Review Summary: A rich treasure for every pirate out there!
If beauty lives in the eye of the observer then power metal is 100% at the listener’s ear. Power metal is for sure a very solid and unique genre of music. In an attempt of separation from the rest of the pack, each band aims for a unique sound, mainly by adjusting the proportion of melody to heaviness in the end result. Besides, it is not a strange fact that we have the euro power, the progressive power, the american power, the technical power, the teutonic power metal and many other subgenres, making the homogenization of the genre an impossible job. Bands like Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian or Rage are so different, yet still creative and entertaining in their own way. Speaking of which, Running Wild could not be an exception.
Running Wild are the pioneers of the German heavy/speed/power metal scene alongside with Rage and Helloween. They possess a special discography, which consists of an incredible array of successful records from 1984 to 1994 and they have a lot of great hymns in their catalogue. Being a band that experimented with its sound, Running Wild started their promising career as a heavy metal act until the release of Under Jolly Roger, where they started to blend their own fusion of heavy and speed/power metal with Rolf’s fascination about pirate stories and hidden treasures, so the band with the release of Death Or Glory linearized their sound with the addition of a more specific and original pirate metal formula.
Rolf the band’s singer and rhythm guitarist is a charismatic musician and he has a real knack for writing catchy riffs and memorable choruses. That is easily proved from the album’s opener song, Riding The Storm
, which starts with an amazing guitar interlude, where the band’s talents as musicians are clearly evident. After a couple of spins you will find yourself singing the chorus: “Face in the wind we’re riding the storm, we stay our course whatever will come, wandering souls in the sea of the damned, death or glory, oh, oh we are riding the storm” Amazing isn’t it? The next songs, until the instrumental Highland Glory
follow a more standard heavy metal style, which of course is not a disadvantage by any means. On the contrary, the chorus of Renegade
and the intro’s bass line of Running Blood
will stick in your mind for a long time. The true colours of the album emerge from the song “Marooned” and the songs that follow it. Bad To The Bone
, one of Running Wild's greatest anthems, presents itself as a welcome deviation from Rolf's pirate thematics, as its political oriented lyrics are a rant against the corrupt leaders of our world. Tortuga Bay
is everything late 80s heavy/power metal should be. A killer riff, cool lyrics and a chorus that makes you want to pump your fist and start your exploration to exotic islands with a pirate ship. In the eponymous song, the tension this band's famous for, is being excellently escalated towards the epic chorus, one of the best ever conceived by the outfit. The Battle of Waterloo
is the obligatory epic and can probably stand out next to Treasure Island
as being some of Rolf’s finest compositions.
Worth noting here that the production is really fantastic and all the instruments sound loud and clear, especially the bass which is audible in songs such as the instrumental Highland Glory
. At this point, I would like to mention that the voice of Rolf is mostly kept in a high pitch, but not that high pitched as Kiske for example, although he sounds really aggressive at times. Death Or Glory
and Port Royal
are the only records to feature the high-pitched vocals, on other albums Rolf's vocals are rawer. I forgot to mention that Majk Moti and Rolf are a very good guitar duo. They are not as virtuoso as, for example, Criss Oliva from Savatage or John Petrucci from Dream Theater, but they play in a melodic and recognizable style that defines the songs and is a big part of the songs’ identities.
Death Or Glory
is an essential release that every classic metal fan should look for and if you are a fan of the Hamburg’s heavy/speed/power metal scene, then this is the ideal record for you. Running Wild is one of the most underrated metal bands of all time and Death Or Glory prove that this band has nothing to be jealous of other great metal acts of the 80s metal scene. In conclusion, Death Or Glory is the pinnacle of fantasy and rebellion. Now sit back and imagine a world, where fantasy, happiness, naivety and optimism have taken the place of misery and suffering. This is what this record and power metal represent in general.
-Riding The Storm
-Bad To The Bone
-The Battle Of Waterloo