Rage - Wings of Rage

Rage Wings of Rage cover
Wings of Rage
I’ve always enjoyed most of what Peter Wagner and whoever he chose to surround himself with in the different lineups of Rage, so I was quite happy to see that Peave’s and his Rage chums, Marcos Rodrguez and Lucky were up to – some three years after their last effort… enough time, to come up with some good tunes to build an album around.
I must say that the opener, “True”, was a little too theatrical in a weird and primal way for my tastes, before settling into pretty standard Rage fare, with a decent chorus and neat guitar melodies.
While it’s far from being boring or bad, it had me worried that the band’s recently recaptured “mojo” was running a little low, too soon, after the last time that happened, but thankfully that wasn’t to be the case as “Let Them Rest in Peace” finds an interesting way of reaching its climax/chorus, through its mid-tempo glory, that I suppose would give them Rage boys a few points for originality. It’s nicely reminiscent of early 90s Rage, one of the better periods of the band.
“Chasing the Twilight Zone” is a little livelier and has a nice riff that gets the job done and a tight rhythm section that leads it through a rather vintage sounding chorus that hearkens even further back into the bands past. I also like Marcos’ short but sweet solo in there, which does its job without overstaying its welcome.
“Tomorrow” begins with a vocal solo of its chorus, before it goes for the jugular, both the melodic as well as the aggressive veins being tapped. I suppose, I enjoyed it a bit more than the defacto “singles” of the album which is good news. Oh and the soloing just reinforces all the good feelings l had about the song, leading things in a pretty celebratory conclusion.
The title track, “Wings of Rage”, sees Peavy going for it and is a marvelous example of the near-speed but yet melodic metal, that the band was known for in the past.
“Shadow over Deadland (The Twilight Transition)” is a half-minute atmospheric transition into “A Nameless Grave”, a very atmospheric, slower track that revolves around a dark, brooding, symphonic movement that sees the band playing to the best of their “orchestral” abilities, without going full on LMO. The solo has this gloriously “rich” tone and the strings just add a bit of extra tension, without overshadowing the velvet darkness that Rage weave… fantastic!
“Don’t Let Me Down” seems to be a wish, made out loud and turned into a song that is glorious enough and has its sympho bits, carrying over from its predecessor, but still used sparingly. Different enough, but in a good way.
“Shine a Light” continues with the sparring use of orchestral elements and it begins with a superb solo from Rodriguez, and some very “socialist” verses that are almost spoken by Peavy, before the glorious chorus arrives and for more superb soloing is done. It’s one of the better songs Rage has written in a while, both for its really poignant soloing that speaks to the heart, as well as it’s bare and honest lyricism, message and attitude.
I initially saw the cryptic “HTTS 2.0” and thought – wtf is that?! Did an error message end up in the tracklist? It ends up being an updated, dirtier and heavier version of “Higher than the Sky”, a pretty popular tune from “End of All Days”. Hmm… lovely track, but I dunno why the decision to re-record it (it doesn’t seem to be a bonus or anything of that sort).
“Blame It on the Truth” is a brassy, mid-tempo that gets heavy and angry, before it speeds up a bit for a chorus that elevates it from mediocrity.
“For Those Who Wish to Die” attempts to be a bit more prog, mixing slightly more complicated arrangements and edgier performances with a mid-tempo lyricism, and a kick ass eastern riff that repeats quite a few times, making it another highlight. I was not sure, if it was ideal as a closing track, as I wanted more after this, but the way it dies out, I suppose makes it conclude the album in a definitive way.
With the exception of the somewhat dubious opener, “Wings of Rage” is a near perfect Rage album, like they used to make them back in the day. Heavy, unafraid to experiment or to push the pedal to the metal if need be and always melodic; the guys in Rage’s latest incarnation have scored a hat trick, with the third in a row great album. This should be music (literally) to the ears of their fans!