Available: October 7th, 2013
Running Wild! A band I can claim are one of my top 5, if not top 3 favourite metal bands of all time. Since I first listened to Black Hand Inn I was completely hooked with the bands ability to write songs that invoked such imagery in their lyrics, had great riffs and worked the pirate theme like no other. After Black Hand Inn I made it a point to go out and grab whatever other albums I could possible find. Keep in mind this was in the mid-90’s, in Tennessee, when I first discovered the band in college. If not for the internet emerging as vehicle to really bring heavy metal back into people’s consciousness I would have never discovered the band. So from Black Hand Inn, to Pile of Skulls to Blazon Stone and all the other in between, after and before I was a hooked on Running Wild and so were my friend whom I introduced the band to. I even tracked down a digital copy of their concert during the Death or Glory tour in Germany right before the Iron Curtain fell.
Fast forward to 2009 while I was still in Tennessee I heard Rolf the founder and only constant member of the band still around had announced he was calling an end to Running Wild and was having a farewell show at Wacken Open Air. I was severely disappointed as I never had a chance to see Running Wild live but I also understood the reasoning to a point as well. I know as with anything we all can feel like some things run their course, we suffer burn out or just feel like we have nothing left to give to a project after a certain point. We all can get a little bored with something after awhile. With some of the last Running Wild Albums up until 2009 it seemed like maybe Rolf wanted a break and try some other things. It happens, I get it, but I was still sad to see the band hang it up.
Flash forward to 2012 and suddenly Rolf announced that he was going to release a new Running Wild album titles ‘Shadowmaker’. It came out, charted in several European countries, and had some solid tracks…but no tour. Now we 2013 is hear and Rolf has again decided to give us a new album called ‘Resilient’ and has even possibly promised some tours dates! Let’s pray!
But the question here is, how is the new album and how does it compare to previous efforts or even to the last album ‘Shadowmaker’? Well the good news is, ‘Resilient’ is a strong album with some good rocking tunes. Is it classic Running Wild? Well to answer that question you need to hop aboard your pirate ship, hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail you scurvy dogs!
To review ‘Resilient’ and place things into context you need to know a little history about Running Wild. When the band released their first album back in ‘Gate to Purgatory’ back in 1984 the band had a ‘Satanic’ imagery and their sound was more akin to early thrash or NWOBHM metal but with a more cutting edge and darker. Some really great stuff are on those early albums as well such as, ‘Soldiers of Hell’, ‘Mordor’, ‘Prisoners of Our Time’ and ‘Realm of Shades’ to just name a few. By their third album, ‘Under Jolly Roger’, the band hit on the pirate theme and milked that proverbial cow until it was dry and then milked it some more. Now do not misunderstand, not EVERY song dealt with pirates but that was the overall theme of many songs and albums for many years following ‘Under Jolly Roger’. As the band progressed, their sound moved away from the darker lyrics and themes and became a bit more polished and refined for better or worse.
As the years moved ever on, line ups changed and albums started moving away from the pirate theme more and more in terms of writing about more diverse subjects. Yes you would have a few songs dealing in some seafaring mischief but by the time ‘Rouges en Vogue’ came out, Running Wild’s pirate days were getting a bit worse for wear as it seemed Rolf was growing weary of that style of songs and some songs kind of just seemed like they were just…there for the sake of having a pirate themed song.
Then we have the retirement and then ‘Shadowmaker’ comes out which had two very solid pirate themed songs and a mixture of other songs of various themes and now we have ‘Resilient’. So what does ‘Resilient’ offer?
In comparison to other RW albums in terms of sound I would place it as a distant cousin to ‘Pile of Skulls’ though only loosely. During his years away from Running Wild, Rolf was active in two projects. One was Toxic Taste which was a pseudo glam/retro/punk band that had some incredibly great songs and the other project was Giant X which was more of a hard/classic rock affair with some blues. I think the influence of these projects have also influenced ‘Resilient’ especially the Giant X project. As a result, ‘Resilient’ has many songs that have more of a hard rock edge but also the signature Running Wild sound.
Lyrically, you have many songs here detailing various subjects such as the song, ‘Crystal Gold’ talking about the privatization of water to songs like ‘Run Riot’ which is basically a song about going out and having fun and ‘Desert Rose’ which has been described as a pop song but to my ears is just a different style than we have heard from Running Wild before and is one of the best tracks on the album. Of course you also have two songs that are the ‘pirate songs’ these are called the ‘The Drift’ and ‘Bloody Island’. ‘The Drift’ being a really great tune with some cool guitar work.
So the big question is how does ‘Resilient’ sit with me? My answer is that I really like the album a lot. It has a lot of great songs and some great riffs. Now is it an album that can be placed alongside albums such as, ‘Black Hand Inn’, ‘Pile of Skulls’ or ‘Death or Glory’? Well my answer to that is no it can not for the simple fact that Running Wild has changed as band since those albums and as time goes by people write songs differently, mature and change sometimes. Does this make ‘Resilient’ a bad album? Again my answer is no, it isn’t. The album is a very good Running Wild album with many strong songs on it such as ‘The Drift’, ‘Fireheart’ and ‘Crystal Gold’ and many others.
‘Resilient’ is an album that you should go out and buy as it deserves to be supported. Yes the album is not perfect but it is a fun album and a good album to listen to. I do wish Rolf would get a full band together again as I feel working with a full band helps things sound more organic and can help creativity as you can bounce ideas off each other. And it’s just fun knowing that hey we have Running Wild back.
That being said, ‘Resilient’ is a very solid offering from a band that has been sailing the metal seas for a long time and if they want to try some new stuff so be it. ‘Resilient’ is a new era for Running Wild which has the band sailing on new seas of creativity and song exploration. And I say, FANTASTIC! Give the album a listen you shouldn’t be disappointed, just don’t try to make it ‘Death or Glory Pt. 2’ and let’s pray for a show here in Finland!
EDIT: I have went back and listened more and more to this album and I initially gave it a rating of 3.5 but the more I listen the more I see how really good it is and upped the score to a 4/5. Great stuff
BUY THE ALBUM HERE