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Running Wild
The Rivalry
October 2014
Released: 1998, Gun Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.



Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!



Part II of the Medieval Trilogy (comprising MASQUERADE, THE RIVALRY and VICTORY) seems by a rough consensus to be the strongest of the three, but tainted perhaps with an overall opinion that the bands best years were already behind them. With eleven albums at that point, people are picking favourites as the band is into it’s third era, following the ‘Satan era’ (first pair of albums) the ‘Pirate era’ (the next seven albums) and now the Napoleonic era.



Another superb Andreas Marshall cover greets our eye featuring the return of the bands mascot, Adrian for the first time since 1991. The booklet looks good as do the band, fully embracing the Napoleonic soldier image. I noticed a little piece of trivia in the booklet. The song ‘Kiss of Death’ is dedicated to Gene, Paul, Peter and Ace. Assuming that Rolf is referring to the members of Kiss, which I think is a safe assumption, the lyrics are pretty scathing! Could it be that when this album came out in 1997, right around the time of the Kiss Reunion/Farewell Tour, that Rolf had some strong opinions about that? The band returns to Horus Sound for the third time and Rolf is a man who knows what he wants and Rolf produces the album again. For the record, the bands had left Noise Records following the exodus of Rage and Grave Digger off the label and everyone ending up on Gun Records.



THE RIVALRY is a horse-pill of an album, 13 tracks running a full 69 minutes. That might not seems important but that is twice as long as UNDER JOLLY ROGER! Good value for the CD age but the length might contribute to some of the comments that the album had some filler. The songs I felt got a bit more adventurous again, compared to MASQUERADE as four of the songs stretch into the seven-minute range. Rolf rocks and rolls and rages along with his buzzing guitar attack leading the charge with fast song after fast song. At this point I don’t think Running Wild could change, even if they wanted to and Rolf delivers the goods, namely the bands signature sound.



The minor debate about the last really great Running Wild album ends here with most people saying this was pretty much the end of the best years. I personally really enjoy THE RIVALRY, it’s fast, it’s heavy and a hell of a lot better than most of the stuff coming out of North America in the late 90’s!
Track Listing

1. March of the Final Battle (The End of All Evil)
2. The Rivalry
3. Kiss of Death
4. Firebreather
5. Return of the Dragon
6. Resurrection
7. Ballad of William Kidd
8. Agents of Black
9. Fire & Thunder
10. The Poison
11. Adventure Galley
12. Man on the Moon
13. War & Peace

Lineup

Rock 'n' Rolf Vocals, Guitars
Thilo Hermann Guitars
Thomas Smuszynski Bass
Jörg Michael Drums

Interviews

Next review: » Running Wild - Victory
Previous review: » Running Wild - The Brotherhood





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