Rage
21


4.0
excellent

Review

by Venpts16 USER (27 Reviews)
June 4th, 2012 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist


The longer a band creates music; there is a higher probability of the release being a bad album. Many bands, after performing music for decades, eventually began to falter with the release of a poor album; such as from Iron Maiden (No Prayer For the Dying), Helloween (Pink Bubble Goes Ape), and Iced Earth (Framing Armageddon). With hundreds of other examples of these flaws (and occasional collapses) in music, it is no wonder that Rage’s twenty-first album, creatively titled 21, has a lot to hold up to. After creating almost two dozen albums, and following the fantastic Strings to a Web, it is a surprise that they strike gold once again. With a modernized sound from their The Missing Link era, the trio of Wagner, Smolski, and Hilgers succeed in spades.

The first thing most fans would notice from 21 is the heavier and more progressive sound compared to some other Power Metal bands. Like a shark hunting through the sea, the sound is an unrelenting force of screaming, chaotic heaviness. Each of the ten songs brings something new to the table, while still bringing heavy environments on a song-by-song basis. Multiple songs have harsher vocals from Peter Wagner to bring back the band’s earlier heaviness, and the instrumentals are top-notch and perfectly fit this sound. Only the ballad, “Eternally,” is a moment of relaxation amongst the brutality of 21, offering relaxation as the album fades out entirely. Lastly, the majority of these songs on 21 are around the five and six minute lengths, allowing for more creativity and unique passages per song. All songs branch out by adding more and more to separate from the bunch, and make a remarkable mix of a heavier sound with the creativity that I would expect from very few other Power Metal bands.

As a whole, very few of the songs from this are comparable to the melodic predecessor, Strings to a Web, and overall is a bit more consistent. The previous release is closer to something Gamma Ray would release, and felt closer to the realms of normal Power Metal instead of the incredible speed and chaos usually present on Rage’s material. The material feels much stronger in comparison, and can easily be described as the modern-day successor to their classic The Missing Link. Peter Wagner’s vocals have only become more powerful and varied with age; still able to sing the melodic choruses of “Forever Dead” while using an even harsher style of singing in some cases. Songs like “Serial Killer” have an enhanced mood of heaviness and darkness thanks to Wagner’s rough singing, and makes both of these songs mandatory listens for differing reasons. Victor Smolski conceives powerful and crushing riffs from his guitar, carrying songs like the title song well, while Andre Hilgers’s own playing on the very same song also represents his skill on the album as well as the drum set.

21 does have a few flaws, despite the extraordinary highs of the album. Two songs near the album’s middle, “Destiny” and “Death Romantic,” feel boring and unnecessary compared to the songs surrounding them. They feel like generic Power Metal songs played with a slightly heavier tone, and lag in comparison to the rest of the album. Along with these flaws, the album also lacks a remarkable song in the same vein as “Lost in the Ice” or “Empty Hollow;” a minor fault from this release in comparison to those two earlier standouts.

With these in mind, 21 is overall a magnificent release by these German virtuosos. Song after song is played impressively, and their heavier style brings back the sound of their classics from the 80s and 90s. Individual performances shine brightly through the album, and outshine the imperfections of a few filler tracks and a lack of another Power Metal classic. Though Rage may have released twenty one albums, this album shows that they have plenty of life and rage to energize many more; and are thankfully one of the few consistent and awesome Power Metal bands to this day.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2012


6345 Comments


Well written review, pos.

Is this similar to The Missing Link?



Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It is more reminiscent of the style of that album; though I'd say that it is a bit heavier. It reminds me of that album with a few new twists (harsher vocals on a few songs); you might enjoy it.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2012


6345 Comments


This album received some harsh criticism in the Hellenic metal press, as people commented that Rage had gone "death metal" due to a lack of inspiration.

Even though I haven't listened to this one yet, I tend to believe what you write in your text.

FictionalFlames
June 4th 2012


1518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well written review bro, pos'd.

TheNotrap
June 4th 2012


8133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice work have a pos.
Need to check this.

Digging: Funebrarum - The Sleep of Morbid Dreams

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Death Metal?! Sure, in a few songs they take things a bit heavier, but I didn't think they forgotten their Power Metal roots... I'm really surprised by that reception!

ZedO
June 4th 2012


1096 Comments


power metal album with few dm elements? nice imo, good bridge for me to get into 'pure' power metal. pos..

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

There is always early Children of Bodom (Something Wild, Hatebreeder, Follow the Reaper, Hate Crew Deathroll) and Wintersun that are Death Metal and Power Metal too!

ZedO
June 4th 2012


1096 Comments


yap, bodom's early works are great, i love them, but wintersun i'm planning to dig them...

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wintersun is pretty awesome; and they are planning on releasing their second album near the end of this year. I'm hoping that album is as awesome as their debut. Granted, they have been putting release dates on that thing since 2006...

ZedO
June 4th 2012


1096 Comments


yea wintersun is in my a must dig list, i see Captain also digs them

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You might also like some Thrash Metal-infused Power Metal, like some of Firewind's earlier material (Between Heaven and Hell especially), Iced Earth (Night of the Stormrider and Burnt Offerings are great places to start), and Mystic Prophecy (Regressus).

ZedO
June 4th 2012


1096 Comments


well i add them into the list, i always get into thrash ;)

Venpts16
June 4th 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm glad you do, and I hope you enjoy those albums! Thrash and Power Metal are a really good fit together.

TheNotrap
August 14th 2012


8133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rocks.

ThrashTillDeath94
September 2nd 2012


623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice Review dude. Listening to this now, it sounds great!

Digging: Ne Obliviscaris - Citadel

walfernu
July 15th 2013


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album! Rage never disappoints.


ThrashTillDeath94
July 15th 2013


623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Man I gotta look into these guys some more. Where should i start?

CaptainDooRight
November 23rd 2013


30363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

some pretty enjoyable riffs on this

Digging: Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 3, Op. 36

ksoflas
September 2nd 2014


460 Comments


Badass album.



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