Genre: Heavy metal
Running Wild having made history in heavy metal universe, mainly in the ‘80s and ‘90s, however since 2000 and after, they received severe criticism, mostly because their work is compared with their glorious era, and without unjust, their subsequent efforts do not receive the same quality as their prior works. The group exists for almost 35 years and ‘Rapid Foray’ is the sixteenth full length album, the third one after the 2011 reunion.
Inevitably, neither now will escape the comparison! At the time I got to know them and I first listened to their classic albums, they happened to release ‘Black Hand Inn’ in 1994, which I listened to over and over again and which is my favorite Running Wild album. Followed by ‘Masquerade’ and then the rest that we all know, but from one disc to another, fans or not, began to get annoyed with the course of the band. Fortunately, this route came to an end with ‘Rogues En Vogue’, a mediocre album, which was at least audible. However the end didn’t really come, and despite our hopes, they’ve returned with their greatest fail, ‘Shadowmaker’. Tasteless hard rock with a few points to remind us the past nevertheless with no future. ‘Resilient’ was evidently, the transitory (just good) album which brought us to ‘Rapid Foray’.
In my humble opinion, this brand new album is their best effort since the ‘The Rivalry’ era and after. Do not expect anything original or full of surprises; however you will definitely listen to well crafted songs, which stick to your mind. Of course they will bring to mind older songs but after repeated listening the songs will accomplish to be distinguished in a way that the album will acquire its own unique identity.
‘Rapid Foray’s structure is typical Running Wild. May be missing intro, but through these eleven songs there are hits, there is a very strong, full of nostalgia instrumental track (The Depth Of The Sea – Nautilus), there is an eleven minute opus that closes the album (The Last Of The Mohicans), and then there are the expected fillers! Fillers… ‘Stick To Your Guns’ that is not bad (will appeal to many I’m sure), is simply too hard rock for my taste. ‘Into The West’ also sounds very ‘cheesy’ compared to the rest of the album. You will find songs written for their concerts as ‘Black Skies Red Flag’, ‘Rapid Foray’, the epic ‘By The Blood In Your Heart’ with the bagpipes, the catchy ‘Blood Moon Rising’ and ‘Black Bart’ (perhaps the best of the album).
The album’s riffs are 100% heavy metal and 100% Running Wild. The guitar parts are well crafted and the tracks are more complex than Rolf has us accustomed to his latest works. His voice is still standing out and continues to make us zealous. The most striking feature of the album is the solos. Kasparek along with Peter Jordan managed to dress all tracks with impressive solos (in some songs you will hear 2-3 different solos). Even the weakest songs (filler) host inspired solos. Bass guitar discreetly accompanies the guitars, and drums, for which poorly (or not?) have set up whole conspiracy theories, have improved sound compared to the plastic-sounding ones of the previous releases. They are not annoying, they don’t spoil the overall result.
Sincerely, ‘Rapid Foray’ is one of the 2016’s pleasant surprises. One honest heavy metal release, which will satisfy all the Running Wild die-hard fans, will bring back the smile to the face of those who have been fend off from the band and will gain new fans for the German’s camp.