Rage – Wings of Rage (Album Review)

Rage - Wings of Rage

So, a new year is upon us and an old year behind us, 2019 was a year for me personally filled with change and discovery, change on a personal front and discovery on a musical one. The year finished on a high for me with a rediscovered love for underground music and the diversity of bands and the direction that fills that scene.

I personally could not get enough of it. And so, as I mentioned a new year crashed upon us, and with it the chance to listen to and review great music. This year we have some big guns put out new records.

Rage Wings of Rage sneaks in as one of the first cabs off the rank. Released January 10, 2020, it is the 25th studio record and their first in 3 years. Formed in Germany in 1984 as one of the founding fathers of the then newly named Speed Metal (a very European sound). Their music has changed over the years from single guitar to twin guitar (as with all speed metal copying with love that is Judas Priest, Wishbone Ash and bands of that ilk).

I myself have not heard all 25 studio albums and the plethora of live recording and Eps, but have over the years dipped in and out of this curious band, so I revisited the first and last records to get an idea and bookend their sonic journey.

And boy was I in for a fantastic ride (I need to make more time for the rest of the back catalogue). When I placed the earphones in and sat back to take in Wings of Rage, this slab of Euro Fun metal was just what the doctor ordered for the start of a very promising year. Its fast, aggressive, technical and will not overstay its welcome at its brisk canter. We get tracks like A Nameless Grave and the title track Wings of Rage – all good but nothing that leaves any real lasting effect.

But we then get to the nitty-gritty of this record; its finest moment and one I have replayed quite a few times is Chasing the Twilight Zone. It has all the speed metal markers in spades – fast, pompous, arrogant, unbelievable guitar technique and lyrics that border on the facile, screeching vocals that get so high that only dogs may hear them. This is why I love speed metal.

For the closing refrain, the theme from the original Twilight Zone TV series just peaks its head around the corner at us just as the song fades out, tops off a great song and helps this good album become a great one (best speed metal song for me in years).

So start the year with a bang with Rage Wings of destiny and if you can catch them at a concert or festival near you this year you will be in for a treat. If they are half as much fun live as they are on their records, then we are all in for a great show.

Goes to show 36 years of practice can almost make PERFECT.

Release Year: 2020
Label: Steamhammer / SPV
Category: Album
Country: Germany

Reviewed by Tony Evans