For a long time I’ve been a big RAGE fan, but the last two, three albums didn’t really do much for me. So of course I was not overtly enthusiastic, when I got their latest album “Speak Of The Dead”, but I still had this odd sense of curiosity as to how the guys around Peavy Wagner would sound in 2006, especially as the first eight songs were announced as “Suite Lingua Mortis“, which put up hopes for a continuation of the already legendary “Lingua Mortis“ album. They still are a trio, with Peavy on vocals and bass, Ukrainian Victor Smolski on guitars and drum mercenary Mike Terrana, but still they sound different than on the last releases, which is a good step in my ears’ opinion...
One really has to look at the evolution of the band since their very beginning, from the speedy Power/Thrash of their beginnings towards very varied and at times also pretty complex compositions, which also comes through in Peavy’s vocals, which have gotten so much better throughout the years. And the above-mentioned suite lives up to its name and on the one hand takes up the “Lingua Mortis“ theme, but also takes it one step further and gets heavier than the Classical/Metal amalgamation of X years ago and that looks very good on RAGE indeed! After the two instrumentals “Morituri Te Salutant“ and “Prelude Of Souls“ they step it up a few notches with “Innocent“, combining calm, classically inspired passages with crunchy Power Metal RAGE style and finds the perfect balance between the two extremes, a great opener, after which “Depression” gives us a little classical breather before “No Regrets” is one of the best RAGE songs I know, heavily stomping, with a strong orchestral element and super catchy chorus!
And after the suite “No Fear“ takes no prisoners, a lot heavier and more aggressive, at times also with some more modern sounds, which always are very well integrated into the RAGE sound, showing that they have taken their original sound and successfully transferred it into the present, even though the following “Soul Survivor“ exactly reminds me of the good old RAGE around the “The Missing Link“ album... “Full Moon“ then covers the more emotional side of RAGE, with balladesque beginning, but then turning into another classical RAGE breaker and “Kill Your Gods“ does not only have an aggressive title, but also realizes this musically.
As in the past RAGE once more profit from an extremely powerful production, which is very clear and energetic, transporting the force of the songs, but still leaving room for all the details as well! After a few years outside, I herewith welcome RAGE back in the circle of my favourite bands and you should do the same! (Online August 4, 2006)