Released: 2005, SPV
20 years and 15 full-length releases, talk about prolific. Rage started off back in the mid-80’s and have changed line-ups, labels, and even morphed their style a few times only to come back stronger and better than ever each time. To commemorate 20 years of heavy metal Rage has released a double live disc (which is also accompanied by a double DVD release) that spans the bands career from the speed metal beginnings of REIGN OF FEAR to the modern power metal of SOUNCHASER.
The overall sound of FROM THE CRADLE TO THE STAGE is instantly identifiable. Where as most live albums sound extremely dry and dull with little crowd interaction, Rage’s release sounds closer to the real live experience. The album sounds like they took the tapes from a high quality mixing board, one can hear the crowd (especially when they sing along with vocalist Peavy, which is very often) and one can still hear a clear live recording that’s far above bootleg quality.
As with most live albums the most important things are the set list and the performance. As far as the set list goes, it’s extremely good, pulling out many Rage classics and covering a good portion of their career. Of course there’s a heavy reliance on the last two Rage albums, UNITY and SOUNDCHASER, but with two discs and 15 full lengths Rage don’t disappoint in pulling some nice gems from the back catalogue, “Suicide” being one of them. The only real strong complaint I have is that there are no songs from EXECUTION GUARANTEED and REFLECTIONS OF A SHADOW… which is a crime seeing as I’m sure they could have pulled at least one song from each. Although, yet again, with so much material to choose from some songs had to be left behind. One other questionable thing for me is the drum and guitar solos, which aren’t necessarily needed when a song like “Unity” is already in the set list and does a good enough job of showcasing each member’s talent. Taking those solos out there could be another one or two classics thrown into the set list.
As far as the performance, it’s top quality, like anything to do with Rage. The band plays the songs perfectly and there are some nice little additions and jammy parts added along with some crowd interaction parts, “Don’t Fear the Winter” and “Higher Than the Sky”. One funny point is when the crowd keeps singing the chorus to “Higher than the Sky” a few songs before the band even plays it for their finally.
If you’re a Rage fan this live album will definitely be a nice addition to your collection as this is a high quality live album with a great sound and lots of energy. I’d even suggest this live album as a good starting point for those uninitiated in the Rage sound as you get a nice little taste of everything throughout the band’s career. You can’t lose really