Released: 2006, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Until the Helloween’s “Rabbit Don't Come Easy” tour, Rage was a totally unknown band to me, and it's pretty strange that I haven't noticed this German act when noticing their long history in the business. Last year the band celebrated 20 years in the business; their debut album was released in 1985. To honor that, they released the DVD/CD box FROM THE CRADLE TO THE STAGE, a box that raised every true Rage fan’s hearts a notch. Mastermind, bandleader, and the only original member Peter "Peavy" Wagner has a predilection for classical music; something that he shares with band member Victor Smolski.
SPEAK OF THE DEAD is divided in two parts. The first part is called SUITE LINGUA MORTIS and is built up by 8 separate songs, 5 of them strictly instrumental. In those tracks appears a symphony orchestra from Minsk, White Russia where guitar player Victor Smolski comes from. Rage plays strictly old classical German heavy metal and the first part of the album is well-played and includes really beautiful arrangements with the symphony orchestra. I don't know, though, if an orchestra on a metal album is so impressive. I mean, it's been done before both by Rage and other acts, but it surely adds atmosphere to the music. The other half of the album is far more impressive and fun. In that half there's only Rage playing their music straight up and down, and no orchestra is included. Rage plays their distinctive heavy metal, which is both technical and fast, and it really appeals to the heavy metal savage in me. Victor Smolski is a genius on guitar, and along with Mike Terrana on drums, nothing can go wrong.
SPEAK OF THE DEAD is quite long: 15 songs spanning about one hour, but at the end it doesn't feel that long. Maybe the first part could have been narrowed down in favor of the second one but despite that, the album is a total masterpiece and a brilliant show of how genuine heavy metal ought to be played. I can really recommend this not only to Rage fans but also to any fan of classical heavy metal. Rage deserves to gain success worldwide, not only in Germany and its surrounding countries. It's really hard to pick any killer tracks but I'll give it a try in the following: "Speak Of The Dead", "Beauty", "No Fear", "Soul Survivor", "Full Moon", "Kill Your Gods", "Turn My World Around", "Be With Me Or Be Gone", and "Innocent".
The song "No Fear" has been shot for a video and it lies on the soundtrack album to the German independent psycho thriller Ludgers in case anyone is interested to watch it.