Review Summary: Plain and simple: a great raging metal album!
There are different levels of metal popularity. Some bands make it big, and are recognised easily by fans of all genres of music, i.e. Metallica. Some bands are only normally widely recognised within the metal community itself, i.e. Emperor. Other metal bands, however, are only known by a few hundred/thousand people, even if they've been around forever. This is where Rage fit in - a band with a 23-year career from Germany. Germany have brought some fantastic metal bands into Europe and America in the past, but Rage have never been looked upon as a big band (I certainly hadn't heard of them until I saw this album on a website). Released in 2003, Soundchaser is their 16th studio album, and it doesn't disappoint.
So what can one expect from this album? Well as their name suggests, the music is heavy and at a raging tempo. That isn't to say the music is extreme - the vocals are all clean, and the guitar (there's only one guitarist, one bass player/vocalist and one drummer) maintains its consistency in delivering heavy riffs with lead parts which blend well with each song.
The album opener, Orgy Of Destruction
is a short build up to one of the finest tracks on the album, War Of Worlds
. This track paves the way for what is to come, featuring some of the best guitar work on the album, and the typical 'raging' riffs that feature as the prominent basis for the band's music. Low, clean vocals are well-suited to the music - harsh vocals would sound out of place and high-pitched vocals...well, don't even bother going there.
Anyway, back to the album review; the album continues with Great Old Ones
, which maintains the raging theme nicely, without deviating into a lot of lead parts like War Of Worlds
. The album then progresses into the title track, Soundchaser
; another strong track, with good work by the drummer who keeps things 'raging' along smoothly, and compliments the guitar. Defenders Of The Ancient Life
is next, which is almost alike a combination of the three preceding songs.
After a strong opening quartet, does the album fall into the trap of fading away after a strong opening? Not really. I say this because the second half of the album contains some slower songs, but still stays true to its roots. Secrets In A Weird World
is the first track to incorporate some piano, which adds a nice new dimension to the sound, however the track maintains a nice raging pace throughout. One of the slowest songs is up next, entitled Flesh And Blood
. The change of pace is not a bad thing, as this turns out to be a well-written song.
and See You In Heaven And Hell
bring the pace back up, but are not the strongest tracks on the album. This is atoned for, however, in the 2-part, 12-minute long Falling From Grace
, which is a mixture between the slower, softer parts present in Flesh And Blood
, and the heavier, more raging parts ever present throughout the album. A great end to a rather surprisingly good album.
Rage produced a very solid album here which doesn't really let up from start to finish. It could find a way into most metal fan's collections, and with good reason, too. If there are any problems with the album, it's probably the lack of variation. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing (since the sound they have is good), it does make the album repetitive in places. Needless to say, this is still one of the more essential purchases of....2003.
Tracks to look out for:
War Of Worlds
Defenders Of The Ancient Life
Falling From Grace parts 1 and 2