Speak of the Dead



by willfellmarsy USER (16 Reviews)
May 18th, 2008 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Tale of two albums...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. . . Progressive, Symphonic-Power Metal band Rage is a somewhat unknown band. This is only fitting for a band that has been performing for a meager twenty-one years and has released a flimsy eighteen albums. Speak of the Dead was their seventeenth release and one of their strongest. It’s an album that can be divided into two halves, the first combining the band with an orchestra and the second with just the German trio. Both parts prove to hit the listener in different but powerful ways.

The opener of the album, entitled Suite Lingua Mortis, represents the first eight symphony driven songs. The first thing to note is how well the symphony blends with the guitar, bass, and drums. Neither power dominates but rather both blend together to create a beautiful peace of music. After that, one will notice how talented the musicians are. Guitarist Victor Smoiski’s shredding takes the forefront but never over-burdens the music such as on Prelude to Souls where his soloing reveals its power but, more importantly, knows its place, a trait that holds true for the remainder of this first part. The symphony following his play, merges with it, creating a beautiful sound-scape. Peter Wagner, the vocalist and bass player, shows his ability quite well in both areas. Although only two tracks, Innocent and No Regrets, have vocals, it is clear that his voice has a power and beauty unmatched by most in the genre and does not have the annoying high-pitch that most power-metal singers have. His bass work usually unique and his use of effects makes it have many standout moments. The drum play by Mike Terrana is also fantastic with exceptional fills and fast drumming without falling into genre clichés. This is at its clearest in Confusion, where his absolutely exceptional play boggles the mind and takes a front-seat to everything else. The symphony creates an epicness and beauty throughout Suite Lingua Mortis, without ever bogging down the music or making it feel corny.

The second half of the album is traditional Rage displaying…well…rage. No Fear begins this new part with crushing heaviness directly contrasting the beauty just heard on the first part. The growls of, “No Fear” just demonstrate how versatile Wagner is. Other songs such as Soul Survivor combine a chorus-like element to the vocals that brings with it shivers, and an epicness that most power metal bands only wish they can obtain. [b]Full Moon[b] displays the fantastic guitar play which is ever-present on this second part. Unlike in the first half of the album, however, Smoiski falls into the trap of wankery. Though compared to most power-metal he could be seen as extremely tasteful, to some listeners he will be seen on occasion as stroking his ego, but luckily this is rare. The drums, the real highlight of the album, crush the listener into submission with amazing fills and break-neck speed on Kill Your Gods. The closer of the album, Speak of the Dead combines all the greatness Rage has to offer with every member playing at the best of his ability.

Speak of the Dead has some problems. The guitar play could be seen as wankery on rare occasions, although again for a genre based on this it is almost a breath of fresh air. The main problem, however, is the disjointedness. Suite Lingua Mortis and the rest of the album are a jarring transition for the listener. Rage would have been better off separating this into two EPs or fleshing both parts out and creating complete albums. It’s an interesting approach and might be a nice transition for some but it still keeps the album from feeling like a whole. Finally, the second half just isn’t as strong as the first…it’s not bad by any means. It’s just not as strong as the opening and will leave you wishing the symphony would have stayed along for the rest of the ride.

With Speak of the Dead, the German trio Rage created an album that most 5-piece power-metal bands could not even hope to create. Both parts of the album, the Prog-Power Symphony and the old-school Rage, work to create two separate experiences that, though feeling somewhat disjointed, still create a unique effect. After twenty-one years, Rage still has that magic of old and has created a brilliant, mature album that demonstrates why they should be consider one of the best Power-Metal bands of the day, and not just some unknown. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, . . . I see the evil of this time . . . gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

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user ratings (46)
other reviews of this album
TheCrow (4)
Victor Smolski's influence on the music of Rage reached one of its higher points on this record!...

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 8th 2008


Sounds like something I would like. Good review willfell.
18 albums huh...is this a good place to start?

April 8th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

it's what i started with so i woul say yes. It shows both sides of their evolution so i think it's as good a place as any.

The first half of the album is what they have been building to recently and the second half is more of their older raging sound so it probably is.

April 8th 2008


[b]Full Moon[b]

Might want to fix that.

I have never heard of these guys and I'm surprised they have been around that long (and released that many albums sheesh!)

Excellent review. Flowed nicely and made it really easy to read (love these type of reviews hahaha). You have convinced me to check this out now, and if I have time, their past 17 albums as well.

April 8th 2008


For some reason, one of Rage's earlier albums, End of All Days was sent to me in the mail for free. I haven't listened to it much because I too didn't know much about the band. I'll pull it out again. And a pretty good review at that.

April 8th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Yea i heard onr of Rage's songs on a website and loved it then looked them up and found they've done so many albums so i just kind of threw them off to the side. I just downloaded this on a whim a little while ago and i love it.

This is definately an album for anyone trying to get into power metal because they don't really fall into genre-cliches and the singer has a nice tone that isn't as annoyingly high as some.

This is the only power metal i've ever really liked so ill b checking out releases of theirs every so often. XIII is good though if your looking for something...i haven't heard their new album that was released this year but i'll definately be checking that out in the near future.

April 8th 2008


I had these guys recommended to me, sounds like they'd be a solid listen.
Good review!

April 8th 2008


This band is on my to-get list now. Good review btw.

April 9th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

they are definately worth it...i personally like the first half of the album more but both are fantastic.

May 19th 2008


I don't know about this album, quite meh but I need to listen to it a bit more before I can rate it.

May 19th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Recently it has lost a lttle luster so i have edited the review a bit...i still think the opening is ace...but the second half of the album loses steam and it takes away from the whole feel of the album.

April 7th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

I disagree. The first half is by far not as good as the heavy hitters like No Fear and Full Moon...

September 3rd 2014


Get known with the band guys... that's all i have to say.

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