Running Wild - Shadowmaker
Hard & (barely) Heavy
10 songs ()
Release year: 2012
Running Wild
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

I honestly didn't expect a new album from Running Wild, and in the end it came along but when you see Rolf video explaining why the album was created, it ain't giving anyone a vote of confidence as to the passion behind it's creation. So basically he needed 4-5 bonus tracks for some re-release of some kind, and thought why not write another few songs to make it a full album (basically in 1.5 months). If this isn't already a red flag in your mind, look at the art cover and you'll see "rushed" is actually quite an under whelming adjective to define this Shadowmaker. All it casts if you ask me is shadow over the Running Wild name. I was baffled to find many positive reviews about the album online, I guess die hard fans are easy to forget or simply to hungry for new material (I am too but not if this is the final result). Sure my first listen made my ears want to bleed, and I guess the next repeats helped a (tiny) bit (maybe if I keep repeating over and over I might somehow like it). There is potential, there are some great hooks, some good ideas for songs, but the execution.... oh ... my ... god. Since we don't have an Epic Fail skeleton (here's an idea) I will go with major event... as after 7 years, seeing anything with the name Running Wild is an event, now is it major ? Well you must have gathered the answer already I'm sure...

Now let's address the elephant in the room, the rhythm section, or should I say god awful beat box that serves as a rhythm section. It was horrible in Rogues en Vogue, and it's even worse here. If you read most of my reviews you know I have nothing against synthetic drums when it's done well (Far Beyond, Euphoreon). But this is another story. The drums mixed with the overly poor production of most songs kill whatever spark the few inspired songs on ShadowMaker had. These COULD be awesome songs, but they turn out flat and without power, two elements that shouldn't happen on a Running Wild album. In the end it gives the album an high school hard rock sound that is unfitting of such a band. There is a small silver lining, guitars and riffs, they actually are the only pillars that makes the album stand, crooked as it be... The vocals are really light, and I wonder what happened and why we have absolute zero aggression in them. It sounds like Rock'N'Rolf, if he was actually 16 in a hard-FM band, especially if you are unaware of the band's distinctive sound and heavy metal attitude. I can totally see the 4-5 "good" songs being played and sung in the old style, and if so they would totally kick ass, but in the fashion they are presented they are saving, salvaging the "album" at best (I'm sorry for so many quotes but I can't stop myself). Basically this album is 4-5 good(ish) songs, some medium to low fillers and A god awful song. The one song to kill all songs in terms of... oh my god I can't believe I will use this word speaking about Running Wild... here goes... gayness is Me and The Boys. This is the lowest Running Wild ever sunk (think Captain Jack Sparrow when he arrives in port in the first movie and can barely take one step before his ship is underwater.) and I wish I hadn't been exposed to this song :(. It breaks my heart when the song reaches the chorus, at that moment I can totally see the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean in muppets dancing and hitting each other on the back (for my own mental sanity I'll pretend that's all they do in this vision of horror). I wish I never heard that song as it tarnishes the name Running Wild for me. I'm sure it was aimed as a radio hit but I would be surprised if any metalhead can get past the mountains of cheesiness of this chorus (too bad cause the verse was actually okay). The album finishes on a good song (that ain't too difficult after scarring your brain forever with Me and the Boys) with a more powerful sound (still held off by "drums") and a song with more polish than all of the other songs put together. The worst part here is that if this album was produced say like Black Hand Inn, with a real drummer, usual RW vocals, then it would probably kick some serious ass ! The potential is here, but for the life of me I can't get past the execution and the poor sound & vocals.

It seems obvious to me that this album was rushed, it doesn't have the polishing, heaviness and pirate attitude than past legendary albums like Black Hand Inn, Death & Glory, Blazon Stone, Pile of Skulls had. Heck even Rolf's vocals have checked out, and that's a sad fact. The only redeeming quality are the guitars and some of the song-writing (but the production holds them back). To think the only new material we fans get after 7 years is this poor excuse for a rush-job album is disappointing. So much in fact, that I'd rather it wasn't released in the first place. I would have appreciated the bonus tracks on the box release or whatever for they were intended to in the first place. I will quote Mike on this one, who said it perfectly reviewing Running Wild's previous "effort" : it's hard as a reviewer to give a negative review to one of your favorite bands, I feel your pain Mike, now multiply it by two as I'm afraid Shadowmaker is even worse than Rogues en Vogue. It may not transpire too much from this review but I have loads of respect for Rolf and will always love most of his discography. However on this one he really dropped the ball and as both a fan and a reviewer I am sadly disappointed. But if ShadowMaker makes him regain appetite to write some future album(s) then this Shadowmaker could be a necessary evil I could live with. If not and this is the end of Running Wild, then it really deserved a better send off if you ask me. So let's hope one day we get one... hopefully a well thought out album that takes a year to make, not mere days, with a drummer and some balls back into the vocals if it's not to much to ask. Otherwise R.I.P Running Wild, I shall forever revere and rejoice over your past accomplishments no matter how blue I feel having experienced Shadowmaker (on the "bright side" for once the art cover reflects the content well : rushed and awful).

Killing Songs :
NONE are killing (they can't, not with that AWFUL drumbox/prod), but some are good songs : Piece of the Action, I am who I am, ShadowMaker, Dracula & Sailing Fire (great riff).
Chris quoted 52 / 100
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 - Under Jolly Roger reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
Running Wild - Black Hand Inn reviewed by Chris and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 12 reviews click here
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