Rage - Strings to a web 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-1-10





Tracklist:

1. The edge of darkness
2. Hunter and prey
3. Into the light
4. The beggar's last dime
5. Empty hollow
6. Strings to a web
7. Fatal grace
8. Connected
9. Empty hollow (reprise)
10. Saviour of the dead
11. Hellgirl
12. Purified
13. Through ages
14. Tomorrow never comes


Rage returns with another winner. My favorite Rage of the "Smolski era" remains 'Unity', but this is a strong CD with a lot of cool new songs. Stylistically it's similar to 'Unity', 'Soundchaser', and its predecessor 'Carved in stone'. It's aggressive, melodic, catchy German power metal the likes of which Rage has been (mostly) doing consistently since the mid-90s. Victor's frantic, crazy riffs are once more in evidence and Peavy's penchant for catchy memorable melodies is still in place. While I don't consider this the peak era of Rage, they are still among the elite in the power metal genre.

The CD opens with "The edge of darkness". It's a speedy song with a crazy main riff, and a typical catchy chorus. Like with every new Rage CD, hearing Peavy's voice makes me feel reacquainted with an old friend. "Hunter and prey" starts off with a bit heavier riffing, before settling into a peppy midtempo song. The chorus here is fantastic. You'll be singing along right away. "Into the light" and "The beggar's last dime" are more midtempo affairs, but the choruses remain catchy. Again there's all sorts of crazy riffing, which has long been a trademark of Rage through multiple different guitar players.

Once again Rage gives us a taste of orchestra backed metal with the Empty hollow suite. This is a 5 part suite with the first representing the "proper" song and most of the rest being instrumental Smolski wankery which is mostly enjoyable. I love "Empty hollow" which has the proper song. After a quiet string intro the song kicks into gear with the orchestra playing a melody which previews the chorus. It's my favorite chorus on the CD, and reminds me a bit of the songs on the 'Ghosts' CD. Rage just seems to have this orchestra based metal down pat, and I enjoy the forays they make into this style with each CD.

The CD continues on with more of the typical Rage fare, but does sort of end with a whimper. "Through ages" is a weak ballad. Really, Rage just shouldn't do stuff like this. "Tomorrow never comes" is better, but has a main riff that I find a bit cheesy with use of the "wah wah" pedal. The rest of the song is pretty cool though. Overall, 'Strings to a web' is a winner. I doubt it's going to be a disappointment to Rage fans or bring in many new ones. I mean it's Rage - you should know by now whether you are in to them or not.



JOHN




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