Running Wild_Rapid Foray.jpgaThe pirate’s life is not for everyone. Extensive travel, oft unprofessional coworkers and arcane profit sharing arrangements conspire to limit the talent pool and keep opportunities scarce. None of that ever mattered to Running Wild. They took to the trade like a duck to water and from 1987 onward they’ve kept the marauder’s flag flying almost nonstop through hard times and rough seas. Rapid Foray is the third release since their 2012 “reformation” and as on Shadowmaker and Resilient, they’re not looking to reinvent the parrot. Led by founding scoundrel Rock n’ Rolf, they deliver more of the same old school raider anthems, rich in rapscallion swagger and loaded with riff booty. Though the “band” now consists of just Rolf, a session guitarist and a rust bucket drum machine, the Running Wild sound is still somewhat intact, and the smaller crew ensures a greater share of the treasure sans all the usual throat cuttery. Rapid Foray offers nothing outside the usual Running Wild experience, and at times feels like a slightly damp version of their salad days, but they’re the founders of pirate metal and can still drop a burly riff or two along with a chorus inspiring semi-derring-do. Did I mention they’re German and never going away? They are and they won’t.

At the risk of raising expectations, opener “Black Skies Red Flag” is exactly the kind of song long-time fans want from Running Wild in 2016 – the classic riffage is there, Rolf’s Long John Silver vocals are still effective and the writing is solid enough to keep you hooked. It could have appeared on classic platters like Pile of Skulls or The Rivalry and it’s a fine yarn capped off by a wild and woolly solo. “Warmongers” keeps things on course with adequate urgency and catchy guitar harmonies, though things do border on the generic, but “Stick to Your Guns” drops the sails with a soggy AC/DC style and lackluster chorus.

The remainder of Rapid Foray is more solid than not. There’s a great Thin Lizzy meets Saxon vibe and sweet bagpipes on standout “By the Blood in Your Heart,” and the one-two punch of old timey, classic style songs “Black Bart” and “Hellestrified” give the album’s midsection a necessary dose of adrenaline. Things finish out with the 11-minute “Last of the Mohicans,” which is surprisingly spry and engaging, feeling like a much shorter song due to catchy riffing and a commitment to rocking the boat.

Running Wild_2016

Downsides? “Blood Moon Rising” is just alright and “Into the West” is only saved from a similar station by a humdinger of a lead riff. At 58 minutes, this is way too long and weaker tracks should have been tossed overboard to create a tighter ship. Length aside, the overall impression one gets from Rapid Foray (and 2013s Resilient for that matter) is of a band with a long history and a trademark style now struggling to keep things afloat and interesting after decades of profiteering. Foray lacks the hooks and punch of Shadowmaker and it’s leagues away from their classic releases, but hey, when it works, it works and nostalgia is always the watchword.

Rolf has always been a limited singer but his rough and rowdy voice works in much the same way as Biff Byford’s does for Saxon. His piratey rasp is still in good order and when he goes for more traditional singing on “By the Blood of Your Heart” he can still get the job done. His long history of crafting catchy, distinctive riffs deserves respect and he once again delivers some quality leads across Rapid Foray. The problem is, they sometimes feel like slightly rejiggered, rehashed versions of riffs we heard on past albums. Peter Jordan is again aboard to provide solos and some of them are quite captivating (“Black Skies” and “The Depth of the Sea- Nautilus”). The drums are programmed and sound it, but you’ve heard worse and they aren’t bad enough to scuttle the material.

After 30 years under Jolly Roger, the AC/DC of freebooters are still prowling the seaways interdicting musical commerce. Though Rapid Foray isn’t going to make anyone forget the classic Running Wild era, they stay true enough to their legacy and avoid embarrassing themselves while delivering some solid songs and a collection of interesting riffs. Long-time fans will enjoy much of it and Alestorm castaways may learn what real pirate music sounds like. Sail on, stout lads, sail on.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Websites:  |
Releases Worldwide: August 26th, 2016

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  • Ralph Plug

    Personally, I thought this one’s heaps better than Resilient and, for the first time in ages, features some real old-fashioned Running Wild tracks (Black Bart and Black Skies Red Flag first and foremost). You’re all too right about the length, though.

    • It’s better than Resilient, I agree. It’s just a bit bland at times.

  • The Nerd.

    Meh, Alestorm is better.

    • Thatguy

      Alestorm is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Fixed it for you.

    • Ralph Plug

      Alestorm is ok on record. As a live band, they’re beyond horrible.

    • flaming_froghurt

      You can’t even compare the two bands. They have nothing in common except a lyrical theme about pirates.

  • Doesn’t really sound worth a purchase, does anyone have a … PIRATED copy? yar hardy har har

    • Fuzzybunny

      One more like that and ye’ll be swingin’ from the yard arm!

  • VenomousHulk

    Woah woah woah, that Alestorm shot at the end was unnecessary. Why can’t we pirate metal lovers think both are amazing, along with Swashbuckle?

    • Kind of a running inside joke here.

      • Fuzzybunny

        Yep, a never ending joke sort of like a pirate band who shall remain unmentioned…. :)

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Well it has to be a joke, because nobody can actually dislike the glory of Alestorm.

        • It’s funny you posted this just as we got in a shit-ton of Nu-Metal promos that need a home.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I’ll need to Drink a lot of Rum and get some Wenches and Mead to travel Back Through Time to 2001 and handle all that, but The Quest will at least be a bit funny because all of those bands will be Scraping the Barrel for ideas .

        • Ralph Plug

          Yes I can. I’ve seen them live.

  • Daneel Olivaw

    so many years the same and the same.they couldn’t evolve as a band

  • Brother Ben

    The picture looks like Will Ferrell about to do some highly sexual pirate…. stuff

  • Ernesto Aimar

    Best album since the reformation, hell, even since The Brotherhood for what is worth. I really dig the album as a long time fan, reminds me of their late 80s era inspite of their more agressive 90s sound. I really enjoyed each of the album’s tracks, though of course it lacks originality.

    Las of the Mohicans it’s an amazing song!

    • [not a Dr]

      Amazing, but I’ll still rather listen to the soundtrack from the movie if I’m feeling LastOfTheMohicansy.
      Unless I only have 12 minutes for a Rapid Foray.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    I loves me some classic metal, with enough chest beating bravado to cower the power straight out of He-man, but at this point, does anyone still care about Running Wild? The band, not the prospect…

  • Diego Molero

    I look at that “band” picture and can’t help but think that he is going to start singing about SpongeBob.

    • Reese Burns

      I couldn’t decide what exactly it reminded me of, but you just fucking nailed it

    • gustman17

      Running Wild is much like Spongebob: scrapping the (Bikini) bottom of the barrel while riffing on the same tropes established in their glory years.

      (FYI, I think The Rivalry is one of their best albums and The Brotherhood was pretty strong too).

    • Blueberry Balls

      Not SpongeBob…

      • Thatguy

        I was going to write that you couldn’t unicorn the band picture because, well, just because…then I saw this.

        You’ve made my day.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        The idea behind the unicorning is shaming bands that refuse to provide pictures of themselves. If Rolf is not ashamed of the original picture no amount of unicorns are gonna work either: he’s shameproof.
        On the other hand, than unicorning really, really works when it comes to amusing me.

        • Blueberry Balls

          I wasnt trying to shame anyone, just to give people a laugh. Never meant to be malicious. Didnt realize that was the intent of unicorning, should I stop?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Please, don’t EVER stop!
            “Shaming” might be too strong a word for what basically is just a prank. You’re too kvlt to show your face in a picture? There goes the unicorn. That’s it.

          • Blueberry Balls

            Cool. Thx man.

          • [not a Dr]

            Anyone tells you to stop, show them your hand impersonating a unicorn.

  • Iain Gleasure

    It was the greatest review for a long time until the callous Alestorm slander. Druhm’s beer will be drunk and his rum stolen in the near future.

    • I can’t seem to stop myself from taking cheap shots at Alestorm. It’s a syndrome or something.

      • Iain Gleasure

        See, you should go to a show and take cheap shots With Alestorm

      • Eldritch Elitist

        A syndrome you say? Sounds like you’ve come down with an Ailstorm! Eyyyyyy.

        I’m sorry.

        • Report to HR to receive your Nu-Metal informational package.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            That was a little bit worth it.

          • The package is titled “Putting the Nu in You.” Try to relax.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            I have a terrible feeling that’s exactly as invasive as it sounds.

          • Bas

            Does the package also explain what the nu in nu-metal means? ;-) … I am afraid that finding that out is not worth listening to those new nu metal albums…. Ps thanks for the fun review!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            There is new nu metal? I thought thay thing died a long time ago…

  • Wilhelm

    My lifelong hope that the Pittsburgh Pirates adopt “under jolly roger” as their official theme song…and win a world series.

    • I think the “Under Jolly Roger” thing is more likely.

      • Wilhelm

        Yes, probably

        • [not a Dr]

          Are you saying that Sigh are more likely to win a world series?

          • Wilhelm

            Sure, Sigh from Japan would probably win the American World Series before the Pittsburgh Pirates would.

    • Pulsating Steel

      That’s a great song. Do they have any others near as good?

      • Lots of great songs. Try “The Rivalry”, “Lead or Gold”, Fistful of Dynamite”, “White Buffalo”, “Black Hand Inn”, “Lions of the Sea”, and pretty much any song off the Branded and Exiled album.

      • autonamed

        “Prisoners of Our Time” is all you need beaming you back into the middle of the 80s, with a bunch of beer drinking pubescent youths in the vaulted cellar of some dilapitated house, sweating their ass off while banging their heads like any poor Mike Tyson victim when catching punch after punch.

  • Dr. Wvrm

    This comment section is disgusting. These puns are running wild in here.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Eh, I dig it more than the couple last ones. Since Running Wild’s never going to be a whole-band again, I wager this is the best Rolf’ll do too.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That “Extensive travel, oft unprofessional coworkers and arcane profit sharing arrangements” could apply to any number of jobs besides that of a pirate.

    • Hulksteraus

      AMG enterprises without the travel bit…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Drum machines are a pet peeve of mine, and if I am not mistaken they are usually frowned upon when it comes to Metal. So I find it both annoying and hard to believe that Rolf couldn’t get a drummer in Germany to lend him a hand (and another hand and two feet) for this record. I guess he wasn’t willing to split the booty (and how’s that about a pun?!)

    • [not a Dr]

      We used to tell our drummer that we would replace him with a drum machine if he kept trying to write lyrics for our songs. Someone has to do it if you want the drummers to take your threats seriously.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I wonder if Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson ever tried to pull that “replace you with a drum machine if you keep trying to write lyrics” bit on Neil Peart…

  • herrschobel

    a band that doesn’t do any Justice to the great Review

  • Grawmps

    Looks meh. But I will forgive the band that gave us the greatest pirate metal song of all time, ‘Lions Of The Sea’. :)

  • Sjarlatan

    Get a real drummer and better production and we have a good album here.

  • stack warehouse

    Can anyone recommend bands similar to Running Wild? Thanks.

    • Grave Digger and Rage have the same Germanic power metal thing going on, and Alestorm is like a more folksy pirate-themed band if that’s what you’re into.

      • stack warehouse

        Not necessarily interested in the pirate theme but more in their style of play, fast but with a rhytm.

        • TheBrick

          Blazon Stone is best described as RW played by a Swedish landlubber with ADD.