Seasons of the Black
7/17/2017 - Review by: Eric Compton
A fluid reminder that Rage is recreating the same magic of old
Record number 23 for these German power-thrash masters. If you enjoyed the band's comeback effort, 'The Devil Strikes Again' (2016), then you will certainly love this. It's nearly cookie-cutter in terms of personnel, production, and artwork. Guitarist Marcos Rodriguez produces with the band and Karim Konig created the artwork once again. The group gets an assist with mixing and mastering from the esteemed Dan Swano (Katatonia, Opeth).
If 'The Devil Strikes Again' was Rage's rebirth, think of 'Seasons of the Black' as the band walking instead of crawling. This post-Smolski era of Rage has rejuvenated Peavy and I like that he's surrounded himself with young musicians that were fans of the band prior to the collaboration. The last album possessed the mid-90s tendencies, crossing paths with 'Black in Mind' (1995). Here, I can't help but think of 'Trapped' (1991) and 'The Missing Link' (1993) as fluid reminders that this new Rage trio are recreating the same magic of old.
The title track is the perfect opener, a fast-paced chainsaw riff with Peavy's mid-register bellow. It's addictive, erupting in a crescendo of fast fret at the 3:00 mark (highlighted by cymbals and timing changes). "Serpents in Disguise" is an 80s vibe, a driving rhythm with an elementary approach that is right out of the 'Trapped' catalog. The chorus is harmonized and reminiscent of German power metal's need for "unity through sing-along". "Walk Among the Dead" is one of the most abrasive cuts, a jagged host of down-tuned riffs and quick pace that has hints of thrash before hitting a gang chorus that is fairly accessible. But it works well contrasting with the faster, brutal style. In fact, the only soft spot on the record is a short instrumental called "Gaia". Everything else is power chords played on 11.
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