Rage - Perfect Man
Noise Records
Speed/Power Metal
12 songs (43:46)
Release year: 1988
Rage, Noise Records
Reviewed by Goat

For their third album, German Heavy Metallers Rage added a good deal of Power Metal to their forward-looking Speed Metal sound, and created an album full of near-Iron Maiden-beating Metal that is still one of the best things they've done over twenty years later. The improvements over the already impressive Execution Guaranteed are manifold, but most importantly Peavy Wagner's vocals have finally hit their mark and he sounds genuinely good for the first time in the band's career, still shooting between high and low but generally sticking to slightly rough singing that works wonderfully with the catchy Heavy Metal. In addition, new guitarist Manni Schmidt is made to work his guts out, riffing and soloing all over the place, and this power-trio format works well for the band.

Perfect Man is not the most complicated thing that Rage have ever done by far, it tends to stick to three-minute songs and catchy explorations of riffs that finish as soon as they've come - yet the songwriting is simply amazing, keeping the listener's attention throughout. Although the songwriting has taken a step back in terms of complexity compared to Execution Guaranteed, it's clear to see that Rage are letting their ability to write kickass songs take the lead, and what kickass songs they are! I've heard Perfect Man described as a heavier, faster version of Helloween's Keeper Of The Seven Keys, which is sort of true - Rage are still very much in love with their Thrash elements, and blend in those Speed/Thrash riffs flawlessly. Personally, I'm more than happy to enjoy the Metal present without trying to fit it into the greater German Metal scene of the time (about which I'm happy to admit I know next to nothing!) since the songs are so good. This album contains killer after killer, and the best way to describe it is Heavy Metal heaven.

From the opening song to the closing song, you're in for nothing but goodness, and the fact that, as far as I know, only Don't Fear The Winter is still on Rage's live set is a testament to how excellent the band are overall. Seriously, few Power Metal albums are as solid as this, whichever track you're listening to. Going through the tracks is sort of pointless, given how excellent all are: Wasteland's opening brilliance seizing you by the throat, the drum-driven intros to In The Darkest Hour (plus the "I'm gonna shoot off your balls!" line) and Animal Instinct, the title track's piledriving heaviness... I could go on for hours. Everyone will have their own favourites, but the bass flourishes on the title track are fun, as are moments from less remembered tracks like Sinister Thinking with its wonderfully kickass soloing and Supersonic Hydromatic's oddly off-kilter Heavy Metal - I especially love Pilgrim's Path, too. Don't Fear The Winter is, of course, excellent, but in my mind the following Death In The Afternoon is even better - one of the marks of a great album as ever being that it's impossible to decide what the best songs are, since they're all so damn good.

I remember reading somewhere that Peavy Wagner called Perfect Man 'Rage by numbers', which is a bit of an unfair dismissal if you ask me - fine, so it may not be your most progressive and complex album, but it's still worth being proud of the fact that you wrote such a brilliant collection of songs just a few years into your career. Looking at the situation today, two decades later when Power Metal bands are struggling to write comeback albums full of the sort of pure molten Metal that they did at the start of their career, few are capable of even touching their old material. I've found Rage to be a pretty solid band generally, and I think if Wagner and co. wanted to they could replicate Perfect Man with ease - so good is their songwriting ability. Perfect Man is indeed a perfect album, and whilst the Helloweens may generally get the classic statuses, it's important to remember that although Peavy never made it like his peers, he was in charge of what was in many ways a better band. Here's to them, and one of their amazing albums - the one I'd recommend to any Metalhead looking for a good time, without question.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted CLASSIC
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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