Rolf Kasparek is the Tony Iommi of German power metal. When you buy a Running Wild album, you know you will be treated to some really catchy riffs, and it’s no different with Resilient, the fifteenth album by the Teutonic Buckaneers, and the second since the rebirth. Where 2012’s Shadowmaker sounded a bit hesitant and, frankly, lacklustre, Resilient presents us with a more fiery and upbeat collection of material.
Back in the late eighties and early nineties, back when Running Wild was a band more than the one-man project it has been for the past few years, they put out some really classic stuff with albums like Blazon Stone, Death or Glory and of course Under Jolly Roger, with that infamous warning for loud sound effects on the sleeve. After 1995’s Masquerade, however, the decline set in as Kasparek charted a new and more rock ‘n roll flavoured heading. The band, never really having a steady line-up anyway, was becoming more and more a project held up by Kasparek and a host of guest musicians (with drum duties on Victory and The Brotherhood infamously assigned to “Angelo Sasso”, whom many still suspect to be a drum computer), before Running Wild met its untimely demise, playing one last farewell show for their fans at a then already sold out Wacken Open Air, before unexpectedly returning not two years later with Shadowmaker.
Where Shadowmaker offered but a handful of good songs, Resilient is a giant step towards rekindling the fire of old. You will realise Running Wild is really, truly back as soon as the main riff of Soldiers of Fortune hits you. It’s a classic Running Wild song that would not have been out of place on Pile of Skulls or Death or Glory. More than on Shadowmaker, Rock ‘n Rolf really hits the nail on the head with this one, and it’s a cracker of an opening track. And the course remains steady throughout most of the album, with most of the songs being quite enjoyably reminding you of Adrian’s glory days (Adrian, of course, being the Running Wild equivalent of Iron Maiden’s mascotte Eddie the Head). Songs like Adventure Highway, Fireheart or Crystal Gold all breath that more lightweight pirate-y fun the band used to be all about. Gone are the rock ‘n roll party fillers that plagued Shadowmaker (Me & the Boys, anyone?) and back are the more speedy metal songs. The arguable highlight, however, is the long closing track Bloody Island, which is easily the most epic thing Rolf has written since The Brotherhood.
Whilst Resilient is a big leap in the right direction, it still suffers slightly from the lack of real drums. Though not as invasively obvious as on Shadowmaker, the electronic drum parts does take away some of the liveliness of the tracks. I cannot for the live of me imagine Rolf not being able to find a capable drummer out there, although I suspect the reasoning behind the decision is more about the money than anything else. Criticism can also be directed towards the production; the album sounds rather flat and the songs lack a certain punch that would have made the album a bit stronger. Either way, they’re small blemishes on an otherwise pretty good album that really brings back the spirit of the old Running Wild for the most part. It’s no Blazon Stone and it’s no Death or Glory, but it’s also more than twenty years ago that those albums were released. Maybe we should just stop comparing everything to whatever was released when we were young and wild ourselves and just be grateful for what we’re getting now. And if what we’re getting is a solid album by Running Wild, you won’t find me complaining.
- Soldiers Of Fortune
- Adventure Highway
- The Drift
- Desert Rose
- Run Riot
- Down To The Wire
- Crystal Gold
- Bloody Island
Line-up (according to the website):
- Rolf Kasparek – vocals, guitars
- Peter Jordan – guitar
- Peter Pichl – bass
- Matthias Liebetruth – drums