Running Wild - Under Jolly Roger
Noise Records
Speed/Power Metal
8 songs (35:03)
Release year: 1987
Running Wild, Noise Records
Reviewed by Thomas

Blistering cannon-shots, blazing gun-fire, thunder, lightning, BOOM, Running Wild explodes into the metal scene with Under Jolly Roger all the way back in 1987. Yes, they did release two albums and a bunch of demos/singles prior to this one, sailing the oceans of metal since 1976, but nothing of it can compare to this. Under Jolly Roger slides into a trio of truly exceptional releases from this band including Death or Glory and Black Hand Inn. I believe this was their first pirate-themed album, a brand that stuck with them for the rest of their career, a fad no other band has been able to adapt. Yeah, if you mention Alestorm or Swashbuckle in the comments, you're getting keelhauled. Anyway, compared to the aforementioned glorious classics above, this is rawer, louder and maybe even faster than its successors. At the same time it pioneers their sound and direction, as well as the whole damn power/speed metal movement with songs like the masterful title-track, perfect Diamonds of the Black Chest, anthemic neckwrecker Raise Your Fist as well as wheel-burning Raw Ride.

The album kicks off with the mentioned title-track, as plundering pirates man the cannons and prepare for assault. Galloping riffs are rifled at you with increasing intensity in a chaos of gunfire, Kasparek's commanding shouts and Hasche's blazing drums. Stephan's bassing is loud and clear, and thunders away with a huge bouldering sound that resembles Steve Harris more than anyone else. The bloody Beggars Night is up next, and the violently harmonic and lovely intro will set you off like dynamite, the chorus takes the song to new heights before it climaxes in a flurry of delicious guitar-solos that should make any heavy metal maniac drool like a madman. For me personally however, none of them compare to the masterly epic Diamonds of the Black Chest that will make you headbang/sing/air-guitar along like crazy and in my case, make me sad that I wasn't even born when this was out. The song puts on a perfect display of heavy metal done the way it always was meant to be done with mountainous, mid-paced rhythm work, slick leads, as well as a vocalist chock full of attitude.

War in the Gutter crashes onto the scene, speeding like blazing hell with striking double-bass work, precise axeman-ship and intense choruses as well as trademark, slightly sloppy but fantastic lead work. Raise your Fist is another anthem, an absolute stunner of a tune, with stupid lyrics yet fantastic, charismatic melodies, vocal lines and a chorus that will bring down mountains and silence entire oceans. One can only envision the ridiculously magic feeling that arises on live shows when Kasparek yells RAISE YOUR FISTS HIIIIIIGH. Land of Ice slows things down a bit with an almost Sabbath-y doom-like atmosphere that puts everything to pitch black. It doesn't stay like that for long though, as Raw Ride makes you burn like a motherfucker, as it races across vast plains of fiery fields, leaving everything in its dust. Merciless Game concludes the album way to early, in an almost thrashy fashion, a bit more evil sounding, rough and probably the fastest track on the disc.

There's not much more to say about this album, or this band for that matter. This is classic metal music at its most perfect, and all of those whom consider themselves metalheads, should have their hands on this one way or the other.

Oh and; Arrrr ye scurvy bastards, bring me some casks o' rum!

Killing Songs :
All of them!
Thomas quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Running Wild that we have reviewed:
Running Wild - Rapid Foray reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Running Wild - Resilient reviewed by Andy and quoted 69 / 100
Running Wild - Masquerade reviewed by Chris and quoted 82 / 100
Running Wild - Shadowmaker reviewed by Chris and quoted 52 / 100
Running Wild - Black Hand Inn reviewed by Chris and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 12 reviews click here
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