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I consider this album to be the point where Running Wild began losing themselves (or Rolf started becoming out of touch with reality). After an era of grandiose songwriting prosperity, the band releases a successor that doesn’t quite capture the same band that made the previous albums the gems that they are. The overarching reason stems from the execution, and the blame falls on Rolf for continuing with the following problems. Understand that even though this is inferior to almost every Running Wild album that came before, Victory is still something to enjoy.
I have two major issues that fall under the execution of the album. The first is the lack of a drummer, which Rolf hasn’t solved for his full-lengths for over 12 years now. This forces us to listen to Angelo Sasso, a drum machine that clonks its routine, manufactured ass through what could have been a real, eclectic performance. No real drummer behind a real kit is a big problem on its own, but it also adds to the second problem – a lack of energy or power (or “spirit” if you want to see it that way). This is still the Running Wild fans know and love, but the punch or bite the band had before is but a shadow of what it was (there’s a bunch of that classic fervor missing). These detractions make this album the first in a line of truly inferior albums graced with the Running Wild name.
Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, if you can come to accept these terms, then Victory is an entertaining album. The majestic leads, catchy riffs, regal themes, and kingly backbone holds this album together better than any whole Running Wild album that came after. The best part is the speed / power metal prowess to be heard in the quadruple streak of “Tsar,” “The Hussar," “The Guardian," and “Return Of The Gods.” Although the atmosphere isn’t as rich and crisp as before, those four are noble, lively songs with the swirling harmonies, supremacy and soul that were needed to make this album stand out. Whatever glory could be attained by the band (primarily Rolf) is done on those four songs – the last high point for Running Wild at such a level and in one streak.
Ideas were bound to diminish in quality this late in the Rolf’s career. Rolf wrote mostly the same material this time, but he screws up the execution. This becomes the defining trait for the rest of Running Wild’s (read: Rolf’s) career. He begins settling for less as he lowers the bar for himself, and with songs like “Timeriders,” “Into The Fire,” and the title track, it soon becomes the standard. Not to forget that awful cover art, but thankfully Shadowmaker now exists to make Victory’s cover art look like a masterpiece.
...but far from their classics.
Starting off with a clearly Painkiller inspired drum intro (too bad they are programmed, but we all know that by now) and an awesome riff, Fall Of Dorkas sets a good standard. The chorus may be a little lacking in creativity and doesn't really inspire me at all, but it's the powerful verse that makes this song for me. I'm not against electric drums, since they can sound good (Ram It Down, and RWs own Brotherhood) but making a song like Fall Of Dorkas which relies a lot on techinical drum patterns is not a good choice.
Right when the opening track is over we head into When Time Runs Out which I think reminds of Judas Priests Turbo album which... Yeah. It's not happy or something, it just reminsd a lot of 80s hair metal shit... So here the album starts to go down. Timeriders is speed metal in the vein of Straight To Hell or Whirlwind, but unfortanately lacks that little spark that is needed. The best thing in it would be the Merciless Game like melody section in the middle, but... It was better in Merciless Game.
And then we get one of all the Running Wild rock songs that I couldn't care less for. Into The Fire... I don't see the point... We already have Soulless, Branded And Exiled and all of those. They were awesome. This one wasn't. And the Beatles cover. No thanks...
The Final Waltz is another attempt at an intro as they usually has in the beginning of a record... But this one doesn't really pull it off as good...
Tzar!!! Finally the album really picks up. It's the first really good song and it has all things that one would want from Running Wild in the post-Under Jolly Roger era. Not much to say, except that it completly wipes out all boring feeling of the former tracks. Running Wild are forgiven. Also I think Rolf copied the Mother Russia melody right off because it's really similar to the melody in the end...
THE HUSSAR!!! The best track on here. It's just right, the melody and the verse and the chorus and I'm totally blown away by this. It's not spectacular in it's structure, you know what's going to happen even the first time you hear it, but this is a good example of "less is more" and it's not boring a single second. One of the best Running Wild tracks of all time.
Up next is The Guardian which at least works, simple as that. Nothing special in other words, but not as boring as the tracks before Tzar. But fear not because Return Of The Gods is the second best on here and also one of the best Running Wild songs ever, again. It's quite similar to Fall Of Dorkas but faster and has a hell of a better chorus. Also, a rarity for Running Wild - a good solo. Rolf is one of my favorite riff makers, he knows how to make a good riff. But RWs solos are mostly not really that impressive. Which isn't the case with ROTG which has a great solo as mentioned.
Ending with the title track that is also a great number, proves that this album isn't complete garbage. But if a few tracks was scrapped like Revolution, Into The Fire and When Time Runs Out this how have got a better rating, and also the programmed drums draws a few points away.
Many bands have problems in writing songs and releasing albums that are not similar to one another, either because they run out of inspiration or because they tend to stick in a certain style. One of them is Running Wild. They are stuck to an image they created, that of metal pirates and for some years now all their albums sound the same. And even worse if I can say. This is exactly what happens with Victory. I knew what I was about to listen to and I was proved to be right.
Mr.Kasparek stupidly believed that a band can survive only by keeping their die-hard fans. He was so wrong. All the tracks in Victory have the same structure and they became so predictable; 1st verse, pre-chorus, 2nd verse, pre-chorus and then the refrain which is always the same. First Rock n’ Rolf on his own, then all together, again on his own and here we go again.
Yes, they are fast and heavy. Yes, they have the classic fast and sharp Running Wild riffs with pounding drums and bass following, but is that enough? If you don’t know the band you are sure to like what you’ll hear as long as your intentions are to play it loud, get in motion and bang your head. I’ll say loud and clear. Running Wild had always been an important chapter in the history of heavy metal because they ARE heavy and they love it. But if you’ve heard so much of their stuff you practically get bored!
A band should write simple songs, easy to remember. Songs that they can play on a gig and excite the fans who want to sing along and shout. After twenty years in metal I can still remember very well songs from Death or Glory and Under Jolly Roger. There are only a few tracks that I can single out from Victory. The first one is the self-titled which, to be honest, is perfect. It is a speedy, heavy metal dynamite, really worthy for Running Wild’s history. Another one that stands above the rest is When Time Runs Out. It begins with a nice guitar intro and it features a strong and steady tempo. The last one that stands out is Revolution, despite the fact that it’s a Beatles’ cover. They made it quite catchy and I especially fancy its solo.
Too bad though that these songs had to be in such an album because the rest vary from mediocre to bad. Wrong, they are either bad or deadly boring! In fact, Fall of Dorkas and The Hussar really suck! No wonder why they split-up some years later. Once, they posed a question, “Death or Glory?”. Apparently, they chose death. I am sorry to say such things for a band I really like but it is the awful truth. Without having listened to their last album, I think that Victory is the worst album they ever made.
Here is the album by Running Wild that is trashed by many metalheads. While this is not a great disc and is a letdown from the prior and excellent album (The Rivalry), its still not bad.
Yes, this is where the drum programming started with RW and it is a mistake because there is the stale drum sound which hurts the material. It is even more stale on this record than on The Brotherhood and thats a shame because some of the songs are very good.
The album starts off with "Fall of Dorkas" which is a good but is not up to par with some of the past lead off tracks on RW's albums. This is followed by the very Maidenish (hey, thats a good thing) "When Time Runs Out" - alot of dual guitar leads here. Then we get a couple of mediocre songs with "Timeriders" and "Into The Fire". They are sorta RW by numbers, nothing to remember here.
Next is the worst song off the album - a cover of the Beatles "Revolution". One word to describe this - Yuk! I hate the original and Rolf and Co. do nothing to change my mind about it. A waste of time and space.
Then we get a little interlude called "The Final Waltz". Nothing special here. So, by now this album is looking pretty bad but don't fear because this is Running Wild afterall and they come back huge with the best song on the album and one my fav RW tracks "Tsar". This has it all - speed, leads, epic moments. A great song!
"The Hussar" is next and there is no letdown because this songs kicks ass as well and is probably the 2nd best song. The rest of the album is solid power metal with "The Guardian", "Return of the Gods", and "Silent Killer". Then the album ends with the great title track which can lay along side the other great RW title tracks. You will be screaming "Victory" and pumping your fist with this one. A great way to end the album.
Put a real drummer on this album and take off the Beatles crap and you would have a very good album but unfortunately, all you have is a solid (and not bad) metal album. Nothing wrong with that.