After a span of excellent records Running Wild
peaked with The Rivalry in 1998, Victory
was still high quality material and 2002's The Brotherhood also came in as a competent album. There is nevertheless a clear tendency in this development and therefore I was quite nervous towards the release of Rogues En Vogue, when I first saw the awful cover I wasn't feeling any better.
So it is with great disappointment that I must conclude that my anxiety wasn't ungrounded, Rogues En Vogue is lacking both quality and creativity.
The first song Draw The Line
is one of the acceptable songs on the album, the changes in structure is enough for it to become modestly interesting, a fine driving solo is also included, still not the most exciting track.
With Angel Of Mercy
I begin to feel a clearer connection to the older Running Wild
, a melodic guitar lick and a powerful rhythm path gets it onto a good start. Rolf's expressive voice holds up the dynamic chorus pretty well too, so all in all a good track.
This is in fact one of the few songs where the different use of guitars gives it a more sophisticated touch, I think that some of the album's problems come from the fact that Rolf played all the guitar parts himself, the huge dynamic that used to be present on the double guitar front is missing on this record to a great extent
runs down the mid-tempo road that has become a more and more travelled path in recent Running Wild
releases. The smart details inject an element of surprise in an otherwise rather standard composition, not much really stands out and I miss a much more apparent bass.
To follow tradition, Skull And Bones
is the first of two longer epics, sadly the song relies on a chorus that's rather weak and boring. On the positive side the drumming is varied and thrilling and the soft guitar intro/outro gives it a nice wrapping.
The rather anonymous bass approach in the first songs sees an end with Born Bad, Dying Worse
, having a thick and groovy character, unfortunately this song has also been given a rather dull guitar solo spot, something that occurs too often on this release. The down to earth but no less vigorous guitar riff works out well opposed to the plain lead harmony, so an OK track.
suffers from a tedious melody line, a predictable riff and a chorus without much charisma, I hate to say this but it sounds as filler material.
No doubt that Running Wild
has become groovier with time, Soul Vampires
is in fact a decent, slow and heavy track with a solid fundament. A bit on the simple side but with great drum and bass collaboration.
The album's title track feeds on a fast and intense lead melody that suits it well, the wry twists found here and there are welcomed aspects in a album with an otherwise "too safe" direction. The chorus is neither good nor bad, a bit like the song itself.
If I should describe Winged And Feathered
I will end up saying a lot of the things already pointed out, fact is that it is unexciting, lacking in inspiration, decently performed, has a few successful moments but generally soon forgotten.
Dead Man's Road
has a stomping rhythm that quickly becomes monotone, lacking both cool ideas and melody.
After a meagre result in the first ten songs I was hoping that the 10-minute epic The War
would make up for some of it, but actually it only got worse. Part of the verse section sounds forced, the pronouncement of the war
in the refrain is almost comic, the rhythm is repetitive, the break in the middle is terrible and what's up with that plain and overly happy guitar melody in a song about World War I, it simply doesn't fit in.
Static, monotone and dragging are words that come to mind when I elaborate on this album, it's like the inspiration has dried out. This band has made so many great albums and I really do hope that Rock ´n´ Rolf will raise the flag higher next time around, or perhaps just draw the line.
His voice sounds decent and the music fairly well played, there is just far between the really cool passages, both compositional and delivery wise.
The production is a bit awkward, the lead guitars sound rather hollow and distant, the bass is mixed too low, the overall power level is easily felt but I miss a more coherent and transparent picture.
The actual content of the songs is all classic Running Wild
: Greed, selfishness, conflicts, pirates, war and fighting against such negative oppositions. They have a decent quality but it's not like they leave you enchanted.
Dare I say Running Wild
's lowest point ever. I'm afraid I have to.
Written by Tommy
Thursday, September 22, 2005Show all reviews by TommyRatingsTommy: 4.5/10
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