Rage – “The Devil Strikes Again” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Hot on the footsteps of German power trios like Destruction and Sodom has to be Rage. Also formed in the mid 80s, Rage were never quite as extreme as the aforementioned gruesome twosome, but being a speed metal band, sat comfortably between thrash and bands like Helloween, Running Wild, Grave Digger and Blind Guardian. Also employing aggressive guitars and a double bass drum attack, Rage have certainly lived up to their name across 22 albums in 3 decades with more than 5 million records sold and more than 40 chart entries! Despite bassist / vocalist Pete ‘Peavy’ Wagner being the sole founder left from countless line-up changes over the years, he has recently made the shrewd move of recruiting 2 lifelong fans in guitarist Marcos Rodriguez and Vassilios ‘Lucky’ Maniatopoulos on drums into the band – and boy, are these guys keen! In addition to their technical skills, its clear there’s plenty of heartfelt passion in their playing, not to mention boundless amounts of enthusiasm!! More crucially, all this uplifting energy has given ‘Peavy’ the inspiration to write classics like the chugging ‘My Way’, the punchy but catchy ‘Deaf Dumb And Blind’ and the somewhat epic ‘The Dark Side Of The Sun’. Being a classy synthesis of melody with hardness, the 10 songs are highly reminiscent of Rage’s 90s albums like “Black In Mind”, which remembering it, was one of the band’s finest moments before their symphonic era. Likewise, “The Devil Strikes Again” takes us back to those days of straight to the point songs embodying the best of speed metal, along with a new found confidence in their maturity that has seen a resurgence of interest back in this often taken for granted band.