RAGE - Afterlifelines

March 27, 2024, 3 weeks ago

(SPV/Steamhammer)

Rich Catino

Rating: 6.0

review heavy metal rage

RAGE - Afterlifelines

Forty years, and now the 26th album, Afterlifelines, by the German speed/power/prog melodic metal machine. I am a fan of their history, select songs from the ‘80s, more so the Manni Schmidt era (Perfect Man - Missing Link), two guitar attack Black In Mind - Ghosts, and the Smolski albums 2001-2010. Getting you up to speed, the last four albums there has been another new drummer and change in guitarists, twice. That's many albums, and quantity over quality often, too much sameness. With that, how does this new album compare? 

This is a double album, Afterlife’s first eleven songs guitar driven written as a trio, Lifelines with an orchestra behind the guitars, drums, and bass, something Rage has done several times during the history. And like lone original member, singer Peavy Wagner in the bio says "some of it may be reminiscent of albums XIII and Lingua Mortis,” which I agree, plus Speak Of The Dead form 2006. With that, first disc kicks off in traditional Rage fashion, rampaging riffs and drums driving the song. Wagner's voice has lost nothing in tone, a tad more edgy like last few albums. They have become heavier since The Devil Strikes Again, and with mixed results. 

Like lead off track "End Of Illusions" has a modern breakdown and guttural growl pre solo. But, as always with Rage with speed the important guitar melody still a thread, heard in "Under A Black Crown", and the solo in the catchy rhythm for the title track. "Mortal" has a modern chugging riff, as does "Toxic Waves" with melodic verse breaks. "Waterwar" has chorus riffing pattern style more in the vein of the Smolski era. Gallop and double bass power metal for the chorus to "Justice Will be Mine". These two are my Rage. 

Lifelines begins with piano and strings for "Cold Desire", but the music doesn't differ from a fast heavy opener. It’s more related to the 2000's album in arrangement. Splashes of orchestration to "Root Of Our Evil" and brings me back to the excellent XIII album. Getting Disturbed/Korn vibes from the riff delivery and verse breakdowns in "Curse The Night." Yeah, no thanks. And more modernisms for "Its All Too Much" even with the orchestral accents. "Dying To Live" ballad-esque is pleasing, and nice complimenting keyboards behind the straight forward "The Flood", which again brings me back to my Rage, mid late ‘90s. Title track also enjoyable focused on the song and melody, not the aggressive or modern riffs. 

Look, I know I'm pointing out many negatives, things I don't like. But as a longtime fan, and by 26 albums, I'm over it, and think the best is behind them. As I said, quantity over quality. Not that the newer albums don't have their moments and merits. But I could take the strongest songs from the last four albums and make one great one.



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