Rage – Carved in Stone (2008)
To be honest I have to confess that I haven’t listened to a Rage album since their 1998 hit-record XIII. At the time it was one of my favorite albums but I somehow lost touch with the band after that. This year Rage releases their 19th (!!!) full length record called Carved in Stone and I thought it was time to catch up and have a look. Their last album Speak of the Dead was done in cooperation with the symphonic orchestra Lingua Mortis but this time Rage is back with a traditional Metal album. The differences are apparent after a few first samples: Carved in Stone is heavier, thrashier and more aggressive and it seems as though Rage has gone back to their Black in Mind times.
If you have never heard of Rage it’s definitely time to update your music collection. The band was formed by vocalist and bass player Peter “Peavy” Wagner (the only steady member since 1984) and is one of the most important German metal bands of the past 20 years. They have been around for such a long time that most people seem to underestimate their potential to surprise, yet here they are once more to deliver! So let’s have a look at their new work:
When I first put in the record I was immediately disappointed by the cliché intro of the first track called “Carved in Stone”. I thought to myself: Have they really adopted such a cheesy power metal sound? But wait… What is this?… The intro’s suddenly interrupted by a heavy drum bridge and the guitars shredded in with such velocity that I was taken by surprise and a smile wiped of the initial disappointment. The guitars are HEAVY and thrashy, yet they still have the typical melodic Rage-feel to them. When the first chorus finally kicked in I felt right at home. Peavey’s vocals are remarkably variable as he manages to switch over from raw and bad ass parts to the very melodic and heartfelt chorus parts. It is also important to mention that this is the first record with the new drummer André Hilgers. After the split with Mike Terrana he has some big shoes to fill but I have to say that he manages this quite nicely.
The second song “Drop Dead” is one of those pieces that I could listen to on a permanent loop. It has such an amazing thrash metal intro that makes you feel like somebody is being punched in the face (and that he probably deserved it too). After the second chorus you will probably catch yourself singing along and shaking your fist in the air. I could go on and describe every song in detail but I’ll pick a few examples to speed this review along.
No Rage record would be complete without the mandatory ballad. In this case I’m talking about “Without You”. For a ballad the song has still a lot of power (except for the intro) and especially the riff following the chorus part will stick to your mind like glue. “Lost in the Void” demonstrates perfectly the ingenuity of the song writing which most of the time includes some memorable riffs and a sing along chorus. The last piece “Lord of the Flies” is probably the only song of the record which includes samples and a choir, and this makes it special without being too much of a traditional power metal song. It holds a dark and gloomy atmosphere that captures the listener and gives the record a very memorable and strong ending.
Rage is one of those bands that you either like or hate, because they are on the one hand very traditional but on the other hand cannot be fit easily into a specific genre. Don’t expect a record that reinvents the genre except for the last song the band takes very few risks in their latest production. I really enjoy this album as it is perfect to listen too while driving around aimlessly with your speakers turned up to 11. If you by any chance are a fan of the band I would recommend you get the Special Edition of the record since it includes a Bonus DVD of the 2007 Wacken-Open-Air show with Lingua Mortis.
~ by cnspiracy on May 4, 2008.