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Running Wild - Black Hand Inn (Reissue)

Running Wild
Black Hand Inn (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 September 2017, 4:39 PM

One of the advantages of this series of RUNNING WILD reissues is the liner notes. Patience is needed to comprehend the entire scenery behind each of the releases, and trust me that it is a virtue that lets you explore events behind the curtain. Anyway, through Malcolm Dome’s written words, along with Rolf Kasparek’s recollections of the era, I tried to understand how come the next in line album “Black Hand Inn”, originally released in 1994, was considered as the band’s  lowest seller, the least successful venture since the band’s formation. From what I have heard out of this number, the response should have been different in its direction, especially for this sort of conceptual album.

When a seasoned pirate sits down on an Inn’s table, opening up a world after world of stories, some happened in the past, several still ongoing and few will happen in the future, the inner perception is distraught. Kasparek has these ideas deeply rooted in his mind to create the band’s debut conceptual tale. The gift of setting those visions free was the best thing that he had ever done. Still prevailing as a pirate, yet also unveils plans of a future Armageddon, blackened prophets, society’s longstanding corruption, fallen politicians and mankind’s origins and foresights of destruction, I found a diverse concept that even when it a bit sets out of context, it has enough joint points to keep the listener within its grasps.

The sanctity of the riff has never left RUNNING WILD, whether in their glorious past or their current adventurous mind, the riff’s importance will never change. Though I have always been a fan of the late 80s and early 90s achievements, and a few that joined in after this particular release, it was hard not to be drawn by the powerful riffage, a sort that has been a consistent factor for my deepest admiration for the band all these years, such stellar efforts that are simply food for the soul. Generally, the whole shebang’s manner fitted well to what the band tried to convey, there is the sense for the epic tune, and I am not talking just about “Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man)”, an enhanced feel that came into play within this album in the most impressive of ways. Furthermore, the addition of ex-RAGE / ex-GRAVE DIGGER skin ripper Jörg Michael back in the fold, after being a replacement on occasion for the band, along with lead guitarist Thilo Hermann, ex-RISK / ex-FAITHFUL BREATH, really shook things up technically for RUNNING WILD, aspects that enabled Kasparek neatly fulfill his vision for this album.

Whether now or the first time that I listen to it, the album’s chief single, “The Privateer”, blasted my senses once more. Entrapping the band’s divine Speed Metal legacy, spellbound by its melodic tendency, this number is no doubt the album’s crown jewel. Half a speeding demonic machine and half an anthem that is a feast for sore ears, blazed “Powder and Iron”. Such tremendous energies and captivating riffage may be a common thing for RUNNING WILD, yet every time and then, they exceed themselves with a strong song that is no less than in for the kill. The anthem against hatred, “Fight the Fire of Hate”, had to be written one day or another by Kasparek’s burning mind, especially while dealing with corruption and evil in general. This is a gather up, a unification of the lines for a struggle that for now seems endless. ACCEPT driven in its core, this effort has to be saluted. Politicians have never been so mistrusted after listening to “Mr. Deadhead”, bearing the band’s influential characteristics along with definitive lyrics. Taking heaviness into account, ranging between U.D.O. and ACCEPT, “Soulless”’s memorable features were uncovered pretty fast, especially when the chorus comes slamming. “Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man)” is possibly the most ambitious prospect ever taken, it harnessed the wits of its creator along with high rated instrumental effort, and the ability to keep the listener in the loop for fifteen minutes is a gift and not mere luck.

“Black Hand Inn” might not be in the same lines as the last five albums, however, it features aspects that were never explored by the band and a few weren’t even typical in the scene back then, starting with the album’s production, the usage of digital means, and the measure of exploration in order to find an angle. I think that it is a brilliant effort and a door opener for the band’s continued career choices.

Purchase Link: BMG Music

4 Star Rating

1. The Curse
2. Black Hand Inn
3. Mr. Deadhead
4. Soulless
5. The Privateer
6. Fight the Fire of Hate
7. The Phantom of Black Hand Hill
8. Freewind Rider
9. Powder and Iron
10. Dragonmen
11. Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man)
12. Dancing On A Minefield
13. Poisoned Blood
Rolf Kasparek - Vocals / Guitars
Thilo Hermann - Guitars
Thomas "Bodo" Smuszynski - Bass
Jörg Michael - Drums
Record Label: Noise Records


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