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Heavy Ass Power Metal. With Balls - 83%

CannibalCorpse, November 27th, 2007

I've just recently discovered this severely underrated band called "Rage", due to my lack of power/traditional metal fondness. Well, I should smack my forehead again, like I did when I first heard this band's great album "Soundchaser". After listening to said album, I decided to go further back into this band's discography and got "Unity". Quite a few people were saying that "Unity" was a superior album to "Soundchaser" and declared the latter to be a weaker continuation of the former - well, I can't quite agree with that.

"Unity" is an album filled with hooks and pure catchiness, the only thing I'm a bit missing here is the pure aggression and heaviness which I found in later Rage songs. Now don't get me wrong here, the soaring leads of guitar master Smolski are absolutely captivating and the riffs are definitely well written, but I don't quite get the feeling I get when I listen to later songs like "War of Worlds". Long story cut short: I don't get my skull bashed in. Frankly, there are exceptions (Down, Living My Dream, Seven Deadly Sins) and those really do the trick. This is not a major problem though.

The album is also chock-full of soaring vocal lines, courtesy of Peavy Wagner who's about the best power/traditional metal singer I've heard so far. Sure, Halford is classic and technically great, but Peavy's voice is just instantly pleasing to the ear and he doesn't overdo the falsettos (in fact, he rarely uses them, which is a plus to my ears - it wouldn't fit into Rage's sound). No matter if he sings balladesque section or spits venomous, almost growled lines, it's always perfectly fitting.

I do have to dedicate one paragraph to Victor Smolski's amazing guitar skills. This man knows his guitar and especially his smoking leads are absolutely fantastic. Neo-classical influences everywhere, high-speed shredding, sweeping, etc. and he does it all without the Malmsteen-Wank-Syndrome. He definitely knows how to employ beautiful melodies into the shred. An incredibly gifted player.

As expected, the rest of band themselves are also incredibly skilled musicians. It's all more than just spot on, but with a line-up like the one present on here, this really is no surprise. So if you like your heavy metal with BIG balls then I see no reason for not getting "Unity", even if I'd advise you to obtain "Soundchaser first".

So even if I like the songs on "Soundchaser" more, you really can't go wrong with this.