Just when you thought that you had all these metal sub-genres figured out, another one crops up. This time Pirate Metal. What? Seriously? Yes, I’m being serious. Just because I had never previously heard or paid attention to the term doesn’t mean that its a new one. German metal band Running Wild were, perhaps unintentionally, the creators of the genre with their 1987 Under Jolly Roger album. Forming as far back as 1976, Under Jolly Roger was the band’s third album. It was the first with the piratical lyrics and themes that would continue on subsequent releases. The only original pirate aboard the Running Wild vessel today is Rolf Kasparek (vocals/guitar). Captain Rock N’ Rolf (vocals, guitars)’s band of marauders for Rapid Foray includes Peter Jordan (guitars), Ole Hempelmann (bass) and Michael Wolpers (drums).
Despite not really cracking into mainstream and basically lurking in the shadows, German metal band Running Wild are something to be heard. They have unleashed a whopping 17 albums, most pirate-themed, in their approximately 40-year tenure. While having heard the name and an album or two in my collection, Rapid Foray represents the first real listen I’ve given to Running Wild. I can guarantee you it will not be the last!
Running Wild – Rapid Foray
Rapid Foray sinks its hooks in you fast. In fact, within the first 15 seconds guaranteed you’ve sat up and taken more notice. Head starting to bob, maybe a little air guitar, playing along to the opening riff of “Black Skies, Red Flag”. From there we are attacked with the meaty slice of double bass power metal flown under the banner of “Warmongers”. Loaded with a chanting chorus, the general rampaging feel of this cut will have you picturing Hollywood movie scenes in your mind. You can easily imagine the fear that would be instilled as a band of cutthroats scaled and boarded your sailing vessel. More straight forward is “Stick to your Guns” with an engaging chord riff while a galloping charge is present throughout the title track. Evoking thoughts of sea shanties, “By the Blood in Your Heart” precedes the instrumental “The Depth of the Sea (Nautilus)”.
The storming anthemic “Black Bart” takes us through into to “Hellectrified”, possibly my top choice from the offered bounty. The solid rockers continue with “Blood Moon Rising” and “Into the West”, both of which ensure your fist is high in the air. The final of the eleven tracks on Rapid Foray is “Last of the Mohicans”, clocking in at over eleven minutes.
Captain Kasparek and his band of merry cutthroats have assembled a fine collection in Rapid Foray. From the swashbuckling depictions in the cover photo to the final battle of “Last of the Mohicans”. This treasure chest is brimming with hook-laden melodies, high energy guitar solos and thrashing riff-strewn rhythms.
Rapid Foray was produced by Rolf Kasparek with Niki Nowy working as sound engineer, who also mixed and mastered the material. The cover artwork is based on a photo by Kasparek, which Jens Reinhold (Virgin Steele, Freedom Call, among others) subsequently gave the look of an oil painting.
Move over Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard, Captain Rock n’ Rolf Kasparek will give you a run for your treasure!
Yaaarrrrrr, landlubbers beware!