REVIEW: RUNNING WILD – “Rapid Foray”
‘Themed’ metal music has seen many bands — in recent times, particularly with the surge of Viking and Pirate metal bands — but themed metal pioneers Running Wild have always found a way to remain relevant. Their latest endeavour, ‘Rapid Foray’, slots seamlessly into not only the band’s back catalogue, but sits as a true contender for ‘best album’ amongst the rising volume of albums released by their contemporaries.
From the start of the album, you are treated to an infectious and instant dose of power metal that launches you head first into the nautical imagery that the band prides themselves on adopting. “Black Skies Red Flag”, “Warmongers”, and “Black Bart” are all tremendously anthemic, and seemingly written to grab that maximum attention and appeal.
The album structure also beautifully captures the best aspects of the band. By alternating tracks with anthemic masterpieces like “Blood Moon Rising” and “Into the West”, followed by classic power metal melodies like “Stick to Your Guns” and “Blood Moon Rising”, the album gains an intense momentum that sets in from inception and continues until the final notes ring out.
Running Wild have found a song-writing formula that works for them as a band, and have refined this over their career. Perhaps one of the greatest features of the album is the richness and immersive nature of its songs. Those that are familiar with Running Wild will already be aware of this, but the vast imagery that is painted in each of their tracks is something that sets them apart from other bands at their inception, and which continues to set them apart to this day.
There is a lot of depth to this album, which particularly stems from the rich guitar tones that are present on most tracks, even taking centre-stage on instrumental track “The Depth of the Sea”. The musicianship is beautifully constructed across each track, and — although there is plenty of music to listen to on the album — the sheer brilliance of the song just leaves you wanting more.
As a way to perfectly close out the album, “Last of the Mohicans” does what very few tracks can do. Seemingly built out of thousands of small parts, the track presents itself as the perfect statement of the band’s career to this stage. With some scintillating sections, this song is an absolutely momentous and memorable musical moment that stands tall in an album that contains many memorable sections, and is definitely an apt closing to the affair.
As a band that has continued to remain relevant for 40 years, true credence must be paid to Running Wild, as they have continued to consistently deliver without compromising the sound which has come to endear their fans.
With ‘Rapid Foray’, Running Wild have released an album with a vigour and panache that would put a lot of their younger competitors to shame. While this album doesn’t offer anything contrastingly different to what can already be sourced on the market, it is a deserved entry into collections for not only long-running fans (pun intended) of Running Wild, but also people wanting to acquaint themselves with this remarkable band.