Rage – Wings of Rage (Steamhammer/SPV)Wednesday, 1st January 2020
It’s hard to dispute the importance of Teutonic metal in the overall scope of influence in the scene. While probably not namedropped as much as Helloween, Accept, or Kreator, Rage has been a mainstay since their 80’s inception – Wings of Rage being the latest studio record in a vast 37-year career. Continuing to ply their power/heavy/speed-oriented songwriting as a trio, these musicians know how to create diverse, catchy anthems at varying tempos and textures – ensuring at the very least that the listener will not feel the material stagnating into specific sameness track to track.
The front half of the record charges with loads of thrash-oriented efforts where the double-kick action and churning rhythms take command – check out “True” and “Tomorrow” for sure-fire energy and machine gun-like guitar salvos for accenting the Peavy-driven mid-range and slightly higher vocal melodies (the latter featuring some layered harmonization from guitarist Marcos Rodriguez that tips it’s cap to Helloween). Adding actual ‘Twilight Zone’ theme aspects transposed to electric guitar pieces makes “Chasing the Twilight Zone” another standout as it turns into a straightforward heavy metal anthem, while the orchestration accents during “A Nameless Grave” make this a darker track, emphasizing a bit more of their epic/doom dynamic over its almost six-minute timeframe. The band also choose to update a song from 1996 “Higher than the Sky” renamed “HTTS 2.0”, giving the guitars a bit more girth in rhythm accents, the vocals also taking on more spiteful, venomous textures. Conversely the power ballad “Shine a Light” showcases a bit of Peavy’s limitations during the verses, his lower register work weakening the rising chorus that features choir support and emotive guitar harmonies.
Wings of Rage doesn’t necessarily stray from the Rage formula of power anthems, thrash numbers, and the occasional epic or ballad effort. Consistency has been a benchmark of the three-piece, and this will probably appease the major followers. For a proper primary into the stronger records, dig deeper into Perfect Man, The Missing Link or even Soundchaser if you are a newbie to the band, and then you’ll be able to assess better the quality of this record.