Rage are one of those bands that I’ve kept meaning to check out for a LONG time and for whatever reason, I just never have. I recall I really became interested in their “Soundchaser” album because it was a concept album and was often mentioned back in 2002 as a great album. So with their new album “Seasons of the Black,” I am finally getting on with it.
Now the first problem for me is that, since I haven’t checked them out before, I knew I would need a crash course in all things Rage in order to have a point of reference for the new album. So I finally checked out “Soundchaser” and a few other albums from the band’s storied past. First off, I should have gotten into Rage back then. “Soundchaser” is awesome and quite progressive.
“Seasons of the Black” is more direct and perhaps a bit more aggressive. One factor is that long time band leader Peter “Peavy” Wagner (vocals/bass) has a new lineup as of 2015, so this album maintains the course set on “The Devil Strikes Again.” This is more about the band’s power metal and thrash side. That said, “Seasons of the Black” has a few prog moments thrown in, the end of “Serpents in Disguise” is an example. It’s brief but it’s there.
The songs aren’t quite as varied as I would have liked but there’s no denying that the album as a whole does kick ass. Wagner is using a more husky, gravely tone rather than singing the way he has done in the past. It does fit the aggression of the music though. The peaceful, yet brief, “Gaia” does let Wagner just sing and you can definitely hear that his vocals have aged a bit. My favorite tracks are probably the title track (a kick ass opener),”Bloodshed in Paradise,” which just stands out more because it has some dynamics and the EPIC closer “Farewell” which harkens back to their orchestral collaborations. Awesome way to finish the album!
Based on my quick research, I don’t think “Seasons of the Black” ranks as one of Rage’s best albums (granted there are many I haven’t heard yet!) but I do think it’s a very strong album and I am really glad that it made me aware of this band. If you like power metal that isn’t cheesy at all and music that will probably cause you to drive way too fast if you listen to it in the car, “Seasons of the Black” is definitely something you need to check out.
1. Season Of The Black
2. Serpents In Disguise
3. Blackened Karma
4. Time Will Tell
5. Septic Bite
6. Walk Among The Dead
7. All We Know Is Not
8. The Tragedy Of Man – Gaia
9. The Tragedy Of Man – Justify
10. The Tragedy Of Man – Bloodshed In Paradise
11. The Tragedy Of Man – Farewell
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: July 28, 2017