What is the second best after the original? Tribute albums? Or just silence?
Tough question, I think.
Be honest: When was the last time you thought the cover was actually better than the original? The examples are few, aren’t they? I think Flotsam & Jetsam’s fabulous version of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Primus’ version of The Thing That Should Not Be, Wrathchild America’s rendition of Pink Floyd’s Time and the like – i.e. the cases where the covering artists have turned the original into something uniquely their own.
For me, metal bands covering metal bands is even a harder one. There is a long line of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Helloween tribute albums out there, and none of the ones I’ve heard neither capture the spirit of the originals entirely, nor do they add anything particularly surprising.
The same can be said of the present release. 31 Running Wild tracks covered by a plethora of seasoned as well as young bands – you can see the impressive list below.
On the whole, the versions presented are extremely true to the originals – something which I think is a problem. As usual it makes you want to listen to original rather than the covers that somehow don’t get it quite right if you have Running Wild’s classic albums in your collection.
Another problem is that the great eagerness to deliver a big package (which in itself is an honourable cause): some of the material, take the song Detonator and Dr. Horror as two examples, is from the outset not the strongest Running Wild songs, and the covering bands have little to add.
None of the bands fall through by not delivering the goods , everything is all extremely professional and excellent sound-wise, but only on rare occasions, the bands manage to make the songs their. Deadlock is one example. Marooned and Withering Soul are others.
Whatever artistic ups and downs Rock’n’Rolf has presented us to throughout the past 30 years, Running Wild has left a bunch of great songs with us. And one thing that is proved with this release is that his work can’t so easily be copied in a fashion that sparks the same spirit.
For hardcore collectors of anything related to Running Wild only.
P.S. Under Jolly Roger is one of the best heavy metal songs ever! ‘nuff said!