Published on October 14th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Running Wild: Gates to Purgatory (Noise)
Originally released in 1984, Gates to Purgatory was the debut album from German power metal icons Running Wild. Back before “Rock ‘n Rolf” and company developed the pirate fixation they’re best known for, Running Wild had a much more sinister tone and image.
With Gates to Purgatory, Running Wild was more or less a “blackened” speed metal band. Their lyrical content was focused – almost comically so – on all things Satanic and occult, but their music was raw, aggressive metal that put a Venom stamp on a Judas Priest/Accept-driven sound. It’s like a darker, gruffer (but still powerful and melodic) version of Helloween’s Walls of Jericho.
It’s very dated, and a far cry from Under Jolly Roger or Port Royal, but early Running Wild is still a lot of fun. Gates to Purgatory remains a must-have album for Running Wild fans, and an important album in German heavy metal history. Beyond that, anyone who is into the darker bands of the early NWOBHM scene – Venom, Cloven Hoof and Angel Witch for example – ought to own a copy of Gates to Purgatory, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: The newly reactivated Noise label reissued Gates to Purgatory (along with eight other early Running Wild classics) this summer. Their reissue features a new remastering that’s on par with the 2012 reissue on the Lemon/Cherry Red label, and a booklet and packaging that sadly isn’t (damn digipacks). It does however come loaded with a hefty eight bonus tracks, including a pair of alternate versions from the German Metal Attack compilation, a pair of single b-sides, a pair of songs from the early Death Metal compilation and a pair of 1991 rerecordings. These tracks have been available on various other reissues throughout the years, but it’s really cool to have them all in one place. Between that and the remastered sound, this is a more than worthwhile upgrade.
Summary: Pirates or Satan? Either way, Running Wild rules.