Rage - Strings To A Web
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Like they did with 2005's Speak of The Dead Rage have tried to combine all the elements of their sound on one album, with up-beat, melodic tracks, dark, heavy tracks and a segued concept piece laden with strings. The real highlight is the five-track run in the middle of the album from the anthemic Empty Hollow to its reprise. After Empty Hollow, probably the album's strongest track, comes the instrumental complexity of the title track and a short, delicate instrumental Fatal Grace leading into Connected, which borders on an AOR ballad, but is truly lit up by Smolski's emotive guitar playing, and from there brilliantly into the Empty Hollow reprise. This whole section will work very well live, and is sure to feature in their 2010/2011 set. The weak links on the album are the lyrically dreadful Hellgirl (despite another great guitar solo), and opener The Edge of Darkness which kicks off with an excellent, fast riff, but ends up being far too melodic and happy in the chorus for the subject matter, jarring badly. Into The Light, The Beggar's Last Dine and incredibly soft ballad Through Ashes are somewhat forgettable, but Hunter & Prey, Purified, Tomorrow Never Comes and Saviour of The Dead, which sounds very much like Black Label Society's version of Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears with its main riffs, right down to the Zakk Wylde squeals, are classic Rage. Not a defining moment in their career, but another solid album that will again contribute several strong tracks to the live set.
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