Rage – Soundchaser Archives

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Nuclear Blast

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Review by Rick Ossian

Talk about a behemoth!  30 tracks, most of which ROCK in the time-honoured, classic hard rock/heavy metal tradition, over 3 discs, and maybe only one or two that I would even remotely consider duds in the least!  Very well then, let’s begin with dispensing of some technical information.  Rage is a German metal/rock outfit featuring Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner on vocals and bass, Victor Smolski on guitar and Andre Hilgers on drums.  They hail from Herne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, to be more specific, and have been an active force on the rock scene from 1984 to the present day.

Anybody Home features some cool riffing, as do most of the tracks contained herein.  Also some very nice shredding going on.  The vocals can be a bit rough at times, but still good.  I was reminded of Helloween, vocally, in some moments.  The lyrics can be a bit passe (:” Is there anybody out there/Hey people anybody home/Is there anybody there to see/Anybody to say no”).  Mistery Trip (that’s the way they spelled it!) features another of many, many cool guitar riffs, with squeals to boot (ala Zakk Wylde).  Very heavy stuff.  For want of a better comparison, Anvil comes to mind.  A good tune, even with possible radio potential.  This one also features a short-but-sweet guitar solo and a very cool ending.

In Union is, again, accompanied by another wicked riff.  There is indeed a bag of riffage here!  A guitar solo at the 2:30 mark, and reminds us what we are all about – In union with metal!  French Bourree includes a synth intro, then, of course, more riffs!  This is a different sort of tune.  There is lots of wah on the guitar, and the main riff is very cool, sort of sinister even.  There is also a keyboard solo at 2:20 and more guitar soloing at the 2:45 mark.  It is very melodic and musical in the most simple sense, and rocks occasionally as well.

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A Perfect Day again relies on the tried and true riffy opening with squeals.  We will see this several times throughout, but somehow it usually always works and doesn’t become maudlin for the most part.  It features a narrative vibe and reminds us that there is a story being told here.  If anything, my only real complaint would be the length of the tunes on this collection.  They are too short to suit me!  I wish the jamming numbers would go on longer.  There is a breakdown jam at 1:40 and a guitar solo with some nice shredding at the 2:50 mark.  The drummer is very busy as well!

Long Hard Road features more riffing (surprise!), and Full Moon (International Version) includes a guitar picking/strumming intro and some foregin language vocals.  At the 1-minute mark, things pick up a bit, and a guitar solo steps in at about 3:30.  At 4:20, we go back to the plucking.  Nevermore finds us back to riff mode again.  The lyrics are, again, rather predictable (“Never will forget/One day you’ll regret”), but still work.  This one is part of the main character’s extraordinary journey, we can only assume.  This is heavy stuff, with a cool fade-out at the end.

Enough Is Enough features a German vocal intro, with some cool guitars.  This is more of an old-style heavy metal boogie-woogie number!  Good stuff, also a tiny bit of prog/metal going on here as well.  Here Comes the Night is a vocal tour-de-force.  A bit more subdued when in comparison with the other material, it too works nonetheless.  Featuring some very cool riffage, and lyrics about “my favorite time of day/the dying day“.  It would seem that they could use a spot of help lyrically, but perhaps I protest too much?  I hate to be critical, but then we can’t be 100% positive all the time now can we?

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Spiritual Awakening is an aggressive tune, almost punk rock.  It has a good energy to it, with a heavy beat.  Two minutes in there is a breakdown of sorts featuring a cool guitar solo.  Lost in the Void has a very cool guitar intro and a couple of solos along the way (2:40 and 3:00 in).  Some heavy riffing at the end as well.  The Missing Link, meanwhile, is pure garage punk rock mixed with just a touch of metal.  Some cool riffing again, and a surging bassline.  It is the “story of a fossil”, as it were.

Another Kind of Madness is sort of a dischordant number, one of those with a different beat and a strange time signature not normally used in regular heavy rock.  This is slamming but meandering at the same time, if that’s even possible.  There is a mellower ending, while the whole of it is full of menace and foreboding.  Down to the Bone finds us back in Riff City again, with some cool screaming vocals and and a couple more guitar solos (2 minutes and 2:30 in).  Speed of Sound is more of the same, and I found myself completely digging the riffs, but slightly disappointed again that the tune ended so soon!  Lots of squealing on the guitar and a slamming, heavy beat.  Also included is a tasty guitar solo at the 2-minute mark.

Darkness Turns to Light (“the mystery when wrong will turn to right“) features a faded-in volume control intro, and is more of a classic rock number with some very good drumming going on.  Refuge is another uptempo number with some heavy riffing and good jamming.  Fugue No. 5 is a beautiful instrumental number with a classical music intro on guitar and a definite classical edge/vibe to the entire tune.  Last Goodbye finds us back to the riffs, and another heavy, almost thrashing tune.  Dirty Wings is another slammer, but more in the classic hard rock vein again.

Death Is Alive has almost a Kashmir-esque beat to it.  I found myself wanting more cowbell, oddly enough.  No joke.  Is this an outright dirge, or merely death metal?  You decide.  Gental Murders is a heavy speed-metal sort of thing, with lots of guitar riffing, as you might expect at this point.  From the Cradle to the Grave features more of the same, a guitar solo at the intro a creepy, Helloween-style vibe again.  There is also a guitar solo at the 3:10 mark.

The Pit and the Pendulum (yay Poe!) is heavy and historic at the same time.  Those of you who have somehow NOT read the Edgar Allen Poe story would do well to peruse it, not to mention the whole body of his work.  Especially if you are a metal fan, his work should be on your life syllabus, if you will.  Waterfalls features a mellow intro with some introspective guitar work, if you will.  It kicks in at about the 1-minute mark, and features a guitar solo at the 3:45 mark.

Heads Off has some heavy riffing, and some very busy drumming.  It is very fast and furious.  Assorted by Satan features more busy drums and all-around heavy rock.  At the 1:30 mark it sounds as if a new tune is starting up, which begs the question ‘is this part of a medley?’ Again, I leave it for the reader to decide.  “We bring Satanic spells!“, they shout, and then they bring another guitar solo at the 3-minute mark.  Some fine shredding here.

Shame on You has a cool guitar and tambourine intro.  Things kick in at about the 1-minute mark, and some trippy screaming vocals are featured as well.  There is a guitar solo at the 3:20 mark, and a different sort of vibe from most of the other stuff here.  A touch of Indian raga (is that a sitar?) at the end as well.

Soundchaser Demo is a title track if ever there was one.  “Chasing/raging/killing” seems to be the theme of the day.  A very cool ending as well.  So, to sum up, there is an enormous amount of material here.  Stick to the high points and you should be fine.

****/5

 

If you like this, you’ll like these:

Lingua Mortis Orchestra – LMO

Pretty Maids – Future World

Gamma Ray – Empire Of The Undead

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