Running Wild – Resilient (SPV)Wednesday, 25th September 2013
Pioneering the pirate market lyrically for metal, Germany power outfit Running Wild to say the least has had a roller coaster relationship with critics and fans through the years. Between refusing to advertise in certain domestic publications that stopped supporting ‘true’ metal, to employing drum machines in the studio rather than humans, when Rock ‘n Rolf Kasparek originally announced their retirement in 2009, I can’t say I was surprised.
Yet two years later, the reformation began starting with last year’s Shadowmaker release and continuing with their 15th studio album, Resilient. As older and wiser musicians, it shouldn’t be shocking that the ten songs on this effort span a wide gamut of styles based on tried and true, down to earth principles. Shades of early 80’s Priest come to the forefront on the guitar squeals and riff selection within “Adventure Highway,” while the title track has more of a hip swinging, Kiss-meets-Accept template – Kasparek sneering through the melody with added emphasis on the trailing chorus notes.
I feel the album really kicks into more classic, heads down Running Wild with “The Drift,” the cultural guitar lines coming into focus and an epic ‘sea’ tale lyrically matching the feel of the arrangement. The 9:56 closer “Bloody Island” opens slowly and is filled to the brim with stirring guitar lines, catchy vocals harmonies, and this steady epic march that reminds me of material from the Pile of Skulls or The Rivalry eras.
Is it the best Running Wild studio album? No. I would place Death or Glory in that category. The band seems content to coast in more of a mid-tempo power to steady hard rock style, and one wonders if Kasparek feels the need to prove anything to anyone at this point. He’s going to write what he wants, play what he desires, and if the fans accept it, great- if not, no big loss. As such, Resilient improves upon Shadowmaker – but isn’t the prototypical Running Wild effort most diehards desire.