No pirate jokes. No pirate jokes. No pirate jokes. NO PIRATE JOKES.
Rock 'n' Rolf Kasparek is the Stephen King of the metal world: he cranks 'em out like a bloody machine, and long-time fans keep cramming 'em into their earholes. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you; obviously not everything needs to go down like Bill gat-damned Shakespeare. At least Running Wild has mostly managed to avoid the absurd pitfalls that stacks and stacks of their peers have fallen victim to over the years. The band's bulky catalog has its fair share of hits and misses, but you pretty much know what you're about to step in whenever something new lands on the dock: bouncy, hard rockin' European traditional heavy metal.
Resilient, full-length number sixteen, really is no different. There's thankfully a little less of an Aqua Net feel compared to 2012's mostly awkward Shadowmaker, but it still falls short of hitting with the sort of muscles that their classics from the mid-to-late 80s flexed. The album's brightest spots are filled by the more energetic excerpts – the opening "Soldiers of Fortune," the infectious "The Drift" (best cut of the ten) and the old-school brassiness of "Fireheart" – but even Resilient's most fiery strikes lack the outright potency Rolf once dealt through tunes like "Black Demon" thirty years ago. Still, they're enjoyable enough for those moments when you need a handful of stripped down fist-bangers to fill the gaps.
It's the mid-paced fare that ultimately gums up the works, and unfortunately that makes up for about half the album. The title track, "Run Riot," "Down to the Wire," and "Crystal Gold" all flash a certain playful, catchy abandon, but there's just not enough chrome in the details to expect long-term payoffs. In that regard, this record truly is one of those vacation books meant to be burned through and promptly shelved in some dark corner. And although things end on a healthy note with the melodic (albeit too lengthy) sea shanty "Bloody Island," Resilient ultimately falls short of living up to its name.
Q: Tell me mateys, why did Blackbeard dock his ship to look for an internet connection?
A: Because he wanted to pirate the new CARRRRcass album.