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Released: 2000, Gun
The gods of German speed/power metal are back! It's been a couple of years since Rockin' Rolf unleashed Running Wild's masterpiece The Rivalry and we've been (o.k., I've been) anxiously awaiting new material. Now that it's here, the question is, does it live up to the Running Wild reputation for greatness (especially Under Jolly Roger)? As a certain beer-swillin' S.O.B. says - HELL YEAH!
All of the elements that you love about Running Wild are present and accounted for on Victory so pull out your swords, hoist the mizzen mast and batten down the hatches (and then do whatever the hell else it is that sailors do), 'cause this is one wild ride! Oh yeah, we've got speed, bitchin' vocals, powerful riffs, (and then more riffs!) stories of heros, kingdoms, battle, and other assorted piratical themes. Opening up with "The Fall Of Dorkas", Victory instantly gets grabs yer attention and doesn't let up 'till its done. "When Time Runs Out" is classic Running Wild, moving along at mid-pace, with a crushing riff, preparing the listener for the speed assault that is "Timeriders" and "Into The Fire". Of course, the band handles these songs easily, sounding tighter than ever while Rolf bellows his pirate stories over top. "The Guardian", "Return Of The Gods", the list of impressive songs just goes on and on. Damn, this is awesome!
"Tsar" continues the epic legacy that "Ballad Of William Kidd" upheld on Rivalry while the brilliant title track ("Victory" - duh!) kicks righteous ass! But I gotta stress, this ain't some simple rehashin' of past glories. No no no. While the album stays safely within the confines that Running Wild has built for themselves over the years (almost 20 years!), there are some surprises to be had. Rolf tries some new vocal patterns in "Victory" that you'd never think that his gruff voice could handle (2:23-2:53) while the band goes for a twin guitar melody attack in "The Guardian" (4:20-5:00). Elsewhere, they lighten up a bit to cover the Beatles' "Revolution". Yeah, I hate the Beatles too, but Running Wild makes the song passable. Besides, it's only 2:56 of the entire album so you can't really complain too much! I could go on forever about how cool this album is, but I won't 'cause I'm outta breath…I'll just end here by saying: AVAST! BUY IT ME HARTIES! (sorry, got caught up in the moment…)
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