|Review: Rage - Unity|
Year released: 2002
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: July 29, 2002
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
"Unity" is the second Rage album after "Welcome To The Other Side" (2001) that features this wonderful line-up: Peter "Peavy" Wagner (vocals and bass), Victor Smolski (guitars, piano and keyboards) and Mike Terrana (drums). Well, how to describe and give justice to this CD...
"Unity" is a more straightforward album compared to the previous Rage albums like "Welcome To The Other Side", "Ghosts" and "XIII". There is just one "between-songs" called "Shadows", which is an intro for "Living My Dream" and there is no ballad. It contains 12 tracks (11 on the regular CD) and lasts about 55 minutes. The tempo is fast-paced through the majority of the songs and often includes some double bass parts.
All the songs are very melodic with awesome hooks in the choruses. Victor Smolski does once again an amazing work on guitar. His riffs and leads are superb through the entire album; virtuosity, melody, shred, name it! Heavy metal music can and should be proud to have such a wonderful guitarist. Peavy did –as usual- a great job on vocals. He really has the sense of melody and his voice is perfect for the music. Mike Terrana on drums is tight and very imaginative. There are some keyboards on the album and they're used very efficiently, not too overwhelming and they complete the score very well.
The album kicks off with "All I Want", a great opener with excellent lyrics and a huge catchy chorus. The genre of chorus that Rage could easily make the crowd sing on tour (especially near the end of the song were you only hear Peavy singing and Mike on drums). "Insanity" is a fast-paced track with a very heavy guitar part on verses. "Down", the single off this CD is an excellent heavy track with a great lead guitar and an amazing, heavy as hell ending. "Set This World On Fire" begins with a nice acoustic guitar intro and turns into a speed anthem with a huge, catchy power metal-ish chorus. Excellent work on vocals by Peavy and another great lead guitar by Victor on this one. "Dies Irae" is an instant classic song for me! I dug it the very first time I heard it. It’s a perfect mixture of classic and metal music. The chorus is HUGE with a choir and, again, another amazing lead guitar by Victor. "World Of Pain" is another heavy track with a fast-paced, catchy chorus. "Living My Dream" is very heavy and contains another very melodic power metal-ish chorus. I especially dig the pre-chorus vocals on this one. "Seven Deadly Sins" is surely one of my favourites with its double bass, clean acoustic guitar chord with heavy guitar part on the melodic, catchy chorus. Again excellent job by Peavy on vocals and yet another great lead guitar by Victor. "You Want It, You'll Get It" begins with a furious Yngwie Malmsteen-esque guitar riff that lead to another fast and catchy chorus that sticks in your head all day long! Victor’s lead guitar on this one is my favourite one on the album along with "Down" and "Dies Irae".
The regular album ends with the song "Unity", a more than 7 minutes demonstration of virtuosity by the 3 musicians. Check out Mike Terrana's job on drums near the end of the song! The bonus track on the digipak is "Mystery Trip", a very good mid-tempo song. The special edition CD also contains the video for "Down", an excellent promo video that you can view in full screen mode.
It's really difficult to choose my favourite song because it changes often. All I can say is that I love every single tune on this album. "Dies Irae" is a special song featuring a choir and sounds very classic, yet very heavy. This is for me the highlight of "Unity", but again, there is no weak song on it. Produced by Rage and Charlie Bauerfeind, "Unity" is flawless with among other things a nice heavy guitar sound. The booklet is also very well done with many great pictures, lyrics and liner notes. The only thing that I miss a bit on this opus is a more slow song à la "Deep In The Night" or "After The End" on "Welcome To The Other Side" but it’s not a complaint, just a comment because every song on "Unity" is great!
One word review: AWESOME! There is no better word to describe this new album. This trio seems to be "united" as hell (ouch! - ed ;)). I only hope that this line up will stay together for many other Rage albums. Heavy Metal at its best. Surely my favourite album of the year.
- Limited edition digipak reviewed
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