Shiver me timbers! Running Wild is still around. This introduction comes not as a criticism on the members’ age but as a sort of amazement at the reliability of Rock-n-Roff and, well, only him. Started in the early 80’s, Running Wild played a pivotal role in the development of 80’s power metal with Gates to Purgatory in 1985 and Branded and Exiled in 1986. The band also, oddly, became known for their pirate themes with Under the Jolly Roger in 1987, Port Royal in 1988, and to some extent Death and Glory in 1989. Though Running Wild sort of tapered off in the 90’s, their work in the 80’s was solid and, above all else, reliable in terms of catchy aggressive power metal. I can not say much about the other stuff though.
Running Wild has steadily been releasing albums since its inception. Only in 2009 did the band suspend activity only to come out with Shadowmaker in 2010. I do not really call that a break so we are just going to assume everything is back to normal. Resilient is not only the 15th album from Running Wild, but is also a strong declaration that the project or lead creator is not going anywhere for a while. This demarcation against everything does not come without some injuries and scars. The emotion and motivation are all in place. Let us just pray that the music is there as well. Please Please.
To be short, Resilient has moments of solid entertainment in terms of power metal as well as some baffling hard rock numbers, which should never be on any album. Resilient is interesting because for its entire running time these two elements literally fight back and forth track by track. The opening track “Soldier of Fortune” is a surprising promise that Resilient is going to be filled with fast escapism by a seasoned veteran. This sentiment is echoed in other songs like “Fireheart,” “Premonition,” “The Drift,” and even recounting their pirate days with the rousing anthem “Bloody Island.” If Resilient was all like this then I would be much happier. Unfortunately, there are these other songs in the way.
I can not say much about Running Wild’s late discography, because I just haven’t listened to it all, but there is a strong current of blues based hard rock that I just cannot accept in this album. Beginning with the title track, Running Wild splits itself between above average power metal and sub par hard rock that spoiled 15 years ago. In fact, listeners can usually tell which tracks will be decent or not by the tempo. The band succeeds at fast material and crashes when dropping into 2nd gear. If the track starts with a swagger like “Adventure Highway,” “Desert Rose,” or “Down to the Wire” then things will not be alright, like the rest of the album. It pains me to write this because, above all else, I have been rooting for Running Wild to outlast everyone else.
Despite a mediocre album, the highpoints more than make up for the rocky journey here. Evaluating late era albums from a band that supposedly hit its prime decades ago comes with some exceptions and revised rules. I still do not think Running Wild is ready for bed. In fact, I think Running Wild is going to outlast me in terms of longevity. In fact, I think Running Wild is immortal. Let us hope the next album has less hard rock and more skull splitting power metal. Please Please.
Released: October 2nd, 2013
Label: SPV GmbH
Score: 5/9 Hammers