German heavy metal trio Rage have celebrated their 25th anniversary, having accumulated quite a list of top metal releases, and also gone through many line-up changes during this considerable period, basically never straying too far away from the music they are so well known for.
Rage have now released Strings To A Web, the second full length studio album, the first being 2008's Carved In Stone, with the line-up of the only original member the very capable Peter "Peavy" Wagner with his dominant vocals and pumping bass. The band has a big asset with guitar master Victor Smolski, who just smokes his fretboard once again on String To A Web; Victor joined Rage back in 1999. More recently in 2007 came Andre Hilgers, who fills the spot vacated by former ace drumming power house Mike Terrana, which was no easy feat. This is claimed to be Rage's "strongest and best ever" line-up yet- I'm not sure about that but they are indeed very impressive. I suppose I'm just a fan of Terrana's playing, but then again Andre is no slouch behind the kit, as he has proved so far with Rage and previously the metal bands Silent Force and Axxis.
Classic Rage fans are catered to, as Strings On Web has has a fair component of Rage's style of heavy duty melodic metal, as evident with the crushing sounds of "Purified", and the band has also implemented progressive touches like the potent instrumental section of "The Edge Of Darkness".
Rage also continues to combine orchestral music, and when mixed with their brand of metal like they did so successfully on Speak Of The Dead, it really sounded fantastic. Well here on Strings To A Web, Rage have succeeded once again with "Empty Hollow" a five part varied suite which sinks its hooks in once Victor Smolski's metal groove is revealed. Included is the title track "Strings To A Web" with an excellent instrumental performance from this trio, and the suite concludes with "Empty Hollow(Reprise)".
When purchasing Strings To A Web you have the option of a digi version with bonus live DVD, which like the excellent live DVD released with Carved In Stone is also a great value with a quality song selection, and highlights include a performance of "All I Want" with Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursh.
Rage have yet another splendid and powerful metal album to their name in 2010, and the bands music lives on with Strings To A Web. After so many albums this band still offers plenty to get excited about.
1. The Edge Of Darkness
2. Hunter And Prey
3. Into The Light
4. The Beggar..s Last Dime
5. Empty Hollow
6. Strings To A Web
7. Fatal Grace
9. Empty Hollow (Reprise)
10. Saviour Of The Dead
13. Through Ages
14. Tomorrow Never Comes