As soon as Rage announced they had a new album coming out, Sentinel Daily Head Honcho, Scott Adams just knew he would have to be sending a copy to me as a result of my affinity with the band. I was introduced to Rage through the vinyl version of Secrets In A Weird World, back in the late Eighties and I still have that copy to this day. Rage, were a big part of my youth. This was in spite of growing up in Newcastle, Australia, where a special trip into town was required to get to the only record store that stocked hard to get German power metal. Fast forward twenty three or more years to my first ever review I got to undertake which was the Rage album 21. And as the story goes, I haven’t looked back since that first one.
So now I have got my hands on Seasons of the Black, the twenty third album by the power metal legends. It is only slightly over 12 months since I reviewed The Devil Strikes Again, which was the first offering of a complete revamp of the band. The mainstay of the band Peter “Peavy” Wagner (bass and lead vocals), started again from scratch and ended up welcoming the duo of Marco Rodriguez (guitar and vocals) and Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopolous into the fold. This latest version of Rage is continuing the prolific nature of delivering fine music at a rate of knots both in sound, and speed of getting albums out to the public. Seasons of the Black is studio album number twenty three in a touch over thirty years. I could imagine a lot of bands who would love to have both, their longevity and productivity.
Season of the Black is complete with the trademark hard and heavy, yet very melodic, catchy sound of previous Rage albums. Like The Devil Strikes Again, this latest incarnation of Rage is heavily focused on the power metal sound, very fast and heavy yet still with melodies abounding. The album comprises eleven songs, all solid offerings, clocking in at around fifty two minutes.
Some of the tracks that stood out for me are:
The speedy title track, Seasons of the Black. This track is Rage to its core: Complete with Peavy’s gravelly voice, heavy riffs interspersed with melodic undertones and a catchy sing along chorus.
Blackened Karma is a great song that is third on the listing, to me it really stands out as a cut above the rest. The song kicks off with a nice bass lick before expanding into a cool riff that gets the head nodding along in time. Peavy’s singing on this song shows his reach; he has an ability to sound so gruff yet can bring on the melody within seconds as shown going from pre-chorus to chorus.
Septic Bite is an interesting take on being hunted by the king of dinosaurs, the T-Rex. It works with its tongue in cheek lyrics and I like it.
Walk Among the Dead is one of the heavier tracks of the album.
Justify is a track that deals with Death Row and the justification of killing. It has a riff within near the solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a Metallica track.
The track listing is:
- Seasons of the Black
- Serpents in Disguise
- Blackened Karma
- Time Will Tell
- Septic Bite
- Walk Among the Dead
- All We Know is Not
- Bloodshed in Paradise
Seasons of the Black was recorded in February/March 2017 at the Megafon Studios (Burscheid, Germany) and at Soundchaser Studios (Zandhoven, Belgium). Production was handled by Rage and was mixed by the renowned Dan Swanö (Marduk, Opeth, Katatonia) at Unisound Studios (Grefath , Germany).
The album will be released on July 28 2017 through Nuclear Blast Records.