RAGE – 21

RAGE - 21
  • 8.5/10
    RAGE - 21 - 8.5/10


Nuclear Blast
Release Date: February 24, 2012

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The band Rage has been around for a very long time, releasing their first album back in 1984. They have always been categorized as a Traditional Power Metal band from Germany, however, Rage has historically put a little extra intensity and energy into their music to propel them to the next level. This standard is even more prevalent with their latest album, entitled 21, which appropriately is the 21st studio album of their career. There are many elements of Power, Speed, and Thrash Metal heard on this album giving it the dynamism to be arguably their finest work yet.

Rage is led by the only original remaining band member, Peter “Peavy” Wagner, as both bassist and vocalist. His vocal style has never been any extraordinary or over the top, which is why this band has never really been vocal driven. Rage relies on their forceful compositions and profound musical arrangements to guide their material. This has become literally an art for Rage, and they have excelled at their craft throughout their career.

Musically, 21 is filled with lots of intense passion. The main driving force is the superlative guitar playing of Victor Smolski. The Russian-born Smolski has been with Rage since 1999 and has made very positive contributions since joining. So much so that he has become an important key to Rage’s signature sound. Regarding his work on 21, it is nothing short of extraordinary. He puts forth so many fast and powerful riffs as well as precise, lightning-fast solos. His Prog Metal roots are prevalent throughout most of the tracks, but since he adapts so well to the heavier rhythms of Rage, it becomes very clear how talented Smolski is, and how he should be much more widely recognized among the Metal scene. One of the coolest riffs on the entire album is during the opening of the track “Forever Dead” where Smolski provides what seems to be an impulsive and improvised lick that segues into the heaviest set of riffs found on any of the tracks. The whole song is simply impressive and mind-blowing.

Of course, Rage would not be complete without the steamrolling vocals of Peavy Wagner. Wagner’s unique style is essential to their powerful sound. Although he is not a technically gifted vocalist, he has been able to harness his limitations into an aggressive and persuasive sound. One of the more vocally driven songs on the album is “Death Romantic” — Wagner digs deep to deliver a great melodic chorus line; or at least as melodic as Wagner can get. This is one of those stereotypical German Power Metal-style tracks, which a Ralf Scheepers type vocalist would transform into a vocally amazing performance. Wagner, however, is very content growling through it with his own form of finesse and style.

21 as a whole is a very strong release. There is an excellent mix of diverse arrangements on each track which makes the album both dynamic and powerful. Rage always delivers influential and convincing music, and this one stand outs as one of their best.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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