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Rogues En Vogue
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RUNNING WILD Rogues En Vogue (2005 German 9-track CD the thirteenth studio album by the German heavy metal band which has sold over 500 000 records worldwide lyric booklet picture sleeve)
Figure majeure du speed metal et du power metal allemand, Running Wild et son style de metal à l'imagerie pirate n'a pas franchement dépassé les frontières de son pays d'origine et de la sphère germanique. C'est un peu dommage, du fait que sans être génial Running Wild est un bon petit groupe de heavy metal classique.
Dernier album studio du groupe de Rolf Kasparek, Rogues en Vogue apporte comme à chaque fois un metal épique, presque joyeux, comme un équipage de pirates en bordée à l'île de Tortuga. Running Wild est un prétexte pour mettre en valeur le jeu de guitare fin et mélodieux de Rolf Kasparek, seul maître à bord de bout en bout de l'odyssée du groupe. Au niveau de la voix, Rolf Kasparek est plus limité, et ne supporte pas la comparaison avec l'un ou l'autre des grands hurleurs du heavy metal.
« Skull & Bones » représente bien l'inspiration pirate de Running Wild, avec un refrain inspiré de chants de matelots, « Draw the Line » martèle un tempo plus appuyé, ponctué d'interventions de guitare concises et efficaces. « Born Bad, Dying Worse » part à l'abordage sans retenue, pas de quartier et le trésor est à nous. « Soul Vampires » donne dans un power metal efficace à défaut d'être très novateur.
Sans être - et de loin - le meilleur album de Running Wild, Rogues en Vogue est une belle manière de tirer sa révérence pour un groupe un tantinet sous-estimé, là où d'autres ont souvent reçus des lauriers outranciers.
- Copyright 2015 Music Story
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Car il ne faut pas attendre de Running Wild autre chose que du heavy metal aux riffs simples mais ô combien efficaces, aux refrains guerriers, aux chansons que l'on retient facilement et que l'on fredonne une fois l'album terminé.
Depuis plus de 20 ans, ce groupe mêne sa barque (ou plutôt son navire corsaire) contre vents et marées. Jamais reconnu à sa juste valeur, jamais sous les projecteurs des médias (de la presse spécialisée metal) mais toujours là, à nous offrir régulièrement des albums de qualité comme celui-ci. Long Live Heavy Metal, Long Live Running Wild!
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I wasn't expecting a lot out of "Rogues En Vogue". The kind of strange title made me think, "Hmm, what the heck is going on?". Then some song titles leaked out such as "Skull And Bones", "Skeleton Dance", "Black Gold" and I figured O.K., this looks more like it.
Finally, before the album was released I was able to hear the song "Skeleton Dance" on internet radio and it blew my mind. I was like "Oh my God, are you kidding me? What has the Cap'n cooked up here?". Then when I got the full main album without the 2 bonus tracks I was completely blown away again. So many awesome, catchy songs and the whole sound and spirit seemed to be revived. After fishing around in Running Wild circles and reading some reviews I was shocked to see that although there are many fans just as happy as I was there are just as many that don't seem to be impressed.
I have the Limited Edition now and I have been listening to this album for weeks. Every time I listen to the album I have been thinking "What the heck is wrong with some of these people? Why are they sitting on their hands?"
Well, I don't have the whole answer yet but I think I have part of it. Those that don't like the album tend to complain about the production sound. Everything from the vocals, to the guitars to the drum sound. Meanwhile, I'm listening and just loving all these aspects. Why? I think part of the answer to the mystery is that this album both the songs and the prouduction are "POWER METAL". As in European power/speed metal like Gamma Ray, Iron Savior and the like. The Brotherhood was not written or produced like true power metal. It was not sonic sounding outside of two tracks, "The Ghost" and "Siberian Winter." Victory was sort of power metal sounding but the songs themselves were not big chorus type tunes you hear on power metal albums.
What I suggest is if you want to buy this album keep in mind that this is more sonic and Power Metal sounding sort of like Masquerade but not nearly THAT sonic or speedy and the vocals are more in the front like pop metal. For me the sound of ReV is 100 times more exciting than either Victory or The Brotherhood. Those two albums sounded a bit lifeless. Drums on ReV are absolutely great and supplied by a real drummer this time around Matthias Liebertuth. The vocal recording I'll be honest is sort of going to depend on your tastes. Rolf uses a snare on his voice sort of like you heard on Masquerade and also the lead vocals are kind of high in the mix. I think they sound fanastic but a lot of people are having trouble with some of them especially their first few listens. As far as the chorus vocals we have a MAJOR upgrade here. The choruses on Rogues En Vogue are outstanding. Really, Really good but again they sound like Power Metal so if you don't like Power Metal...
As far as the songs this is the strength of the album. In my opinion this is the best group of songs ever assembled on any one Running Wild album. The songs are varied too. We have a few speed tunes, some up-tempo power metal but not quite speed metal style tunes and a few groovy tunes ala When Time Runs Out or Soulstrippers. There are no AC/DC style rock tunes such as Dr. Horror and Detonator thank God.
Let's take a look at the songs:
DRAW THE LINE
The Cap'n tricks us a bit by starting with a slower rocking tune something like you would expect on "The Brotherhood." Luckily the song has a little more flair than those songs and the drumming of Matthias saves the day. This song kind of has a strong "freedom/revolution" vibe as the Cap'n calls out "Revolution's Back Again!" during the Bridge. Kind of reminds me of the spirit of "Revolution Calling" kicking off the Operation Mindcrime album even though this song is nothing like that one.
My Score: 7/10
ANGEL OF MERCY
The feeling that you might be listening to The Brotherhood part 2 disappears for good when the speedy and super catchy AoM kicks in. This tune is immediately likable and in a way the most commercial sounding song on the album. It has a super power metal chorus and the tempo is a refreshing reminder of what RW is like at their best. Outstanding tune almost any fan of catchy power metal will enjoy. Almost happy or uplifting.
Here is a great example of the difference between recent RW albums and ReV. We all know Rolf has had a fascination with adding more and more rock/riff driven tunes as of late and gone away from speed metal. The difference with ReV is that the rockers are much faster and fall into the "Power Metal" genre instead of the "Rock/Metal" genre. Skeleton Dance starts with an immediately gripping lead similar to Soulless from the Black Hand Inn album and rips along at a pretty good pace but in a pounding power metal way. The chorus of this one just about blows your head right off. Really sonic and powerfull. At the second chorus setup the song skips the main vocal chorus and instead a ripping melodic lead spirals into the main solo. You have to wait for the end of the song to hear the big full chorus again but it's worth the wait. This kind of trick Rolf uses throughout the album to keep the replayability high. In a way this album is the opposite of The Rivalry in that while TR often beats a dead horse by repeating and dragging things out ReV does the opposite. The songs are shorter less repetitive and you are almost never waiting for a song to finally end.
SKULL AND BONES
One of Rolf's greatest pirate songs ever. It's not a speed burner but intead runs the gambit from slow to fairly fast but overall is more about mood and pirate feel than all out speed. The song starts with an engaging opening acoustic intro that makes you feel like you are slowely sailing out to sea on a pirate ship. A jaw dropping classic Running Wild lead jumps into action with pounding drum before the song settles into a mid paced chug. The verse moves with an interesting somber drift and you can almost feel the waves crashing your vessle. The bridge is a catchy pirate group chant followed by the dastardly cry of pirates screaming "SKULL AND BONES!, on the horison, SKULL AND BONES!..." I think you get the picture. Anyway this song is an epic and authentic pirate tune the likes of which we have not heard from the Cap'n since "The Ballad Of William Kidd". But don't think of singing about a famous pirate. Skull and Bones is more like actually being on the ship and experiencing first hand. My favorite song on the album.
BORN BAD, DYING WORSE
This one has some of the "groove" RW has begun using lately. At first I did not think this song was much at all but it is a real "grower". It's got some very cool guitars in it and once you kind of get a feel for it you realize it is a lot better than you thought.
Actually, other than Draw The Line this is the only other tune that sort of reminds me of The Brotherhood. For me it is a mix between the song Welcome To Hell and the song Lead Or Gold from the Pile Of Skulls album. The verse swings into action and sounds sort of like a song from The Brotherhood but then the bridge has an unusual speedy vocal approach that totally reminds me of the Pile Of Skulls album. The main chorus confirms the feeling sounding very remniscent of the Lead or Gold chorus. This is another song that grew on me a lot and now is one of my favorites.
This one remindes me little of When Time Runs Out as far as the chorus. The echo effect is exactly the same. The verse is kind of dark and brooding which fits the lyrics and song title. It's a groove tune but again we see the strength of ReV. The groove tunes are really good. A unique song for this release as it does not really go with the rest of the songs. Nonetheless, a welcome addition to the album.
ROGUES EN VOGUE
Classic Running Wild speed tune. Not the fastest tune in RW history but still speed metal. Catchy and with an unusual format. It goes verse,chorus, solo, chorus, verse, chorus, then is has a really cool couple of vocal lines as the chorus finally ends it. If you like RW playing Power Metal then you like this tune a lot. I don't like the chorus of this one quite as well as some of the other choruses but I still like it a lot and the verses are really, really good and those added outro vocal lines I was refering to earlier totally smoke!!!
WINGED AND FEATHERED
This one is a strange RW tune. It has a very uplifting freedom feel to it kind of like Uaschitschun or Freewind Rider. Although the overall feel is kind of relaxed it is also very melodic and the drums are realy pretty speedy and crushing. You want to be in a relaxed, almost reflective mood when you hear this song. That is when it sound really cool. If you are in kind of a "Rock Out" mood though you will miss the point for sure.
DEAD MAN'S ROAD
Very catch rocking tune that although a rocker/groove tune, it has a power metal feel to it and a catchy chorus. Verse,chorus, solo, verse, chorus. The shortest song on the album and well worth the space it takes up. Great little tune.
This is the 10 minute epic tune. Don't expect "The Ghost" or "Treasure Island" though. This one is unique. It starts with marching military guitars something like you would hear on The Rivalry. The verse kicks with a very unconventional sort of pop sounding march. This is supposed to give the mood of young and excited kids marching off to war oblivious to the real nature of what they are doing. It's a very catchy march and the cool chorus eventually drops in. The strange thing about this song is it runs for about 4 minutes and is basically a regular song but then the song stops and it kicks into a long set of marching military music played on guitars. Very gripping and fantastic if you like that sort of thing. The final chorus is different than the one played in the first part of the song and the song finishes with some final marching guitar and drum pounding. The Cap'n took some chances on this song and some die hard RW fans hate it but I think most are very excited about this song as I am.
CANNONBALL TOUNGE (Limited Edition Bonus Track)
We all know on The Brotherhood the bonus tracks on the Limited Edition were some of the better tunes on the release. I personally liked Faceless a lot. This time around the bonus tracks are even higher quality. Cannonball Tounge starts off with a riff sort of like Detonator but it quickly turns more melodic and settles into a speedy melodic riff similar to the way Skeleton Dance does. This song actually reminds me of Faceless but because ReV has a much better sound in general then The Brotherhood this song beats Faceless. The lyrics on this one are some of the better on the album. Classic Rock 'n Rolf lyrics about someone who is a pathological liar.
LIBERTALIA (Limited Edition Bonus Track)
For most people this is the best song on the album. I can't really disagree. If you take the classic song Riding The Storm and infuse it with something like The Privateer from Black Hand Inn you have Libertalia. A rip roaring pirate hymn to beat all pirate hymns. The Island of Libertalia is located off the coast of Madegascar I believe and is a real island that used to be a haven for Pirates seeking freedom and safe haven. If you took this song and placed it in the middle of the Black Hand Inn album I don't think anyone who did not already know the album would even realize it does not belong there.
Let's see, what more can I leave you with. Oh, one thing that is important. This album does not sound like any one previous Running Wild album including the Power Metal sounding albums. If you are waiting for Black Hand Inn part 2 or the second coming of Death Or Glory or Masquerade you will not find it here. This is also definitly not sounding like Victory or The Brotherhood. If I had to pick a couple albums it sounds like the most I would fuse together Blazon Stone, Black Hand Inn, Pile of Skulls, The Brotherhood, The Rivalry but also remember it has some aspects all it's own. Definitely though if you are waiting for the sounds of Gates To Purgatory - Under Jolly Roger you can forget it.
Also, if you are reading reviews keep in mind many reviews were done prior to the Limited Edition release about half of the complaining you hear from them is answered with one word, "Libertalia". Also, the word "booring" got thrown around a lot with Victory and The Brotherhood because of the lifeless production. I agree with that assertion, but if you hear anyone use that word for this release I can promise you they either did not listen to the album at all. Or, they listened just quick enough to say "yep, another Victory/The Brotherhood release, I knew it", and quickly started bashing. I'm not saying everyone will or should like this release but it should be obvious to even the haters that the "booring" era of Running Wild has ended abruptly much like a certain huge passenger vessle striking an iceberg.
M the P
If you likes rock, but not Heavy Metal, its the same.
If you love Heavy Metal, this is the real deal on metal.
I love this work, and i am a life-long Running Wild fan.
Some fans underrated this album in comparison to others from the band,
but i can assure, it's a masterpiece.
Nobody can tell you to buy something, just get a 'copy' and listen enough,
and you will find one of the best metal albums of Running Wild!
When (and if) you find yourself glad with the music, please buy the original record!
And finally, sad thing that the band has ended...
Rogues might be in Vogue, but limiting stubbornness is not.