RUNNING WILD — Black Hand Inn

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RUNNING WILD - Black Hand Inn cover
4.35 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1994

Filed under Power Metal
By RUNNING WILD

Tracklist

1. The Curse (3:13)
2. Black Hand Inn (4:31)
3. Mr. Deadhead (4:03)
4. Soulless (4:57)
5. The Privateer (4:21)
6. Fight the Fire of Hate (6:40)
7. The Phantom of Black Hand Hill (6:23)
8. Freewind Rider (5:17)
9. Powder & Iron (5:18)
10. Dragonmen (5:42)
11. Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man) (15:19)

Total Time: 65:47

Bonus tracks:

12. Dancing On a Minefield (5:00)
13. Poisoned Blood (3:44)

Line-up/Musicians

- Rock 'n' Rolf / Vocals, Guitars
- Thilo Hermann / Guitars
- Thomas "Bodo" Smuszynski / Bass
- Jörg Michael / Drums

Guest musicians

- Ralf Nowy / Flute (#10)
- Thomas Rettke / Backing Vocals

About this release

Release date: March 24th, 1994
Label: Noise Records

Thanks to adg211288, diamondblack for the updates

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RUNNING WILD BLACK HAND INN reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

666sharon666
Black Hand Inn is the eighth Running Wild album from 1994. While I do enjoy the group's next two albums quite a bit as well, as far as I'm concerned Black Hand Inn is the last really excellent Running Wild release. It's also, in my opinion, their very best work.

The reason that I consider this one their best is because it just feels so quintessential for the band's classic period of pirate themed power metal. It's a concept album so no pirates for the sake pirates malarkey, their power metal side is dominant in the song writing (lots of fast paced, melodic tracks with catchy choruses) and the traditional heavy metal side is still there to add some variation to the album. After setting the scene with the introductory track The Curse the album is basically smooth sailing (pardon the pun) as Running Wild do what they do best track after track. It's not the sort of release that will offer experienced Running Wild listeners any surprises, but if you were to only ever hear or own one release from these guys, you'd do well to make it this one. 5 stars.
adg211288
Black Hand Inn (1994) is the eighth full-length studio album by German power/heavy metal act Running Wild. The album brought more changes to the ever unstable line-up of the band with Thilo Hermann (guitars) and Jörg Michael (drums) joining Rock 'n' Rolf's (vocals, guitars) pirate crew, replacing Axel Morgan and Stefan Schwarzmann respectively, while Thomas "Bodo" Smuszynski (bass) has stuck around from the Pile of Skulls (1992) line-up. This line-up would go on to also record Masquerade (1995) and The Rivalry (1998) so Black Hand Inn can actually be considered the beginning of one of Running Wild's more stable periods. Some versions of the album include the bonus tracks Poisoned Blood and Dancing on a Minefield, which are the b-sides to the album's single, The Privateer.

The album itself is a loose concept piece surrounding the character of John Xenir, who is burned at the stake for his use of forbidden powers. All that is left of John after his execution is a charred black hand, which results in the hill upon which he died being renamed Black Hand Hill. Later an inn is opened, the titular Black Hand Inn, owned by the resurrected John Xenir. Set against a backdrop of piracy, as you'd expect of a Running Wild release from this period, John continues to use his powers to predict the future, including a oncoming Armageddon. This part of the album is based on the book The 12th Planet by Zecharia Sitchin.

While the music on the album is quite typical for the band during their power metal years, featuring their quite distinctive guitar driven sound with a strong traditional metal edge, it's less typical of the genre as a whole. The band leave out the use of keyboards and the music is not over-polished on the production front, while they keep the speedy riffs and the melodies of power metal intact. This gives the band quite the old school sound, which is fair to expect for one of the earliest bands to turn to power metal after starting out in more of a speed metal direction. Rock 'n' Rolf's vocals aren't the soaring and powerful kind of most power metal bands either but rawer and more direct. This doesn't stop the band from producing a number of catchy tracks on the album. It's probably the Running Wild album with the most hooks. The choruses here are really infectious; songs that make you want to play them over and over and they'll always be as good each time and stuck in your head for a while afterwards. This is especially true of tracks like Soulless and The Privateer.

The most different track on the album is Genesis (The Making and the Fall of Man) mostly because unlike everything else which sticks between the three and seven minute marks it's an epic length track at over fifteen minutes. It's probably the album's only true weak link as I think that's just a bit long for a single track in Running Wild's style, though it certainly still has its moments that are on the level with the rest of the album. It's just that a bit of trimming wouldn't have hurt. It's long even if you discount the use of narration at the beginning and end of the track and not the best way to end what is already quite a substantial album even before it starts, the previous tracks bringing things up to around the 50 minute mark. It's only a small issue though and it doesn't affect my overall regard for the album.

Running Wild had a pretty consistent career for their first ten albums, never really dropping below a 'good' level but it's Black Hand Inn that has really stuck me as the group's best work, despite some close competition. They seem to have since lost their way some with more recent efforts, but for those looking for some rawer, old school sounding power metal of the kind that most other acts just don't offer, there's probably none finer than Running Wild during their heyday, with Black Hand Inn being the ideal starting point. 5 Stars. A power metal classic, for my money.
Warthur
Running Wild's Black Hand Inn is a decidedly mixed bag. Amping up the Judas Priest influence on their sound - which had been rather scaled back on preceding albums such as Port Royal or Pile of Skulls - they scale back the cheesy power metal influences a bit and deliver a brand of traditional heavy metal which at points I really get into - Fight the Fire of Hate would be the best Judas Priest song Judas Priest didn't actually sing, if it didn't go on for three minutes too long. But then again you have material like Freewind Rider, which is just a mite too reminiscent of Freewheel Burning for the naming similarity to be mere coincidence, and I begin to get distracted by pondering where the line lies between tasteful marge and shameless copying.

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