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Yeah, Get That Hair Nice And Puffy, Rolf - 70%

OzzyApu, November 23rd, 2010

Oh man, I wish I was able to see Running Wild live. Better yet, I wish I could go back in time and see them during this era. Honestly, to see Rolf less craggy and old man looking? It’s like an honor, and the band was still kicking ass as far as music was concerned. What about the line-up at this time? Jens Becker? … I think that’s as far as I need to go concerning band members. I mean, damn, just from watching the intro you can see fans pumped up with “Riding The Storm” dubbed over the montage. Fans are psyched and the band is getting themselves prepared for a night of cut-throat riffs and lost virginities (just kidding it’s a sausage-fest in there). Just seeing Rolf apply spray to keep his hair up is worth a view, and every member is decked out in leather and studs. Shit must suck once they start sweating their balls off an hour in, huh? I mean talk about swamp-ass.

So after hearing the studio version of “Riding The Storm” kick off the movie and then transition into the on-stage performance of the song, it becomes apparent that we get stuck with lousy sound. Honestly, the guitars are loud but paper-thin, and the drumming is even weaker. Everything sounds incredibly frail; Becker too you can hear grumbling, but his instrument has no power behind it, no matter how hard he picks. Rolf himself puts forth a ton of throat and stomach power into singing, and there is very little difference between this performance and his studio work (some off moments, but he’s wailing his guts out). Aside from sounding more in-person and less up close and booming, but that’s a given in this setting. Other than that, the band plays with intense vigor – you can see it in their faces, let alone from all their movement and enjoyment. So what we essentially get are vocals up front, then guitars, and then switch-ups between drumming and bass; all of these sound incredibly weak.

The stage is rather big, as is the building this is shot in, with lots of lights behind them shooting light yellows, reds, blues, and greens. There are banners on each side of the stage, and lots of ground is covered between the three members up front. Iain Finlay’s going crazy behind the kit sweating like a fountain by the time “Bad To The Bone” comes in around, and he isn’t even close to the flames that spurt up a few feet in front of Rolf (though he does get the sparks that nearly shoot up Rolf’s ass). The musicianship is tight, as I hardly hear any screw ups from Rolf and Majk as they twirl through riffs and speedy leads. The crowd you can only hear between songs, which is fine, although the dustiness definitely gets in the way of seeing them (as well as that awful industrial-blue lighting hitting the people in the back). Now regarding the set list, I’m very impressed that they deliver a list with songs like “Raw Ride” (with a laughable, dual lead buddy-buddy rocking motion from the guitarists), “Uaschitschun,” an incredibly gloomy bass / ambience moment for Becker to kick off “Conquistadores” (the guy always gets some), and “Prisoners Of Our Time.”

So while a low auditory impression of the band’s loud, rapturous speed / heavy metal, just seeing the band perform is a spectacle. I can only imagine being in that environment right up against the rails – a sock’s throw from Rolf and the gang. Seeing something like this reminds me of the logistics involved in putting on such a show, and although not all of them are like this, I think of bands like Iron Maiden that put on vast, immense concerts and all the time and energy involved in making it go off without a hitch. Going back to this, I do wish the band played more songs, as this set seemed quite short. Sure they played a bunch of classics and songs that translate very well in a live setting, but there wasn’t any intense headlining presence. Maybe since I’m watching it I don’t feel it; they still mixed it up a bit with Becker’s solo moment and the diversity of the tracks, so I’m probably just ranting at this point. Whatever, go see this and get some Running Wild love on.

The fucking production… - 60%

whensunburnsred, November 9th, 2010

…kills the video. Yes people, uncle Papadopoulos is giving a 60% score to the magnificent Running Wild. Musically this is over the 90% (it’s 80s Running Wild), but this is a live video, thus, the scoring system doesn’t work the same way as for studio albums.

Sometimes the appropriate production is not the one with best quality, but the one that do the trick. In this case, Running Wild chose a studio production and wiped out the audience – except for the gaps from song to song, and the chorus in “Prisoners of our time” (and yet the audience is barely audible). Thus, the live atmosphere and charm this kind of recordings should have is gone; watching live footage with studio production is just fucking weird because you feel something’s missing – you can see people clapping but they make no sound. Still, you’ll notice it’s recorded live because some vocal lines – especially when Rock 'n Rolf has to hit the highest notes – are a bit low, or sound slightly different from the albums – generally any chorus with backing vocals. There’s a good side, though. Bass lines, solos and leads are perfectly audible; it would be a shame to miss any of those, like the awesome bass line in while the dual guitar solo in “Raw ride”, or the great, trotting ones in “Conquistadores”.

The tracklist, although very good (besides those I mentioned before, “Uaschitschun”, “Riding the storm”, “Final gates” – as an outro, it’s not really played live - and “Tortuga bay”, so all 80s good stuff), is still flawed; all-time classics like “Port Royal” or “Battle of Waterloo” are missing, while other not-that-incredibly-fucking-brilliant tracks are played: “Bad to the bone” and “Raging fire”. Thankfully, by this year they could only play material from the first four albums, so it was physically impossible to play bad songs – except for “Land of ice”, but not even Kasparek is oblivious enough to play it live. Another downside is the length; only 45 min long! We want more damn it! Maybe if it were a thrash concert this could still work, but Running Wild, a band with a song length average of 4-5 min, needs to play at least 90 min to keep the fans satisfied. Finally, and to end up with the negative characteristics, the slow motion sequences. These are completely out of place; if the silent clapping wasn’t strange enough, we get this slow headbanging and jumping mixed with real time sequences, which don’t fit at all.

Enough for the negative criticism, let’s say what’s good about the video. The band’s performance is top-notch, pulling every solo (the ones from “Raw ride” and “Conquistadores” are the highlight of the video) and critical moment in their music off, and the crystal clear, perfectly balanced production won’t let you miss any detail. The music, of course, is superb in every aspect, and incredibly good for live performances; with the catchiest choruses and most memorable riffs in the power / speed metal universe. In fact, if I had to define Running Wild’s music in one word, I would say anthemic; starting with the vibrating “Riding the storm” all the way to end with the ultra-catchy “Prisoners of our time”, you won’t have a rest from fist-raising choruses, incredibly colourful, melodic solos, full-speed riffing and vocal lines you can actually sing without squeezing your nuts. In addition, you get quite a complete show; fire, explosions, Kasparek and Moti swaying to the music side by side, moving all around, – not as much as Lååz Rockit, but who does? – and camera shots from every angle: back, front, side, drums, far, close, public… Moreover, I think the camera work is quite good and varied; smooth transition and focuses, and adequate zooms in interesting parts, like guitar solos.

As a Running Wild fanboy this was very hard for me to write, but now you know what’s waiting for you. If you don’t mind getting a studio production in a live video, then this is essential for you; crystal clear Running Wild invading your senses. Otherwise, you can always play and just listen to it without watching, but for that matter you may as well play the full-length releases or make your own compilation.

Totally Badass - 95%

DeathRiderDoom, December 26th, 2009

One of Running Wild’s only video releases here shows a legendary German speed metal band at the high point of their career. ‘Death or Glory – Live in Dusseldorf’ (filmed 17/10/89) is a fantastic metal VHS that will not disappoint fans of the band. Filmed during the bands heyday at the turn of the 1990s, this one features many great tracks from the highly regarded first four albums. The bands performance is absolutely top notch too, with recording/sound quality to back it up – and it ends up sounding as solid and flawless as a studio recording. From the backstage footage and tomfoolery of the intro, with overdubbed crowd chants of “Branded and Exiled” to rip-roaring pirate anthems like ‘Tortuga Bay’ and the incredibly atmospheric bass solo by Jens Becker, to shots of the hyped crowd, this video kicks major ass. The band just shreds through an awesome set full of classics, and the bands performance is on form, HARD. I strongly recommend this one to fans of the band, and promise you, you won’t be disappointed..

Visually, the band doesn’t quite have the status of Dio, hence this live performance doesn’t take place on a stage with 40-foot animatronic dragons, and massive sets with huge backdrops that change every song like Iron Maiden. The stage features some art work at the sides of the stage from the album their touring for, and there are some smaller scale pyrotechnics which are put to awesome use (in tracks like ‘Conquistadores’ fire shoots up into the air, adding the evil ambience of the track). The band is adorned in awesome pirate/metal costumes which are far more badass than any “puffy shirt” from Seinfeld, layered with studs and shimmering metal and shit – and they just look fucking awesome. The light show is pretty sweet to, well-co-ordinated in awesome tracks like the awesome and very Iron Maidenish ‘Raw Ride’ which kicks total ass. There’s quite a few cameras in use, and thing is shot pretty decently, though not to the same incredibly high-standards as Dio or Maiden DVDs. What we’ve got here is a slightly less-succesful band putting on a fucking sweet show, and doing the best they can with production/stage values they can with their less monumental budget.

The venue feels kinda small and intimate, but I’d imagine it’s gotta be a 2-3,000 seater. The stage doesn’t seem to be too high up, and it gives a cool feeling of intimacy with the band and crowd – like some kind of awesome pirate metal brotherhood. The crowd is packed in tight, and loving every minute of this solid, Germanic speed metal attack, and there’s some good sing along moments too (see the chorus in the classic anthem ‘Raging Fire’) and they give out some pretty big cheers after tracks as well a lot of clapping along in the slower, pounding moments. After big hits like ‘Raging Fire’ the crowd yells “Running Wild” repeatedly in quick succession. Dripping in sweat, they are as stoked as you’d imagine, and the show they’re getting treated to is certainly enough to make any of us jealous. You can hear them roar with excitement during the awesome melodic speed metal riffs in ‘Tortuga Bay’ and there are shots of an ecstatic audience clapping along with hands in the air on this one too. In between ‘Conquistadores’ and the amazing ‘Prisoner of Our Time’ the crowd are chanting along in typical Eurotrash soccer fan fashion, “Running Wild, Running Wild, Running Wild!” By the time the set is through, footage of the audience shows a content bunch of sweaty Germans crying out for more, some of whom are being treated to Rock ‘n Rolf’s guitar picks.

Basically, this is just awesome German pirate metal being belted out, hit after hit – the band is killing it, and Rolf is a fucking machine. From the undecipherable German ramblings of Rolf Kasparek introducing songs, to the explosions of pyro which kick them off, and the awesome, clear guitars and pounding drumming, this is magical shit from start to finish. Case and point: the awesome and incredibly pirate-y, atmosphere building bass solo by Jens Becker, following the classic ‘Uaschitschun’. The cameras are on him, with a blue light, surrounded by pitch black, when smoke begins to rise, as begins to finish up, the crowd cheers ecstatically, and we are catapulted into the amazingly classic intro riff of that fan favourite ‘Conquistadores’, and Kasperek runs out to the front of the stage – lights flashing above his head. Just magical! Kasperak’s fronting of the band is strong, and his voice is amazing – it sounds exactly like on the albums, whereas the remainder of the band is incredibly tight and professional. The guitar solos in tracks like ‘Conquistadores’ sound utterly crisp and beautiful. Majk Moti is one badass solo-ist and he throws fists in the air in between chords when he’s not belting out amazing wizardry on the axe (check out the awesome outro to ‘Prisoner of Our Time’; really something).

I could go on for hours, but basically, this is one killer live video. The sound and performance is seriously top-notch, and this video showcases an exceptional and unique heavy metal band at their finest hour. Tracks played are of course excellent, with many of my personal favorites being present, like ‘Raw Ride’, ‘Riding the Storm’ and materials all taken from the early block of albums. These guys are exceptionally tight, lead by the awesome ‘Rock’ n Rolf’ whose juggernaut performance (including plentiful hair flicks) should be studied by all who dream of metal stardom. For fans of this band: I urge you to check this thing out. I’m not sure if it has/is getting re-issued as a DVD or anything, but if you can track it down, you will not be disappointed. Well, you will if the tape is damaged and ruins the sound or visual of this awesome live performance. There’s not really anything bad to say about it at all, believe me – I’ve thought about it, but it’s just a cool thing to watch if you love this band. All those cool riffs this band does are even more badass when they’re being shredded out by sweaty Germans on stage in killer pirate costumes. Would have been a hell of a show to catch, but at least you can pick this thing up. Essential viewing for fans.

-DeathRiderDoom