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Still RAGE - 86%

Crossover, March 28th, 2009

Many will tell you that this is a point at which for once the world's least commercially susceptive band may have actually strayed from their roots finally and, cough, sold out. NOT TRUE! In fact, beyond the mellower choruses, simpler riffs, and elegant symphonics all this is is a slab full of RAGE.

This one starts out with nothing short of a classic headbanger. The opening riff of From The Cradle To The Grave will immediately induce headbanging, but then it sinks into a doomy verse section, only to thrust you back into that riff. The chorus here is memorable and the buildup to the solo is incredible, it's a dark song but at the same time catchy and appealing. Next up is undoubtedly one of RAGE's most pedestrian tunes, it still has a few riffs sprinkled in there, but the chorus is catchy, fun, and the pace is well enough that is makes it a worthwhile track. Next track, Sign of Heaven starts out in classic RAGE fashion with a nice speed metal riff, the chorus is more of a progressive sound, with a simple riff that gradually progresses into the chorus which is as solid a melodic power/speed chorus as you will find. Next up is a ballad, Incomplete, it rivals anything any other great power/speed metal ballad, including Vicous Rumour's Children, Metal Church's Watch the children pray, It is a bit mellower than those two but just as memorable. Next up is a melodic speed metaller that really picks up at the end, with another catchy chorus. HEARTblood is a heavy groover, not like any other RAGE song. It has an industrial sounding vibe, at 6:21 it’s a bit overlong and probably the weakest track here. The next song, Over and Over makes up for anything commercial or weak on this album. Its a typical RAGE classic, 16 years after their inception still churning out the sound that made them the standard. Its heavy, fast, and catchy all at the same time, and did I mention there’s a symphony orchestra. The quintessential symphonic speed metal song. Next up is another ballad, weaker than the first, but it landed RAGE like 3 separate singles, which speaks to the quality of it. Then comes a mid-paced track, Immortal, another archetypical tune for this one, still powerful, still RAGE.

All in all, it's not their best, but it is a testament to Peavy Wagner for never backing down and sticking to his roots perpetually.

Nice symbiosis of metal and classical music! - 96%

Unsleeper, October 24th, 2004

It's just a superior album, don't believe to those who say it's a failure.
In my opinion, this is the best experience of mixing metal with classics ever.
Sound here is based on "End of all days", even in a more mild and melodic way. Album begins with an outstanding Intro, composed by Christian Wolff, who also took part in producing the whole album. The Symphonic Orchestra Prague shows all of its mastership in this heavenly overture. My favourite songs on album are "From the cradle to the grave" (just a killer track!), " Days of December" (nice tune and riffs), " Sign of heaven" (fast power metal track) and "In vain (I won't go down)" (slow, almost a ballad with great accompaniment of orchestra). There are also some pretty orchestral interludes between songs, fitting the whole atmosphere very well. The only weak track here is "Heartblood", especially when Peavy growls "just give me your he-aa-rtt". Two covers are presented on album: "Paint it black" [originally performed by The Rolling Stones] and "Tom Sawyer" [originally performed by Rush] (the last one is the japanese bonus track). "Paint it black" is almost unrecognisable, Peavy re-arranged it too much. On "Just alone" you can hear some exotic instruments - it seems like this song is a pure experiment for Rage.
Conclusion: I know only 2 good examples of mixing metal with classics, and one of them is Rage "XIII" album (another - last Therion works). It is too much better than Metallica's attempt a year later. Check it out!