Classy German power/speed metal. This band has a long history dating back to 1984. They were formerly known as Avenger and released two incredibly hard to find albums in '84 and '85 under that name. The first Rage disc titled "Reign Of Fear" was released in 1986 on Germany's Noise Records. Rage play a very unique style of melodic power metal, especially when compared to the current trends in music. Their earlier works are more straight forward heavy metal, and were obviously recorded by a less musically mature band. Most of their 1990's albums are pretty similar in style, retaining the unique Rage power metal style that is heavy and accessible, yet not overly commercial. Their more recent discs "Lingua Mortis," "XIII," and especially "Ghosts," the band has introduced classical instruments and styles to their sound, often playing along with a full orchestra.  Bassist, vocalist, main song writter Peavy is the only original and consistent member. Rage are a late find for me, as I didn't discover them until around 1999, but I can guarantee that this page will continue to grow 'cause I will be adding more Rage to my collection.

Reign of Fear Rage - Reign of Fear (Noise) 1986

1. "Scared To Death" (4:40)
2. "Deceiver" (3:34)
3. "Reign Of Fear" (3:52)
4. "Hand Of Glory" (3:23)
5. "Raw Energy" (3:24)
6. "Echoes Of Evil" (4:45)
7. "Chaste Flesh" (4:50)
8. "Suicide" (4:02)
9. "Machinery" (4:20)
10. "Scaffold" (9:11)

"Reign of Fear" is the very first Rage album. I cannot for the life of me figure out why these guys didn't kick some major butt in the 80's. They had an excellent sound that was more aggressive than much of what passed for metal in '96. OK, there are some production flaws and Peavy does tend to push his limits on some of the higher vocals, but overall, "Reign of Fear" smokes and should be in any self-respecting metalhead's collection.

Execution Guaranteed Rage - Execution Guaranteed (Noise) 1987

1. "Down by Law" (3:22)
2. "Execution Guaranteed" (6:49)
3. "Before the Storm (The Secret Affair)" (4:48)
4. "Streetwolf" (6:04)
5. "Deadly Error" (5:06)
6. "Hatred" (3:55)
7. "Grapes of Wrath" (5:12)
8. "Mental Decay" (5:52)
9. "When You're Dead" (4:29)

"Execution Guaranteed" is very heavy and very raw. Superb German heavy metal. This disc, along with most of the discs on this page, were a gift from a friend in Germany. What better gift than the gift of metal? This particular disc has seen many repeated plays.

Guitarist Rudi Graf was formerly the guitarist for Warlock (w/ Doro). Jörg Michael went on to join the German band Headhunter, played on Grave Digger's comeback album "The Reaper" and the following tour, joined Running Wild for four albums, and today, he's a constant member of Stratovarius. In addition, he played for the German true metal "guitar hero" Axel Rudi Pell on his 'Nasty Reputation' cd with Rob Rock.

Perfect Man Rage - Perfect Man (Noise) 1988

1."Wasteland" (3:26)
2."In the Darkest Hour" (3:15)
3."Animal Instinct" (3:43)
4."Perfect Man" (3:32)
5."Sinister Thinking" (3:17)
6."Supersonic Hydromatic" (3:31)
7."Don't Fear the Winter" (3:26)
8."Death in the Afternoon" (3:56)
9."A Pilgrim's Path" (4:26)
10."Time and Place" (4:14)
11."Round Trip" (3:23)
12."Between the Lines" (3:18)
13."Symbols of Our Fear" (3:32)
14."Neurotic" (2:59)

Hailed by many as the band's best album. I'm not sure I would say it was their absolute best but it certainly is at the top of their catalogue. The music is tight, fast, well-constructed, and certainly one of the best German speed metal discs of the late 80's. There certainly is not a weak track to be found on "Perfect Man." Cool cover art as well.

Secrets in a Weird World Rage - Secrets in a Weird World (Noise) 1989

1. "Intro (Opus 32 No.3)" [instrumental] (:52)
2. "Time Waits For Noone" (4:49)
3. "Make My Day" (3:37)
4. "The Inner Search" (4:41)
5. "Invisible Horizons" (4:35)
6. "She" (5:20)
7. "Light Into The Darkness" (4:50)
8. "Talk To Grandpa" (2:45)
9. "Distant Voices" (5:48)
10. "Without A Trace" (9:13)
11. "Lost Side Of The World" (4:43)

Rage steps up the production, the speed and the intensity for this, their third release. I think, If I am not mistaken, that their record company was really pushing them into a more thrash metal direction since thrash was the flavor of the day in 1989. After a short instrumental introduction the second song begins with a fast riff played at a speed that would have compared with Slayer in '89. Still, despite having some thrash tendencies here and there, the music is still for the most part, power metal. To my delight Peavy successfully experiments with some higher vocal melodies on this disc as well. Yet another fine German power metal cd from Rage.

Rage - Reflections of A Shadow (Noise) 1990

1. "Introduction (A Bit More Of Green)" (1:33)
2. "That's Human Bondage" (4:26)
3. "True Face In Everyone" (5:12)
4. "Flowers That Fade In My Hand" (7:40)
5. "Reflections Of A Shadow" (3:53)
6. "Can't Get Out" (5:03)
7. "Waiting For The Moon" (4:40)
8. "Faith" (5:42)
9. "Saddle The Wind" (4:06)
10. "Dust" (4:49)
11. "Nobody Knows" (3:50)
12. "Wild Seed" (5:26)

The band was just getting better with each album they released, yet without getting more commercial or riding some insipid trend. "Reflections" is just 100% heavy metal with the hooks, looks, and attitude that goes along with that label. Just another quality disc by a very underrated band.

Extended Power EP Rage - Extended Power (Noise) 1991

1. "Woman" (3:47)
2. "Ashes" (5:02)
3. "Bottlefield" (2:44)
4. "Waiting for the Moon" (4:40)
5. "What' Up" [instrumental] (3:30)

I like EP's as they usually either showcase some of the bands best material or they have a bunch of rare b-sides and covers. In this case, "Extended Power" features five spectacular speed metal symphonies. Several times I have listened to this disc all the way through only to push the play button again and listen all the way through a second time.

trapped! Rage - Trapped! (Noise) 1992

1. "Shame On You" (4:52)
2. "Solitary Man" (3:36)
3. "Enough Is Enough" (6:42)
4. "Medicine" (3:43)
5. "Questions" (3:55)
6. "Take Me To The Water" (6:01)
7. "Power And Greed" (4:25)
8. "The Body Talks" (4:34)
9. "Not Forever" (3:36)
10. "Beyond The Wall Of Sleep" (4:04)
11. "Baby, I'm Your Nightmare" (5:22)
12. "Fast As A Shark" (3:03)
13. "Difference" (4:57)

WOW! Now this is absolutely one of the band's finest CDs. The production is outstanding being mixed by the infamous Tom Morris from Morrisound Studios in Tampa, FL. (This same studio has cranked out quality metal by Iced Earth, Death, Agent Steel and numerous others.) The songs are melodic yet without losing an ounce of aggression and energy. "Trapped" is what heavy metal is all about-fast riffs and solos, pummeling drums, solid vocals, and hook laden choruses. Add to this a cover of one of the first speed/thrash songs ever, Accept's "Fast As A Shark." This disc is simply fantastic. I really can't say enough good things about it.

Beyond the Wall EP Rage - Beyond the Wall (Noise) 1992

1. "Bury All Life" (5:34)
2. "On The Edge" (4:14)
3. "I Want You" (3:40)
4. "(Those, Who Got) Nothing To Lose" (4:15)
5. "Last Goodbye" (4:21)
6. "Light Into The Darkness (acoustic)" [live] (5:37)

An essential disc for Rage collectors, this mini-album went out of print not long after it was released. From what I have read, the EP was put out to help support the European "Trapped" tour. It contains five new studio tracks exclusive to this cd. All five tracks are are as good as the material on 'Trapped'. "Bury All Life" starts of as a fast and furious thrash assault, "On the Edge" is a power metal song that takes it down a few decibals, while retaining the power and intensity. "I Want You" is not the Kiss song, although that would have been cool, but is yet another fast Rage speed metal original. "Nothing To Lose" is a slow, doomy power metal number with a catchy guitar riff. "Last Goodbye," despite the deceiving title is not a ballad, but yet another quality speed metal number. The last song is an acoustic version of "Light Into The Darkness" that originally appeared on "Secrets In A Weird World". This version was recorded live in Tokyo, 7/24/92 during an acoustic radio jam session without any overdubs.

The Missing Link Rage-The Missing Link (Noise) 1993

1. "Firestorm" (4:57)
2. "Nevermore" (4:27)
3. "Refuge" (3:39)
4. 'The Pit And The Pendulum" (4:17)
5. "From The Underworld" (3:09)
6. "Certain Days" (5:45)
7. "Who Dares?" (4:27)
8. "Wake Me When I'm Dead" (5:20)
9. "Lost In The Ice" (9:48)
10. "Her Diary's Black Pages" (3:35)
11. "The Missing Link" (4:23)
12. "Raw Caress" (5:24)

I love this disc. Classy, well-constructed, well-executed power metal for the 90's. Very cool cover art. Lots of guitar leads. Killer vocals to boot. WOW! Everything a band is not suppose to have in the 90's. Rage are AWESOME!

Back in Mind Rage - Black in Mind (Noise) 1995
Avenger - Prayers of Steel/Depraved to Black (Noise) 1985

Disc One
1. "Black In Mind" (4:08)
2. "The Crawling Chaos" (4:46)
3. "Alive But Dead" (4:56)
4. "Sent By The Devi"l (5:00)
5. "Shadow Out Of Time" (5:39)
6. "A Spider's Web" (3:21)
7. "In A Nameless Time" (10:11)
8. "The Icecold Hand Of Destiny" (4:05)
9. "Forever" (4:44)
10. "Until I Die" (4:34)
11. "My Rage" (2:42)
12. "The Price Of War" (4:15)
13. "Start!" (4:30)
14. "All This Time" (5:34)
Disc Two
Prayers of Steel

1. "Battlefield"
2. "South Cross Union"
3. "Prayers Of Steel"
4. "Halloween"
5. "Faster Than Hell"
6. "Adoration"
7. "Rise Of The Creature"
8. "Sword Made Of Steel"
9. "Bloodlust"
Depraved to Black
10. "Assorted By Satan"
11. "Down To The Bone"
12. "Depraved To Black"
13. "Prayers Of Steel" [live]
14. "Faster Than Hell" [live]

In the late 90's Rage are starting to sound a bit more like fellow German bands Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. Being that I am a big fan of this school of German speed metal, this is not a bad thing for me. I think that Rage tends to be a bit more mid-paced than Blind Guardian, not unlike Iced Earth. In my personal opinion, this makes the songs more memorable than much of their contemporaries music. Man, how I missed this band for so many years is a mystery, but I am glad that my dear friend Olaf hooked me up. Thanks again Olaf.

For more information on the Avenger tracks, see the Avenger page.

End of All Days Rage - End Of All Days (GUN) 1997

1. "Under Control" (4:07)
2. "Higher Than The Sky" (4:17)
3. "Deep In The Blackest Hole" (4:23)
4. "End Of All Days" (4:45)
5. "Visions" (4:17)
6. "Desperation" (4:55)
7. "Voice From The Vault" (5:36)
8. "Let The Night Begin" (3:53)
9. "Fortress" (3:56)
10. "Frozen Fire" (3:42)
11. "Talking To The Dead" (4:00)
12. "Face Behind The Mask" (3:37)
13. "Silent Victory" (4:54)
14. "Fading Hours" (6:28)
15. "The Sleep" (3:57)
16. "The Trooper" (4:00)

"End of All Days" is very similar to "Back in Mind." Rage are one of those metal bands who have seriously improved with age. The progression is especially noticable to me as I was able to hear "Execution Guaranteed" (1987) for the first time right before hearing this 1996 release.

Rage - XIII (GUN) 1998

1.   Overture [instrumental] (1:56)
2.   From The Cradle To The Grave (4:51)
3.   Days Of December (4:36)
4.   Changes -Sign Of Heaven (4:17)
5.   Changes -Incomplete (5:11)
6.   Changes -Turn The Page (5:03)
7.   Heartblood (6:21)
8.   Over And Over (3:49)
9.   In Vain (I Won't Go Down) (5:19)
10. Immortal Sin (5:28)
11. Paint It Black (4:34)
12. Just Alone (6:24)
13. Another Wasted Day [silence] (:05)

"XIII" is the thirteenth studio album from Rage and features thirteen tracks (sort of, track 13 is silence). The band once again works with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra, blending classical components with heavy metal. The blending of orchestral arrangements with heavy music isn't really anything new. Back in the 70's producer Bob Ezrin used such elements with band like Kiss and Alice Cooper to great success. "XIII" also blends those components with the heavy music successfully. As a matter of fact, the opening tracks of "XIII" have a similar feel to Ezrin's work. The sound is a bit creepy and Alice Cooper-ish. The opening instrumental could have been recorded for Alice Cooper's "Welcome to my Nightmare", or perhaps a movie soundtrack for one of Tim Burton's works. "From the Cradle to the Grave" follows and is a heavy song with a dark vibe. It would seem that there is some Metallica influence on this song, as well as tracks like "Heartblood" and "Over and Over", but in general Rage have a very unique sound. For whatever reason, "From the Cradle to the Grave" reminded me of The Who's "Boris the Spider". I'm not sure what the relation is, if there be any, but it gives me that same vibe. The follow-up track "Days of December" has a much lighter, cheerier sound. "Paint It Black" is a unique take on the Rolling Stones classic. Anvil had recorded a metal version of this song in the early 80's. Rage's version combines those orchestral elements with heavy power chords, making for an interesting listen.

The three part "Changes" ebbs and flows from heavy to light, building a storyline with the music alone. "Sign of Heaven" is an upbeat speed metal song with some slightly mellower parts, whereas "Incomplete" is a ballad with some slightly heavier moments. The trilogy ends with the mid-paced and melodic "Turn the Page".

Overall, "XIII" is an excellent listen. The band doesn't force the orchestral elements so much that is becomes classical overkill, but instead uses the strings and such to help create emotion within the songs, whether a cheery songs like "Days of December" or something more dark and heavy like "From the Cradle" and "Immortal Sin". Many bands trying to combine these elements come off a boring and sounding more orchestral than heavy metal. If I want to hear classical music, I'll listen to classical music. Rage's "XIII" is heavy metal with the addition of orchestration.

Rage w/ Lingua Mortis Orchestra - In Vain (GUN) 1998

1. "In Vain (I Won't Go Down)" (3:41)
2. "From the Cradle to the Grave" [live] (4:51)
3. "Alive But Dead" [live] (6:00)
4. "Paint It Black" [live] (4:36)

Short EP/single apparently released in Europe to support the band's tour with Deep Purple in 1998. The EP features a radio mix of one studio track from Rage XIII. The other tracks are recorded live with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra on December, 21 1997 and are exclusive to this EP as far as I know. Classy cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black".

Ghosts Rage - Ghosts (GUN) 1999

1. "Beginning of the End" (4:42)
2. "Back In Time" (4:20)
3. "Ghosts" (5:13)
4. "Wash My Sins Away" (4:06)
5. "Fear" (5:07)
6. "Love And Fear Unite" (3:35)
7. "Vanished in Haze" (5:00)
8. "Spiritual Awakening" (3:30)
9. "Love After Death" (4:12)
10. "More Than A Lifetime" (4:28)
11. "Tomorrow's Yesterday" (6:55)
12. "End of Reality" (4:20)

AWESOME! This is the only word I can think of to describe this symphonic metal masterpeace. Rage have progressed over the years, like any good band will, but they have not neglected their fan base, nor have the ignored their roots. Still heavy, still metal, but adding in the progressive and symphonic elements, not unlike later day Savatage. My copy is from Germany, is a digi-pack and contains one song not on the regular cd release.

Welcome to the Other Side Rage - Welcome to the Other Side (GUN) 2001

1. "Trauma" [intro] (:50)
2. "Paint The Devil On The Wall" (5:07)
3. "The Mirror In Your Eyes" (3:44)

Tribute To Dishonour
4. Part 1 - "R.I.P." (2:13)
5. Part 2 - "One More Time" (5:45)
6. Part 3 - "Requiem" (1:16)
7. Part 4 - "I'm Crucified" (5:38)

8. "No Lies" (3:10)
9. "Point Of No Return" (5:18)
10. "Leave It All Behind" (4:49)
11. "Deep In The Night" (4:07)
12. "Welcome To The Other Side" (4:23)
13. "Lunatic" -instrumental (:51)
14. "Riders On The Moonlight" (4:12)
15. "Straight To Hell" (4:31)
16. "After The End" (4:46)
17. "Sister Demon" (3:59)

Holy Cow Batman, this is the best freakin' Rage album ever! Killer guitar tones, killer riffs, killer guitar solos, killer songcraft. No orchestras this time 'round. Just 100% straight forward heavy metal. Way to go Peavy! Rage On!

Rage - Unity (SPV/Russia) 2002

1. "All I Want" (4:59)
2. "Insanity" (4:21)
3. "Down" (5:24)
4. "Set This World On Fire" (5:05)
5. "Dies Irae" (5:08)
6. "World Of Pain" (4:02)
7. "Shadows" [instrumental] (:57)
8. "Living My Dream" (4:49)
9. "Seven Deadly Sins" (4:09)
10. "You Want It, You'll Get It" (4:05)
11. "Unity" [instrumental] (7:17)


Now this is how power metal is suppose to be played. Not dungeons and dragons here. No keyboards overshadowing the guitars. This is METAL! The most infectious Rage album yet. This one grabs you by the juggular from the first listen. "Unity" sports more aggression than the band's recent releases, and at times is almost borderline speed metal. Album opener "All I Want" is a fast and furious song and sports a riff that many thrash bands wish they came up with first. Likewise "Seven Deadly Sins" is a straight-forward fast, heavy song. The orchestration that the band was experimenting with is gone for the most part. They add a little of the orchestration on the track called "Dies Irae". This song starts off with a massive choir singing in Latin before it moves full throttle into a hook-laced bass riff that drives throughout the entirety of the song. This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. However, I really don't think there is a weak moment on the whole disc. Peavy's vocals are good on this album, and the production is clean, but still has a raw, heavy sound. The disc finishes outwith a seven minute instrumental that puts Rage on the same level as Symphony X or Symphorce.

Soundchaser Rage - Soundchaser (SPV/Steamhammer) 2003

1. "Orgy of Destruction" (1:26)
2. "War of Worlds" (6:07)
3. "Great Old Ones" (4:03)
4. "Soundchaser" (5:37)
5. "Defenders of the Ancient Life" (4:05)
6. "Secrets in a Weird World" (5:28)
7. "Flesh and Blood" (5:13)
8. "Human Metal" (5:27)
9. "See You in Heaven or Hell" (4:00)
10. "Wake the Nightmares (Falling from Grace Pt. 1)" (4:59)
11. "Death is on It's Way (Falling from Grace Pt. 2)" (6:55)

"Soundchaser " is top class heavy metal! It's amazing to me that a band with a history and catalog like Rage aren't much more well known and popular outside their homeland. For the most part, the music on "Soundchaser" is fast to mid-paced power metal with some progressive tendencies. Rage have always had touches of speed metal and thrash as well. On "Soundchaser" there isn't really anything I would describe as thrash, but there are certainly times that the music could be described as speed metal. This is not dungeons and dragons, keyboard saturated fluff. Rage are balls-to-the-wall heavy metal. The band combine heavy guitar riffs, lots of double bass drumming, shredding guitar solos and some extremely catchy melodies. I've read complaints about the vocals on various web site but personally I think Peavy is well suited and sounds great. No, he's not Halford or Roy Khan, but he does possess his own unique character and style, that is uniquely Rage. The title track, "War of the Worlds" and "Human Metal" stand out in my mind as some of my immediate favorites off the album, but I think that "Soundchaser" is a solid listen from start to finish. Never did I find myself searching for the skip button.

Speak of the Dead Rage - Speak of the Dead (Nuclear Blast) 2006

1.   Morituri Te Salutant [instrumental] (:57)
2.   Prelude Of Souls [instrumental] (2:46)
3.   Innocent (5:37)
4.   Depression [instrumental] (1:13)
5.   No Regrets (4:53)
6.   Confusion [instrumental] (1:46)
7.   Black [instrumental] (0:51)
8.   Beauty (3:54)
9.   No Fear (5:32)
10. Soul Survivor (3:42)
11. Full Moon (4:54)
12. Kill Your Gods (5:14)
13. Turn My World Around (3:59)
14. Be With Me Or Be Gone (3:47)
15. Speak Of The Dead (4:06)

Rage are a German heavy metal machine that has run the gamut of heavy metal sounds. They started off as a fairly straight forward heavy metal band, morphed into a speed metal band, pushing the boundaries of thrash metal in the late 80's. Then they began experimenting with classical arrangements and full on orchestras, blending metal and classical music. With Lingua Mortis, which they recorded with an entire orchestra, I thought they had pushed the boundaries of symphonic metal to the point where it almost wasn't recognizable as metal any longer. However, with "Unity" and "Soundchaser" Rage added in more heavy guitars and created a fairly unique sound for themselves. Not a bad achievement for a band going on three decades.

"Speak of the Dead" continues that mixture of orchestration and heavy metal and is basically the culmination of the blend. The first eight songs were recorded with an actual orchestra, the Suite Lingua Mortis. Within those songs, five are instrumental pieces, penned by guitarist Victor Smolski. The album opens with a grandiose orchestrated instrumental which acts as an intro into the upbeat instrumental "Prelude of Souls". The song begins with some interesting bass work from Peavy Wagner and a killer drum fill by Mike Terrana. Smolski presence is also felt as he offers some sweeping guitar solos over the orchestration, reminding me slightly of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's not until track three that we hear any vocals. Peavy's charismatic voice seems slightly out of place over the tight musicianship and orchestration until they are mixed with some background vocals. "Depression" is another short orchestrated instrumental which acts as an intro to "No Regrets". This song is a mid-tempo, theatrical hard rock song that ebbs and flows with beautiful harmonies and heavy guitars. This song is followed by a couple more short instrumentals. "Beauty" is the next actual song and is an orchestrated ballad centered around an acoustic guitar and Peavy's emotive vocals. The remaining tracks are more typical of Rage with songs like "No Fear" and "Kill Your Gods" be full-throttle speed metal romps.

Overall, "Speak of the Dead" is another excellent experiment for Rage. The first half of the album took me a little bit of time to really get into due to all the orchestration and instrumental interludes. However, with repeated listens, I began to appreciate it as much as the more straight-forward German power metal that is packed into the last half of the album. (thanks Vexer6)

Carved in Stone Rage - Carved in Stone (Nuclear Blast) 2008

1.   Carved in Stone (5:21)
2.   Drop Dead! (4:13)
3.   Gentle Murders (4:12)
4.   Open My Grave (4:41)
5.   Without You (5:45)
6.   Long Hard Road (4:37)
7.   One Step Ahead (5:05)
8.   Lost in the Void (4:14)
9.   Mouth of Greed (3:56)
10. Lord of the Flies (5:45)

"Carved in Stone" is the eighteenth studio album by the German heavy metal veterans Rage. The album features a new drummer, Andre Hillgers, who replaced Mike Terrana. Peter "Peavey" Wagner (bass/vocals) and longtime guitarist Victor Smolski, who has been with the band since '99, are still on board.

Over the years one trend that I've grown a little tired of in heavy metal and power metal is the use of orchestration. Rage was one of those bands that delved deep into that trend. (see "Lingua Mortis", "XIII", "Speak of the Dead") In their 22 year career, it's understandable that they would want to experiment and I will be the first to admit that I was intrigued at first as it can make for an interesting listen. However, what I really want to hear when I grab a Rage CD, is heavy metal! I want to hear heavy guitars, pounding drums, thundering bass and memorable songs. After using an orchestra on much of their last album, "Carved in Stone" goes back to the basics and delivers exactly what I am wanting to hear from Rage. The songs are simple and straightforward heavy metal with crunchy guitars, a ton of melody and solid and catchy songs. Actually much of "Carved in Stone" might even be labeled as speed metal, as the band pushes the boundaries of thrash with the tempo and crunchy riffs. The first three songs are a non-stop speed fest, yet without forsaking melody and memorable hooks. "Gentle Murders" is interesting in that it opens with a jaw dropping bass intro, includes what can only be described as a "breakdown" before the solo section and sports a smokin' guitar solo. "Open My Grave" opens with a bit of a Mid-East feel and slows down the tempo only slightly. "Without You" has a bit of a Black Sabbath vibe to it, mixed with Smolski's pinch-harmonic infused guitar playing. The last song on the CD is the only song that finds the band revisiting some of the orchestral elements of their last album. "Lord Of The Flies" is an epic track with strings, keyboards and female backing vocals. It's actually a good way to continue the orchestration theme without it becoming overkill and is a good way to finish off the album.

Strings Rage - Strings to a Web (Nuclear Blast) 2010

1.       The Edge Of Darkness (4:30)
2.       Hunter And Prey (4:31)
3.       Into The Light (4:22)
4.       The Beggar's Last Dime (5:40)
5.       Empty Hollow (6:20)
6.       Strings To A Web [instrumental ] (3:54)
7.       Fatal Grace [instrumental ] (1:21)
8.       Connected (2:54)
9.       Empty Hollow (Reprise) (1:48)
10.      Saviour Of The Dead (5:44)
11.      Hellgirl (4:11)
12.      Purified (3:46)
13.      Through Ages (2:06)
14.      Tomorrow Never Comes  (3:41)

Wacken Open Air Festival
1.   Carved In Stone
2.   Higher Than The Sky
3.   Set This World On Fire (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
4.   All I Want (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
5.   Invisible Horizons (featuring Hansi Kürsch)
6.   Lord Of The Flies (featuring Jen Majura)
7.   From The Cradle To The Grave (featuring Jen Majura)
8.   Prayers Of Steel (featuring Schmier)
9.   Suicide (featuring Schmier)
10. Down (featuring Schmier)
11. Soundchaser
12. Set This World On Fire (Live at the "Masters of Rock 2009")
13. All I Want (Live at the "Masters of Rock 2009")
14. Carved In Stone (Live in Sofia 2009)
15. Never Give Up (Rage Race Special)

Before listening to this CD I did a quick scan on-line and ran across a review that sort of ticked me off. The reviewer, who admits to never having heard Rage before, makes the statement that the band's name doesn't fit their sound. He claimed that the music was too "happy" and that the band were barely heavy metal, but rather were "old hard rock" with "sing-along arena rock" choruses. I'm actually amazed at how younger heavy metal fans have zero clue about the history of the music they claim to love. It's history revisionism at it's fines. Bands like Judas Priest and Saxon have been reduced to "just hard rock", while "true heavy metal" is anger-infused stuff like Machine Head. Wrong! Rage embody heavy metal! They have a long-history and despite some experimenting with orchestration, have stayed the coarse. Some metal fans need a heavy metal history lesson.

But enough ranting, what of "Strings to a Web"? On my first listen I was expecting something akin to Rage's last album "Carved in Stone". While Rage indeed sound like Rage, "Strings of a Web" is considerably more progressive and more polished. Whereas "Carved in Stone" incorporated more raw heavy metal and even thrash metal elements, "Strings" tends towards European power metal with progressive songwriting. The CD kicks off with a galloping heavy metal romp titled "The Edge of Darkness" which pretty much sets the tone and speed for the album.  "Saviour Of The Dead" is one of the more mid-paced numbers and has a killer groove. For the most part  the songs are straight ahead, galloping power metal with big, memorable choruses.

The exception to the above description is "Empty Hollow", which brings in some of the orchestral elements that Rage have experimented with in the past. However, the orchestration isn't overbearing, nor does it rob the song of it's power. The guitar work throughout is impressive. Guitarist Victor Smalski was no slouch on past releases, but seems to really step it up here. The title track is a progressive rock instrumental that features a smokin' guitar solo. Perhaps the more progressive songs are more to Smalski's style. Regardless, "Empty Hollow", "Strings to a Web", the short instrumental "Fatal Grace", the melodic "Connected" and "Empty Hollow (Reprise)" all seem to just flow naturally together and are the centerpiece of this album.

Included with this package is a DVD of Rage recorded live at Wacken Open Air, 2009 as well as some bonus live footage from Masters of Rock. 2009 and a live track from Sofia. This particular Rage line-up has been together for a couple years, and is a tight live unit. The band brings out some guest artists including Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) and Schmier (Destruction). All in all, a great package. Too bad I didn't receive this CD until 2011 because it definitely would have made my Top 20 for sure.

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