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If one takes a look at the whole discography of Running Wild - spanning from 1979 (actually, from 1976 as Granite Hearts) to the present time (apart from a brief split between 2009 and 2011), he will be surely surprised in finding only three compilation albums (excluding the 1984 self-released "Heavy Metal Like a Hammerblow" one, of course). And he will be probably even more surprised to learn that one of this three compilations, "Best of Adrian", is nothing more than a selection of tracks from the very last years of Running Wild's career (1998-2005). So, we are left with only two compilations covering a so-far fourteen-full-lengths-long career, an almost flawless 2003 one called "20 Years in History" and this one, "The Story of Jolly Roger", published in 1998 and containing fifteen songs. Fifteen songs that, though, are taken from nine different albums.
So, since there's nothing more useless than reviewing track by track a compilation, I will just say that here you have a great view of what is in my opinion the best part of Running Wild's career so far. We have brilliant songs as Under Jolly Roger, with its epic chorus in the style of power metal, its great guitar melody and its equally great guitar solo; we have Genghis Khan, directly taken from Running Wild's debut album, which starts with a heavy metal riff and carries on between changes of tempo and "harsher" vocals; we have Lions of the Sea, beginning with a great acoustic intro played by a guitar which transforms itself into a fast electric riff, combined with Rolf Kasparek's distinctive clean vocals, while the drumming blasts off with some nice double-bass melody.
We have another classic heavy metal track, Chains and Leather, we have the awesome power metal piece Conquistadores, with its catchy chorus and a great guitar solo.. and I could continue for hours! But, since this is not the right place, I will draw some conclusions starting by pointing out that, in my opinion, this is an equally proper way in order to introduce oneself to Running Wild's astonishing discography than the other aforementioned 2003 compilation, "20 Years in History". Yeah, "20 Years in History" contains some songs from other three albums published between 1998 and 2003, and it even contains more tracks (twenty-six) being a double-cd, but there's really nothing less in this "The Story of Jolly Roger".
Moreover, in this compilation I'm reviewing there are some great tracks such as Chains and Leather and Purgatory which are not featured on the 2003 one, so I would ultimately suggest to anyone who is interested to approach Running Wild's whole career to search indifferently for one of these two compilations, and he won't surely be disappointed. By listening to this "The Story of Jolly Roger" you will hear Rolf Kasparek's musical creature in its best form, you will hear heavy metal songs, power metal ones, speed metal pieces, many great guitar solos, many entertaining pirate-themed lyrics (of course!), a whole lot of catchy choruses and different (clean) vocal lines and styles. In the end, this is everything Running Wild is about!