Rogues En Vogue
Released: 2005, GUN Records
Editor’s 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 our 10,000th review and 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 website 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!
By 2005 Running Wild was on its last legs. The band was coming off their least well-received album ever (THE BROTHERHOOD), and was clearly in decline. When this album was released, I recall the fan reception being positively acidic, with the general feeling the Rock N’ Rolf had lost “it” and that Running Wild should be put to bed (which of course it was, until a return in 2012). I also remember hearing this album in 2005 and thinking it was OK, but certainly not up to the standard set by Running Wild’s classic catalogue.
As I listened to this album again for this review, I found myself warming to it. Perhaps it’s simply the passage of time, or my enjoyment of last year’s quite good RESILIENT album, but I was somewhat surprised by how much I like it. Make no mistake, ROGUES EN VOGUE is no masterpiece and still does not hold a candle to the likes of PORT ROYAL, BLACK HAND INN, or THE RIVALRY, but there are a handful of worthy songs offered up.
The biggest issue I have is that the entire album is mid-paced and Rolf never really fires up the engines and lets it rip. Some of the livelier, enjoyable songs are “Angel of Mercy”, the title track, and “Skeleton Dance”, which verge on the faster end of mid-pace and show that even in decline, Rolf could still write a catchy riff. Having said that, there are some real clunkers presented, most egregious and dull being the 10+minute finale, “The War”, which is just about the worst song Running Wild has ever done, in my opinion.
Even so, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this. It may be a far cry from the glory years of the band, but discerning fans will still find at least a few songs with lasting power. ROGUES EN VOGUE isn’t Rolf’s best, but it’s definitely not the trash heap it’s often made out to be. After all, how bad can an album be when it includes a song where it sounds like Rolf sings about a rubber ducky. He’s not, but it makes me laugh every time (seriously, check out the last verse of “Dead Man’s Road”). That’s got to be worth a listen, right?