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This EP was the last output of Avenger, because the musicians decided to change the name of the band due to legal reasons. As far as I know, the British band with the same name exerted pressure on them. However, the bustling Germans started to publish an endless series of albums under the well-known banner of Rage, but the releases of Avenger remained largely unknown. I see this as a great pity, because the recordings of Avenger are no worse than those which were brought to life under the name of Rage. This is impressively demonstrated by "Depraved to Black" which consisted of two new tracks and live recordings of two highlights of their debut album. Of course, the studio tracks were more interesting. The vinyl was kicked off by the title track. Avenger performed a speed metal grenade that featured exciting guitar lines and aggressive verses. The chorus lacked a bit of catchiness, but that was no problem at all. Of course, the bright voice of Peavy was a matter of personal taste. It did not sound very masculine, but nevertheless, I liked it. The second new track ("Down to the Bone") fell under the category of genuine speed metal, too. This applied notwithstanding the fact that the song offered a slower middle part. In contrast to the title track, "Down to the Bone" had a memorable chorus, not least thanks to the long drawn-out screams of Peavy.
From today´s perspective, the studio songs were an indication of what could be expected from Rage´s first vinyl. Songs of the debut "Reign of Fear" such as "Hand of Glory" followed exactly the direction of the here presented studio tracks. But to return to the current topic, Avenger´s last sign of life was completed by the live songs. They were equipped with a solid sound and the carefully designed compositions spoke for themselves. Just listen to the catchy chorus of "Prayers of Steel" and you will probably share my opinion. Apart from the music, a band poster was enclosed. At this time, gimmicks such as this were a rarity so that Avenger provided value for money. I sometimes regret that the band, by whatever name, slowly but surely changed its style instead of staying true to the spirit of their early works. But I suppose this was the inevitable consequence due to the enormous number of line-up changes during the career of Rage.
OH YEAH!!! For years I've searched for this EP from Germany's Avenger, one of the heaviest, meanest bands that nation would ever offer. I love their debut album PRAYERS OF STEEL, but this might be even better. The songs are packed with edgy, spiky guitars, the bass and drums plenty loud and proud, and the whole deal comes across as a truly molten version of the more watered down stuff this band would give us after changing their name to Rage. Like early Running Wild, Avenger played hard as nails German metal with no trace of thrash or death influence, but plenty of Satanic vibes. And at a time when you can donwload many lost European metal albums of this era, only to be disapointed when you get watered down, barely hard rock, you can rest assured that Avenger is the real deal. Even the live track here "Faster Than Hell" is perfectly performed and recorded. Fans of Early Running Wild, Ostrogoth, Oz and Brainfever need this big time. Awesome European metal at it's friggin' finest!