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June 2002
Released: 2002, Steamhammer / SPV
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Sometimes words cannot express…

I was so tempted to leave my review at that but I thought I should give comment on a few of the highlights of this CD. The band has jumped to Steamhammer/SPV from Gun. A perfect fit and really only the only label that could do the job, I don’t see Century Media or Metal Blade (no offense guys) being able to adequately handle a band of this caliber. The logo had changed, for the worse and the cover art is very modern. The circle theme is gone but the dino-robot-alien dude who has been on the cover of almost every Rage CD is still there, albeit in a new digitally enhanced form. It is still cool nonetheless.

This 11 track, 50 minute CD is pure Rage bliss. Pre-album hype was comparing it to BLACK IN MIND and THE MISSING LINK, which is not far from the truth. UNITY is a very heavy, very melodic with Victor Smolski writing or co-writing eight of the tracks. The reason I mention the number of tracks is that in the past some critics have accused Rage of having a bit too much filler. Perhaps Peavy took this to heart because not one track is a throw-away in my mind. After the lackluster XIII and GHOSTS many critics, myself fully included thought the WTTOS was a welcome comeback, but even then a few expressed a desire for an even heavier sound. They got it. No piano and acoustic guitar on this one, well, a tiny little bit… Somehow Rage has topped themselves again and I will never cease to be amazed at how a few bands (Rage, Savatage and a handful of others) continue to make such incredibly high quality metal year after year. I mean this is (technically) Rage’s 29th release!

Every song has Peavy’s distinct yet accessible growl in place, save a short, one minute instrumental and the last song on the disc, which is oddly enough the title track, the seven minute instrumental, “Unity.” Every song has infectious songwriting. Hooks, great hooks, catchy choruses and melodies with some crushing guitar, Mike Terrana’s powerful double bass drumming in others and Peavey’s bass driving the whole thing along nicely. “Dies Irae” starts with a very interesting classical piece that is obviously the work and influence of Victor, classical background. The whole CD is solid. This is real metal at its purest and most refined.

A stable line-up combined with the heaviness of the aforementioned CD’s and the melody of Welcome to the Other Side make this an incredibly strong entry into the Rage catalogue. Second year in a row that Rage will likely make my Top 10.

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