Running Wild
Black Hand Inn


4.5
superb

Review

by Jason Hellmuth USER (19 Reviews)
March 16th, 2006 | 27 replies | 8,725 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Ha argh me maties! Come draw by the fire, so me ol' bones don't get the chills. I 'spect you've come to hear of the tale of the Black Hand Inn, and the misfortunate misfortunes that befell that ill-starred place. But afore we travel the swashbucklin', rumscuzzlin', timbershiverin' road to adventure, we must be truthful with each other. I... I'm not actually a pirate. *cough*

Right, so, as we know, 1994 was a good year for music, at least it was for me. We had Carcass with Heartwork, Pink Floyd's Division Bell, Emperor released In The Nightside Eclipse, and Therapy? brought forth Troublegum. And yet with this kind of competition, Running Wild released my favourite album of this year, their greatest success Black Hand Inn.

Those who are familiar with the (at the time) four piece will know what to expect with this, but I feel I should give a brief rundown of this amazing German power metal act.

Debuting in '84 as part of the most recent wave of power metal bands from continental Europe, Running Wild were your standard fare: big hair, loud instruments and mildly satanic lyrics. However, with their release of Under Jolly Roger in 1987, the band changed their destinies and created a niche of their very own. Their destiny was to become known as the most outlandish German metal group since the Scorpions. Their niche was, quite simply, pirate metal.

By combining the traditional crunching guitar riffs of power metal with a swashbuckling vocal style and a jig-like rhythm section, the band had the musical style to back up their buccaneer stage presence.

And so Running Wild was born anew.


Jump forward 7 years, and we have Black Hand Inn, the 8th release by the band, and their 6th pirate metal album. By this time, the formula has been perfected, the trimmings are polished and the contents are full of untold treasures and gold doubloons.

The album is loosely based around the story of an old sea dog sentenced to burn for witchcraft, but who rises again. As such, the album opens with the obligatory spoken intro The Curse, which contains the overwrought theatrics we've come to know and love of bands who do their own voice acting.

The story is continued in fine power metal fashion with Black Hand Inn, The Privateer, and concludes with The Phantom of Black Hand Hill. Each is brimming with the speedy guitar and drum work, abrasive vocals and pounding bass.

The majority of the other songs, such as Mr. Deadhead and Soulless seem to be imparting a message of how disgusting this world is, a sentiment echoed in Fight The Fire Of Hate. Some of the band's best writing appears in these three songs, but the most lyrically complex and intriguing song of the album is the epic Genesis (The Making And The Fall Of Man). Featuring aliens, pirates and gold all in one song is impressive, but tying it into a story that manages to explain the origin of mankind is brilliant (at least to my mind). Unfortunately, it has a somewhat dubious bit of voice acting at the beginning, that is strangely reminiscent of Zordon, the omniscient wonder from Power Rangers.

The actual music is great though. Never boring, despite its length, we progress from a symphonic guitar intro to a racing race of riffs to the triumphant finale, and (I presume) learn a valuable life lesson.

Of the latter songs, both Freewind Rider and Powder and Iron are a great excursion into the world of freebooting, raiding the governor's house and above all, having a great time sinking ships on the high seas. With some rather inventive melodies, they are an excellent addition to the album, but it is the second last song, Dragonmen which really shines. Simply the best song on the album, it takes all the positives I attributed to the previous songs and rolls it into one. Beginning with a beautiful, haunting pipe solo, and featuring one of the catchiest power metal choruses I've ever heard, it is truly a magnificent song. I believe it is probably the one you should listen to if you've just acquired this album, and you will no doubt listen to it again, and again afterwards.

And that's a theory that holds true for this entire album. It's great power metal, nothing too different from the standard fare, but pulled off with such flair and a adventurous style that you too will pulling on your eyepatch, grabbing a parrot from the pet store, and swishing your cutlass through the air whilst watching The Pirates of Penzance.

And I think that Running Wild would heartily approve.



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user ratings (79)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lord Abortion
March 16th 2006



7 Comments


I'm certainly going to get this album, Port Royal is a great album, and this is on my list, it shall be purchased posthaste.

santi3hg
March 16th 2006



440 Comments


I liked the style of which you wrote the review on. Very approriate, but eh i dont like much the genre so its not for me. But this was a good read.

Shattered_Future
March 16th 2006



1540 Comments


I have Under Jolly Roger, and aside from having one of the best genres ever, the album is quite good.

I've heard much more good about this one though...

Silenius
March 16th 2006



303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome cd, especially the song Black Hand Inn. I love the vocals. :D

Good review as usual.

Apocalyptic Raids
March 17th 2006



810 Comments


Awesome album.

Steerpike
March 24th 2006



1860 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pirate metal forever!

Anyone who loves European power metal is obligated to own this album.

ACircuitShock
May 19th 2006



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yarrrgh!!!!

Sorry about that.... Great review for a great album. This is the only Running Wild album I have and I love it. Plan to get more soon!

south_of_heaven 11
August 31st 2007



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This and "Under Jolly Roger" are just so freaking awesome it's hard to explain...

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2007



16315 Comments


This sounds awesome!!! Pirates RULE!!!!!!!!!

BallsToTheWall
October 1st 2007



44197 Comments


I didnt know this was reviewed. F*cking awesome. Pirates would get their a**es kicked by vikings though.

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Angmar
May 3rd 2008



2689 Comments


Amazing album, can't get enough of it lately.

jrowa001
May 3rd 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album has so many catchy riffs. the title track and Mr. Deadhead are always stuck in my head after i listen to the album

Essence
April 13th 2009



3583 Comments


album kicks so much ass

rotterdog
June 21st 2009



488 Comments


The spoken word intro to this album sounds so stupid.

south_of_heaven 11
June 21st 2009



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The spoken word intro to this album sounds so awesome.

rotterdog
June 21st 2009



488 Comments


You'll be cwommited to the puwrifying fiya

BallsToTheWall
March 9th 2011



44197 Comments


You douchebags, not you, but to sputnik.....you need to learn how to pirate metal the real way.

scissorlocked
March 9th 2011



3509 Comments


this band is so good

TheNotrap
March 15th 2012



8042 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Enjoyable album if we skip the deja vu moments and focus only on the album.

Digging: Accept - Blind Rage

manosg
July 17th 2013



5961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You have great riffs and cool pirate stories, what more can you ask? Their best album along with Port Royal of course.

Digging: Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I



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