I first came across Rage in my misspent youth – I found them in a “Metal Only” music store located on Hunter Street, Newcastle – I still have the vinyl version of Secrets in a Weird World that I bought that day. From that day I’d always enjoyed the albums I had of theirs, but really lost touch with them and hadn’t heard much after the Reflections of a Shadow album. Until a couple of years ago when I looked them up to find out what had happened to them over the years. I got their back catalogue and immersed myself in their albums and the DVDs that were available.
So I’m sitting at home on a Monday afternoon just gone and get a SMS from MaF overlord Scott Adams asking me if I want to write a review of the new Rage album. Me, I’ve never written a review in my life, but Hmmm, some new tracks from one of my favoured bands, what can one do but reply in almost record time… Absolutely is the answer. So here it is, please be gentle it’s my first time…
21 is Rage’s 21st album (hence the title) and third album with the current line-up of Peavey Wagner (vocals, bass), Victor Smolski (guitar, and a bit of everything) and André Hilgers (drums).
From the opening riff of the title track you can tell this is a Rage album, it’s going to be heavy and it’s going to be fast but there will be some great melodies. This album is one you can happily bang your head along to.
Rather than rest on their laurels and just go through the motions, there has been a bit of experimentation thrown into the mix on the album. Peavey has tried some death metal guttural growls and grunts in the song Serial Killer, which on the Rage website he indicates is written from the eyes of a serial killer. The intro to Feel My Pain has very much a Joe Satriani feel to before it gets into a rhythmic treat that is just easy to have something tapping along to it.
There are some very similar tracks to what I’ve heard before, for example the chorus to Concrete Wall is Speak of the Dead all over again, however after 21 albums it is a misdemeanour I am willing to forgive.
One thing for sure is these guys are still tight. Peavey still has a few tricks up his sleeve on the bass and I think he has a strong voice which suits the music perfectly. Victor Smolski is a damn good all round guitarist. He is also a great composer, so put him together with Peavey and they make a great team. Andre Hilgers also gets into the composition on this album for the first time, working with Victor on the song Psycho Terror.
I’ve had a few listens now and while not their absolute best, it is a solid album, and there is a bit of something for everyone in this release.