Running Wild - Reissues (x8) - Part I (Gates to Purgatory - Branded and Exiled - Under Jolly Roger - Port Royal)
There is nothing really difficult to understand about Running Wild's metal musical formula. And that's the secret - make it sound simple.
Guitarist, vocalist, mainman and borderline genius, "Rolf 'n'Roll" Kasparek made sure of that.

But it wasn't always so. This commendable series of reissues from Sanctuary (respect), begins at the beginning, and it's hardly an auspicious start.
1984 and the 'Gates To Purgatory' album shows a metal band still in short trousers, working hard at old school metal, (along with classmates, Demon and Witchfynde) with Thrash, the Occult and NWOBHM very much on the curriculum.
This reissue is nicely packaged with 2 bonus tracks, and at the very least highlights Kasparek's emerging skill in writing a compact chorus and underplaying a razoring axe solo. Less is more is hardly a metal maxim, but this guy knows what he's doing.

1985's 'Branded And Exiled' saw Kasparek and his band consolidate their position. An improved production sanded down the debut's rough edges - not necessarily a good thing - and despite song titles like 'Evil Spirit' and 'Mordor', there didn't seem to be quite the same enthusiasm for that whole Satanism thing.

Third album 'Under Jolly Roger' (1987) was the one. Pirate Metal was born (the album title being something of a giveaway).
The band's beautifully balanced combination of celtic rock, speed metal and over the top theatrics was a marriage made in heavy metal heaven and hell. This album abounds with great RW tracks, though few of them seem lyrically committed to the buccaneering concept. But as celtic speed metal goes, there were few better tracks in 1987 than 'War In The Gutter' and 'Raise Your Fist'.
(As a side note, Sanctuary have lovingly reproduced the original LP cover, back and front, here. An excellent idea).
By 1989's 'Port Royal' the Pirate Metal concept had been fleshed out into a fully fledged heavy metal niche. The album is alive with pantomime images of tough, grizzled, taciturn sailors looting and pillaging with a song in their hearts and a sparkle in their eyes.
There's an undeniable melodic heaviness to songs like 'Into The Arena' and 'Raging Fire', all torqued up guitars and locomotive drums, topped off with Kasparek's Blackie Lawless like rasp. These songs and others - 'Conquistadores' and 'Calico Jack' to name but two - will stick to your memory like a skull & crossbones tattoo.
Clearly, Kasparek had perfected the formula. More of the same was now demanded.

'Death Or Glory', 'Black Hand Inn', 'Blazon Stone' and 'Masquerade' reviews next week.

GTP 6/10
BAE 5.5/10
UJR 7/10
PR 7.5/10

Written by Brian
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Show all reviews by Brian


Brian: 666/10

Members: No members have rated this album yet.

Member ratings

Profile picturenotrap

Rating: 9/10
It's rather difficult for me to rate this band in 2009. My emotional side tells me to giv... · Read more ·

This article has been shown 3221 times. Go to the complete list.

RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Monday, May 14, 2007
RevelationZ Staff

View Profile

Comments: 245
Ah RUNNING WILD. I came late to the ship on this band but picked up somewhere around the time of "Black Hand Inn" and "Blazon Stone". This is a really great capsule review for these albums, brings back all the memories of the salty, speedy metal that these guys performed so well. They certainly are/were a unique niche in the metal genre.

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Monday, May 14, 2007

Comment by VonSeux (Anonymous) - Monday, May 14, 2007
a legendary band. all theese albums are classics!

Comment by Carsten Olsen (Anonymous) - Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Heard the title track for Pile of skulls on a radio show and was sold to the pirates. So many great albums.

Comment by Hellcock (Anonymous) - Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Has these albums been remastered?

Review by notrap (Member) - Friday, September 18, 2009
Profile picture

View Profile

Comments: 55
Ratings: 66
It's rather difficult for me to rate this band in 2009.
My emotional side tells me to give an high rate,
Port Royal was one of those records I heard over and over again (Conquistadores still on my top 50).
My pragmatic side tells me to be more caution....

I will try to be in the middle:
Gates to Purgatory: 8/10
Branded and Exiled: 8/10
Port Royal: 10/10 ;)

Rating: 9/10

Posted by notrap
Friday, September 18, 2009

Review by Brian

Released by
Sanctuary Records / Noise Records - 2007

Victim Of States Power
Black Demon
Soldiers Of Hell
Diabolic Force
Adrian SOS
Genghis Kahn
Prisoner Of Our Time
Walpurgis Night (bonus)
Satan (bonus)

Branded And Exiled
Gods Of Iron
Realm Of Shades
Fight The Oppression
Evil Spirit
Marching To Die
Chains And Leather

Under Jolly Roger
Beggar's Night
Diamonds Of The Black Chest
War in the Gutter
Raise Your Fist
Land Of Ice
Raw Ride
Merciless Game

Port Royal
Raging Fire
Into the Arena
Final Gates
Blown to Kingdom Come
Calico Jack

Pirate Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Running Wild - Official Website

Other articles
The Brotherhood - (Tommy)

20 Years In History - (Tommy)

The Rivalry - (Tommy)

Rogues En Vogue - (Tommy)

Reissues (x8) - Part II (Death Or Glory : Blazon Stone : Black Hand Inn : Masquerade) - (Brian)

Z supported shopping

1 - Horrifying
2 - Terrible
3 - Bad
4 - Below average
5 - Average
6 - Good
7 - Very good
8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

More details...

Daily Spotlight
Elegy - Labyrinth of Dreams (Reissue)
CoverHaving sold more than a quarter of a million albums in their career, it often seems that the Netherlands pro....
Read full review

Retro Reviews

Virgin Steele - Age Of Consent
CoverAge Of Consent is with no doubt one of the most atmospheric and thrilling releases in my collection. Anyone who knows me also knows that Virgin Steele is my all time favourite band and that every rele....
Read full review

Sieges Even - A Sense of Change
CoverExploration and discovery. Two themes which are essential for your enjoyment of this album. Even after 13 years and several hundred listens I have still not reached a journey's end when it comes to "A....
Read full review

 · Albums of the month
 · Retro Reviews

Back to the top - © 2002-2011 RevelationZ Magazine - Back to the top