Rage – Seasons of the Black (Nuclear Blast/Metalville)Thursday, 20th July 2017
Quick: Name the band who had their name changed without their knowledge prior to their debut album hitting record store racks? That would be Rage, who suffered such an indignity at the hands of Noise Records label boss Karl-Ulrich Walterbach, who thought so little of the band that he shortened their name from “Furious Rage” to “Rage” without consultation. The band would learn of this shortening not from Walterbach himself, but by going to the record store and seeing their Reign of Fear debut under the “Rage” banner. However, this is only a microscopic event in a career that spans over three decades and is up to 23 studio albums, the latest being Seasons of the Black.
Twenty-three studio albums is nothing to scoff at, but it’s probably a smart idea to remember the band’s early Euro thrash rumblings, which saw vocalist/bassist Peter “Peavy” Wagner testing out his helium-infused vocals. Wagner’s vocals may have deepened since, but the band’s hearty, involved brand of melodic metal is as sharp as ever. Just check out the riff segments on “Blackened Karma” and in particular “Time Will Tell,” where guitarist Marcos Rodriguez turns in a world-beating performance full of smarts and Euro know-how. While the pounding “All We Know is Not” maintains a direct line to power metal, it’s the classy, almost AOR tactics of “Justify” and “Bloodshed in Paradise” that round out an album that is quite sturdy.
Rage doesn’t need to have its praises sung for the European audience, who have long supported the band. On these shores, however, it’s an uphill battle, although you’d be hard-pressed to find a more consistent German metal band than Rage. Seasons of the Black proves that Rage, once again, are oblivious to time and trends.