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Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger (Reissue) Award winner

Running Wild
Under Jolly Roger (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 September 2017, 4:20 PM

Before turning in to the release, I feel that I have to share a memory with you guys regarding this particular album. Well I planned something also for “Blazon Stone”, but this one is also crucial to me. So bear with me.

I think it was 1997 or 1998, I was in High School. I remember heading to a near records store to browse the CDs. Then I saw it, with the ship in the artwork, looking at, almost nudging me to try it out as if it was a piece of garment. Before putting on the headphones, I read the small inscription to the side of the artwork, black on yellow, saying “Warning, Loud Sound Effects!”. I didn’t know what to think as it still was an 80s album. Started to listen, hearing Rock N’ Rolf doing the intro text, screaming out for the sailors and then, bloody cannons roaring, nearly made me stumble and fall, as I wasn’t ready for it, as the volume was loud enough. From there on, I found myself drowning in this golden piece.

After being branded and exiled, it was probably a good time to make a change, a kind that will do something extraordinary, a new wave in Metal music that will sweep away its listeners and gather them as a new army of fans. I have no idea if there was a specific intent on creating of what would be pointed out to as Pirate Metal, which is Pirate themed Heavy Metal, however, it just came out as is. Writing about it now, exactly three decades ago, seems as if it was planned, well, I guess you would have to find out in the liner notes within the booklet, yet I haven’t checked just yet, as I wanted this to be in my own perspective. Whether planned or not, RUNNING WILD founded a new sub-genre in Heavy Metal that would inspire generations of bands. “Under Jolly Roger” was the first album that initially started the age of piracy, it was 1987. The signs were there, it was a match made in heaven, or hell. RUNNING WILD, from a bestial ethos, emerged, even stronger than a phoenix, as a band of untamed pirates. From a pack of wannabe satan worshippers to sea native fight-picking marauders. In fact, the process was a complete overhaul of the band’s reputation and looks, a gamble that was proven to be right.

“Under Jolly Roger” is one of the verifications that the new image worked, and so is the music that was created around it. Unrestrained in spirit, RUNNING WILD took another step forward out of the dark and deeper into the classic Speed Metal mania, which has already been a part of them, yet on smaller scale. It became evident through the enthusiasm within the songs, pure zeal hefty contaminating the traditional riffs, making them faster, tougher and fiercer under the command of an upbeat rhythm section that persistently maintained the blood pumping. Moreover, the melodic signatures, which gradually took shape into becoming craftier and memorable, were preserved and proudly were on display on nearly each of the tracks.

Similar to the sensation that I felt almost two decades ago, it has been working its magic every time I listen to the title track, “Under Jolly Roger”. The firing cannons invited the mid-fast tempo fury to overwhelm the ears, it was time to fight, to let true Metal in without attempting to stopping it. The chorus is catchy, a must for a scream out with the band as it is played live. The versions of 1991’s “The First Years Of Piracy” and 2003’s “20 Years In History”, featured on the second CD of this release, honored the classic hit with each of the era’s driving force, even if the latter is merely newly recorded guitars. The underrated Speed Metal attack of the finishing touch to the original album, “Merciless Game”, should have been listed as one of the band’s top songs. A conjuring of pure rage, melted into fast paced traditional, yet haunting, rapid fire riffs that would teach you a thing or two about Speed Metal that isn’t solely MOTORHEAD.

“Raise Your Fist” is yet another anthem that RUNNING WILD were successfully able to muster. Chains and leather might be forever, yet the power of the fist in the name of Metal and against oppression is a much tougher card to play on. The creation of an additional sing-along was crucial, and his memorable heavy number was a give all. Similar to the title track, the tune was celebrated in 1991’s “The First Years Of Piracy” and 2003’s “20 Years In History” with two stellar versions. “Raw Ride” presented a Heavy Metal highway, delivering piracy on the road. With a JUDAS PRIEST fumes out of their engines, the Germans did service with a chunky heavy tune, which also got a later on variant within “The First Years Of Piracy”. Other tunes recommended: “Diamonds of the Black Chest”, “Beggar's Night” and the unreleased track that was later recorded out of the album’s sessions: “Apocalyptic Horsemen”.

Within the double CD case, the booklet is carries on the story of the band through the perception and historical knowledge of music specialist Malcolm Dome, along with Rock N’ Rolf’s memories of the period surrounding the album. However, the booklet is not exactly a standard, but actually a map from its other side, marking the newfound pirate universe.

I believe that it is a consensus that “Under Jolly Roger” is at the top five of the RUNNING WILD discography. Generally, it broke walls through its newly found theme other than its music that received additional BPMs. I enjoyed the remastering and once again had enough angles from the future to witness the original songs’ importance.

Purchase Link: BMG Music

4 Star Rating

1. Under Jolly Roger
2. War in the Gutter
3. Raw Ride
4. Beggar’s Night
5. Raise Your Fist
6. Land of Ice
7. Diamonds of the Black Chest
8. Merciless Game

9. Under Jolly Roger (Re-recorded Version 1991)
10. Raw Ride (Re-recorded 1991)
11. Raise Your Fist (Re-recorded Version 1991)
12. Diamonds of the Black Chest (Re-recorded Version 1991)
13. Beggar’s Night (’92 Alternative Version)
14. Apocalyptic Horsemen (Unreleased Track)
15. Under Jolly Roger (Re-recorded Version 2003)
16. Raise Your Fist (Re-recorded Version 2003)
Rolf Kasparek - Vocals / Guitars
Majk Moti - Guitars
Stephan Boriss - Bass
Wolfgang “Hasche” Hagemann - Drums
Record Label: Noise Records


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