Rage and Fire – The Last Wolf (No Remorse Records)Friday, 23rd June 2023
Formed out of the ashes of Ravensire who broke up in 2020, Rage and Fire is a quartet that live for a traditional side of epic-oriented anthems for this debut album The Last Wolf. Half of that last Ravensire lineup appears in guitarist Mário Figueria and bassist/ vocalist Rick Thor – grabbing second guitarist Fred Brum and drummer Vasco Machado to round out the proceedings. Previously releasing a demo with a cool title (Demo 86 + 35… signifying the era they most sound like, just in current times), old school metalheads will most appreciate the little tricks that appear in the musicianship and tone/production realm to keep this relevant for all those yearning to bust out some air guitar maneuvers or match some of the vocal effects on hand.
That familiar early “Phantom of the Opera” type twin-guitar gallop appears in initial favorite “20th Century Man”, Rick using similar drawn-out vocal parts that many into Di’Anno period appreciate. Not stuck in one specific gear, the mid-tempo riffs against the energetic snare/double kick parts will have Running Wild fans amok during “Shapeshifter” – those cultural hooks razor sharp. Calmer clean strumming opens “Tell the Tales (of Medusa)” in hypnotic fashion, Rick reaching for some interesting higher notes (larger than life while knowing his limitations) against the mythology-driven lyrical theme. Other songs gain inspiration from novels like The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard for “Black Wind” or the poem “Uh Lobo” by Jorge Luis Borges with the closing title track – perfect subjects that go hand in hand with the musical atmosphere. Left channel/right channel riffs surrounded by energetic fills are another measure to embrace synchronized headbanging – “Ebb and Flow (Wax and Wane)” containing all the cascading lead break fixtures to elevate hordes in allegiance to the cause.
Rage and Fire sit in that pocket where the soundtrack they deliver in these songs could serve as the battle cry with warring factions preparing for the heated finale. The Last Wolf leads with steel, swords and shields on guard as the epic chords collide into tempos of classic metal proportions. Curious to hear where the next record will take us.