Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rage - Seasons of The Black (2017)

In one way, I admire the work that the Germans in Rage has put out in their career. They are one of those bands that keeps on trucking, never releasing anything ground breaking or worthy of a top spot on the year end lists, but always giving it their all to produce some good old fashioned heavy metal. Rage is a working man's metal band, and they have been working hard, releasing over 20 albums in just over 30 years. An impressive pace for sure, even if it comes with the cost of some quality being dropped.

There really must be a lot of creative juice flowing through the veins of Peavy, because he keeps spitting out albums left and right. Last year we had "The Devil Strikes Again" (an okay album, although a little bland), and now we have "Seasons of The Black", which has almost the same album cover to be honest, with the only difference being the title and skull. It could be seen as a sign that the two albums are pretty similar to one another, and that assumption would be more or less correct, but only because Rage rarely changes that much.

In honesty, I feel like there is more passion behind this album than its predecessor. It could be because the song material is slightly more memorable, songs that are catchier and more energetic. It could also be because the band has had another year under their belt together, solidifying a chemistry that is still in its early stages. No matter how you see it, "Seasons of The Black" feels solid in a lot of ways.

Another thing that this album has in common with its predecessor is that it comes with 6 bonus tracks, this time 6 originals instead of 3 originals and 3 covers. Some of these songs are pretty decent, but put them together with the already existing 11 songs, and you get a 1 hour and 16 minute behemoth that will leave you exhausted. It could be seen as a nice little addition to the album, but why so many? Couldn't you have left out like 3 or 4 of the songs for the next album? It also feels kind of strange when listening throughout the entire record, because "Farewell" is such a fitting ending, but then another 6 songs comes in. Eh, maybe I am just too petty.

As for the true eleven songs in the album, it is kind of a mixed bag, both in quality and styles. Close to all of it is classic Rage stuff, like the opening title track, a song with nice riffs, good pace, and a nice technical solo to top it off, but then we have the odd ones that does not really fit in, like "Time Will Tell", a very bland song with several cringe worthy moments that hampers it badly. But there are more good than bad songs here, so it is fairly easy to find enjoyment in "Seasons of The Black".

I also have to mention the last four songs that are all a part of "The Tragedy of Man", a mini concept within the album. It is interesting and all, especially since every song has its own touch. "Gaia" is just a short acoustic instrumental, while "Justify" is very poppy in its approach, giving out a very happy feeling. "Bloodshed In Paradise" is both the heaviest and the darkest song of the quartet (and also the best), and "Farewell" is, as explained before, a very fitting end, with a lot of sadness surrounding it. A neat little idea, that unfortunately does not really add as much to the record as one would have hoped.

Yeah, "Seasons of The Black" is far from an uninspired effort, but it is pretty much as grey (or pale brown) as the album cover. The songs stick a little longer this time, but I think the chances for any of these tracks becoming future classics are pretty slim, even if they are pretty much Rage to the core. Fans will most likely swallow this record with pride, and I can truly say that I enjoy this one slightly more than "The Devil Strikes Again", but there are better and memorable Rage albums out there, and the only thing I will most likely remember from this album in the future is just how strange that skull looks, and how in the hell those teeth works together without permanently shutting the jaws together.

Songs worthy of recognition: Season of The Black, Walk Among The Dead, All We Know Is Not

Rating: 7/10 Septic Bites

More reviews of Rage
The Devil Strikes Again

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