Rage

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Reign Of Fear

Rage - Reign Of Fear ©1986 Noise Int.
1. Scared To Death
2. Deceiver
3. Reign Of Fear
4. Hand Of Glory
5. Raw Energy
6. Echoes Of Evil
7. Chaste Flesh
8. Suicide
9. Machinery

Probably the first thing I noticed about this CD is the picture of Peavy Wagner on the back. He looks about eighteen, trying to strike the 80's metal tough guy pose. It's pretty humorous. With this CD Rage burst onto the speed metal scene. Featuring a new band name (formerly Avenger) and then a foursome with dueling guitars backing Peavy's screaming vocals, this CD is very much an in your face assault. This is crunching, fast as you can shred that guitar, wild metal. No, it doesn't have the maturity of today's Rage, but the two bands are wholly different with the exception of Peavy continuing from the beginning. "Machinery" is a stand out on this disc. Fans of early Rage will appreciate this no-holds-barred disc if for no other reason than to plug a hole in their collection.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2000

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Execution Guaranteed

Rage - Execution Guaranteed ©1987 Noise Int.
1. Down By Law
2. Execution Guaranteed
3. Before The Storm (the Secret Affair)
4. Streetwolf
5. Deadly Error
6. Hatred
7. Grapes Of Wrath
8. Mental Decay
9. When You're Dead

The second disc from Rage continues the strong speed metal that defined the early stages of this group. With the exception of the instrumental "Grapes of Wrath", these are turn-your-brain-to-mush screaming speed tracks that leave you dazed. Peavy's vocals are still shrill and harsh. This disc has some great slash and burn music. Just don't go looking for depth or hidden agendas. This is simply straight ahead power metal at its rawest form, an all out attack on your senses. As with Reign of Fear, this disc is of interest to those who want to own whole discographies. Beyond that, it does little more than show the infancy of Rage and how far they've come in advancing the realm of speedy power metal.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2000

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Perfect Man

Rage - Perfect Man ©1988 Noise Int.
1. Wasteland
2. In The Darkest Hour
3. Animal Instinct
4. Perfect Man
5. Sinister Thinking
6. Supersonic Hydromatic
7. Don't Fear The Winter
8. Death In The Afternoon
9. A Pilgrim's Path
10. Time And Place
11. Round Trip
12. Between The Lines
13. Symbols Of Our Fear
14. Neurotic

Every now and again an album comes along that completely and fully engulfs me and never lets me go. I borrowed this tape from a friend when I was in high school. One listen and I was hooked. This is, by far, the best speed metal album of the 80's. Peavey Wagner ditched the rest of the band, brought in Manni and Chris, and apparently that was all it took to create an album beyond all expectations. The production brings out the bass guitar and gives it a more punk feel than the cliched metal production of all the other Rage albums. On top of that, Peavey played bass so fast on some of these songs that I still think he was on three pots of coffee a day back then. Vocally, he's still the high pitched terror, but he's come a long way. Best tracks include "Supersonic Hydromatic", "Between the Lines" (that song is so fast, it's scary), "Pilgrim's Path", and "In the Darkest Hour". Unfortunately, this record is hard to find, but it is well worth the search.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1997

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Secrets In A Weird World

Rage - Secrets In A Weird World ©1989 Noise Int.
1. Intro (opus 32 No. 3)
2. Time Waits For No One
3. Make My Day
4. The Inner Search
5. Invisible Horizons
6. She
7. Light Into The Darkness
8. Talk To Grandpa
9. Distant Voices
10. Without A Trace
11. Lost Side Of The World
12. Law And Order
13. Mirror

Secrets in a Weird World had a lot to live up to as it had the misfortune of succeeding the incredible Perfect Man. But unlike Perfect Man, Secrets was considerably slowed down and drenched in more metal guitar than the lean, mean speed assault of the last album. Manni Schmidt's guitar is double (maybe triple) tracked throughout, often swirling and attacking with several angles. Originally this album was somewhat disappointing in when I bought it nearly ten years ago but it grew on me with successive listens due to the rock-solid songwriting throughout. Peavey Wagner's vocals were still bordering on bad but each album Rage releases has shown vocal improvement and Secrets was no exception. With the exception of "She", every song on here is memorable and worth listening through. Though lacking the sheer velocity excitement of Perfect Man, the album relies on good metal songs instead. "Distant Voices" is one of the best, with a strong chorus. "Make My Day" is very aggressive and driving. The nine minute long "Without a Trace" explores mysteries of the world (hence the album's title), showing some of the interest in sci-fi topics Peavey has shown throughout the years. I wouldn't necessarily refer to Secrets as the pinnacle of Rage's achievements but it certainly goes in my top three favorite albums simply for being a consistent, intelligent album throughout.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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Reflections Of A Shadow

Rage - Reflections Of A Shadow ©1990 Noise Int.
1. Introduction (a Bit More Green)
2. That's Human Bondage
3. True Face In Everyone
4. Flowers That Fade In My Hand
5. Reflections Of A Shadow
6. Can't Get Out
7. Waiting For The Moon
8. Faith
9. Saddle The Wind
10. Dust
11. Nobody Knows
12. Wild Seed

Reflections of a Shadow turned out to be Rage's last American release for a long time, the band being an unfortunate casualty of Noise Int.'s label problems and the growing disinterest in all things metal in 1990. Reflections at the time was still not up to par of Perfect Man - which will always be my favorite Rage record - but it was still a quite solid record. The first half of the record is only so-so, with "Flowers That Fade in My Hand" being a touching tribute to Peavey Wagner's father, but it slowly builds as the record wears on. By the time you reach the title track, you've hit the great tracks that make this album so endearing over time. Rage was slowly blending a better sense of melody, partly due to Wagner's ever-improving vocals. "Waiting for the Moon", "Saddle the Wind", "Nobody Knows" and the title track all benefit from having a good melody to lock down the song. Moreover, a larger sense of song dynamics gives the record a wider array of attack, whether it's a mid-tempo melody, balladry or what have you. As with I believe all of the Rage releases, the CD version contains bonus tracks that make it worth searching out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1999

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Extended Power EP

Rage - Extended Power EP ©1991 Noise Int.
1. Woman
2. Ashes
3. Bottlefield
4. Waiting For The Moon
5. What's Up?

Using "Waiting for the Moon" as the ringer from Reflections of a Shadow, this short five song EP picks up some odds and ends that had been lying around the Rage practice room. "Bottlefield" is a holdover from pre-Rage Avenger days, "Ashes" came from Secrets in a Weird World, "What's Up" was a fun little instrumental the band used to play to warm their fingers up and "Woman" is the newest track of the bunch. There really is nothing that will cause you to swing from your chandeliers in glee as these tracks all come across as the most average of the Reflections era, but none are so bad that you shouldn't eventually find a copy of this EP. By this point the band was moving into their more midpaced, less frantic 90s style and what you hear on this EP shows the progression.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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Beyond The Wall EP

Rage - Beyond The Wall EP ©1992 Noise Int.
1. Bury All Life
2. On The Edge
3. I Want You
4. (Those, Who Got) Nothing To Lose
5. Last Goodbye
6. Light Into The Darkness (acoustic Version)

Running at nearly a half hour in length and containing six unreleased songs, Beyond the Wall earns more than just a slight necessity for Rage fans. The style of EP is well within what the band was accomplishing on Trapped! and acts as a good addendum for the album. The songs are in that midpaced to somewhat speedy, heavy but melodic style that defined Rage for the first half of the 90s. For the most part I find this style marginally less interesting and exciting than their late 80s output but the music is satisfying. Peavy Wagner's vocals, in particular, continued to improve as time went on. His voice is still distinctive, but not quite so shrill or liable to upset the pets in your neighborhood. That improvement is part of the reason many will find appeal in Rage in the 90s.

The long and short of Beyond the Wall is that the songs are all worthy of being on a regular full length, not just a mini-CD. The acoustic version of "Light Into the Darkness" (from Secrets in a Weird World) is quite good and the five originals are all solid. Fans of Trapped! or The Missing Link are recommended to search out this EP.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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Trapped!

Rage - Trapped! ©1992 Noise Int.
1. Shame On You
2. Solitary Man
3. Enough Is Enough
4. Medicine
5. Questions
6. Take Me To The Water
7. Power And Greed
8. The Body Talks
9. Not Forever
10. Beyond The Wall Of Sleep
11. Baby, I'm Your Nightmare
12. Fast As A Shark
13. Difference
14. Innocent Guilty
15. Marchine Heroes--the Wooden Cross

By 1992, Rage had apparently settled into their 90's mode of operation. The speed frenzy of Perfect Man was a long distant memory and the swirling guitars of Secrets in a Weird World were exchanged for a more focus, lean attack. Trapped! has often been referred to as a fan favorite, though I'm having a bit of trouble completely getting into it. Among the many notable evolutions in the band is Peavy Wagner's singing, which finally had improved to the point where he wasn't breaking into intolerable falsettos in every song. His newfound melodic, slightly raspy voice does make Rage more enjoyable overall. What I think might be missing from Trapped! is the urgency and tension of the past three albums. Here, the tracks are mid-paced and polite, not taut and frantic. While the exchange for melody make "Enough is Enough" or "Solitary Man" memorable, it isn't as exciting as earlier albums. Don't get me wrong, though. Trapped! is by no means a bad album; rather, it is just isn't as gripping as the stuff that originally got me into the band in the first place.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/1999

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The Missing Link

Rage - The Missing Link ©1993 Noise Int.
1. Firestorm
2. Nevermore
3. Refuge
4. The Pit And The Pendulum
5. From The Underworld
6. Certain Days
7. Who Dares
8. Wake Me When I'm Dead
9. Lost In The Ice
10. Her Diary's Black Pages
11. The Missing Link
12. Raw Caress

In high school, Rage had become one of my all time favorite heavy metal bands with their excellent speed metal albums Perfect Man, Secrets in a Weird World and, to a lesser extent, Reflections of a Shadow. Of course, trends being what they are, metal seemed to utterly vanish around 1991 and many European bands completely failed to ever see the stateside record shelves afterwards. Noise Records' US office apparently went bankrupt in the meantime, leaving a large group of their artists without a way to distribute their records here and no one else seemed terribly interested in picking up the slack with metal being on the wane. So for folks like myself, it seemed as though Rage, as well as host of others, had broken up.

Spring forward a few years and into the advent of the internet. In the summer of '96, I found myself online and discovering to my happy surprise that Rage still existed and more importantly, had released several albums in the 90's. Hastily and excitedly, I maxed out my credit card in a matter of months tracking down all sorts of metal albums to catch myself up with what had happened in the previous half decade. The Missing Link, as it turns out, is my reintroduction to Rage after not hearing a single new musical note from them for over six years.

For the most part, Rage had slowed things down and opted for a more midpaced, controlled style that emphasized strong songwriting. Moreoever, Peavey Wagner had gained a degree of singing strength and wasn't merely trying to hit high notes all the time, letting the listening experience be much more comfortable for the listener. However, his lyrics continued to be very much in the vein of the X-Files. The album's "epic" song, "Lost in the Ice", suggests that alien life might be found buried under glaciers. Other songs seem to have more of an Edgar Allan Poe bent to them. For the most part, none of these mid-paced to somewhat speedy songs are huge standouts, but on a whole the consistency of the album makes it a good listen, especially for a long time Rage fan. With a strength of melody being better harnessed, Rage could make claim at creating catchy songs, such as "Who Dares" or "The Pit and the Pendulum". As a result, you get an album that isn't necessarily going to blow you away on first listen but instead gives you something that will create enjoyment and lasting interest for a long time to come.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2000

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10 Years In Rage

Rage - 10 Years In Rage ©1994 Victor/Noise
1. Vertigo
2. She Killed And Smiled
3. Destination Day
4. Take My Blood
5. No Sign Of Life
6. Submission
7. The Unknown
8. Dangerous Heritage
9. Prayers Of Steel '94
10. The Blow In A Row
11. Brainsucker

Rather than release a bland collection of familiar tunes for their anniversary album, Peavey Wagner decided it would be best to dig out some old songs from his demo and practice tapes and record those instead. Admittedly this is a very nice gesture towards the fans, but the results are somewhat varied. Since many of these songs never made the official releases, you can already guess that they aren't as strong as the usual Rage songs. A few of them do stand out: the speedy "Take My Blood", "Submission" (written during Execution Guaranteed sessions) and the medley of Rage classics called "Blow in a Row". However, some of the others songs are simply tepid in comparison to what the band normally performs. For someone who isn't very familiar with the band, this collection would serve to turn him/her off. I take my hat off to Peavey for not releasing another generic greatest hits package, though, as this truly is for the longtime fan.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1998

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Black In Mind

Rage - Black In Mind ©1995 GUN Records
1. Black In Mind
2. The Crawling Chaos
3. Alive But Dead
4. Sent By The Devil
5. Shadow Out Of Time
6. A Spider's Web
7. In A Nameless Time
8. The Ice-cold Hand Of Destiny
9. Forever
10. Until I Die
11. My Rage
12. The Price Of War
13. Start!
14. All This Time

This CD contains several songs that also appear on the Lingua Mortis disc and a lot that are also fan favorites. Hearing "Alive But Dead" in its original incarnation makes it easy to understand why it was chosen to be reincarnated with the full orchestra behind it. The song is musically vibrant ricocheting around inside your head. It's one of those tunes that once you've heard it, you have it in your head forever. "Sent By The Devil" absolutely scorches through your speakers. Tunes like the ten minute "In A Nameless Time" show the experimentation that Rage had been doing long before they began their work with the Lingua Mortis orchestra. Rage was definitely on course toward a more fully fleshed out variety of speed metal. I think Peavy had been trying to take speed metal to new heights with this disc, with The Missing Link and End of All Days. There is a palpable sense that the band was searching for a new direction in their music. This disc is a must-have for any fan of the current work coming from Rage because it shows the natural progression the band took. The mid-90's Rage was going through a time of introspection. This disc along with the others of this time allow us a unique look into the transformation process from a straightforward speed metal band to a multidimensional power metal band that is one of the pioneers in the field.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2000

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Lingua Mortis

Rage - Lingua Mortis ©1996 GUN Records
1. In A Nameless Time
2. Alive But Dead
3. Medley
4. All This Time
5. Alive But Dead (orchestra Version)

Back when speed metal reigned supreme and Noise Records had a killer roster, Rage was my absolute favorite band from Germany, my favorite on Noise, and their 1988 release Perfect Man was the best thing that happened to me during my junior year of high school. But a couple releases later Noise went under stateside and that was the last I heard of Rage. Insofar as I knew, they broke up in 1991 or so and that was that.

Thankfully metal didn't fall to the wayside in Europe and Rage has prospered over there, releasing album after album of always improving power metal. Now with the internet coming about and online CD sellers providing American music fans with a means of obtaining these albums, I can finally hear what Peavey Wagner and company have been up to for the past six years.

Lingua Mortis is an experimental album of sorts. But don't let that scare you. Wagner has taken selections of Rage's music and put it to classical arrangements. It'll actually surprise you to hear the scope and power of the songs being played by a full orchestra. There are parts where the band adds some metal parts, but overall this album is a moving piece that showcases some of the best work Rage has done in the past few years. Do yourself a favor and order this import.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1997

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End Of All Days

Rage - End Of All Days ©1996 Victor/GUN Records
1. Under Control
2. Higher Than The Sky
3. Deep In The Blackest Hole
4. End Of All Days
5. Visions
6. Desperation
7. Voice From The Vault
8. Let The Night Begin
9. Fortress
10. Frozen Fire
11. Talking To The Dead
12. Face Behind The Mask
13. Silent Victory
14. Fading Hours
15. How We Treat Each Other
16. The Sleep

To a large degree, I've found the 90s version of Rage to be very much just pleasant, but not earthshattering. Rage settled into a midpaced style of metal that really has become their own niche, without co-opting too many stylistic shortcomings. End of All Days is the kind of album I'll occasionally put on for enjoyment but nothing that receives constant playing time. The Japanese version of this CD makes this a rather lengthy album and that actually becomes a hinderance if I'm not one hundred percent in a Rage mood. The album is not too far off from where Rage was on The Missing Link or even Trapped!. Songs like "Higher Than the Sky" or "Visions" are immediately brain gum that stick with you long after the album has ended but other songs drag on a bit, such as the slow paced "Desparation". End of All Days is something that deserves a little notice simply because Rage has been putting out good solid albums for nearly fifteen years now, but at the same time, I wouldn't make this your number one purchase.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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XIII

Rage - XIII ©1998 GUN Records
1. Overtune
2. From The Cradle To The Grave
3. Days Of December
4. Sign Of Heaven
5. Incomplete
6. Turn The Page
7. Heartblood
8. Over And Over
9. In Vain
10. Immortal Sin
11. Paint It, Black
12. Just Alone

Certainly one of the better 90s Rage albums, XIII continues the assocation with the orchestra featured on the Lingua Mortis album of 1996. Peavey Wagner set down here to write an album that seemingly was designed to be memorable and familiar, even from the first listen. Songs like "From the Cradle to the Grave", "Turn the Page" and "In Vain" are all the type that seem like you've known them for years and years. Overall, there isn't much too out of the ordinary throughout the CD. It is certainly solid and the orchestral inclusions are kept to an intelligent and non-indulgent level so that they do not overpower the music. In other words, this is Therion kept in check, only with Peavey's very identifying vocals and no silly choirs. And just so you know, they do pick up the pace on "Over and Over" to remind you that they still are coming from speed metal roots. XIII is indeed a lucky album that is just endearing and worth finding, even if it still doesn't touch the band's achievements from the late 80s/early 90s.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1999

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In Vain (3 CD Set)

Rage - In Vain (3 CD Set) ©1998 GUN Records
CD one:
1. In Vain (radio Mix)
2. Turn The Page
3. Incomplete
4. Yesterday
CD two:
1. In Vain (Radio Mix)
2. From The Cradle To The Grave
3. Alive But Dead
4. Paint It Black
CD three:
1. In Vain (Radio Mix)
2. Sent By The Devil
3. Higher Than The Sky
4. Motorbreath

While bands like Therion try to meld classical music with metal with varying results (in Vovin's case sheer boredom), Germany's long lasting Rage has quietly been doing that for some time now with much more interesting results. This three CD single set (it's a collector's item, allowing G.U.N. Records to make a few bucks off the hardcore fans) features a track from Rage's latest full-length XIII as well as three bonus live tracks per CD. The first two editions are recorded live with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra while the third edition features three tracks recorded during Rage's 1996 tour. "In Vain", the track shared by all three discs, is a heavy classical song with the orchestra providing some serious movement within the music. The live renditions of the orchestra and Rage are very interesting. The orchestra doesn't dominate the proceedings, rather acting as any other backing instrument would. Rage's ability to arrange their music in this form is very commendable. "Alive But Dead" is very haunting, while the covers of "Yesterday" (it's kinda funny to hear Peavey croon like Paul McCartney with a Teutonic accent) and "Paint It Black" are both well done. On the final disc, Rage proper (ie: no orchestra) does a fine job of Metallica's "Motorbreath", possibly better than Metallica themselves could do these days. While I'm bothered that I had to plop down thirty bucks to get these three discs rather than compile everything onto one EP, at least they packaged some good live tracks and extra-cool bonuses together to make it worthwhile.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1998

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Ghosts

Rage - Ghosts ©1999 GUN Records
1. Beginning Of The End
2. Back In Time
3. Ghosts
4. Wash My Sins Away
5. Fear
6. Love And Fear Unite
7. Vanished In Haze
8. Spiritual Awakening
9. Love After Death
10. More Than A Lifetime
11. Tomorrow's Yesterday
12. End Of Eternity (bonus Track)

Having listened to Ghosts a couple dozen times already, all I can say is about time Rage put out an album that matches the quality of their late 80s run of music. Rage throughout the 90s has been always consistent and good but they never quite could light a flame underneath themselves to put out anything that knocked down my front door, grabbed me by the throat and screamed in my face, "Listen to me now, you skinny freak!". Well, okay...so they didn't knock down my door, but Ghosts certainly invited itself into my constant playing rotation. The album continues on in the path of Lingua Mortis and XIII, only harnessing a much stronger songwriting arsenal. The orchestration (which is something Rage does correctly in conjunction with heavy metal, as opposed to a very embarassing double disc recently released for mass consumption by a band who's name ends in "lica") is used exceptionally well to highlight, underscore and elevate the music. Rage, even with yet another new lineup based around Peavey Wagner, is not venturing far from the style they have used for most of the late 90s but these songs tend to be a lot more captivating. As with XIII, Ghosts has a sense of immediacy as these songs instantly sound like a classic you have enjoyed for years. And best yet, Wagner's vocals, while still not technically the best, are probably the most palatable and fitting in his entire career. More importantly, considering the thematic element to the album, the songs do tie together and work as a larger work. The hour will pass quickly and most enjoyably. Ghosts probably won't stand a ghost of a chance to be noticed by the metal community at large, who are enamored with lesser bands playing with orchestras, but if all were right in the world, this album would be in your grubby little hands already.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2000

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Review #2:

In the very recent past, Metallica put out their S&M release. I think the thing that bothered me most about it was the enthusiasm shown by a friend who seems to typify the masses of heavy metal fans. He was overboard about the "innovative" nature of this release. Pardon me while I go beat my head against a wall...my head since his is not within my reach at the moment. I find it distressing that groups like Rage can be doing things for years ahead of a "mainstream" band and never receive the recognition they are due.

With the release of Ghosts, Rage continue their wonderful association with the Lingua Mortis orchestra, taking that association to an even higher level. Classical music is usually very passionate and powerful. Heavy metal, by definition, is also very powerful and frequently passionate. The two go together wonderfully if (big if) the artists take the time to mesh them into one form of music rather than two vying for supremacy in a song. Rage does it seamlessly. If you were to drop out the classical elements, the strings, woodwinds, brass and other elements not normally associated with heavy metal, the result would be music that is very flat and one dimensional. With the backdrop of cellos and clarinets, you have music that is full, rich and satisfying. The classical elements are not little interludes, but an integral part of the music. They enhance the power and underscore the subtlety, fuel the passion and heighten the moment. They take the music much further than the normal limitations of heavy metal expressionism and head into new territory for the listener. This is far more than power metal with a few bunnies and daisies sprinkled in. This is metal that is carried to new heights by the splendid use of a backdrop that speaks volumes. With their roots firmly planted in speed metal, Rage has once again produced a CD that is far larger than the sum of its parts.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 05/2000

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Welcome To The Other Side

Rage - Welcome To The Other Side ©2001 GUN Records
1. Trauma
2. Paint The Devil On The Wall
3. The Mirror In Your Eyes
4. R.I.P.
5. One More Time
6. Requiem
7. I'm Crucified
8. No Lies
9. Point Of No Return
10. Leave It All Behind
11. Deep In The Night
12. Welcome To The Other Side
13. Lunatic
14. Riders On The Moonlight
15. Straight To Hell
16. After The End
17. Sister Demon
18. Don't Fear The Winter (Bonustrack)

It's hard to write reviews when your jaw keeps hitting the keyboard.

The newest offering from Rage has been eagerly anticipated by fans new and old of one of the most innovative speed/thrash metal bands in the world. After several listens, I can tell you that this album is worth every minute of that wait.

One of the things I have always liked about Rage is that they are always experimenting, always trying to move forward and bring a new level to their sound. The band offers an unusual insight into the making of this album on their website (www.rage-on.de/studio.htm) in which they say this of themselves: "It's clear we are back with metal, but we don't sound exactly like on the very old RAGE albums. Today we are heavy and progressive, modern in sound and expression. We include all elements of sound for what we are known and more." 'Progressive' is a difficult term to define with any singular clarity. I have always taken it to mean that the music in question is forward thinking. It draws on the past and the influences of others and moves forward with that sound, redefining it subtly.

The intro to this disc made me think that this was going to be Ghosts Volume 2. The drama that sets the tone for the rest of the disc revisits the theme of Ghosts. The title of the album Welcome to the Other Side also carries a hint that this is another look at what lies beyond the veil of mortal existence. This disc does deal with those themes, but almost in reverse of Ghosts. It looks at both sides of that veil and shows humanity as terribly bent on self-destruction.

The sound on this album is heavier and faster than on the recent discs. The orchestrated elements are used less and the concentration is on the power of the sound produced by the band. Victor Smolski has never sounded so intense in his play. The speedy thrashy roots are very prevalent, but taken to much higher level than you have ever heard from Rage. There is atmosphere galore, darky, moody and spooky. The aggressive play and lyrics fit well together. The overall sound reminds me of a much more mature version of Perfect Man. Every element of what Rage has done in the past is utilized here. Now it is done with a technical precision that is mind boggling in its intensity. The guitar solos are amazing. The range of sound coming from the guitars is thrilling to hear. Each track stands solidly by itself. Taken together, they represent a fantastic work. The old sound and the new are mixed together in such a way as to remind you of where Rage has come from, and where they are going. The 'progressive' nature of the album is seen in how the band is not afraid to experiment with certain rhythms and combinations of tempo and energy changes.

This CD is wonderful. It gives us Rage at their most innovative and inventive. It gives us a look at the past and a look toward the future. Peavy, Victor, Mike and the rest are riding a wave of creativity and ingenuity that has yet to reach its apex, and what a ride it is proving to be!

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 02/2001

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Unity

Rage - Unity ©2002 Steamhammer
1. All I Want
2. Insanity
3. Down
4. Set This World On Fire
5. Dies Irae
6. World Of Pain
7. Shadows
8. Living My Dream
9. Seven Deadly Sins
10. You Want It, You'll Get It
11. Unity

After a long string of artistically successful metal-with-an-orchestra albums, Rage has apparently decided to either massively insert metal up their fans' derrières or save money by releasing a straight metal trio record. The music is straightforward, anthemic, fist-pumping, cervical-vertebrae-busting, foot-stomping, neo-classical-influenced, melodic heavy metal that will undoubtedly make one exclaim "They don't make it like that no more!" And rightly so: this music harks back to the days of yore when guitars were heavy, basses were pounding, solos went woodelitwoodelitwoodelitwoodelitwoodelit until the cows came home, and choruses were straightforward, anthemic, fist-pumping... you get the picture.

Compared to earlier Rage records, the band's trademark songwriting style is instantly recognizable, with guitarist Smolski's neo-classical leads embellishing Mike Terrana's super-muscular drumming and Peavey Wagner's amusing, heaffily-aktzentet, Hetfield-inspired zinging. The songs are very melodic, catchy, memorable, and just this side of cheesy, which makes for an album that even discriminating listeners will not fear to play loudly and proudly, occasionally beating their chests with their tight little fists and singing along to the chorus of "All I Want". Fans of Rage's orchestral albums should not worry: a choir makes its presence known quite remarkably on "Dies Irae", a veritably frightening number that incidentally kicks liberal amounts of the aforementioned derrière, and orchestral-sounding keyboards can be heard in various songs.

There's very little in the way of novelty here - Helloween, Malmsteen and others were already playing these kinds of rhythms back when Ronald Reagan wasn't a complete washout. Maybe not that long ago. In any case, this is a comfortably familiar, unchallenging, yet fun and rewarding traditional metal record that anybody could purchase in broad daylight in a brick-and-mortar store without excessive fear of the neighborhood's hip skateboard rats' endless taunting.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 07/2002

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