Running Wild (or more accurately, Captain Rock N’ Rolf Kasparek) announced that the band would be decommissioned in 2009, rechristening himself T.T. Poison for his new band Toxic Taste. When German pirate vessel, Running Wild, announced their come back from their self-imposed retirement and the release a new album in 2012, there were some happy voices to be heard and plenty of doubt cast around, since they had not exactly left the scene while on the on a high with “Rogues On Vogue”.
So I had mixed feelings about “Shadowmaker”, also because the cover is far away from their usual style on top of it.
Now Running Wild is one of those bands that has retained its sound for a long time and never really explored a lot of variety and it worked. With “Shadowmaker”, the band takes a 180 degrees turn and does explore its possibilities, but it goes seemingly nowhere. Instead of the power/speed metal with big melodies we now get a lot more rock influences and the songs are not necessarily bad, but they are just not Running Wild. At least not the ones that I would expect.
With the exception of the very beginning of opener “Piece Of The Action” that sounds spineless, the track evolves into an upbeat rocker that has the strongest rock moments. Unfortunately it is after that things start to go weary. The strong rock influence goes hand in hand with a distinct lack in power and drive. As for the tracks that are closer to Running Wild’s style as we know, they fail to capture the same gripping melodies that I had loved in the past.
No drive, no power, no great melodies to pick you up. “Me & The Boys” is a nice rocker that just is completely out of place on a Running Wild album. After the good up-tempo title track that finally lets us reminisce of the days of old, the next two tracks once more drag down into utter mediocrity.
Before the album was available, Rolf had talked about it as “one of the best Running Wild albums he had ever written”. I am not sure, what happened to that album. With a few tracks that show that Rolf hasn’t forgotten how to craft good songs, this is still one of the biggest disappointments for the year already and if he really wants to give the fans again what they want, he should return to the old ways.
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