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Rage - 'The Devil Strikes Again' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/5c/19/e5/rage-the-devil-strikes-again-31-1471723668.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 20, 2016    
 
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A welcome revisiting to their roots and one that does their considerable history proud.

It's ironic that it's taken the departure of two thirds of Rage for the veteran German Metal outfit to make a convincing return to their previously trademark Thrashier sound. Gone are guitarist of some sixteen years Victor Smolski and drummer since 2007, André Hilgers; Venezuelan/Belgian fret-burner Marcos Rodriguez and German/Greek drum-destroyer Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos joining original singer and bassist Peter "Peavy" Wagner to proclaim 'The Devil Strikes Again'.

With some success, Rage have often sought to utilize strings and Symphonic elements to augment their gutsy Metal roots. However, with the changing of the guard, so the focus moves back to the classic approach that made this band's name. In fact, there's nary a suggestion of bells or whistles on '...Again', never mind choirs and orchestras. This is head-banging, hair swirling, sweat flinging, blood and thunder Metal of the old-school. Wagner is still a charismatic, if honestly straightforward singer, his rasping, gritty bark perfect for the thunderous 'Ocean Full Of Tears', or chanting 'Deaf, Dumb And Blind'. However, with Rodriguez given the room to inject some seriously refined solos into the mix, don't be fooled into thinking these tracks aren't crafted.

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The lead cut from recent EP, 'My Way', also makes its presence felt here, the similarity in places to Metallica's 'For Whom The Bells Tolls' clear (if hardly a problem), while the mid-paced stomp of 'Times Of Darkness' also utilizes that sound, but this time not quite so blatantly. As ever from Nuclear Blast, there are a host of variations for this album; your choices being vinyl, single CD, double CD and even triple CD (containing a live disc, three extra studio cuts and three covers. I'm seriously intrigued to hear this lot take on Rush, Skid Row and Y&T!). However, the important thing is that the main event itself makes the lasting impression it does.

It wouldn't be fair on their previous albums to suggest 'The Devil Strikes Again' is a return to form from Rage. That said, it is a welcome revisiting to their roots and one that does their considerable history proud.

Steven Reid

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