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This compilation is nothing short of excellent. I was fortunate enough to find it really cheap new, and it made me a fan of Running Wild. It is everything a compilation should be: a good introduction that features some great songs from each album, but also leaves out many gems which makes you want to buy the rest of the albums.
It also features some treats for those who are already RW fans: The two previously unreleased songs Prowling Werewolf and Apocalyptic Horsemen, the new recordings of Branded and Exiled and Mordor, and Rolf has also added bass and guitars to the other songs, which makes them sound even heavier than before. This is most apparent on the Gates to Purgatory songs. Genghis Khan's riff was an absolute crusher already on the original version, but with the added guitars it has gained the strength to slay an elephant in a single blow. Riding the Storm also sounds a bit better than before, and Blazon Stone never sounded so powerful.
There are some minor downsides, however. The additional instruments, for example, weren't necessary at all on the songs on CD 2. The packaging and cover art is boring. The liner notes kinda suck too. Also, one has to ask oneself why Rolf decided to re-record Branded & Exiled and Mordor. Not that the new versions are bad, in fact I like them even better than the originals, but it does slightly interrupt the continuity and he could have released them on some other occasion. Also, the "new" songs are a lot weaker than the others on here. They're still good (I prefer AH by the way), but it mostly feels like Noise just wanted some reasons for the older fans to buy the compilation.
They shouldn't have to worry; it's still a good thing to pick up, for diehards and newbies alike.
Let me start this off by stating that I am sort of a n00b when it comes to this great German heavy metal band. Why, I don't know. All I know is that I have a lot of great metal to catch up to. I have bought some of their albums and am in the process of buying their entire catalogue. But, in the meantime, I found this best of collection so I bought it immediately to sorta warm me up.
First off, I will rate the packaging. IMO, compilations should not just present a best of songs but also provide liner notes of the band, discography, and photo history. Unfortunately, all you get is some cool photos that were taken throughout RW's career. However, there are no liner notes or written history of the band. Thats a shame when you have a band that has made great metal for 20 fucking years and one cannot even provide a 2 page history of the band. Just for that, I took off 10 points.
As for the music, you have songs from each of the 12 RW albums as well as 2 bonus tracks - "Prowling Werewolf" and "Apocalyptic Horsemen". Prowling is very 80's metal but hey, thats a good thing. Apocalyptic is good but I like Prowling better.
The rest of the songs are nothing short of brilliant. Now, I know many could argue exactly which songs were excluded but hey, this is only 2 discs that cover 12 albums so not every great RW song is featured. But, the ones that are, are completely awesome. You have the great epic "Treasure Island", the RW standards "Raise Your Fist", "Prisoners of Our Time", "Under Jolly Roger", as well as some of their newer songs like the great "Tsar" and "Welcome to Hell".
Basically, this is a great way to introduce someone (like myself) to great legendary band. I just wish more time and effort was put in to a written tribute. Anyhoo, buy this if you are remotely interested in hearing excellent speed/power/true heavy metal - which if you are not, well, then you suck.