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Running Wild - Branded And Exiled (Reissue)

Running Wild
Branded And Exiled (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 September 2017, 4:15 PM

I was proven once that many things can happen in the process of a little more than a year, mountains could fall, lineups would change and musical approaches could be altered. The reasonable success of the debut “Gates To Purgatory”, led to a prolonged albums’ deal for RUNNING WILD with Noise Records, gradually becoming an importance to the German label. It didn’t take the band much time to gather up its forces and wits for a sophomore release. The new album was titled “Branded And Exiled”, which also marked the recruiting of guitarist Majk Moti, which has been involved mostly in some of the songs’ solos, along with a few changes in the lyrical concepts, slightly abandoning the Satanic theme that caused a matter of public scrutiny after the debut’s release. In overall, these minor happenings actually were in the band’s benefit rather than their antagonist.

Better produced, sounding somewhat a cut above its predecessor, “Branded And Exiled” surveys a stage in the band’s career where its hunger to perfect its music other than stumbling in the same spot, bore fruit. Firstly, the darkened features of the debut were still the band’s allies on this album, yet as the occult themes were swept beneath the rug, and the protests began, the shady clout wore off and it could be clearly noticed in the songs. Secondly, while the local bands around them started their engines and pressed harder on the pedal to the Metal, RUNNING WILD started burning octane in a faster pace, making a considerable step into the realms of Speed Metal to serve as an dynamic punch to their songwriting while actually excelling it. Furthermore, there is an refinement within the riffing, surpassing merely the basic forms, adding melodic outputs in the image of catchy melodic licks and enchanting harmonies, factors that turned the songs into much more accessible entities, needless to say stimulating.

Diving into the “Lord Of The Rings” fantasy universe, the morbid “Mordor” emerged as the album’s true promise. Defining its position with a melodic main riff based tune, a Speed Metal prowess and a different approach to the band’s usual structures; it would be easy to fall for this number. The soloing effort is impressive while the last section left a taste for the built up melodic haze itching to continue before fading out. “Evil Spirit” presented itself as if a lost memory out of the debut album, a slow tempo heavy destructor, and additional case of JUDAS PRIEST’s blaze adjoined with VENOM imagery. Though not one of the hooking, its overall spirit and near doom fetching riffs do the trick. “Fight the Oppression” is part of the band’s musical approach that would be featured the next albums, enslaving the sense of Speed and melodic content, atmospheric harmonies and rhythmic tightness. “The First Years Of Piracy” version of the song outclass the original Speeding up like old HELLOWEEN, going thunderbolt, especially when listening to the stellar soloing that is no less than a shining beacon. “Marching to Die”, the anti-war tune, surely one of the iconic ones with an explosive chorus, basic Speed Metal in its essence but has the ability to punch holes and a proof to a well-made developmental period. Crossing the post “Blazon Stone” era, the better production and the band’s energetic indication, strong presence did justice for the old hit. Largely, the song remained pretty much the same, though the soloing effort displays a lot more flair in comparison. “Chains And Leather” had to be mentioned as after it being an old demo that was refined into a decent track, preserving its original tempo yet made sure that it would become a sing-along motivational song for Hell and Metal, for the sake of steel and leather. No doubt that raising one’s fist is a must while listening.

One of the advantages of the reissue version is to experience some of the songs later versions of the “The First Years Of Piracy” and “20 Years In History” periods. I know that I already mentioned two of them, but there are others that should be considered. Personally, as a fan of the band’s late 80s / early 90s, I found pleasure in the remastered “The First Years Of Piracy” versions better than the what appeared as home recorded sounding “20 Years In History” tunes. Those felt much more natural, displaying a band in its prime. Nonetheless, the crux of the old tunes remained and the execution no less than good in the 00s.

Taking a look at the digi-pack, you would find liner notes made by the music specialist, Malcolm Dome, describing the period of the album and its importance to the band’s journey towards the top of European Metal. Furthermore, he has Rolf Kasparek indulging on the past, portraying the feeling of writing and recording the release, with other interesting facts regarding the band’s lineup and progress.

“Branded And Exiled” may as well be RUNNING WILD’s last entanglement with occult mysticism, gradually becoming the bewildered beast of the seas that would take on the world.

 
Purchase Link: BMG Music

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Branded and Exiled
2. Gods of Iron
3. Realm of Shades
4. Mordor
5. Fight the Oppression
6. Evil Spirit
7. Marching to Die
8. Chains and Leather
9. Branded and Exiled (Re-Recorded Version 1991)
10. Fight the Oppression (Re-Recorded Version 1991)
11. Marching to Die (Re-Recorded Version 1991)
12. Branded and Exiled (Re-Recorded Version 2003)
13. Mordor (Re-Recorded Version 2003)
Lineup:
Rolf Kasparek - Vocals / Guitars
Majk Moti - Guitars
Stephan Boriss - Bass
Wolfgang “Hasche” Hagemann - Drums
Record Label: Noise Records
     


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