Rage - Execution Guaranteed
Noise Records
Melodic Speed Metal
9 songs (45:46)
Release year: 1987
Rage, Noise Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Releasing their second full-length a mere year after debut Reign Of Fear, the angry Germans that are Rage advanced their sound a good deal further, increasing complexity in song structures and introducing extra elements resulting in an album that's something like a mixture of Judas Priest and Helloween. The amusing opening to the album alone shows that things have changed, and whilst Speed Metal is still the order of the day, there's a notable Power Metal feel to the songs that ups the catchiness a great deal. It's surprisingly out-there for its time - moments like the electronic effects in Deadly Error do seem rather silly in hindsight but it shows the willingness of the band to experiment, and the Metal base is more than solid to withstand it.

I'll be the first to admit my Power Metal knowledge is weak at best, but it's albums like Execution Guaranteed that keep me interested in a genre which more than rivals Thrash for repetition and lack of originality. It's genuinely hard to pick highlights here, as the songs are interesting and varied, having enough individual personality to warrant repeated listens before you really 'get' them. Of course, any devotee of 80s Metal should be down and dirty with Rage already, but I can't see anyone not being tempted into fandom with cuts like the anthemic Hatred, which has more than enough riffage to seduce even the most miserable of Thrashers back to the light. New guitarist Rudy Graf more than brings the noise as the intense likes of Mental Decay prove with their piledriving guitar attacks, and the rest of the band are on top form. Heck, even more or less straightforward pounders like Before The Storm (The Secret Affair) are packed full of interesting guitar playing and out-there moments, whilst Streetwolf makes up for its lack of actual speed with a superbly ominous atmosphere and some enjoyably prog-tinged touches in the usage of keyboards. Instrumental Grapes Of Wrath alone is better than anything that most other Metal bands of the time were releasing!

Metal for me is more than 'just' music which it's easy to damage your neck muscles to; it's a genre simultaneously underestimated and stereotyped by the mainstream, mocked for its perceived lowbrow appeal. I despise the shock which certain journalists express when they actually bother listening to a band which has been selling well (Mastodon, anyone?) and discover that, goodness gracious, there's musical talent there after all! Coming across a band like Rage who were releasing albums as experimental and forward as this before I could even speak is more proof that my oft-used metaphor of metal as an ocean stands up to scrutiny - however deep you dive, however much you take in, there's always much more to explore.

Reading earlier reviews from this site, I'm beginning to see what drove Danny and Chris' enthusiasm about this band, just two albums into their discography. Some bands command respect instantaneously, and it is indeed a travesty that Rage never made it as big as they deserved to; here's hoping this archive review will at least turn a few heads.

Killing Songs :
Execution Guaranteed, Before The Storm (The Secret Affair), Street Wolf, Deadly Error, Hatred, Grapes Of Wrath, Mental Decay
Goat quoted 85 / 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 - 21 reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Rage - Trapped! reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Rage - Reflections Of A Shadow reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 18 reviews click here
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