Review Summary: Yet another jewel in the rich discography of Rage. Or the whole genre, for that matter.
There always comes a period in a band´s history when people say things like „yeah, they played sick *** those days“ or „i agree, that was their best time“. Well, it doesn´t happen to everyone, most outfits never experience it themselves due to lack of progression (for without progress you can never really look back, can you?), short history or overall... well, sucking. This didn´t happen to Rage
. Rage, a band with literally many faces, have had that golden era, some even daresay that more than one. It´s sad that a band with such a crushing force and talent doesn´t have that huge recognition among people when compared to the likes of Gamma Ray or Helloween. You know what, it doesn´t matter. The fact remains that what we have here today is a jewel in any speed/power metal discography. Enter Black In Mind
The almost perfect album. You know, I´m not a huge speed metal fan. But this trio has more energy and talent than most 5-piece outfits I daresay. The driving force of Rage is undoubtedly Peter „Peavy“ Wagner, vocalist and bassist and the only member of the band who has maintained his position during the various lineup changes the band went through. The bass is quite good and I can actually hear it very clearly in many songs which is a plus considering what a vocal performance is in delivery here. His singing is easy-going and not strained and he´s got an enormous vocal range. Although there´s only one guitar you can hear that there´s another rhythm guitar in the back to help the songs sound more full. Spiros Efthimiadis, the guitarist, delivers many fast, half-thrashy riffs which are extremely catchy. The drums have a very raw sound that is audible so much that one might actually wonder if it isn´t your eardrums the drummer´s playing with. Overall I find the album a lot darker than their newer stuff with Smolski. Hell, it´s even darker than most speed metal albums out there.
The album begins with the ultra heavy title track Black In Mind
with that thrashy distorted riff Spiros was known for. The whole song is fast, catchy and heavyyy, accompanied by the raw sound of Chris´ powerful drumming. And what Rage song would it be without a mighty chorus so we´re given this treat as well. You can literally hear the earsplitting echo of the drums in the pre-chorus sections of the following track The Crawling Chaos
, another fast track relying mostly on the chorus. And you haven´t heard Alive But Dead
yet. It starts with some slow, nice touches by the guitarist only to be replaced by a heavily distorted verse which suddenly explodes into possibly the best riff of the whole album. With Peavy bellowing „Alive But Dead!“ the song picks up even more speed than is probably healthy. And then comes the blistering guitar solo to prepare you for the last outbursts of this masterpiece. It´s clear that the mad pace Rage have set by these three songs is quite a load for some people and here is when Sent By The Devil
, Shadow Out Of Time
and A Spider´s Web
come into place and slow things a wee bit down, all containing an infectious chorus and that guttural singing of Peavy Wagner. In A Nameless Time
is one of Rage´s all time classics, clocking in at epic 10 minutes, slowly building up and giving way to faster sections. Until I Die
is another Rage classic that has its firm place in their setlist at concerts.
The next track My Rage
couldn´t have a better title. It´s the shortest song to be found here but it stands out as one of the most brutal songs Rage have ever produced. Yes, brutality, for this song features some true death metal growls from Wagner. Towards the end the track becomes pure evil. It just proves that Peavy is truly a versatile vocalist and that he tries not to fall into genre´s clichés. Boy, I wouldn´t want his
rage to fall upon me. Start!
is known for its fantastic climax at the end accompanied by great drum work and guitar twiddling. Forgive But Don´t Forget
is another standout track which is a good score considering it´s „only“ a bonus track. It contains a very unRage-ish clean melodic riff which bears vague resemblance to Metallica´s My Friend Of Misery. Actually the atmosphere is quite similar too. In the chorus there are nice and smooth vocal transitions between high-pitched and low shouts. The album closes with the beautiful ballad All This Time
. This isn´t just one of the best ballads Rage have ever composed (and they have a lot of them, believe me), it´s also one of my favourite power ballads of all time. Starts with some nice acoustic touches that quickly turn into an orchestra driven chorus. The bridge is a fantastic and unusual combination of a guitar solo and an orchestra, all blending together very smoothly. This part is simply breathtaking and feels almost unearthly and it serves as a small hint to the question what way would Rage be heading in the future. What a beautiful yet unusual way to end an album like this.
As much as I´d like to, I can´t give this album a 5/5 though. But the reasons would have to be just nitpicks. At first listens the album may sound quite repetitive and the songs too similar to each other but it really takes only a short amount of time to start appreciate each and every song. People expecting that gay high-pitched rant will be disappointed as well because this album actually has balls and the songs deliver which I really can´t say about the usual speed metal bands. The quality of the songs is very high throughout but some tracks are a tad less... how to put it... memorable than the other ones, but I definitely wouldn´t call them fillers. Overall it´s a very proud 4.5/5
reaching for perfection and those of you who haven´t got the foggiest who Rage are go fix this unforgivable mistake by getting this release.
Recommended tracks :
All of them damn songs