Rage have been going since the early 80s and have released as close to twenty-one albums as I can figure, possibly or maybe not including compilations. I even asked Viktor Smolksi and he wasn’t sure himself. 21 is the band’s testament to Lady Luck and all things heavy.
After a slightly iffy intro, we kick off in true Rage fashion into the title track, with its eery intro before descending into all out aggressive madness that the Teutonic trio do their best to keep up for the next hour. Age has done nothing to quell their rebellious spirits as Peavey Wagner roars and spits out lyrics like a fire-breathing dragon. While he’ll never have the greatest voice in the world, it suits the band he’s fronted for thirty years. Possible album highlight Forever Dead‘s chorus proves once and again that the big man can write and belt out choruses with the best of them.
The guitar playing warrants it’s own paragraph. Victor Smolksi is some kind of freak with 8 fingers on each hand, some of his lead licks being truly magnificent, the crunching guitar hooks drenched in the warm overdrive of his signature amplifier. Twenty One‘s greatest mark is the guitar work, the riffs wearing a groove so deep you could fall up to your neck in them.
Eternally closes the album on a somewhat damp note, but not before the listener has been torn apart by some truly titanic numbers, Death Romantic being the first possible metal song to mention Facebook. I think it’s about some kind of Facebook stalker/murderer, but this metal business was never about knitting your granny a hat to keep out the cold.
Rage are an angry bunch of men. Quite fitting really, and Twenty One is yet another giant slab of neck-wrecking metal to get your teeth into. Rawr.