all that is truly magnificent about German Heavy Metal. Rolf might well be as daft as a brush and the reincarnation of Long John Silver but stick the fifteen minute epic ‘’Genesis (The Making And The Fall Of Man) (which extraordinarily contains more riffs than MAIDEN’s “Piece Of Mind” album) through the speakers then you’ll wonder at the man’s genius or simply just cringe.
It’s safe to say that without Germany the Metal world would be a lot quieter and without some of its most memorable characters. While the rest of the world laughs and mocks and takes itself too seriously its takes the Germans to defy convention and do whatever the hell they want. Rock ‘n Rolf is surely the most surreal character of them all with an unhealthy penchant for battles and lost treasure on the high sea. But I can’t think of any better Pirate playing Metal in the world today. Can you? (Online June 11, 2005)