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RUNNING WILD - Gates to Purgatory cover
3.87 | 30 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under Speed Metal


1. Victim of States Power (3:39)
2. Black Demon (4:29)
3. Preacher (4:26)
4. Soldiers of Hell (3:30)
5. Diabolic Force (5:04)
6. Adrian SOS (2:54)
7. Genghis Khan (4:13)
8. Prisoner of Our Time (5:26)

Total Time: 33:41

1988 version bonus tracks:

9. Walpurgis Night (4:41)
10. Satan (4:08)


- Rock'n Rolf / Vocals, Guitars
- Preacher / Guitars, Vocals
- Stephan / Bass
- Hasche / Drums

About this release

Release date: December 26, 1984
Label: Noise International

Recorded at Caet Studio, Berlin, June 1984 by Horst Müller.
Produced by Running Wild.
All songs by Running Wild.
Cover by Running Wild.
Cover photos by D. Magnussen.

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and bonus tracks 9 and 10 by Rolf Kasparek.
Track 6 by Rolf Kasparek & Gerald Warnecke.
Track 8 by Gerald Warnecke.

1991 Japanese edition of Gates to Purgatory coupled with Branded and Exiled and the two extra EP tracks. Catalogue number: Noise/Victor Music Industries VICP-8703.

Thanks to UMUR, adg211288, diamondblack, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Gates to Purgatory is the first Running Wild album from 1984. While Running Wild will always be better known for their pirate themes that stuff didn't actually start until a few albums into their career, so on Gates to Purgatory we find what is essentially a very different band. That not only applies to their lyrical themes, but also their sound.

Running Wild's sound later took a turn towards power metal (and then even later towards a more straight traditional heavy metal sound) but their early works operate more within the traditional/speed metal area. The lyrics deal with more typical heavy metal themes such as Satan. It's a rather short record of approx 34 minutes and eight songs, though later editions add bonus tracks from the prior Victim of States Power EP, which also features Gates to Purgatory's lead song, which is an excellent speed metal track that sets the bar high for the album to follow. This isn't classic Running Wild in the sense that it's from the time period that they're most known for, but it is a really good debut album with several highlights that deserve recognition amongst the band's very best songs, not least the album's closing track and my personal favourite from the album, Prisoner of Our Time. 4 Stars.
"Gates to Purgatory" is the debut full-length studio album by German heavy metal act Running Wild. The album was released through Noise Records in December 1984. Running Wild is mostly known for introducing a pirate image and pirate themed lyrics to the world of heavy metal, but at this early stage of their career, their music was a different kind of beast...

...we´re dealing with traditional heavy metal/speed metal with the melodic elements of early Iron Maiden/Judas Priest, but also the rawness and occult atmosphere of artists like Mercyful Fate and Venom. The latter influences are apparent in songtitles like "Black Demon", "Satan" and "Diabolic Force". The music is generally raw, energetic and features anthemic choruses that you can sing along to. Take tracks like "Soldiers of Hell" or "Prisoner of Our Time". I´ll bet you a $1,000, that listening to those tracks, you won´t be able to control yourself, and you´ll find yourself singing along when those choruses kick in. It´s not always pretty but it´s damn infectious.

The band are generally well playing (and Rock'n Rolf has a nice raw voice but always delivers his vocals with a melodic sensibility) and although the sound production is both raw and unpolished it´s both powerful and charmingly well sounding. When it comes to traditional heavy metal from the early- mid 80s this is one album I can highly recommend and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
Running Wild's debut album sees the band playing a type of speed metal highly reminiscent of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - with, appropriately enough given their name, a particularly strong Judas Priest influence - with a dirty, almost proto-thrashy edge to it, which suggests that the band had been listening to a lot of Venom before making this album. The Venom influence also creeps into the lyrics, which show not a trace of the yo-ho-ho piratey themes that would become prominent in the band's sound and instead focus on a celebration of Satan and metal. It's well-composed, well-performed, and if it isn't quite a work of staggering originality it still more than does the job of keeping me entertained.

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