Rage - 21
Nuclear Blast
Heavy Metal
11 songs ()
Release year: 2012
Rage, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the month

Rage has to be one of the most underrated band in metal history as far as I'm concerned. How many time when I mention their name, every one answers : "oh yeah, Rage Against The Machines, I know them", everytime I let out a sight of discontentment mixed with disbelief. German metallers Rage are one of the most prolific bands out there, as this album is called 21 for a reason, it's their 21nd album to date ! Not many band can dream to achieve this number, and most definitely not in the time that Rage has done it. Take 1995 and 1996, in the space of two years Rage delivered Black In Mind, Lingua Mortis and End of All Days. How many bands can pretend releasing three magnificent albums in less than two years ? If you know any let me know, cause I don't !

I am still waiting for a bad album from the band and from the sound of 21 I will have to wait for a long time. Even though they will sometime experiment, push their own boundaries, Rage is, in the end, always true to their core sound. Such experimentation brought orchestra into the metal sound that everyone would take for granted when Nightwish does it today, but let's not forget who did it way before (ok they weren't the first either ;) ), and in an incredible way with Lingua Mortis. What amazes me with Rage is that no two albums are the same, but they all remain true to their sound somehow. I guess this is thanks to Peavy and his incredible vocal presence that permeates the Rage sound throughout the decades and lineups. Rage main sound trademark is the heavily riffing, borderline Thrash verses that are usually overshadowed by their ultra melodic choruses. This balance is at the core of the Rage sound, and 21 is no different. It does actually raise the bar for heaviness on this album. It feels like we're back in time in that regard. This album continues the story of Rage in pure sharp riffing and melodic chorus releases, and the formula still ain't broken, 21 albums later. The thing with Rage is that it may take a while for albums to fully sink in (I recommend 4-5 listens, spaced in time by a few days), but usually once they do, you know you are treated to true AAA grade metal, and it saddens me that this band hasn't achieved a fame to rival with the likes of Metallica (I know I'm not gonna make any friends here, though I'm no way trying to say they are better, just more constant and definitely releasing more stuff). Twenty One is a great opener, but somehow very accessible compared to what is to follow (pretty much the only radio "friendly" track on the album). It is followed by a much heavier song which brutal verse is only matched by it's wonderfully melodic chorus. Forever Dead is that song, and it might be one of the band's finest as far as I'm concerned. I've promised myself I'll cut my reviews short and believe me I try so I'll stop the song by song analysis here. 21 continues were Rage left with not only their previous album but their back catalog basically, and if you are a fan of the band you know they are constantly evolving yet their core sound is always present. So basically if you like the balance between heavy and melody, you will love Rage in general, 21 is no different in that regard except it does sound like their heavier album of the last decade or more... I think you'd have to return to Black In Mind and Trapped for heavier albums. One thing is for sure, Peavy Wagner and Victor Smolski are a match made in heaven, may these two never part ways, they complement each other perfectly and Smolski is one of my favorite guitar player (more like virtuoso), so it's only fitting he plays in one of my favorite metal bands of all time. Not to forget drums master André Hilger who does an absolute amazing job at replacing (I don't like that word as André owns!) Mike Terrana, also hailing from another favorite band of mine (Axxis). Heavy, catchy, melodic, sharp, pounding, powerful and majestic... all these are good adjectives to define both the band and this new release.

Another year, and another Rage album, this statement is almost always true. But very few bands can be so regular and yet deliver some amazing quality albums year after year for nearly three decades now. 21 is a true Rage album that mixes the new with the old, brings back memories and layers on it new tricks that furthers their sound even more. It's a(nother) grand album from a grand band, enough said ! If you don't know Rage, it's time to wake up and get from under your rock and pray forgiveness to the gods of metal, for fear they might just smite you for your negligence. For the rest of us, long-time converts, it's good to see that the band marches on year after year !

Killing Songs :
All but my favorites are Forever Dead, Psycho Killer, Destiny, Death Romantic & Black and White.
Chris quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Rage that we have reviewed:
Rage - Seasons of the Black reviewed by Andy and quoted 82 / 100
Rage - The Devil Strikes Again reviewed by Andy and quoted 83 / 100
Rage - Trapped! reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Rage - Reflections Of A Shadow reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Rage - Strings To A Web reviewed by Kyle and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 18 reviews click here
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