Running Wild is a band that brought the metal world classic metal anthems such as ‘Bad to Bone’, ‘Port Royal’ and ‘Pirate Song’, and it is such a shame to say that their latest effort entitled Shadowmaker is a huge disappointment compared to the rest of their rather epic back catalogue. After announcing their split on April 17th in 2009, three years passed until Running Wild eventually decided to reform and from the sound of this “so called” comeback album, Shadowmaker is chock full of songs that weren’t good enough to make any of Running Wild’s original thirteen records. It is truly heartbreaking to hear this album, and sure there may be two or three decent tracks on Shadowmaker, but the majority of the record is made up of idol filler that sounds like something a GCSE level student has composed.
The album gets off to a pretty good start; opening with the three most memorable tracks on the album. ’Piece Of the Action’, ‘Riding on the Tide’ and ‘I Am Who I Am’ all have extremely catchy choruses that will get you singing along like a swashbuckling buccaneer who has had his fair share of captain Morgan’s rum. Not only this, these three tracks really get your hopes up that Running Wild are really back and mean business. It takes you on a journey back to 80’s, back to when Running Wild where at their peak – writing their best material, performing their best shows, but unfortunately this hope of the return of Running Wild is spoilt after track three.
Rolf Kasparek was a hell of a metal vocalist in his prime and nearly 30 years in the game; he is still as good as when Running Wild first started. Sure, he may not be able to hit the higher end of the musical note spectrum due to his age, but he still gives his damn best in tracks like ‘Black shadow’, ‘Me + The Boys’ and ‘Sailing Fire’ even though these are a selection of some of the most boring/mediocre heavy metal songs I have heard. He has such a definitive voice, and should be applauded for his work in adding some fire, passion and soul to the tracks on this album!
Shadowmaker does have to be Running Wild’s worst album to date and this is a shame seen as it is there penultimate comeback album. Running Wild has always been a band for making their songs as interesting and catchy as possible, and apart from the first few tracks on Shadowmaker, the rest of the album really doesn’t sound like Running Wild. Maybe they should have made this an EP instead of an album, only releasing five out of the ten tracks on here and doing something to the rather boring looking album cover, to fully hook listeners and get them excited for the return of the mighty Running Wild.
Running Wild have unfortunately run aground with this album, and its going to take more than the tide to set them free again. Although the first three tracks on this album must be heard, the rest of Shadowmaker has tarnished Running Wild’s credibility as a killer heavy metal band and if they really want to wow fans with their reunion, need to pull something superb out of the bag very, very fast! [5/10]