|Review: Rage - Speak of the Dead|
|Speak of the Dead|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: September 2, 2006
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
for:Speak of the Dead
After the tremendous live CD/DVD "From The Cradle To The Stage", it was time for Rage to release a new studio album. This latest CD is the first one to include big orchestration since guitar virtuoso Victor Smolski joined the band.
"Speak Of The Dead" is divided in two distinctive parts: "Suite Lingua Mortis" is made of 8 parts totalling about 25 minutes long of the band playing with an orchestra and the last 7 tracks are traditional heavy tracks without orchestration.
"Suite Lingua Mortis" begins in grandeur with "Morituri Te Salutant" a nice but short one minute intro with fanfare. Next is "Prelude Of Souls", about 3 minutes long with some instrumental and experimental 5/4 measures that I didn't like very much. The very good "Innocent" and my favourite orchestrated part "No Regrets" with its great heavy pre-chorus and sublime hymn-like chorus gives me goose bumps, and the emotional "Beauty" are the best part of the long suite. The rest of the suite, "Depression", "Confusion" and "Black" are little instrumental parts between about 1 and 2 minutes long.
Following "Suite Lingua Mortis" is the "typical heavy" part. It starts with the first single off the album "No Fear", an average brutal track which sadly lacks melody. Gladly, things improve with the subsequent songs like "Soul Survivor" with its superb hymn-like wide chorus, the traditional "Full Moon" with another excellent chorus. My favourite track on the album is the anti religious-fanatics and fast-paced "Kill Your Gods", with an outstanding heavy pounding staccato riff just prior to the also awesome lead guitar solo by Victor. Next is the okay heavy with acoustic verses "Turn My World Around", the acceptable fast-paced "Be With Me Or Be Gone" and for closer the speedy anti-military song "Speak Of The Dead".
The sound quality of "Speak Of The Dead" is top notch. For instance, the orchestration blends extremely well with the band in "Suite Lingua Mortis". Also, I really like Peavy's lyrics on this album, especially on tracks like "No Fear", "Soul Survivor", "Kill Your Gods" and the title track "Speak Of The Dead". My CD version contains a bonus track called "La Luna Reine" which is "Full Moon" sung in Spanish by Peavy. The result is a little bit weird at first but rather good. There are different CD versions with "Full Moon" sung in German, Russian and Japanese.
To conclude, "Speak Of The Dead" is overall a very good album, but sadly a bit sub-standard to the band's recent top quality releases. It doesn't help that the album is divided in two very different parts; I would have preferred two distinctive albums with more tracks in each of them. Previous CDs with this line-up like "Welcome To The Other Side" (2001), "Unity" (2002) and "Soundchaser" (2003) are better songwriting-wise in my humble opinion. Nevertheless, it is still a quality album with undeniably excellent musicians and I'm very confident that this brilliant line-up will release another great opus in the future.
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