Genre: Heavy Power
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Almost a year after the release of ‘The Devil Strikes Again’, Rage seem unstoppable. With (most of) the compositions finished since last October, the holy trinity of Peavy, Marcos Rodriguez (guitars) and Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos (drums) didn’t leave the momentum to go unexploited. Many of us may cringe about the non-official return to the legendary (maybe an excessive phrasing) line up, with Manni Schmidt and Christos Efthimiadis standing beside Mr. Wagner (despite the fact that we consider the Refuge project to be nostalgic). Nonetheless, the two youngsters next to Peavy act as an elixir of youth for the warhorse bassist / frontman of Rage. The 11 compositions of ‘Seasons Of The Black’ look like a natural continuation of its successful, but not so original ultimately, predecessor. The approach of the compositions has not changed to a minimum, as Rage follow the beaten track of many other acts that create music in the style of their golden age. So, in addition to invoking the thrill of the older fans, at the same time, they are deliberately flirting with a younger audience that’s being offered in the form of a new album; an album that sounds like a special best-of. There is a freshness, a flow of positive energy that overflows from the speakers and some very well-written pieces that are real dynamites. On the positive side, we have the return to ‘values’ such as the tradition that commands the tracks to be connected in some way lyrically / thematically and the transition between them must be in the form of a continuous story telling. This happens in the about 20 minutes long track ‘Tragedy Of Man’ that closes the album but essentially consists of 4 songs (‘Gaia’, ‘Justify’, ‘Bloodshed In Paradise’ and ‘Farewell’). The concept is simple and overly sung: the course of the human species towards extinction. “Gaia” puts you in the spirit of the story unfolded, while among these four songs we come across one of the most well written pieces of Rage in the last 10+ years, “Bloodshed In Paradise”. ‘Justify’ tires a bit with its foolish chorus, and the choice for the sweet-shuffled closure with the ‘Farewell’ ballad spoils the otherwise very strong album. Well, I’m exaggerating, it does not spoil anything when we got into this album the same titled track, the ripped-out-of-the ‘The Missing Link’ ‘Walk Among The Dead’, ‘Septic Bite’, ‘Serpents In Disguise’ and my personal favourite ‘Blackened Karma’.