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Music / Running Wild

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We are prisoners of our time
But we are still alive
Fight for the freedom, fight for the right
We are Running Wild
— "Prisoners of Our Time"

Running Wild is a Speed/Heavy Metal band from Germany. They formed in 1976 as Granite Hearts before changing their name to Running Wild after a Judas Priest song. They used to have occult and satanic imagery on their earlier work, but by the time of the third album of the band the frontman and leader Rolf Kasparek wanted something different, and he chose Pirates. This has became the main turning point in the band's career, and they never looked back.

The band was split-up in 2009 and came back in 2011.

Although piracy composes Running Wild's main imagery, they're not as gimmicky as you'd think. The topics of their songs range from ancient conspiracies, literature, Heavy Meta and environmetal issues to history in general.



  • 1984 - Gates to Purgatory
  • 1985 - Branded and Exiled
  • 1987 - Under Jolly Roger
  • 1988 - Port Royal
  • 1989 - Death or Glory
  • 1990 - Wild Animal (EP)
  • 1991 - Blazon Stone
  • 1992 - Pile of Skulls
  • 1994 - Black Hand Inn
  • 1995 - Masquerade
  • 1998 - The Rivalry
  • 2000 - Victory
  • 2002 - The Brotherhood
  • 2005 - Rogues en Vogue
  • 2012 - Shadowmaker
  • 2013 - Resilient
  • 2016 - Rapid Foray

This band provides examples of:

  • After the End: "Straight to Hell", from Blazon Stone, is about a "stumbling few" trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Age-Progression Song: "The Ghost (T.E. Lawrence)", from The Brotherhood, chronicles Lawrence's life from being a young man trying to get in the army to the Arab Revolt.
  • Album Intro Track:
    • Port Royal opens with the aptly-named "Intro".
    • Pile of Skulls opens with "Chamber of Lies", a lead-in to "Whirlwind".
    • The Rivalry opens with the aptly-named "March of the Final Battle (The End of All Evil)".
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  • Alien Invasion: "Iron Heads" (from the infamous Death Metal split-album note  and the Masquerade remaster). While the chorus tells that the alien invaders are going "to make the world alright", the end result is rather bleak ("Ruins are everywhere, the whole world is empty and dead").
  • Artistic License – Ships: In the intro of "Under Jolly Roger", it takes only seconds for the pirate crew to man the cannons and fire them after a suitable target for a Boarding Party is spotted.
  • The Aloner: While the title of the song "Marooned" (from Death or Glory) suggests a song about, well, marooning, it is actually about being the lone survivor of a shipwreck.
  • Ash Face: This happened to one of the band's drummers while they were touring in the early eighties; too much fireworks were applied for a stunt, which left his face black and burned a chunk of his clothes away.
  • Author Catchphrase: The line "wild and free", which has appeared on every album from Blazon Stone onwards.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The eponymous "The Drift" from Resilient is one, as it features all sorts of miscreants as its regulars.
  • Badass Creed: The choruses on songs "Prisoner of Our Time", "Branded and Exiled", "Chains and Leather", "Under Jolly Roger" "Raise Your Fist" and "Unation" are based around this.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballad of William Kidd", from The Rivalry.
  • Book-Ends: The Victory album begins and ends with a gong sound, which is played in reverse in the first track and normally in the last one.
  • Burn the Witch!: John Xenir gets burned at the stake in the intro ("The Curse") of Black Hand Inn, for being guilty of "being in league with the devil and having used heathen and forbidden rituals".
  • Concept Album: Part of the album Black Hand Inn talks about a man called John Xenir, who fights against Corrupt Church and such as a pirate (what else?).
  • Cool Boat: "Adventure Galley" from The Rivalry is about the privateer William Kidd's ship with the same name.
    Adventure Galley, proudly she's staying her course
    Adventure Galley, the magical force, wild and free!
  • Cover Version: Running Wild has covered "Genocide (The Killing of the Buffalo)" by Thin Lizzy and "Revolution" by The Beatles.
  • Crystal Ball: John Xenir has one which can tell "tales of past and future", in the title song of Black Hand Inn.
  • Dragon Rider: "Dragonmen" from Black Hand Inn is about holy dragonmen who ride the nightskies, ridding the world from evil.
  • Dressed to Plunder: The band mascot Adrian has appeared in pirate regalia (a longcoat and a tri-corner hat) on the covers of Port Royal and Lead or Gold single, and on the covers of tribute albums Revivalry and Rough Diamonds.
  • Enthralling Siren: The eponymous island in "Bloody Island" (Resilient) attracts sailors with tales of riches and treasure. It's ruled by a Siren, whose calling ultimately leads them to their doom.
  • Epic Rocking: The band has a lot of songs that go over seven minutes, but "Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man)" from Black Hand Inn takes the cake for being over fifteen minutes long.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: The intro of "The Battle of Waterloo" from Death or Glory opens with bagpipes, backed by marching.
  • Evil Laugh: The last song of ''Masquerade, "Underworld", ends with Redcoat telling how humanity is deaf and blind to the machinations of evil, and caps it off with an evil laugh.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The band's mascot Adrian has had one since Under Jolly Roger.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Used in Death or Glory, between the title track and "The Battle of Waterloo".
  • Filk Song: "Treasure Island" and "War and Peace" are based on their respective books.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After a lifetime of searching, the protagonist of the song "Diamonds of the Black Chest" (from Under Jolly Roger) finds the titular chest... and it's empty. He goes insane on the spot, and the song ends with him laughing madly while imagined riches rain down.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several, few of them are more worthwhile compared to others:
    • The First Years of Piracy, which has songs from first three albums remade by the 1991 line-up, including "Walpurgis Night", which at the time was only available on the band's first EP, Victim of States Power.
    • 20 Years in History, which has couple of new songs and little touches of improvement in their past catalog.
    • Best of Adrian, which only covers the era between The Rivalry and Rogues En Vogue, including the live album Live 2002.
  • The Greys: Featured in "Sinister Eyes", from Pile of Skulls. They reveal secrets to the protagonist through his dreams, and haven't contacted mankind due to the all hatred it is infested with. The cover art for the song's single (which was never released) has one holding a key and shedding a Single Tear.
  • The Grim Reaper: "Black Wings of Death" from Pile of Skulls is about the psychopomp, who spreads his terror of inevitable death.
  • Hellbent For Leather
    • Significant part of "Chains and Leather" from Branded and Exiled, along with other metal goodness.
    Even Satan wears leather, our souls do it forever
    So let us pray our rules tonight!
    • "Raise Your Fist" from ''Under Jolly Roger" makes a mention of dressing in "shiny leather like a second skin".
  • Heavy Mithril: Fantasy subjects like a precognitive ghost pirate and wars between good and evil between do crop up, Black Hand Inn and Victory being prime examples.
  • I Am the Band: Rolf Kasparek, who writes the majority of the songs. As of The New '10s, he is the only doing it.
  • In Name Only: The song "Mordor" from Branded and Exiled isn't related in any way with the Mordor we all know.
  • Instrumentals:
    • "Final Gates", "Highland Glory (The Eternal Fight)", "Over the Rainbow", "Final Waltz" and "Siberian Winter".
    • Some albums open up with an instrumental intro.
  • Last Chorus Slow-Down: Used on "Running Blood" from Death or Glory.
    They left a sea of running bloo-ooo-oood!
  • Longest Song Goes Last:
    • Gates to Purgatory closes with "Prisoner of Our Time" (5:26).
    • Branded and Exiled closes with "Chains and Leather" (5:45).
    • Port Royal closes with "Calico Jack" (8:15).
    • Pile of Skulls closes with "Treasure Island" (11:14).
    • Masquerade closes with "Underworld" (6:15).
    • The Brotherhood closes with "The Ghost" (10:23).
    • Rogues En Vogue closes with "The War" (10:38).
    • Shadowmaker closes with "Dracula" (7:29).
    • Resilient closes with "Bloody Island" (9:56).
    • Rapid Foray closes with "Last of the Mohicans" (11:11).
  • Mad Scientist: The eponymous "Dr. Horror", from The Brotherhood, who spreads chemical warfare around.
  • Mascot: Captain Adrian, who is an undead werewolf pirate who is also a son of Satan.
  • The Men in Black: "Men in Black", from Masquerade, portrays them in villainous light.
  • Metal Scream: In "Diabolic Force", (from Gates to Purgatory) every verse ends with a high-pitched "Tonight!"
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: They belong to level 7.
  • The Mutiny: "Mutiny", from Port Royal, is about a ship crew who go against their cruel masters.
  • Noble Savage: The Native Americans are portrayed in this way in Port Royal's "Uaschitschun".
  • Non-Appearing Title: The title of the album Gates to Purgatory doesn't appear on any of its songs.
  • The Noun and the Noun: Used on the songs "Fire and Ice", "Powder and Iron," "Fire and Thunder", "Chains and Leather," and "War and Peace".
  • Number of the Beast: Mentioned in "Satan".
    Six sixty six is his number, he takes the crown of earth
  • Our Angels Are Different: "Angel of Mercy", from Rogues en Vogue, is about a sole angel rescuing the world from darkness (or, perhaps, a divine mecha).
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In "Return of the Dragon" (from The Rivalry), the dragons are portrayed as benevolent beings, and the dragon slayers and serpents as evil.
  • Performance Video: The videos for "Branded and Exiled", "Bad to the Bone", "Prowling Werewolf" and "Conquistadores".
  • Pirate: Band's main image. Also, all albums from Under Jolly Roger onward, except Victory, have at least one song based on pirates and seafaring.
  • Portmantitle: Used on "Evilution" (evil + evolution) from Death or Glory.
  • Religion of Evil: Both "Preacher" and "Walpurgis Night", from Gates to Purgatory, are based on a happening of Black Mass.
  • Satan is Good: "Satan", on the "Victim of States Power" single and the Gates to Purgatory re-release, portrays the titular character as a rebel who destroys the worst of the mankind ("Nazis, moralists and conservatives") and brings "liberty and peace to the good".
  • Self-Plagiarism: The solo section in "Timeriders" is very similar to the one in "Merciless Game".
  • Signature Style: Kasparek has his own peculiar style of starting guitar solos, as heard in this video.
  • The Something Song: "Pirate Song", from The Brotherhood.
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • Port Royal: Album intro (a newbie arrives on the eponymous Port Royal) and the trial on "Calico Jack".
    • Death or Glory: A doctor diagnosing the title character of "Renegade".
    • Black Hand Inn: Opening track "The Curse" (a character is send to be burned at the stake) and ending track "Genesis", which is about its own bizarre creation and end-of-the-world myth.
    • Masquerade: Redcoat recruiting his agents of evil in "The Contract" and giving the "Reason You Suck" Speech at the end of "Underworld".
  • Subdued Section: "Chains and Leather" and "Prisoners of Our Time" have moments where the chorus is backed only by drums.
  • Take That!: The song "Purgatory" on the Ready for Boarding live-album was a hard hit on the PMRC.
  • Taps: "Little Big Horn" ends with "Taps" playing, signifying the senseless loss of General Custer's men.
  • Time Travel: "Land of Ice", from Under Jolly Roger, talks about a group of people travelling to the future to find powerful weapons. Instead, they find a world caught in nuclear winter and its mutant inhabitants.
  • Titled After the Song: The name Running Wild was taken from a Judas Priest song.
  • Title-Only Chorus: Featured in "Tear Down the Walls" from the Wild Animal EP.
  • To the Tune of...:
    • The main riff of "Little Big Horn" (from Blazon Stone) uses the main melody of old american folk song "Girl I Left Behind Me".
    • The outro melody of "Tsar" (from Victory) is taken from an old Russian silent film.
  • Train Song: "Locomotive" from Shadowmaker.
    The railway's gonna squeaking hard, wheels are dragging over
    Red hot grease is on the steel, oiling all the bars
    Rhythm's gonna pounding hard, the monsters own thunder
    The whistle-pipe is blowing strong, foretelling what to come
  • Updated Re-release: Albums from Death or Glory to Masquerade have remastered rereleases with additional bonustracks.
  • War Is Hell: "War and Peace" and "The War" deal with this theme.
    You're dying in war, but you even can't live in peace.
  • Witch Hunt: "Bones to Ashes", from the Death Metal split-album and Masquerade remaster, depicts witches being burned to ashes on the stake, and the angel of death collecting their remains.
  • World War One: "The War" from Rogues en Vogue recounts the events of the war, backed by various marching tunes.


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