REFUGE - Solitary Man
June 7, 2018, a year ago
Named after a well known track on their sixth Rage album together, that same trio (who wrote/performed as the German band, from '87 to '94), reconvene under the Refuge moniker, which is also the title of a '94 Ep, the last "Rage" release by Peavy Wagner, bass & vocals, ex-Grave Digger guitarist Manni Schmidt and drummer Christos Efthimiadis). Fast forward to the last few years, where I witnessed the guys play a couple of Euro fests, ProgPower USA and even 70,000 Tons Of Metal. essentially with a greatest hits set, with the occasional new tester thrown in. The Refuge debut is the first chance for most to hear new material. ten proper songs and the "Another Kind Of Madness" bonus, on some formats.
Full disclosure, with all the great 80s Teutonic acts, Rage was never a "go-to" favorite, despite seeing them repeatedly overseas. Over the years, have come to appreciate their music, but still severely lacking in their back catalog. That said, there's something about Refuge that hits home. Perhaps it's the old school vibe, in an era when few sound as such, but whatever it is (increased melody?), find Refuge infinitely more palatable than the better known tag (even if it's the same people). The cool fuzz tone guitar on "Man In The Ivory Tower" rides a groove not typically associated with Peavy's output. Raw "Bleeding From The Inside" is just one of many uptempo, driving anthems: like the speedy, but infectious, pummeling of "From The Ashes", the equally gritty "We Owe A Life To Death" of a headbanging "Living On Edge". There's an almost a punk urgency (and simplicity) to the quick hitting "Let Me Go". The shuffle rhythm in "Hell Freeze Over" is another winner. Overall, a nice surprise!