Branded and Exiled is the second album from the legendary German power metal band, Running Wild. An interesting follow up from Gates To Purgatory which worked as a bridge to the band’s first classic, Under Jolly Rodger.
Long before they went with their pirate gimmick, Running Wild were focused more on fantasy themed lyrics whilst utilising the same heavy guitar style. By comparison to their debut album, Branded and Exiled is considerably toned down with less Satanic themes and considerably less thrash metal moments. The band instead opt for a more Judas Priest mid tempo approach to things, the end result being one well put together album.
Fans of the band will of course know the album title track, Branded and Exiled and the J.R.R. Tolkien inspired Mordor. The rest of the songs fall into a kind of obscurity due to the simple fact that the groups most memorable material is considerably better than this record and came two years later on Under Jolly Rodger. Songs like Gods of Iron, Fight Oppression and Marching To Die are all good songs with some very tasty guitar licks but lack the bite and energy that came before it is very noticeable.
The lack of good production is likely the main reason that the album has no energy. Gates To Purgatory wasn’t perfect by any means but got the raw production style that suited that kind thrash metal style. Unfortunately the same could not be said for Branded and Exiled. The songs are balls to the wall metal but the production style is awfully low budget and quite sterile, even after being remastered. The sound sucks the life out of these songs and needs a real clean up.
Branded and Exiled is not what I would call a great album but it does it does and does it well. Those people out there looking for a German metal fix will love this album, warts and all. Thankfully, after being out of print and horrendously expensive for so long, Noise Records have recently put this album back into circulation with a 2017 remaster. It isn’t a necessary buy, but it is a fun one.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- Branded and Exiled
- Gods of Iron
- Realm of Shades
- Fight The Oppression
- Evil Spirit
- Marching to Die
- Chains and Leather