|Review: Rage - From The Cradle To The Stage|
|From The Cradle To The Stage|
Year released: 2004
Duration: 291 min.
Review online: February 20, 2005
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
for:From The Cradle To The Stage
"From The Cradle To The Stage" is THE DVD that I've been waiting for in the metal world ever since I heard that Rage had filmed their gig at Bochum, Zeche in Germany (Peter "Peavy" Wagner's hometown area) on January 25, 2004 to make a live CD and DVD release. Now that I've already watched and heard it many times (at full volume), here is my review.
Let's begin with the formats: it's a double CD and double DVD edition. There is also a limited special edition which contains all four discs. I personally bought both editions separately so that I would have both booklets (there are many similarities like the cover design and a note from band leader Peavy, but the CD version has more pages with pictures inside). Note that "Enough Is Enough" is not included in the DVD live show, only on the CD release.
The first DVD has more than 2 hours of pure pleasure: Rage playing many of their classics, spanning the 20 years of Peavy's great work. They even play "Prayers Of Steel", a song from Peavy's previous band "Avenger", released in 1985. In fact, the 16 studio albums (1 by Avenger and 15 by Rage) are represented on this show except for two early albums: "Execution Guaranteed" and "Reflections Of A Shadow". The band mostly focuses on their last three albums, which is a good choice for many reasons: This line-up created these CDs, they are great albums, and last but not least, these CDs are more fit (with lower tuning) for Peavy's present voice. Those who have listened to Rage for many years know that Peavy's voice has changed a lot throughout his career. I personally prefer his newest, more natural vocal range.
Some of the oldest tracks are cut short to mix with another one (kind of a medley), like for instance "Prayers Of Steel" / "Suicide" and "Black In Mind" / "Solitary Man". Though I've always preferred to hear the complete song than a mix, I understand that the band wished to cover as much of their discography as possible. Even with 24 tracks (plus one guitar and drums solos), Rage left many of their classics aside, but I still really like the track listing. I cannot point out one best moment in particular, but some highlights are "War Of Worlds", "Paint The Devil On The Wall", "Down", "Days Of December", the progressive "Unity" including the best drum solo I've ever heard, "Flesh & Blood", "Soundchaser", "Straight To Hell", "Back In Time", their classic "Don't Fear The Winter" with the crowd singing, "All I Want" and the last track "Higher Than The Sky", again with a great sing-along by the crowd. This last track was heavily requested by the fans who sang the chorus twice in between song during the concert!
The band plays with a lower than standard tuning, which is excellent for the newest songs and Peavy's voice, but a little weird with older tracks like "Refuge", "Solitary Man" and "Invisible Horizons". It has a similar effect as to when I heard "Live In London" by Judas Priest. Not annoying but a little weird though. The three musicians are all very precise on stage and the songs - especially the newest ones - are perfectly played. It's so enjoyable to observe these extremely talented musicians master their instruments so brilliantly.
The footage is very dynamic with many fast switches between different angles. In general, I dig it except maybe for the one filmed down below from the audience. I also wish that the cameras had focused on all of Victor's leads, although many of them are filmed. You can choose between Dolby Digital 5.1 and AC3 Stereo for the audio format. The sound is really well mixed. I particularly appreciated the heavy thick guitar sound of Victor Smolski and the drum presence of Mike Terrana. The guitar and bass create a solid unison sound. Furthermore, Peavy's voice is also very well balanced in the whole mix. There is a nice little addition: You can add the song titles on screen, which appear at the beginning of each song.
DVD two could be considered like the best bonus disc ever released by a metal band! It could easily be sold as a stand-alone and still be worth the price. Imagine this: Nearly 3 hours worth of Rage material!
The most interesting part is a 50 minutes film, which contains interview with band members and lots of rare and unreleased video footage. This is done very professionally and I learned a lot about the band. For instance, I've always found that their first two albums were a bit less professional (I don't mean bad) than all their other releases. Peavy tells in the interview that their third album "Perfect Man" released in 1988, was a base to their whole career; the preceding albums were more like practice pieces and their style was not clarified yet. This also coincided with the arrival of the solid trio composed of Manni Schmidt on guitar and Chris Efthimiadis on drums. Moreover, in the early years (Avenger and in the beginning of Rage), they were in the "party all night" mood! Another interesting fact is that Peavy developed the "Soundchaser" story (the creature on almost all Rage covers) based on his hobby (his interest in fossil). Note that you can use English or German subtitles for this section.
Another great part of this DVD are Rage's eleven (yes eleven!) video clips! That does not include their newest video clip "Straight To Hell". The first two videos, "Down By Law" (1987) and "Don't Fear The Winter" (1988) are low budget "live" performances with the studio tracks playing. While "Invisible Horizons" (1989), "True Face In Everyone" (1990) and Waiting For The Moon" (1990) are more funny and bright, "Alive But Dead" (1995) and "Deep In The Blackest Hole" are darker. There are also "Refuge" (1993), "The Lingua Mortis Medley" (1997), "From The Cradle To The Grave" (1998) and finally "Down" (2001). The video clips are very diverse and interesting to watch and this section lasts about 1 hour.
Another enjoyable part is the studio outtakes and the making of the DVD. You can watch the band playing in the studio the two-part song "Falling From Grace (Wake The Nightmares, Death Is On Its Way)" and "Dies Irae", the latest with the very talented (and good looking) girls that we can hear in the choir off this sublime song. The making of the Rage show is a 6 minutes behind the scenes footage where we see the staff doing the soundcheck, tuning guitars and preparing the stage, with some short interviews. You can use English or German subtitles. This whole section lasts about 25 minutes.
There is also a section with four live songs that the band played at different periods during their career. "Battlefield" is an Avenger song played by Rage at Koblenz in 1987. The footage is so-so, albeit a nice addition. The three others are excellent and professionally-shot videos: "All This Time" live Stuttgart in 1997 with the orchestra, "Beginning Of The End" live Cologne in 1999 for the Ghosts tour (damn, I wish I had this whole show!) and "Higher Than The Sky" live at Waken Open Air in 2001 in a bright day where we can view the large crowd sing-along the melodic chorus.
Finally, there is also a very complete Rage discography (even the Avenger releases are there) which contains all the cover designs, year released, lineup and track listings. Well done and a must have in the case of this band who has released countless studio, EP, best of and live albums over the past 20 years!
My expectations were very high for this release, and were all satisfied by this gem. What a nice packaging with lots of goodies. Even the menus are remarkably animated and designed with Rage themes. Out of all the metal DVDs that I own, this one is now my favourite one (even more than the outstanding "Rock In Rio" by Iron Maiden)! I read that the band was heavily involved for the whole production and they worked countless hours to create this release, and it shows! My conclusion: this DVD is a masterpiece and a must have for all Rage and metal fans.
Format: Region code: 0 (PAL/NTSC)
History film 20 years of Rage (English and German subtitles available)
Studio & making of
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