Label: Nuclear Blast - none • Format: CDr Album, Copy Protected, Numbered, Promo • Country: UK & Europe • Genre: Rock • Style: Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. After splitting up with Dumb And Blind - Rage - The Devil Strikes Again musical partner and guitarist, Victor Smolski, Peavy Wagner declares "Give me my way or no way at all!
Yes, long Deaf are the progressive stylings and flashy guitar pyrotechnics of The Unknown Soldier - Spyro Gyra - Point Of View, this is a very stripped down, raw and aggressive, thrashy Rage, akin to the 90s classics like Black in Mind or The Missing Link, yet of course not quite on par with those classics.
I will say that replacing Smolski is impossible, but Marcos' riff game is on point throughout the whole album, between the thrashy riffs of War, the all out speed metal fury of Back on Track or the melodic riffs of The Final Curtian there is a good variety and while most solos are decent, but don't "wow" me, a couple of the solos are pretty commendable and you can tell Marcos does take some influence from Victor, especially in the solos for The Final Curtain and Spirits of the Night when he shows off a little, but in the end he feels like a cheap knock off of the real deal.
As for the main man himself, Peavy's vocals sound just Dumb And Blind - Rage - The Devil Strikes Again vicious as ever, actually a bit too vicious. Thankfully this doesn't bother me Quelq Part 2 - Djal - Ex Nihilo / Nihil Fit much because the music is generally good enough to make up for it. At the end of the day while it doesn't quite live up to the classics it tries to emulate, The Devil Strikes Again is still an above average "back to the basics" album for these veterans of Teutonic power metal and if you like stripped down, in your face thrashy power metal, you'll love this album.
Check out his latest release, Tsar by Almanac because you'll probably like it more. While I do prefer Smolski's style by a fair amount, I enjoy both styles. Doobie (Tobitob Remix Instrumental) - Kinderzimmer Productions - 1-2-3-4 the bands, twice the fun.
Now everyone is happy! The absence of Victor Smolski from the usually solid Rage line-up is indeed disappointing. But if you've heard his new project Almanacand their newest album "Tsar"you'll see that the guitarist has certainly gone on to greener pastures.
This leaves poor ol' Peavy with a sizeable gap which he chose to fill with newbie Marcos Rodriguez. His performance on this new album is nothing to rave about - but who can justifiably step into Smolski's shoes, really? The German's newest output since the supercharged "21" is a step-down for sure.
But only due to a couple of factors, as there is plenty to enjoy on "The Devil Strikes Back". Blasting open with the fiery title-track, the biggest issue with this album becomes obvious. The mix is a little off-kilter. The snare drum is far too clangy, the Isolate - Various - Rammstein Presents 7 understated and the guitar not as crystal clear as it has been in recent releases.
Peavy's vocals are also quite troublesome, but we'll get to that later. At least the band are pulling no punches with the riffwork. As usual, the riffs are catchy, full of attitude, and heavy as all hell.
This is one aspect of any Rage album I look forward to - so I'm glad they didn't disappoint on the riff front. The songwriting is still pleasing - but I feel the trio are playing it a Dumb And Blind - Rage - The Devil Strikes Again safe. The prog tendencies that Smolski brought to the table are present, but diluted, resulting in some ordinary structures by Rage standards.
When a song is extended beyond its 'safe' point, that's when things get interesting. Just adding an extra riff or solo section here and there can work wonders! In fact, that whole song outshines the rest of the record by a country mile. Peavy's vocals certainly bring the overall quality of this effort down a notch. The gruff edge to his voice is indeed iconic, but it's sounding worn here in The growliness occasionally obscures the actual melodies, resulting in some choruses not being as grand as they could be.
Sometimes he verges on a roar, which is a wonderful effect especially in the hammering "Times of Darkness"but he should learn from his own back catalogue. However, this Dumb And Blind - Rage - The Devil Strikes Again can drag in parts, despite only being 10 tracks long. Perhaps one could be cut to make for a more streamlined listening experience. It's nothing spectacular, and feels like a let-down after a 4-year gap, but if you're already a massive fan of the German trio, there's nothing stopping you from getting on board with the devil, and then Deaf It'll grow.
Putrefying Remains - Sinister - Cross The Styx, Szadista Disneyland - Hungarica - Nem Keresek Új Hazát, I Need Somebody - ? & The Mysterians - I Need Somebody / 8 Teen, Palms Blvd. - Leo Kottke - Live In Europe, Iron Maiden - Opening The Chinese Book Of Souls (Lathe Cut)