RAGE - WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE - GUN
Relocating its wares from Gun Records over to Drakkar, sporting a revamped line up and (if memory serves correctly) coming off of three trendy orchestra/symphony-oriented albums, it was anybody's guess how the new Rage album would have turned out. Rage's latest album has turned out better than previously anticipated. During the course of a long album Peavey and hires manage to deliver an album comprised mostly of nothing but good old glorious heavy metal. I say almost because the Tribute To Dishonour four part story includes pianos and is surprisingly reminiscent of Savatage. Otherwise the album holds good metal drumming, solid riffs and Yngwie-esque solos and a very front and centre vocal performance. Peavey is not the world's best vocalist and perhaps he might consider lowering his presence in the mix. Still with a solid performance like on Paint The Devil On The Wall, a stormer like No Lies and other tracks, Rage 2001 prove they still know what heavy metal is and more importantly are still up to delivering it. TUR hopes Rage will maintain this course and put the shameful classical music molestation behind. - Ali "The Metallian"
RAGE - UNITY - SPV
The new Rage album, quite appropriately, begins with a march which leads to a growl and then the listener is well into the core of opener All I want. The relatively young Rage line-up has obviously taken the musicianship to a new level. Consequently, Peavey Wagner has pushed his vocals up one notch. The results are somewhat mixed though. Obviously for a band like Rage which for nigh on twenty years has roamed somewhere near the median, Unity is an impressive endeavour which - thank guitarist Victor Smolski, drummer Mike Terrana and producer Chalie Bauerfiend - sets a new milestone in achievement for Peavey and company.
A song like the heavy Insanity or the meticulously-crafted and phrased Down (in spite of the Pantera-ish start the band's best in a long time) prove that Rage is more vital now than at any time in its history. That, in itself, is something that can be rarely said for a veteran band. Things do fall apart though. Apparently under the influence of the newer members, Unity meanders from heavy metal into 'progressive' mode somewhere in its middle. As a result, the vocals, the chord progressions and, most ominously, the synthesizers take a turn towards Dream Theater and Threshold. Discussion is more of a slippery slope than an entire entity at this juncture. Yet, the development is worrisome - especially hearing what the trio can achieve when it puts its mind to its metal body. As things stand, Unity is a fast-paced album ready to tumble with any of its competition anywhere. - Ali "The Metallian"
RAGE - SPEAK OF THE DEAD - NUCLEAR BLAST
Rage has never quite been able to make it to the top despite twenty years of touring, two dozen releases and support from companies like Noise and Nuclear Blast. The late '80s held some hope for the band to achieve a breakthrough with albums like Perfect World and Secrets In A Weird World, yet Rage did not quite have the vocals or the music needed to rise to the top. Speak Of The Dead is not helping Peter Wagner’s ever-changing cadre of musicos.
Speak Of The Dead is not going to help. The album’s confusing pitch for the progressive, the symphonic and the heavy is exactly what the band does not need and over which the fans remain confused. The album begins with an eight-part progressive rock/symphonic/film score piece called Suite Lingua Mortis. Latin always managed to impress. Past that boring mishmash of nonsense the album’s second part (thankfully) sees a marked improvement. The track No Regrets already bore some similarities with Blind Guardian earlier in the album, but now the album becomes a metal one with good songs like Full Moon with some great guitars or Kill Your Gods, which not only picks up the pace and heaviness but also adds a very positive message. It is this second half of the album that rescues Rage and perhaps even gives some breathing room to the German trio. - Ali “The Metallian”