Rage have been going for over 30 years now, and they show no signs of slowing down. On this, their second album with Marcos Rodriguez on guitar and Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos on drums, they sound as good as ever.
The basic format is three piece power metal, with lots of heavy riffs and intricate solos, including plenty of melodic passages and harmonies. Of course, Peavey Wagner on bass and vocals remains the core of the band. The previous guitarist, Victor Smokski, was in the band for sixteen years. The band released some excellent music in this time, but for this reviewer, the new sound is obviously ‘Rage’ but a bit dirtier and rougher around the edges.
The first single is ‘Blackened Karma’, the clip is on YouTube and it’s a great song. It is by no means an ‘obvious’ single though, as all the songs on the album are strong and varied enough that any would have been a viable ‘single’, especially in the modern world where that often just means the song they make a clip for. Certainly, other songs are heavier, like ‘Walk Among The Dead’. The following track, ‘All We Know Is Not’, starts slow before kicking in and is one of the faster tracks on the CD.
The last four tracks on the album combine to form a concept, titled ‘The Tragedy of Man’. With so much uncertainly and unrest in the world, this mini suite feels quite timely. Peavey explains it’s about “…the extinction of mankind”. He goes on to explain, the world could be a wonderful place, if people were not motivated by jealousy and greed.
Starting with a one minute instrumental called ‘Gaia’ (which basically sets the scene with acoustic guitars), it powers in to ‘Justify’, a heavy track about turning a blind eye to human rights abuse. Perhaps it’s because he’s singing about things that are so serious, but this is one of the strongest tracks on the album, and the passion in his voice really makes all the difference. The solo on this track is also a standout.
‘Bloodshed In Paradise’ gets heavier again, speaking against colonization, genocide and talking about how humans seem to destroy what could be in the world, through fighting.
The last track on the CD is ‘Farewell’ and it rounds of the concept. It’s a slower song that drives home the point of the concept. It’s from the point of view of man being extinct and talks about us wishing we’d ‘treated our brother as ourselves’ and being able to undo what we’ve done. A slower, but still heavy song, suits these lyrics and it’s a strong finish to the album.
According to the provided bio, the CD comes with a bonus disc of six songs, taking from ‘Prayers Of Steel’, Rage’s debut album, and ‘Depraved To Black’, the EP released when Rage was still called Avenger. These tracks have been re-recorded and are provided as a bonus. They were not included in the materials provided for review so they are not reviewed here. It’s also not clear if all editions of the CD will contain this bonus or, as often happens, only a ‘deluxe’ edition.
This is a strong addition to the canon of work by Rage and is worth checking out by all fans of power metal.