Rage - Soundchaser

Year of Release: 2003
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:18:00

I was very surprised, looking at the back catalogue of Rage[, by] the number of albums they've released. Since 1986's debut Reign Of Fear, Peavy Wagner and Co (a company that includes many line-up changes) have been releasing an album almost every year. Stunning, and another testament to the power of German power metal.

A few years ago, though, beginning with Ghosts (1999), a massive change occurred which allowed the import of US, European-based drummer Mike Terrana (Axel Rudi Pell, Artension, Squealer, Yngwie) and White Russian Mr. Victor Smolski (solo, Mind Odyssey). And for the last three albums, Welcome To The Other Side (2001), Unity (2002) and now Soundchaser (2003), these three have created some of the most stylish heavy metal going around.

The fluffy concept album couldn't hold water in an ocean, and whilst the initial idea of biomechanoids is fine ? they used such imagery on their last album and on this one too ? the further the concept goes, the more laughable it sounds. Either way, Soundchaser makes up for such irrelevant nonsense with some of the finest metal I've heard. The focus here is on the incessant staccato riffs provided by Smolski with a host of harmonics and arpeggio work with a thick layer of melody and pseudo progressive metal. It's guitar wankery for sure, but without the over-the-top Yngwie-indulgence [and] with plenty of salacious soloing to whet your appetites, too. The intensity of the music rarely rescinds with nary a moment of silence (the driving "Secrets In A Weird World" and the ambient sounding "Flesh And Blood" are two examples, although neither is a ballad in the true sense). I think Mike Terrana is completely in his element here, providing him the chance to combine his obvious technical skills with heavy metal. And with Peavy Wagner on bass, this trio have developed into amazing song-writers perfecting complex arrangements without losing any heaviness. And don't get me started on the engaging keyboard work.

Speaking of Peavy, his vocals are just magnificent. They say wine gets better with age, well, either Peavy disguises himself as a bottle of wine or he's drunk a lot of it because his roughshod melodic vocals are very original, very enthusiastic, and have not waned one iota on this album. And he mixes up his vocals, too, from the desperate darkness of "Flesh And Blood" (the instrumental section, involving a sitar solo from the sounds [of it], is mindblowing) to the title track "Soundchaser," which throws a host of darker vocals at you. There's something for everybody, from the straight, anthemic-chorused "Human Metal" to the furiousness of "War Of Worlds." The final duo of "Falling From Grace" ("Wake The Nightmares (Part I)" and "Death Is On It's Way (Part II)") also features Andi Deris (Helloween) on backing vocals. Not a big part, but he's a good choice and two terrific numbers.

The first spoken word on this album sums it all up: "Excellent!" They knew this was going to be good and they're absolutely correct. I have no idea where they will go from here, but for the next year at least Soundchaser has delivered on all fronts, especially if you like the recent sounds of Rage. Stylish, heavy, and most of all ? METAL!

[This review originally appeared August 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Orgy Of Destruction (Intro) / War Of The Worlds / Great Old Ones / Soundchaser / Defenders of The Ancient Life / Secrets In A Weird World / Flesh And Blood / Human Metal / See You In Heaven Or Hell / Wake The Nightmares (Falling From Grace: Pt 1) / Death is On It's Way (Falling From Grace: Pt 2) / Bonus Track (digi-pack) French Bouree

Added bonus track on JP edition: Fuga

Peter 'Peavey' Wagner - vocals
Victor Smolski - guitars
Mike Terrana - drums

Avenger - Prayer Of Steel (1985)
Avenger - Depraved To Black (1985)
Reign Of Fear (1986)
Execution Guaranteed (1987)
Perfect Man (1988)
Invisible Horizons (ep) (1989)
Secrets In A Weird World (1989)
Reflections Of A Shadow (1990)
Extended Power (ep) (1991)
Trapped! (1992)
Beyond The Wall (ep) (1992)
The Missing Link (1993)
Refuge (ep) (1994)
Power Of Metal (1994)
Ten Years In Rage (1994)
Black In Mind (1995)
Lingua Mortis (1996)
End Of All Days (1997)
Higher Than The Sky (ep) (1997)
Live From The Vault (1997)
XIII (1998)
The Best From The Noise Years (1998)
In Vain 'Rage In Acoustic' (1998)
In Vain I - III (1998)
Ghosts (1999)
Welcome To The Other Side (2001)
Best Of - All G.U.N. Years (2001)
Unity (2002)
Soundchaser (2003)
From The Cradle To The Stage (2004)

From The Cradle To The Stage (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Other

Origin DE

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.rage-on.de
Hits: 954
Language: english


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