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Rage - "Speak of the Dead" (CD)

Rage - "Speak of the Dead" CD cover image

"Speak of the Dead" track listing:

1. Mortituri te Salutant
2. Prelude of Souls
3. Innocent
4. Depression
5. No Regrets
6. Confusion
7. Black
8. Beauty
9. No Fear
10. Soul Survivor
11. Full Moon
12. Kill Your Gods
13. Turn My World Around
14. Be With Me Or Be Gone
15. Speak of the Dead

Reviewed by on March 21, 2007

"Rage...proves that you don’t need five people to have a quality power metal band."

“Speak of the Dead” marks Rage’s seventeenth album of a career that’s spans twenty-one years with no line-up changes. “Speak of the Dead” is a good album that while hard to get into, is an album full of symphonic melodies, choir packed choruses, and proves Rage to be a unique band.

“Speak of the Dead” opens with the first eight tracks being part of a type of progressive power metal symphony. After the first four songs, vocalist Peter Wagner cuts in to sing on the song “No Regrets”. After “No Regrets,” “Speak of the Dead” continues on as a symphonic metal album. Rage exemplifies quality musicianship and vocal work as a power metal trio. There aren’t many trios in the power metal genre and Rage is one of the best, if not the best.

Throughout “Speak of the Dead” guitarist Victor Smoiski shreds masterfully within every song and is complimented by vocalist Peter Wagner’s commanding vocals, drummer Mike Terrana’s epic drumming and catchy keyboards strategically placed within each song. At first listen, one reminisces of watching an epic dramatic opera or action film such as “Lord of the Rings” with massive orchestrations providing the soundtrack. Then, the listener is snapped into some kind of sci-fi musical when the keyboards kick in.

Rage prove on “Speak of the Dead” to be a very unique band displaying original musicianship and musical content combining metal, orchestration, a choir, and keyboards. While “Speak of the Dead” is an exceptional effort from an original band, songs may be repetitive and too epic for their own good.

Throughout the album the listener is bombarded with choirs singing with vocalist Peter Wagner, performing the choruses in the songs, as well as exceptional musicianship, symphonic orchestration, and unique keyboard programming and playing throughout every song. This at times, can be overwhelming for a listener and after an hour - only half way through the album - very exhausting. Each song runs at least four to five minutes each in which Rage bombards the listener with no break until the ninth song, “No Fear,” in which the band goes from symphonic power metal, to progressive power metal in the vain of Therion. While it is a nice break from the symphonies, the listener may feel somewhat exhausted from hearing the band and want to just turn it off and listen to it later. Although, the final eight songs showcase the band more as a progressive power metal band exemplifying Peter’s vocal work and Victor’s shredding skills better than displayed in the first eight songs. Though, the last eight songs may sound repetitive as stated because each song seems to follow a basic format of fancy intro, verse, outro, chorus, lead, then verse and outro. Also, as stated before, the band may be too talented for their own good as they seem to feel the need for Victor to show off his guitar work within every song and prove that they are one of the most diverse progressive power metal bands out there to date. Although repetitious, Rage does prove they are a quality band.

“Speak of the Dead” proves Rage a lasting band over their twenty-one year long career and that they can still put forth an exceptional effort. “Speak of the Dead” is recommended for true fans of progressive power metal bands such as Therion and for those looking to get into the power/progressive metal scene. Rage is a quality band with goody musicianship and proves that you don’t need five people to have a quality power metal band.

Highs: Masterful shredding complimented by commanding vocals, epic drumming and catchy keyboards

Lows: With their tendency to showboat and the epic symphonic opera in the first eight songs that leaves the listener uninterested by the ninth song.

Bottom line: An excellent album recommended for those looking to get into the progressive/power metal scene or die-hard fans of Rage

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)