Raging Fate, "Gods of Terror" (2017) Album Review
Raging Fate - "Gods of Terror"
Genre: Classic Power/Heavy Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, Fall 2017
At first glance, the album cover to Raging Fate's Gods of Terror looks like the poster for a really bad-ass, action packed, big budget summer popcorn movie ("From the Director of 'Independence Day'!"). I'm not quite sure if the winged, armored, axe-wielding giant on the cover is supposed to be the bad guy laying Godzilla-style waste to the city, or a hero come to save it from certain annihilation, but either way, the chaos and destruction in the cover art does a nice job of summing up the album's contents. Sweden's Raging Fate is a sword-swinging, old-school true metal machine on a mission to crush all posers, to see them driven before them, and to hear the lamentations of their women. Wimps and wanna-be's will now be asked to leave the hall immediately, for their own safety.
But seriously... Gods of Terror is even more impressive when you scan the album's credits and see that it was the product of only two musicians: vocalist/guitarist/bassist Mattias Lövdal and drummer Ronny Milanowicz (though according to their official Facebook page, the band is now a trio, due to the addition of second guitarist Andreas Andersson). Lövdal seems to be a bit of a mystery man; I can't find any mention of him having played in other bands prior to Raging Fate, though a Google search for Milanowicz reveals he's also a member of a Swedish band called "Shadowquest," with whom I am unfamiliar. Regardless of their apparent top-secret origins (haha), Raging Fate has crafted an impressively crunchy, punchy debut disc for the tiny-but-true Stormspell Records label, taking their obvious inspiration from the classic German power/speed metal bands of the '80s. Strap on your armor and your spikes, kids. When you press "play" on Gods of Terror, it's like the early days of Noise Records all over again!
Raging Fate - "Purifying Fire"
The Tunes of War...
Gods of Terror kicks off with the title track and gets the album off to a nice, speedy start. Lövdal's twisty guitar riffs are straight out of Helloween's Walls of Jericho playbook, and his vocals are a snarling blend of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) and Peter "Peavy" Wagner of long running German metal legends Rage. This instantly gives Raging Fate more of a sinister, menacing vibe than much of their power/speed metal competition, most of whom tend to favor high-pitched, falsetto style vocalists. Fans of old school speed metal will definitely dig the chunky "Evilization" and the galloping "Tombstone," two nice, thrashy numbers marked by Milanowicz's four-on-the-floor drumwork providing the power behind Lövdal's manic riffs and tasty soloing. "Shores In Flames," my favorite track on the disc, slows things down a bit at the album's middle point. This epic seven-minute Viking call to battle plods along nicely, backed by an effective, military-march tempo (perfect for head banging along to!) that brings the best of German war-mongers Grave Digger to mind. Raise your sword and hoist your mug of mead while you sing along with the irresistible gang-style shout-outs to Odin!
"Shores in Flames" may be the album's high point, but that doesn't mean Gods of Terror lets up on the gas pedal during its second half. There's more speed metal cuts in store like "Trapped in the Lie" and "Vampire," then the moody "A Bitter Man's Fate" (which chugs like prime-era Accept) keeps the intensity levels high before "Reign of Evil" and the mid-tempo "The Curse" close things out in appropriately epic fashion.
"Reign of Evil"
Summing it Up
Obviously Raging Fate is not the most original band or album I've heard this year...but that's OK, because Gods of Terror is pure ear candy for retro-metal maniacs. Old goats like me who've been around long enough to remember the early days of '80s Deutscher-battalions like Rage, Grave Digger, Helloween and Running Wild -- or young'uns who discovered Germanic power metal thanks to the spiritual successors to those bands, like Stormwarrior, Paragon, or Wizard -- would be well advised to check Gods of Terror out. Hopefully Raging Fate develops into an actual "band" so Gods of Terror won't be a one-shot release, because I would be glad to hear more material from them down the road. Stormspell Records' Fall/Winter 2017 slate of releases has been consistently hitting'em out of the park, and Raging Fate's Gods of Terror is no exception. Nice work, everyone. Keep it heavy, keep it true!
© 2017 Keith Abt