Genre: Ηeavy Metal
Label: Noise Records
It is ridiculous, to say the least, trying to give an answer to the question: which Running Wild LP is the best. Attempting to convince a Running Wild fan that a superior form of music, other than Running Wild, exists is also meaningless. You should also know all of you who don’t regard this band as your favorite, that every time you discuss music with us, the Running Wild fans, we have to put up with your bad taste in music.
Having done this short prologue, I feel like getting on with the presentation.
1995. A year where most of the great metal bands of the past disclaim the term “metal” or split (‘cause you outta know that serving metal is one thing but without any money the glory of it all, somehow, fades away) or sound like Pantera. Grunge is mainstream’s “darling” and metalheads dress like Kurt Cobain. All of them? Not quite. You see, from the old guard was this band that decided, that year, to put out the most intense LP they ever did.
Yep, right after 1994’s phenomenal “Black Hand Inn”, Running Wild strike with “Masquerade”. This LP is the beginning of a, somehow, concept trilogy about the final battle between Good and Evil. In “Masquerade” Evil assembles its forces preparing for the final blow. On the outstanding cover (made by Andreas Marshall) we see a religious, a political and a military leader, throwing their human-like disguise, letting their bestial form show. On their necks there is the number “6”. The three of them form “666”. Now, is that a supercool intro in the record’s lyrical content or what?
I don’t know where to begin from. For starters I’ll point out the “weak” spots. “Demonized” (which is almost great if only for a better verse), “Black Soul” and “Metalhead” (both cool tracks but Rock’n’Rolf has put out hymns in that style on past releases). From there on, what is to talk about? Referring to the songs track by track, “The Contract” is nothing but atmospheric, while “Crypt Of Hades” is the perfect suite (I mean “suite”) for it. An instrumental intro that can be matched only by “Chamber Of Lies” or “The Curse”. Should we move on to the title track? A Speed Metal assault with a chorus that takes no prisoners. Pirate metal is present again with “Lions Of The Sea”, a classic in the familiar vein of Rock’n’Rolf’s style, who, once again, uses lyrics about pirates as a metaphor to freedom. Verse, chorus and riffs are nothing but perfection. “Rebel At Heart”. Traditional Heavy Metal lives and breathes herein. More of a ”streetwise” touch on this tune served with a great lead, ‘straight’ metal/rocking riffing and an anthemic chorus.
Side two. Hm, side two….
Let me put it this way. Imagine that you end up in bed with a woman having the sex of your life to the point where you can’t feel your feet. Eventually you finish and, like a standard male scum you are, you get dressed and head towards the door. That was side one. Just before you get to exit, the woman whispers in your ear, with a loudspeaker “leaving so soon?” Then she grabs you, tears your clothes, throes you back in bed and treats you with the most hideous and relentless way. That’s side two. Mind the word. The way this side kicks off can be described only as relentless. “Wheel Of Doom”, a speed metal massacre, is the title track’s soul mate. We’ve covered “Metalhead”. A cool mid tempo track that will never be as good as “Dancing on a minefield” or “Fistful of Dynamite” for instance. And there comes “Soleil Royal”. Words are poor when it comes to this Heavy Metal perfection. The verse, chorus, bridge, the band’s performance, Jorg Michael’s double bass, all great! “Men In Black”. That riff is a pretty good excuse to start headbanging in a business meeting, at work, in the living room, when you put your kid to sleep… Ehm, well it’s a pretty good reason to start headbanging just like that. Finally, “Underworld”. What can one say about this Opus? The perfect way to close this LP.
You know what? It’s the first time I write such a big text and I’m tired. Not as much as the amount of words is tiring, but the effort in trying to reflect on this post the greatness of this record. To all of you that think Running Wild are any good until “Death Or Glory”: do yourselves a favor and listen to this Lp. Here we’re dealing with the band on its outmost furious and intense. Here we’re dealing with sheer class. From the production to the performance and then to the songs, we’re dealing with an LP that shouts imperishable.