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Rage - Strings On A Web

Strings On A Web
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 23 February 2010, 12:02 PM

The fact that RAGE has released another very good album is not big news. As long as I can remember, this band has been producing music with a distinct signature mixing the German Thrash attitude with the Power Metal feeling in terms of catchy and sing-along melodies. But this is not the best thing with RAGE; in every album you can feel that there is progress and in every corner a new element pops up that is impressively under the sign of RAGE. OK, part of this distinct sound is due to Peavy’s vocals and timbre but who can agree on the fact the the guitar sound like RAGE? And this is another special characteristic for this threesome; Peavy has changed several axemen but still the band has not changed the musical it follows.

Even though I love Manfred "Manni" Schmidt guitar playing I cannot but take my hat off to Victor Smolski. This guy is music genius and his classical background help the most to materialize in the best way Peavy vision entitled "Lingua Mortis" that saw the light of the day in 1996. His prime work along with his father’s help combines classic music and heavy guitar work is the strongest asset in Victor’s -at least- impressive curriculum vitae.

So, two years after the pretty good "Carved In Stone" RAGE are back with "Strings On A Web". anyone who is at least familiar to this band can imagine what will happen if he’d press the play in his player; he will get another very good album that is just one or maybe two steps of before touching the greats "Secrets In A Weird World", "Reflections Of A Shadow" or even "The Missing Link". Always good but not that good. I mean every time I lay my hands on a RAGE I have a feeling of incompleteness messing with my taste. But this time this did not happen! Indeed, RAGE have finally found the solid music character they have been searching during the latest era that started a new chapter called "XIII" with all the classical arrangements. Smolski used the most of his potentials and helped Peavy to create songs where you cannot distinguish the classical music additions from the genuine Metal sounds. In previous albums the feeling of having different suites was messing up the album’s character making sometimes look like Jekyll and Hyde. Here the blend is one and there are no clear boundaries and this gives desirable feeling of completeness I was searching in all the latest RAGE albums.

The unquestioned evidence of my previous saying is the impressive opus entitled "Empty Hollow". The classic arrangements are one with RAGE’s heaviness helped by the up-to-date keyboard phrases that build the connecting bridges between the two music territories. Just listen to the chorus to really understand and eventually agree with my opinion. For some reason (maybe the violins?) this track woke up the memories of my prime listening to the hair-raising "Lost In The Ice" (by the way read H.P. Lovecraft’s "At The Mountains Of Madness" while listening to this track). This song continues in five parts that flow impressively smooth and circle around the musical theme of the opening chorus. The guitar work is impressively complex comprising several homemade techniques but are far from being characterized as showing off. Another pleasant surprise listens to the name "Saviour Of The Dead"; this track is super heavy due to the Zakk Wylde guitar groove and vibrato where you get the impression that Ozzy will suddenly appear singing "Perry Mason…".

As you might have probably understood this is more than good RAGE album whereas the band has settled on a solid music character having -at last- digest all the classic finishing touches that Peavy had been trying to adopt since the late 90s. Hilgers is a good addition to the band but I would characterize his work as silent since it does bears something distinct that could carry his name. Nevertheless, he is doing this job more than efficiently so no worries there. But, who will not miss Terrana’s insane performance behind the drum-kit?

P.S.: Pay attention to the lyrics in "The Beggar’s Last Dime" and you will find many truths told…

4 Star Rating

  1. The Edge Of Darkness
  2. Hunter And Prey
  3. Into The Light
  4. The Beggar’s Last Dime
  5. Empty Hollow
  6. Strings To A Web
  7. Fatal Grace
  8. Connected
  9. Empty Hollow (Reprise)
  10. Saviour Of The Dead
  11. Hellgirl
  12. Purified
  13. Through Ages
  14. Tomorrow Never Comes
Peter "Peavy" Wagner - Vocals, Bass
Victor Smolski - Guitar, Keyboards
Andre Hilgers - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 23 March 2023

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