[EDIT]: Thanks to the w0nd0rz 0f th3 1n73rn3tz it has come to my attention (see the comments) that Nuclear Blast bungled the announcement. Rage didn’t really split ways at all! No, it appears that Peavy basically just fired Smolski and Hilgers and is out touring with previous guitar player Manni Schmidt. Look at the wording here: “Rage Announce the End of Current Lineup.” Old school Rage reunion incoming?
AngryMetalGuy.com does not “do news” for a variety of reasons that don’t really have a place in this post. But I wanted to take a special moment to comment on the passing of a band that I think doesn’t get enough credit. While yesterday I lauded the brilliance of Blind Guardian and their unique approach to metal, their fellow German power-thrashers Rage announced that they would be going their separate ways.
Parsing the press release, it sounds like there’s a split between Peavy and Victor due to the fact that bands are like a marriage and they’ve been making music together for a long time. Likely Peavy wasn’t taking out the trash and was coming home too late, and Smolski couldn’t take it anymore! Not sure if they got marital counseling (or made a documentary about it?!?), but it seems they couldn’t come to an agreement to keep working together. This means that Rage is done, but also that Peavy is out of Lingua Mortis Orchestra and they’ll be parting ways with the drummer Andre Hilgers as well. As Peavy put it in his statement, “every extension [of the band] would be untrue to ourselves and to our fans.” But for those of you who enjoyed Smolski’s unique writing style and playing Lingua Mortis Orchestra will continue without Peavy. Regardless, now we’ll see who the Luca Turilli of Rage is…
I’m not going to spend a lot of time theorizing precisely about what happened—my above theory is probably just as good as anything else I could say—but I just wanted to name this and give a heartfelt thank you to Rage for feeding me all the excellent-if-pretty-cheesy thrashy power metal I could eat! Sure, you guys have been a bit hit and miss. But between Strings to a Web—which holds a special place in my heart as my intro to the band, Speak of the Dead and the other standouts from a storied discography, I guess I’ll just have to get my fix via nostalgia injections instead of the anticipation of new material. In all seriousness, Rage had a unique contribution to metal and was a throwback to the golden age of melodic heavy metal in the best possible sense of that word. These guys carried the torch proudly and are often overlooked because of the status of power and trad metal, but they did it with a creative, idiosyncratic flare that made them as big as they did become.
I’m just gonna leave you all with “Empty Hollow” (the whole 16 minute version, which features what Rage did best: the perfect blend of poppy melodies and prog, with a touch of late ’80s action flick soundtracks—all buttressed by fat riffs and a lights out production job). Anyway, thanks for all riffs, football stadium choruses, working class sensibility and vintage 1980s guitar tone guys! Best of luck!