No other recording Metal band has actually tried to use the name “Rage”. Yes OK, there was a UK Hard Rock band in the early 80’s and a Pop artist too I think, but really there has only been one METAL band to use just Rage on it’s own – I found that quite surprising given all the Metal bands in all the years and all the different countries out there. And as far as I know this ultimate name to sum up Metal is synonymous with just this one band. That must say something about how highly thought of they are by many (even Ave Noctum’s very own Mr. Darkstanley weighing in with praise earlier this year!), and how well known they are – they are definitely one of the bands that helped shape German Power Metal in the 80’s into what we retrospectively think of today. They adopted this iconic moniker after their debut as Avenger (good move, as they shrugged off any comparisons to crap UK cars of the 70’s) an almost unbelievable 31 years ago and have been putting out albums worthy of that Rage name ever since.
Like many, I also think the most fondly of those late 80’s Noise Records albums – “Perfect Man”. “Secrets In A Weird World” and 1990’s “Reflections of a Shadow” still stand up well enough today, though possibly Peavy Wagner’s decision to drop his vocals down an octave in the 90’s and onwards was in hindsight a decision for the better (but hey, it was the 80’s and squeaking away like Sooty’s best mate was commonplace!). Maybe that vocal change is one of the reasons that Mr. Wagner has chosen to compare this new album to the path of the band’s 90’s albums (leave the testicles where they happily rest now eh Peav?), and musically it is a definite shift back to the no-nonsense guitar/bass/drums Power/Speed Metal that they were known for back then and before.
So that’s where we are really, somewhere in amongst “Black In Mind” and “The Missing Link”. Speedy, powerful riffy Metal tracks bombarding you one after another, pounding drums give no relief, and all the band’s earlier energy is right there again once more. OK, let’s start with the Ballads – there aren’t any. What about the slower tracks…errr…’Times Of Darkness’ gives the drummer a little respite, but loses no heaviness or power. Nope – one after another they come – all at full tilt and presented perfectly by the fabulous Dan Swano production.
This is an album of pure Rage, on an album of pure rage…if you see what I mean. It’s a while since I’ve actually heard a Rage line-up so pumped up. Peavy has a knack of finding guitarists and drummers that utterly suit his vision for the band at that time and listening to the excellent contributions by both the new guys on display here, he has certainly done it again. As for track analysis, basically look at the song list, pick one, listen…do you like it? Then you’ll like the album. There are no nasty surprises, no hidden symphonics, no introspective noodlings, just 10 tracks of pure unadulterated Metal. Maybe it is all in a name, we’re not talking, A Bit Narked, Decidedly Vexed, Mildly Peeved (pun untended…) or even Apoplectic, this is quite simply, Rage.
(8/10 Andy Bar-grrr!)