There are few bands in metal with a more interesting and enjoyable sound than Running Wild. While they were able to put out album after album of fantastic heavy metal for a number of years, the gradual decline in quality was a definite frustration. For that reason, it is very positive news that there is no shortage of bands lining up to replace Running Wild. Blazon Stone is perhaps the biggest name, but Italy’s Silverbones is equally authentic. To say they’ve nailed the pirate sound would be an understatement. From start to finish, “Wild Waves” could confuse you for an early 1990s Running Wild album in almost every conceivable way. Most commonly on display throughout the record is the classic tremolo picking of catchy melodies, but even the more standard heavy metal riffs sound like they were written by Rolf himself.
One of the most pressing concerns when an army of clones shows up is that they end up sounding generic and having nothing of value to offer. Fortunately, Silverbones ensures that isn’t the case by writing truly memorable songs. The raging title track, “Wild Waves”, is an instant classic, and the staccato riff before the solo and at the end of the song puts a unique spin on the band’s sound. Another highlight is “Wicked Kings”, which is a galloping affair. This song is most notable for the closing solo, which builds in intensity until the climactic ending. In true Running Wild fashion, the album closes with an epic: “Black Bart”. The only difference is that this song isn’t too lengthy and as a result, doesn’t overstay its welcome.
The great thing about “Wild Waves” is that it is so accessible. Aside from those mentioned above, other songs, like “Royal Tyrants” and “Raiders of the New World”, are instant anthems, as they’re easy to sing along to and loads of fun. Really though, there’s not a bad moment on here. In fact, the only song I’m not overly thrilled with is “The Undead”, which is a bit more plodding in its approach. Regardless, the fact that I can single out every track on this record by memory is an impressive feat with the way modern metal often is.
If there’s one way that “Wild Waves” differs from the classic Running Wild records, it would be in the vocals. In fact, the band’s singer is much closer to either of Blazon Stone’s singers than he is to Rolf. Even without the German accent, however, he’s very effective on this record. He spends a lot of time working in a mid-range, rather than being outlandishly high-pitched or low-pitched. Though some might interpret it as being a bit monotone, this style complements the music incredibly well. It also makes some of his more daring moments increasingly compelling, like the wailing of “Queen Anne’s Revenge” at the end of the track sharing the same name.
Although it’s been over a decade since the last good Running Wild album, the style that they’ve pioneered is becoming increasingly common. So far, nearly every band in this style absolutely rules, and Silverbones is no exception. “Wild Waves” is an impressive start that offers stellar musicianship, a full production (courtesy of Blazon Stone’s mainman, who also played drums on this record), and most importantly: memorable and interesting songs.
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"Raiders of the New World"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott