19601446_1596235133741979_147567208245605400_nRage – Seasons Of The Black

Release Date: 28th July 2017

Label: Nuclear Blast

Rage are back with ‘Season Of The Black’, their second album in short succession, after releasing ‘The Devil Strikes Again’ in June last year. That album marked a big change as they decided to go back to their roots, releasing an album far more similar to ‘Black In Mind’ and the like; an album which is built upon speed and power rather than the progressive style, complete with orchestras, that we’ve come to know in later albums.

Therefore I was very interested to see what Rage were going to do with this album; whether they would look to continue where ‘The Devil Strikes Again’ left off or try something new again. There were no clues on the album artwork as it features a skull which is commonplace amongst Rage’s’ artwork. However, after pressing play it took less than 40 seconds to work out that it was most definitely going to be a record more in the style that Rage were originally known for.

‘Season Of The Black’ starts with the title track which has a face melting riff which gets you head banging straight away. It’s not all about pure thrash however, as it has a very catchy chorus which after 2 listens was in my head the rest of the day. ‘Serpent In Disguise’ isn’t quite as fast but it’s just as heavy. Sadly the lyrics fall short as they are simply clichéd views on religion with little to nothing new to offer. However, it does feature one of the very few (albeit brief) progressive moments on the album at the end of the track. ‘Blackened Karma’ carries on the assault of the senses but with a vocally cleaner approach from Peavy. ‘Time Will Tell’ is a more upbeat track with a more melodic style with Peavy spitting out the vocals over the top.

The next three songs are rather forgettable (‘Septic Bite’, ‘Walk Among The Dead’ and ‘All We Know Is Not’). They aren’t bad by any means, they are solid musically and lyrically but are missing a hook and so they don’t grab you straight away. They are solid enough that I think they could be ‘growers’ i.e. that they get better with each listen.

‘Gaia’ is a short acoustic track and Peavy uses a much cleaner approach in his vocals, like he often did in the past rather than the more aggressive and gravely tone he uses throughout this album. It is clear that his vocals have started to age, whilst decent, they just don’t hold up to the past. ‘Justify’ has a minute intro which I was struggling to see the point in. It seemed a bit disconnected from the rest of the track but it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable track, not the best on the album but good enough that I’d happily get up and sing along if it came on at a party.

‘Bloodshed In Paradise’ came up next and is a marked improvement. It’s speedy and heavy with some great uncomplicated riffs which you can bang your head to at breakneck speed! The chorus has a great hook and just like the title track, I found myself instantly singing it around the house.

To finish off the album we have ‘Farewell’. Coming in at a time of 7:21 it’s certainly the longest track off this album but I surprisingly relished that. I’m not a usually a fan of songs that just go on and on but this didn’t feel like that and each section was vital to the enjoyment of the song. It’s not as aggressive as the majority of this album but it’s still power metal through and through and rounds off the album well.

On the whole, I enjoyed this album. It’s not the band’s best effort but this trio has produced a fast, heavy album with just enough melody and hooks to keep you leaning over to the repeat button.

If you enjoy non clichéd, non happy-clappy power metal, than I’m sure you’ll love this album!

Rating: 7/10

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