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Rage: Carved In Stone
Melodic Heavy/Progressive Metal
Rating: 4.75/5.0

Rage is the three man band from Germany that produces a unique mix of melodic heavy and progressive metal. How three guys can accomplish this defies me at times. (But bands like Rush have been doing this for years.) Their new release, 'Carved In Stone' is far better than 'Speak Of The Dead' which was more heavy than melodic and also had some disappointing dirty vocals. This work is more traditional Rage like 'Soundchaser,' a great album. As far as I'm concerned, this is the Rage I know and love.

The opener and title track 'Carved In Stone' defines the album: raw, gritty vocals, a quick pace, a sophisticated and sometimes complex arrangement, and some very satisfying guitar licks. Another fine example of this mixture of melodic heavy and progressive metal is 'Open My Grave' with its Middle eastern arabic scale opening which merges into a heavy arrangement and some great vocal harmonies to lighten the balance. A little over three minutes into song you'll find a great melodic vocal interlude that leads into a quick killer guitar solo. Such is the nature of 'Carved In Stone.' There are some great surprises here. 'Without You' and 'Long Hard Road' are more straight forward traditional melodic metal. The former is one my favorite cuts on the album. On the later, vocalist 'Peavy' Wagner shows his singular strength and range. A final highlight is 'Lord Of Flies' which is based on William Golding's classic novel of the same name. This is an amazing piece of music with versatile melodic metal wrapped up in full orchestration and choral magnificence to bring a dark theme to life. Wow: great stuff!

One of the most provocative (and enjoyable) features of 'Carved In Stone' is the sociopolitical content found in several songs. I'm thinking of 'Carved In Stone,' where lyricist Wagner writes: 'The politician lives in a white house, The boys have tents in the mud, He's getting richer with weapons and oil, While the young men give their blood.' I know he's from the outside looking in at America and I'm not concerned with your politics, but that is classic dissident commentary. Or consider these conscience pricking words from 'Mouth Of Greed:'

Into the mouth of greed
Just satisfy your needs
Too hard to turn away
You're in the mouth of greed

We know that all we have is more we need
We think success is when we can compete

And we vote for our leaders and we let them rape our land
In the name of our stupid life style
Get it while we can

Who says metal can't speak intelligently to our times or our hearts? Metal is the perfect venue!

Considering the length of this review, you may already conclude that I was impressed by 'Carved In Stone.' You would be right. As I said earlier, this is the Rage I know and love. This is great metal: melodic, heavy, progressive, thoughtful and performed with passion and skill. Highly recommended!
  - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Rage's 'Carved In Stone' is an exciting mixture of melodic heavy and progressive metal. I was enthralled from beginning to end by this work. This is classic Rage: great substance, style, songs and delivery. Highly recommended!

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