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Running Wild

Rapid Foray

Review by Mike Korn
When a sailing ship is cruising smoothly across the ocean, it is not the time to change course. That’s the lesson that Germany’s metal pirates Running Wild have learned over their 30 plus year career. They have experimented with more commercial stylings as well as advanced symphonics, but nothing plays as well as their traditional brand of speedy, melodic power metal.

Rapid Foray has Captain Rock N Rolf pursuing a tried and true course. They have been plying these waters for so long that they master their style with ease. You’ll find a little bit of everything Running Wild is known for here, but the emphasis is on crunchy fast metal songs with memorable hooks and lots of fancy guitar frills. Some catchy and slower rockers put in an appearance, too, but if you loved Running Wild classics like Port Royal and Black Hand Inn, Rapid Foray is for you.

Sail on, ye buccaneers…

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

Track by Track Review
Black Skies, Red Flag

This cracking opening cut kicks off with a strong hook before bringing in speed metal picking and Rolf’s raspy yet tuneful vocals. There’s always been an Iron Maiden feeling to Running Wild’s riffing, and you get that here, but they’ve always put their own stamp on that sound. This is a solid bridge between classic hard rock and speed metal that lets you know these guys are sticking to their core sound.

Warmongers
This tune is another strong metal rocker, sounding a little heavier and meaner than the opening cut. It could have been an out-take from earlier Running Wild albums like Blazon Stone or Death or Glory.
Stick To Your Guns
You can hear a lot of echoes of fellow Germans Accept on this punchy cut. This has a steady mid-paced crunch without the speed of the first two tracks. I could even make a comparison to Krokus. This would be a great crowd favorite live, designed for pure headbanging.
Rapid Foray
The title track is a breezy and snappy tune with a real upbeat feel. The pace picks up here, and it really sounds like something pirates might play when they’re going into battle. I don’t particularly like the “woah-oh” backup vocals, but it doesn’t cripple the song too badly.
By the Blood In Your Heart
This headbanging anthem is even stronger than “Stick To Your Guns." It is super heavy but boasts one of the most infectious guitar riffs this band has ever produced. The feel is similar to what Judas Priest created on their legendary crowd-pleasers. There’s a rousing multi-tracked chorus that is uniquely Germanic, as well as a bit of bagpipe accompaniment. It’s a little corny but will put a smile on your face.
Depth of the Sea-Nautilus
They serve up an instrumental workout here with increasing layers of guitars over a pulsing metal beat. This layering of multiple guitars is a Running Wild trademark and gives the tune an epic feel. It's a nice demonstration of Rolf’s dexterity.
Black Bart
This is the kind of lusty battle metal that the band have been playing since Under Jolly Roger 30 years ago. I could knock this for being too much like past RW tunes, but this thing really cranks with a killer surging riff and a raging guitar duel. This is primal pirate metal that makes you want to grab a cutlass and swing onto the deck of a helpless trading ship.
Hellestrified
I have no idea what the title means, but it’s probably nothing good. This is another fast and rowdy metal rocker, somewhat by the numbers, but boosted by a high level of energy.
Blood Moon Rising
More of the same is on show here. Running Wild does have a very recognizable pattern to their songs, but much the same could be said for AC//DC and Slayer. I might have switched positions with the following song to provide a bit more variety.
Into The West
This has got one heck of a cool melodic guitar hook to start things up…peppy and breezy. It gives this tune a different feel, a “happy” feel. I’m not sure if they’re singing about the Old West or if this is another pirate song, but it’s one of the album’s best.
Last of the Mohicans
Every RW album has its huge, lengthy epic. Yes, it is based on the classic adventure tale by James Fennimore Cooper. It has some powerful moments, but I can’t say it is their best, even though it may be the most ambitious. It just goes too long, and the heavy German accent on the narration produces some snickers. That being said, the guitar work is exquisite, and the song is certainly not bad. To me, the best RW epic will always be “Calico Jack."

 

 
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