RAGE - Seasons Of The Black
September 11, 2017, 9 months ago
(Nuclear Blast / Metalville)
With over 30 years of music, 24 studio albums of speed, power, and/or prog metal (depending on the record), Rage went back to their roots again for Seasons Of The Black and fast aggressive compositions from 1985-1995. Opening title track and “Serpents In Disguise” dark titles set the tone while maintaining the melody with guitar/bass/drums, and founding member Peter "Peavy" Wagner’s vocals. See more of Rage’s ability to balance between heavy arrangements and a melody for the chorus in “Blackened Karma”, and for the solo. Any versed listener will recognize such trademarks throughout Rage’s catalogue.
“Time Will Tell” uses more vocal harmonies than “Septic Bite” which follows with some teeth in Peavy’s tone. Track eight is a curve ball interlude after seven rockers/thrashers, opening with acoustic guitars and organic sounds from nature (birds) and an easy vocal. Really doesn’t fit and would have fit better before the mild orchestrations of closer “Farewell”. Complimented by some backing keys, the way the verses into chorus of “Justify” could almost be a power metal pounder by Blind Guardian, and “Bloodshed In Paradise” maintains the albums hard direction throughout.
Looking back on Rage’s history, an album like Seasons Of The Black is a bit of a retread and repetitive in comparison to the variety and dynamics on Lingua Mortis, XIII, Welcome To The Other Side, Soundchaser, Speak Of The Dead, or Strings To A Web. You can pick and choose the better of the harder/faster nine tunes, but “Gaia” and “Farewell” show potential for what could have been throughout the album. Rage are just at their best when it’s a cohesive combination of speed, power, and prog metal.