THE DEVIL HAS STRUCK AGAIN: RAGE'S NEW OFFERINGS INCLUDE SKID ROW, RUSH AND Y&T TRACKS
Iconic German Metal trio Rage have released their new studio album, 'The Devil Strikes Again' via Nuclear Blast and also an official music video for the title track, which can be viewed right here.
The album itself was recorded last year at Megafon Studios in Germany and Soundchaser Studios, located in Zandhoven, Belgium with the production being handled by Rage mainman Peter "Peavy" Wagner along with guitarist Marcos Rodriguez (who joined the line up in 2015) and renowned producer Dan Swanö (famed for his work with Marduk, Opeth, Dissection and Katatonia) taking care of the mixing and mastering.
The album is available as a standard CD and a 3 CD digibook version which includes half a dozen bonus studio recordings including a cover of Skid Row's 'Slave To The Grind', 'Bravado' by Rush and the Y&T track 'Open Fire' whilst the live CD includes top notch versions of 'Sent By The Devil', 'End Of All Days', 'Until I Die' and 'Don't Fear The Winter'.
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The Rage story began back in 1984 when bass guitarist and vocalist Wagner formed the first line up of the band, under the name Avenger. A short time later they released their debut album, 'Prayers Of Steel' which was swiftly followed by an EP titled 'Depraved To Black' in August 1985. Avenger changed their name and became Rage in 1986 just before they inked a deal with Noise Records with whom the band released the first official Rage album, 'Reign Of Fear' in May of that year.
There have been many changes of personnel in the band over they years with Wagner being the one constant in the band. Throughout their career, Rage have released an impressive twenty two albums including the 'Execution Guaranteed' (1987), 'Perfect Man' the following year (which gave the band their first hit in the form of the single, 'Don't Fear The Winter'), 'Trapped' (1992), 'Welcome To The Other Side' (2001), 'Soundchaser' (2003) and 'Speak Of The Dead' in 2006 which saw the band collaborate with an orchestra, this time from Minsk, Belarus.
A further collaboration with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra led to the album of the same name in 2013 featuring two orchestras (one from Spain and the other from Belarus) which featured a personnel count of over one hundred people. The album was a concept album about the burning of witches in Gelnhausen in 1599 and was written by vocalist Wagner, based on a true story.
Rodriguez along with new drummer Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos are prodigious talents who have slipped seamlessly into their roles within Rage and it seems that Wagner has a good eye for talent. He's previously worked with Rodriguez on the 'Soundchaser' project whilst Maniatopoulos came from the little known band Tri State Corner, for which he was actually the vocalist.
'The Devil Strikes Again' album sees the band return to what they know best – a three piece band with a sound that reverts back to their Heavy Metal roots. The ten track opus is exactly what you expect from a seasoned band like them with no real surprises – just raw power, precision playing and great vocals.
The title track kicks things off in fine fashion with a big intro before it bursts into life with the metronomic drumming of Maniatopoulos and strong guitar riff courtesy of Rodriguez driving the song onwards. Wagner puts in a powerful performance and it's clear why this was chosen as the title track and the first track on the album – a good solid start.
There are tracks with catchy choruses throughout like 'My Way' which is sure to be a big hit at gigs with the crowd singing along and every member of the band gets a moment in the spotlight as the track bounces along. 'Back On Track' follows swiftly on as the momentum is kept up as Wagner adds a touch of menace to his vocal performance. There backing vocals add an extra edge to the chorus making it almost a power metal track as it deviates from loud and brash in the verses to a quieter mid section before it reverts to type just in time for the guitar solo.
'Ocean Full Of Tears' has Wagner sounding not unlike ex-Iron Maiden/Wolfsbane front man Blaze Bayley as he sapits out the short, stabby lyrics whilst Maniatopoulos maintains his metronomic drum beat throughout the number firmly anchoring it down. 'Deaf, Dumb And Blind' continues apace whilst 'Times Of Darkness' slowly fades up into more of a mid-paced number. It still has a certain amount of bite to it but it's certainly the slowest paced number here by some margin.
'The Dark Side Of The Sun' closes the album out returning to the frantic pace of earlier in what is an enjoyable album. There are no big surprises here, just a solid album from a band who know what they're doing and stick to that proven formula.
You can see Rage live here:
Saturday 9th July – Out & Loud Festival, Geiselwind
Wednesday 13th July – Bang Your Head, Balingen
Thursday 14th July – Dong Open Air, Neukirchen Vluyn
Friday 22nd July – X-Herford, Herford
Saturday 23rd July – Baden in Blut Festival, Weil am Rhein
Thursday 28th July – Headbangers Open Air, Schierenhöhe
Saturday 13th August – RockHeart Festival, Marschacht
Saturday 27th August – LA (Benefizkonzert), Cham
Friday 16th September – Olensfest, Olen
Saturday 15th October – Atalaya Rock, Pozal De Gallinas
'The Devil Strikes Again' Tracklisting:
The Devil Strikes Again
Back On Track
The Final Curtain
Ocean Full Of Tears
Deaf, Dumb And Blind
Spirits Of The Night
Times Of Darkness
The Dark Side Of The Sun