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Forum » LOSSLESS [APE-FLAC-WavPack...] » Extreme Metal » Rage - Reign Of Fear (1986)
Rage - Reign Of Fear (1986)
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Rage - Reign Of Fear (1986)

Year & Label: 1986/1989, Noise International Inc. | CD#: WK 45188
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Non-remastered 1st Press CD

The first true full-length for the newly-christened Rage, “Reign of Fear,” is an album
full of power metal and thrashing speed metal mixed together into a
coherent, competent whole that’s vastly underrated in their catalog and
remains enjoyable throughout.

While initially appearing to belong to the German thrash scene that
attempted to mimic the Bay Area material, the band here goes for a
different route in adopting more of a power metal approach as the
fledgling genre was gaining hold in their home country. Most obviously
this is found in the high-pitched screams and near-falsetto wails that
are delivered in the vocals which are more of a typical power metal
style far removed from the gruff-and-tough thrash singers in the scene,
but are still perfectly in keeping with the style on display and are
melodic and memorable. Aside from the vocals, the most obvious
difference here is the tone of the guitars, which don’t generate any of
that dark, thumping chug associated with thrash but are more lighter and
open-ended, reminiscent of NWOBHM-style heavy metal but amped up to a
much faster pace and sense of urgency. With those elements molded onto a
framework of speed-metal riffing as none of the songs are really
overloaded with the riffing intricacies found in thrash at the time,
that allows the band to come off more of an equal mixture of power and
thrash than would be expected of participants in the genre. The first
half of the album is filled with such songs that display the full,
charging attack of the band as they’re propelled by the competent
mixture of power and thrash with some dynamic drumming found within as
well as those wailing vocals, creating the albums best collection of

On the surface, the second half of the album is really no different. The
songs are still the same hybrid of power/speed metal riffing with
dynamic vocals and a charging tempo, but there’s one minor trait that
starts to bleed through the songs. While the top half features a more
straight-forward and unwavering sense of thrashing abandon, the second
half is slightly slower and more mid-tempo balanced which in turn
results in the grievance of the band being unable to really write
appealing songs in that format at this point in their career. Several of
these songs would’ve been better suited to end up on later efforts as
they’re quite out-of-place on this material, the abundance of speed and
power metal really making the few heavy metal-like tracks feeling quite
obvious and stick out like sore thumbs. As well, there’s hints of the
band’s exploratory future to come with one multi-segmented epic that
mixes in several unique and intriguing ideas around a slow dirge-like
march which is a novel concept and is better than it sounds. Fear not,
it still has the band firing away with their raging melodic speed-metal
assault as the backbone for the songs, as a whole this is a slight
downturn from the front half.

This has some absolutely fun tracks in this one. Opener ‘Scared to
Death’ features an ambient-noise intro before becoming a total thrasher
with great energy and up-tempo abandon featuring some amazing vocal
displays and a catchy chorus thrown in. The same goes for the next two
tracks in ‘Deceiver’ and the title track,’ both charging mid-tempo
power/speed-metal mixtures with great vocals that build into decent
thrash numbers due to the sterling performances abound. The noisy,
rocking thrasher ‘Hand of Glory’ is one of the album’s highlights with
great energy and sterling power metal riffing meshing completely with
the bombastic drumming and spectacular vocals that alternate between the
shrieking wails and a more traditional-thrash approach that is
essentially a band classic. ‘Echoes of Evil’ is the other classic, a
blazing up-tempo thrasher with an effective power metal atmosphere with
the vocals employing a series of shrieking wail that reminds many of the
prototypical hellish vocals of heavy metal at the time, all wrapped up
together with a stand-out solo in one tight, raging package. The groovy,
catchy ‘Suicide’ has some memorable melodic riffing with a decent tempo
behind it, and the charging thrash of ‘Machinery’ generates some
enjoyable power with its spacious melodies and great energy. While the
experimental ‘The Scaffold’ doesn’t really get above the lower-end of
the tempo scale, the multiple segments, acoustic intro that sets off an
epic feel and thunderous bridges might seem out-of-their-element now but
sets the tone for their future exploratory phase to not feel like a
total departure. About the only missteps would be the two songs that
feel more like they belong on later efforts, as they completely clash
with the formula in this one. ‘Raw Energy’ on the whole is littered with
uninteresting riffing, a bland sense of energy, and the sing-a-long
chorus and start/stop riffing pattern seems to be built for the live
show experience but fails on an album. ‘Chaste Flesh,’ meanwhile, is a
bland standard speed-metal chug without much going for it in this
capacity but feels more like it belongs on a future album where the
decrease of speed and the more thumping chug could work well for its
favor instead of the up-tempo, thrashing found elsewhere.

As the band hadn’t transformed themselves into their more familiar
heavy/speed/thrash metal style yet and are still firmly rooted in the
old-school thrash movement, this is really quite enjoyable for what it
is. Apart from the two clunkers that really don’t work in this
power/thrash metal formula as the band is performing, there’s not a
whole lot that’s really disappointing about the album overall. The
strong production is the main factor which allows for a predominantly
guitar-driven sound that allows the speed and sterling riff-work to come
through at full power, the drums have a resonant chug and sound
distinctly heavy in the mix, and the charging, roaring vocals are
allowed to become a dominant factor in the atmosphere and vibe of the
album. There’s no mistaking this one as a mid-80s heavy metal album with
this mix, and it’s a fun, enjoyable ride for those used to the more
modern band and want to take a dip in their past or for most of the
traditional power/thrash/speed metal fans out there.

Vocals, Bass : Peter "Peavy" Wagner
Guitars : Thomas Grüning
Guitars : Jochen Schröder
Drums : Jörg Michael

Produced by Ralf Hubert, executive-producer – Karl-Ulrich Walterbach
Recorded at Horus Sound Studio, Hannover, Feb./March 86.

Track List:

01. Scared To Death [4:42]
02. Deceiver [3:36]
03. Reign of Fear [3:54]
04. Hand of Glory [3:26]
05. Raw Energy [3:27]
06. Echoes of Evil [4:48]
07. Chaste Flesh [4:52]
08. Suicide [4:05]
09. Machinery [4:22]
10. Scaffold [9:12]

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