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Rage "Resurrection Day" Album Review

I've been an obsessed hard rock & heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.

"Resurrection Day" album cover

"Resurrection Day" album cover

Rage – Resurrection Day

SPV/Steamhammer Records, 2021

12 tracks / Run time: 50:02

It's been a while since I last checked in with long running German power metallers Rage, led by bassist/vocalist Peter "Peavy" Wagner. The band had already been wildly popular in Europe and Japan for more than a decade when I first discovered Rage in 1998 via their fantastic XIII album. Rage's profile in the U.S. briefly benefited from the late '90s/early '00s Euro power metal boom, but they never became much more than a cult item in America

I lost track of Rage around the release of 2004's Soundchaser and its accompanying From the Cradle to the Stage live album, when their record label (SPV) abruptly closed up its American office. Rage's subsequent albums were only available as European imports that were generally too rich for my blood.

Peavy and Rage were certainly not idle while I wasn't paying attention -- they've released eight (!) more studio albums and an additional two live discs since then!

Peavy also cut a record under the name Refuge with two former Rage members, Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis. Refuge's excellent Solitary Men album caught my ear in 2018 and re-kindled my interest in all things Rage, so when they released their 25th (!) studio album, Resurrection Day, in late 2021 I was ready to re-enter Peavy's world!

The Songs

Lineup changes are nothing new on planet Rage -- Peavy is the only original member remaining from the band's first release, 1986's Reign Of Fear. Resurrection Day marks the debut of a new guitar duo, Jean Bormann and Stefan Weber, which also means that Rage is now a four-piece band for the first time since 1999's Ghosts. Musically, Resurrection Day isn't radically different from the Rage albums I bought twenty years ago -- unlike a lot of the ultra-melodic, polished "happy happy" power metal bands hailing from Germany, Rage have always been darker, greasier, and nastier sounding, with a heavy dose of thrash metal grit that sets them apart from Helloween and their countless clones.

The album's one-minute classical intro, "Memento Vitae (Overture)," lulls the listener into a deceptively relaxed state, which makes the proper first track "Resurrection Day" hit that much harder. This is a gloriously bad-ass, air-guitar worthy thrasher that is worth the price of the album all by itself. "Virginity" keeps the pedal-to-the-metal feel going, leading into "A New Land," which has the hookiest chorus on the disc thus far.

Pummeling Riffs with Classical Accents

"Arrogance And Ignorance" kicks off with an absolutely pummeling riff and a chorus that will stick in your head like glue, leading into "Man In Chains," whose acoustic intro gives the listener only a brief respite from the cranium crushing punishment before the proper track kicks in. The classically-accented speed burner "The Age Of Reason" is another highlight, but the utterly crushing "Monetary Gods" may just be my favorite Rage track ever, powered by a totally killer, down n' dirty riff and an irresistible, everybody-sing-along chorus.

"Mind Control" lets up on the gas pedal (just a bit) for a quality, mid-paced melodic metal workout, and the symphonic "Traveling Through Time" has a medieval-jig feel to it. The doomy "Black Room" and the heart-attack speed metal closer "Extinction Overkill" cap off Resurrection Day on a satisfyingly head banging note.

Summing It Up

Peter "Peavy" Wagner has most definitely NOT mellowed with age, and Resurrection Day has been spending a lot of quality time in my player since I acquired it a few weeks ago. I've been listening to Resurrection Day (and my other Rage discs) so often lately that I'm now considering tracking down the rest of their catalog that I've missed. That's a project that should keep me occupied for a couple of years, at least.

If you're a newcomer to Rage, or you lost track of them years ago like I did, Resurrection Day would be a damn fine album to get on board. After one listen, I immediately ranked it right behind Todd La Torre's solo album, Rejoice In The Suffering, on my "Best Metal Releases of 2021" list. Yes, it's that damn good.

There's really nothing left to say about Resurrection Day except "Welcome back, Peavy!" Rage on!

Keep Raging, Peavy!

Keep Raging, Peavy!

© 2022 Keith Abt