Running Wild – Under Jolly Roger
Album Review by Adam McCann
Band : Running Wild
Album : Under Jolly Roger
Noise Records 1987
1987 proved to be quite a significant turning point for Running Wild. The band made the conscious decision to move away from the relatively en vogue Satanic themes of mid 80’s heavy metal and shocked the community by releasing the pirate themed ‘Under Jolly Roger’.
In this rather interesting move, Running Wild inadvertently created what would become pirate metal, although it would take the best part of 25 years for Running Wild to be credited as the influences that they would become and in particular, Captain Rolf Kasparek as the visionary and genius that he is.
Unlike many of the bands that they would influence with ‘Under Jolly Roger’, Running Wild’s pirate themes are less subtle than their overt offspring singing about: “yo ho ho’s” and “a bottle of rum” after watching ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ once. ‘Under Jolly Roger’ adds the heavy metal influences of Accept and Judas Priest, those leaden chugging riffs interspersed with some excellent guitar work and raw vocals from the Captain himself which are showcased perfectly during ‘Raw Ride’, ‘War in the Gutter’, ‘Diamonds of the Black Chest’ and the fist rousing title track, which makes you want to punch the air like a pissed-up sports fan.
As influential as ‘Under Jolly Roger’ is, rather than suffering from bad song writing or poor musicianship, the album is stricken with a relatively dodgy mid-to-late 80’s production. There are times where the guitars of Running Wild become indistinguishable from the likes of Accept, Twisted Sister or W.A.S.P. especially when coupled with that crisp sampled 80’s drum sound which haunts the era like the ghost of Christmas Past 1987.
Looking back, no one would have thought that ‘Under Jolly Roger’ would become as influential as ‘Reign in Blood’, ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’, but ‘Under Jolly Roger’, although more niche, would become just as coveted and rightly so.
Rating : 87/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann