Rage Album Review ‘The Devil Strikes Again’

It feels like Rage have always been there and that feeling might not be wrong. For most metalheads Rage have been there right from when they started listening to metal. Now the band sets out again to release their 22nd (!!!) studio album ‘The Devil Strikes Again’. Band mastermind Peter ‘Peavy’ Wagner has exchanged the rest of the line-up last year when the band split up with lots of noise and rumblings in the media. Earlier this year Rage already released an EP with the new track ‘My Way’ (which is also on the album). The track is clearly a message that Rage was and is Peavy’s band first and foremost. The fact that there was a re-recording of the classic track ‘Black In Mind’ on that EP already was a hint of what to expect from the new album.

‘The Devil Strikes Again’ is somewhat of a back to the roots album for Rage. Everything the band has become known for is on that album. All tracks are clearly heavier, more straight forward and to the point than most of the previous two or three releases. The title track and album opener sets the scene for the rest of the album. ‘The Devil Strikes Again’ starts with a thrash metal riff. The high tempo remains dominant throughout the entire song without forgetting about the big melodies and choruses Rage always incorporated into their sound.

Overall the album is less progressive than the albums released in the last ten years. The turn towards what most fans would see as Rage’s classic period is obvious. ‘The Devil Strikes Again’ is closer to ‘Black In Mind’ than most of the records of the Victor Smolski era. It sounds like Rage are back in the territory where Peavy feels most comfortable: high energy power metal with big melodies and the occasional outbreak into faster and heavier thrash metal. Tracks like ‘War’ combine the best of these worlds with its galloping riff, an early-Metallica memorial solo and catchy melodies. On the other end of the spectrum you have tracks like the final track of the album ‘The Dark Side Sun’ that besides the melodic chorus stays almost entirely in thrash metal territory.

Die-hard Rage fans of the 80s and 90s will certainly take to the new album. ‘The Devil Strikes Again’ is not an album that will redefine the metal genre but it certainly is one of the stronger albums that Rage released over the last three decades. It is good to hear that Rage are back with enthusiasm, power and fun. 32 years into the history of the band Rage sound as relevant as ever.

8 of 10