Twenty-two albums into their career (twenty-three if you include 1985’s Prayers of Steel (Wishbone) which was released when the band still went by the name of Avenger) and German trio Rageshow absolutely no signs of slowing up. Latest album The Devil Strikes Again (Nuclear Blast) does exactly what you would expect. No surprises or strange left turns, everything about it is unashamedly Heavy Fucking Metal.
As with so much of Rage’s material, it’s probably not going to sit too long in the memory after leaving the stereo, but while it’s on it should keep you entertained and happily nodding your head. Fast and energetic for the most part, the band’s only remaining original member, vocalist/bassist Peter “Peavy” Wagner knows exactly what to deliver and does it in spades.
Although there’s nothing life changing, or even too substantial here, the album is nice and solid with some excellent performances. Guitarist Marcos Rodriguez plays like his life depends on it, his solos clear and precise with more than a hint of Iron Maiden about them, while new drummer Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos keeps things in the rhythm section pounding and thumping away nicely, the production really helping to showcase his work in particular.
Highlights include title track ‘The Devil Strikes Again’, ‘My Way’, ‘War’, ‘Deaf, Dumb and Blind’, and ‘The Dark Side of the Sun’, while ‘Back on Track’, and ‘The Final Curtain’, although certainly catchy enough, also sound a little lightweight when compared to songs like ‘Ocean Full of Tears’ and ‘Times of Darkness’.
For those of you who haven’t listened to a Rage album since Perfect Man (Noise) or Secrets in a Weird World (Noise), then this is as good a time as any to start reacquainting yourself with them. Mainly because most of the tracks have a genuinely mid-late ’80s vibe about them (just check out the Dokken-esque ‘Spirits of the Night’). A simple, no-frills Heavy Metal album with no aspirations other than to get people banging their heads.
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