Rage Album Review: “Seasons In The Black”

RAGE
SEASONS OF THE BLACK”
Album Review By Iron Mathew

10/10

Rage are a heavy, power metal band from Germany formed in 1984 under the name Avenger, releasing their debut album in 1985 as Avenger. Due to another band having the same name, Avenger became Rage and over the next thirty two years the band have released twenty three studio albums, four live albums and numerous E.P.’s and singles. Founding vocalist/bass player Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner has led the power trio on a crusade to become one of the premier power metal bands to have emerged from Germany, following the path set by pioneering bands such as Accept and Grave Digger. Rage are a band that have always delivered, never been a let down and are as big a force now as they have ever been. The bands 23rd studio album ‘Seasons Of The Black’ is a powerhouse of face melting riffs and thunderous drumming that leans more to the thrash metal genre yet keeps the melodic and catchy feel of power metal well and truly alive. The distinctive gravel edged and throaty rasp of Peavy is sounding exceptionally good, and the sing a long ability of this album is one hundred percent. So pop ‘Seasons Of The Black’ into the player, turn up the volume and prepare yourself for an aural assault of top notch power metal, delivered by one of the legends of the genre.

The album is quickly into its stride with the explosive and high velocity ‘Season Of The Black’. Rage have always been a heavier sounding band than fellow eighties leading lights, (countrymen) Helloween, Gamma Ray and Running Wild. The trademark vocal sound and bass playing of Peavy has been a delight for many years and with the youthful energy of the newer band members around him, ‘Seasons Of The Black’ is an energetic and electric album. Picking up the intensity and racing along in a furious flurry, ‘Serpents In Disguise’ is infectious and foot stompingly addictive, with a sing a long style chorus. How Rage manage to inject melodic hard rock vibes into everything they do is magical, and makes for a glorious listening experience. Rumbling along like a steam roller, and just as heavy, ‘Blackened Karma’ romps ruthlessly by. One of the most gravelly sounding vocal performances on the album, ‘Blackened Karma’ keeps true to the catchy, melodic and infectious Rage sound. After only just three songs, Rage are once again delivering power metal of the tallest order. Among many other genres, power metal is a favourite of mine, and I have been a fan of Rage since the mid eighties, impressed by every album they have released, knowing that I will be frantically head banging along to every twang and thump on offer.

Upping the pace ‘Time Will Tell’ is one of the best songs on the album, full of pace and catchy rhythms, with a chant style anthemic chorus that will have a live audience screaming at the tops of their voices “time will tell”. This is cracking stuff… ‘Septic Bite’ slows the pace but heavies things up and stomps along with an abundance of passion and attitude. The power trio are turning in a performance that is gonna blow away the efforts of some of the newer bands to the genre over the last decade, and prove that the (so called) old school bands can still be a force to reckoned with. Enter the thrash metal tinged ‘Walk Among The Dead’ and violent head banging will ensue as it picks up pace and thunders along at break neck speed. Moving swiftly to out and out power metal across the chorus, ‘Walk Among The Dead’ is a superb song and a definite favourite of mine off the album. Blistering pace and top shelf intensity push ‘All We Know Is Not’ along at a furious speed. Energetic and frenetic, ‘All We Know Is Not’ confirms Rage are masters of the melodic power metal sound. Majestic and proud, ‘All We Know Is Not’ is packed with blazing riffs, thundering drums and a chorus that is one hundred percent sing a long-able.

Rage are one of the top bands to have emerged from Germany, and have always let their music do the talking, with ‘Seasons Of The Black’ reaffirming their position at the forefront of the power metal genre. For one minute, all pace and power is dropped with mellow twanging and soulful vocals taking over, as ‘Gaia’ wanders in, leading into the six minutes plus epic ‘Justify’. Everything great about power metal is delivered as ‘Justify’ rolls relentlessly on. Catchy and infectious, a sing a long style chorus and the infusion of melodic hard rock with heavy metal, makes ‘Justify’ one of the best power metal songs you are likely to hear this year. Bringing back the hint of thrash metal, ‘Bloodshed In Paradise’ is a swashbuckling and swaggering heavy romp of heavy metal. The most aggressive sounding song on the album, ‘Bloodshed In Paradise’ is a corker, a peach, and a diamond of devastating power. Now for something completely different…Rage end their new album with a seven minute plus power ballad. Yup, seven minutes of lighters in the air, arms aloft, swaying from side to side. Ambitious maybe, brave maybe, but bloody hell it’s such a great song with a sparkling amount of the Rage magic from start to finish. If I wasn’t already in love with Rage, I would be now . . .

Overall, a powerful and passionate album of heavy power metal from a legend of the genre, proving that Rage are still a major force in the worldwide metal arena.

TRACKLIST

Season Of The Black
Serpents In Disguise
Blackened Karma
Time Will Tell
Septic Bite
Walk Among The Dead
All We Know Is Not
Gaia
Justify
Bloodshed In Paradise
Farewell

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