Rage - Reign Of Fear
Noise Records
Speed Metal
9 songs (37:11)
Release year: 1986
Rage, Noise Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

After changing their name from Avenger, German Speedfreaks Rage released Reign Of Fear as a debut under the new name, and it’s pretty hard to find fault with even for a daytripper into 80s Metal like myself. Best summed up as Judas Priest playing Thrash, the formula here is well laid down and the band are playing for their lives, but it’s hard to forget that it’s the first of many albums to come from Rage, and you’d be hard pressed to find a Rager who would reach for Reign Of Fear over any of the later albums.

The lineup for this album would barely last a year, but Peter ‘Peavey’ Wagner is, of course, present and correct, and his high-pitched voice takes a bit of getting used to here, especially due to the fact that this isn’t Thrash enough to make the vocalist an afterthought rather an integral part of the music, and if you don’t find yourself wincing when Peavey’s yowl occasionally drowns out even the pleasingly bold guitar riffs, then you’re a better man than I am. Songwriting is samey but generally good, with just a couple of slip-ups; opening charge Scared To Death is definitely not one of them, attacking like early Slayer at their best, with less of an evil atmosphere but plenty of aggression.

Following blast Deceiver is a speed-ridden burst of awesomeness, just one of the many examples of killer songwriting, whilst the title track has some great soloing going on. Most of the songs follow a similar style, with exceptions being the very Priestly cuts Raw Energy and Chaste Flesh, with pleasantly heavy mid-paced crunch on the riffs and plenty of vocal Halfordisms from Peavey. The part in the former where the guitars drop out halfway through is pure 80s nonsense but had even your cynical reviewer throwing the horns. Really, it’s hard to find fault with this album once you’re used to the slightly repetitive songwriting; you really have to nitpick to find any less than excellent moments, and whilst it is a pretty one-track experience, it’s a great one nonetheless. The outro to Suicide is the one thing I really have a problem with, as it weakly fades out; but the following Machinery makes up for it.

Musicianship is more than fine; the drums especially are pleasingly sophisticated for the time, Jörg "Muzilak" Michael adding little fills around the basic Speed Metal beat (that brief bit of tribal drumming on Hand Of Glory is killer!) and although he would be gone after Rage’s second album, he did a great job whilst he was there. The majority of the praise must go to the guitarists, however, and whatever the track you’re guaranteed a rip-roaring burst of riffage from Mssrs Jochen Schröder and Thomas Grüning, with some wonderful lead work. I have to mention the production on this album, it’s simply excellent, with a perfectly audible bass and a great guitar tone.

Although this may not be up there with the greatest Rage albums, in terms of Speed Metal it’s pretty darn good. I’ll admit to preferring the more melodic, pre-Power Metal side of Speed rather than the Thrashier, Exciter-esque side, and Reign Of Fear fits much more closely into the former category than the latter, a debut that’s up there with Blind Guardian’s early material in terms of simply Metal ass-kickingness. Quite honestly, I find a lot of 80s Metal overrated tripe, but there were bands that did great things and Rage’s debut is enjoyable simply for what it is: melodic Speed Metal that will cause serious neck action from all but the most cheerless of beings. Rage would get better, but this is a perfectly respectable first outing for them.

Killing Songs :
Scared To Death, Deceiver, Reign Of Fear, Hand Of Glory, Raw Energy... the list goes on!
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Rage that we have reviewed:
Rage - Seasons of the Black reviewed by Andy and quoted 82 / 100
Rage - The Devil Strikes Again reviewed by Andy and quoted 83 / 100
Rage - 21 reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Rage - Trapped! reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Rage - Reflections Of A Shadow reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
To see all 18 reviews click here
3 readers voted
Your quote was: 75.
Change your vote

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:23 pm
View and Post comments