Running Wild - _The Rivalry_
by: Alvin Wee (
Any self-respecting Running Wild fan will surely realise that Cap'n Rolf and crew have embarked on another phase in their career. As a die-hard follower, I've always maintained that the band has progressed through three distinct phases since their debut in 1982: the first primitive and raw, the second kicking off with anthems like "Black Winds of Death" and 'narratives' like "Treasure Island". Of late, RW has adopted a more aggresive and technical approach with _Masquerade_, and _The Rivalry_ takes things one step further, almost completely shunning the traditional beer-guzzling, sing-along choruses for a harder edged assault. Kinda disappointing really, when you realise that "Rebel at Heart" could be the last RW anthem you'll ever hear... All is not lost though, "Return of the Dragon" still boasts movie-soundtrack melodies, while "Ballad of William Kidd" continues the tradition of historical epics like "Soleil Royal" or "Treasure Island". Other than that, the other tracks are pretty much same-ish, a problem that was becoming apparent on _Masquerade_. What's more die-hard one-eyed-jacks will be disappointed to note the Pirates' latest makeover; their scruffy seadog look having been ditched for gleaming white and gold naval uniforms. It's worth mentioning too, that the privateers have scrapped their seaworn vessel for a new hulk -- in the shape of GUN Records, in a mystifying departure from long-time wardens Noise. "War And Peace" provides some reassurance at least, closing the battle with a frolic, putting to an end an album of blazing metal that no ordinary headbanger should avoid; if you're an old-timer seadog who yearns only for the pounding "Chains And Leather" anthems of old, then be forewarned, don't expect any "Prisoners of Our Time" on this new voyage.
(article published 13/4/1998)
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