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Running Wild - "20 Years In History"
Sanctuary Records 2003

Huh! To achieve 100% assurance of spine tingling effect, I highly recommend you to put headphones on and play this chronological statement as loud as you fuckin' can! I was never shivering so much since "Rivalry" (1998), which was band's last album, featuring Running Wild with four members in line up. This doubled CD document reveals what band was and still is. Running Wild! This double CD set is not considered to be best of. It is the finest selection of what this band went through, over its 20 years of struggling and fighting on music scene. Sincere spitting anger reborn! Rolf's vocals are, in my humble opinion, like Chris Boltendahl's (Grave Digger) the angriest, that true German heavy metal scene offered, let us say, over last twenty years.

And production is? What you ask is what you get from Running Wild. Guitar riffing pushed far in front, nicely equilibrated with ear splitting venomous drums strengthened by high velocity shredding double bass footwork, that brings recognizable pulsating contrast as band's unique trademark. Vocals are deriving from somewhere far behind as if they emerge from closed box. This is true Running Wild!

And burnt offerings are? Well, we got two unreleased songs newly recorded by band minus Bernd Aufermann (Rolf did all guitars). First among them is oldie called Prowling Werewolf from "Gates To Purgatory" (1984) pre-era. It sounds as if it was written yesterday and not some twenty years ago. Second one is Apocalyptic Horsemen, originally written for "Under Jolly Roger" (1987) record. You might be curios about how close came Rolf in catching Running Wild contemporary sound. Under strong self awareness that my objectiveness at this very moment might be questionable I will point out anyway, that guitars in Apocalyptical Horsemen offer the nearest sound approximation to "The Brotherhood" (2002). Rolf paid special attention when choosing and adding redone guitar riffs, double harmonies and bass lines. There's no need to be worried! Running Wild's legacy remained unharmed. Especially Raise Your Fist pounds hellish alive amongst all reworks taken from first CD! Bass tricks? Among songs on first CD with reworked bass, Little Big Horn surely outstands. It delivers fat alive thunderous bass drive that covers much larger sound specter in comparison with original "Blazon Stone" (1991) studio version. This song is true "Bad Reaper"!!!

Effect of reworking is most obvious in band's older stuff, especially songs from "Branded And Exiled" (1985) and "Gates To Purgatory" (1984). Songs Branded And Exiled and Mordor are new '03 versions, completely redone by Rock'n Rolf, bassist Peter Pichl and drummer Matthias Liebetruth! I wouldn't mind, if recent four headed line up decides to record both first two studio albums again. New sound has been taken to the level where Genghis Khan, Prisoners Of Our Time, Branded And Exiled, Mordor and Prowling Werewolf proudly stand side by side with band's stuff from 1987's "Under Jolly Roger" up to 2002's "The Brotherhood" era.

First CD encircles band's evolution from producing straight sharp short nasty bombs in early years (1983-1987 era), and later tendency of bringing more and more epic elements into musical stand (1987-1991 era). Second CD represents band's fully focusing on epically driven composing that got accomplished with finding a perfect balance between straight brute force and pompous epic elements. Rolf decided to take very clever move in compiling second CD tracklist. From each band's album, he picks two songs. One is high velocity metal striker and the other more epically structured song. Therefore, Whirlwind is followed by finest mini epic adventure of band's career Treasure Island, more pompous Black Hand Inn is counterweighted with savage bomber Privateer, Ballad Of William Kidd is balanced with raging grinder Firebreather, Tsar with Victory and short puncher Welcome To Hell with harpsichord flavored The Brotherhood. Exceptions are both "Masquerade" (1995) songs Lions Of The Sea (still with epic intro and surely a highlight from "Masquerade") and Black Soul. Quick overview of "Masquerade" album offers conclusion of being the fastest and most damaging among all RW records, fully consisted from shorter powerful strikers, speeded up to its final limits (among them Underworld, a song not included on this compilation, contains most epic elements).

Well, I hope you've got brief insight by now. This is more than compilation. Generally speaking, past original band's studio recordings delivered sound picture based merely on higher tuning. Well, Rock'n Rolf's careful selection of reworked touches, offer new sound picture that covers and fulfills much wider musical range. This concern for all renewed material! And result is? We got practically 26 new songs. And none of them looses even a small drop of Running Wild unique musical shape. What's more! All fixed attributes, of recognizable Running Wild raging and notorious face present since day one, are successfully upgraded. Newly refreshed and resurrected material included on this historical double CD document, pounds and rocks louder than ever. It runs supersonically wild again!

Author:   Aleš

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