It’s come to my attention that I’m “old.” You and I both know this isn’t true; being that I’m a perfectly-formed, phenomenally–healthy thirty-something-year-old. Also, this “old” talk is coming from a few hundred brutally–honest college students that think being twenty-four is old. Also, the same college students that think taking my picture in class and sending it to their Instagram buddies is a clever way to spend their time during a semester of chapter–a–day lectures. Sure, I’ll admit I like my bourbon neat and my beer heavy; I prefer my trusty boots to some wimpy tennis shoes; I love the feeling of stinging aftershave to pansy-assed face creams; and I think old-fashioned dirt, sweat, and pig’s fat are better for my beard than oil. OK, so maybe I don’t have Netflix and, maybe, I thought Twitter was a porn site. And, maybe, I haven’t owned or played a video game in two decades or watched my beloved Yankees whip the Red Sox in over five years. And, maybe, the reason is that I don’t watch TV (or have one). So what if I like to sit around with my old man and talk about the Battle of Franklin? What if I like to have my breakfast at 4:30 every morning? And, so what if it’s currently 4 am right now? Maybe I have gray in my beard. Maybe I have gray in my pubes. That doesn’t make me fucking old. It’s not my fault I’m way more mature and far busier than the rest of you. You want old? Go find Huck, Steel, and Rage1.

That’s right. I said it. Rage (and Steel) are old. Yet, neither show any sign of slowing down. One keeps AMG Industries the respected cesspool that it is and the other is back with new record. By my count: their seventy-eighth, in as many years. Like most fans, I prefer records like Perfect Man, Lingua Mortis, and Soundchaser to Speak of the Dead, Strings to a Web, and 21. But I can get behind most everything the band has done. Since parting ways with Victor Smolski, Peavy and the gang have sworn an allegiance to old. Twenty-sixteen’s The Devil Strikes Again was not only stripped of Smolski but also of his neoclassical guitar theatrics and the atmospheric and orchestral touches the band has been using for over a decade. The reception was mixed, but it was good to hear something more concise from the band—even if I only liked half of it.

And just like its predecessor, I like about half of Seasons of the Black. That said, the tracks I do like are great, old-school Ragers. “Time Will Tell” is a rocker with tinges of melody and a multi-layered chorus that’s as catchy as pink eye. “Justify” also uses melodic riffs and atmospheres—along with one hell of a hooking chorus—to cement its place as one of the better songs on the record. It has a growing introduction that quickens into a rocking pace and drives full-on to its bombastic chorus. After diving into a heavy interlude, it concludes with pleasant vocals and a clean lick that sounds like Andy LaRocque on guitar.

But, “All We Know Is Not” is the album’s best. It has the most memorable chorus of the record and is filled to the brim with rocking riffs and emotion-tinged leads. Midway through, it even takes a short detour into Evergrey–ville before climbing back up for the finale. Right behind it would have to be the passionate, ballady closer “Farewell.” A song that sees Peavy dig deep in vocal variety as the band soars over majestic mountain tops and down into dark valleys. It’s maybe not the best track to close out the album, but it’s still good.

In general, most of the other songs are just “catchy.” Both “Blackened Karma” and “Walk Among the Dead” have some decent memorability, but “Season of the Black,” “Serpents in Disguise,” and “Bloodshed in Paradise” are only memorable because their choruses repeat so many times you can’t help but get them stuck in your head. Sadly, “Serpents in Disguise” sticks with me for the wrong reasons. I swear Peavy is saying “serpents in de skies.” Unfortunately, for how much I want to like “Septic Bite,” I can’t. This is due to its stupid T-Rex lyrics and the dinosaur roar at the end. And the one-minute “Gaia” is the most useless thing I’ve heard in some time.

In the end, I suspect I will return to Seasons of the Black more than The Devil Strikes Again, but both are similar in approach and quality. Just the same, this record (like all Rage records) is still fun. It’s not great, it’s not bad. It’s just another solid outing from these ancient purveyors of power and speed.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast 

Show 1 footnote

  1. You must enjoy getting pummeled by your metallic elders ov iron. – Steel
  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    Is that your orthopedic back pillow?

    • Name’s Dalton

      I am not sure how to handle this softer, gentler Brutalist_Receptacle.

  • CarvedInStone

    The reception to “The Devil Strikes Again” wasn’t mixed. It was mostly positive. Especially by fans of the bands 80s and 90s output that turned their back on them once Smolski joined. Your were the among the few websites that gave it a mixed review.

    And as with last year’s review of “The Devil Strikes Again” I have to disagree with it. I think it is a step up from last year’s album (which admittedly took a while to really grow on me) and I can’t wait to hear what Peavy and Manni have in store for us with the Refuge album that they are working on.

  • It sucks getting old, doesn’t it? I, too, am thirty and my wife and kids always tell me I’m “fat” and “old”.

    • And the embedded track is a ton of metallic fun.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Hurtful shit, right?

      • Shut your anti-olde cake hole, Grier!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I’m just mentally old. Not physically.

          • I have a new agey holistic nu-metal diet that will straighten you right out.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Only if it’s Korn. They’re my favorite band ever.

          • Funny you should say that….

      • My daughter once told me my “tummy is like a trampoline”, I only weigh 143 lbs. I don’t want to lose weight!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Damn kids!

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I’ve got 4 of the little bastards…..always with the belly jokes….

          • We should get you a vintage Kodak camera, you can take pictures of them the old fashioned way!

          • CaffeinatedHeadBanger

            I have one you can borrow!

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          my left nut weighs 143 lbs

          • Elephantiasis?

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            need a wheelbarrow for these suckers….

          • Reminds me of Bill Hicks “Arizona Bay”. Check it out if you aren’t familiar.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            the whole album or one track in particular?

          • Well, the whole album is great because of how everything flows (it’s a stand-up album from the early 90’s). “Officer N****r Hater” is the one that deals with big balls.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            My fucking favorite.

        • Mollusc

          Maybe you could use the new Absolva.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Great review.
    As a self admitted “old fart”, I’ve been a fan of Rage since before fire.
    Their later year releases have been plagued by “lackofselfedititis” and this platter is no exception.
    For me the last time they pulled off both quantity and quality was Welcome To The Other Side.
    This will be good for a spin or two and then it’ll sit in iTunes purgatory with the last 5 or so Helloween albums.

    • I was obsessed with their Perfect Man album when it came out in 88 and I’ve had a love and hate relationship with them ever since.

      • abyx34

        I fell in love with them after hearing the End Of All Days album somwhere in 1998… such awesome times!

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Although I just realized I purchased the version with 7 extra tracks, so it may be more concise if I judged just the official 10 track release. ….
      Although I like some of the bonus tracks better…

  • sir_c

    Like the wise Zappa once said: jazz ain’t dead, it just smells funny.
    I guess the same goes here

  • Olding issues: first comes denial, and so on, and so on.

  • Mollusc

    Kids seem to form noisy and obnoxious flocks – the ones at work spend all day messaging each other, hanging out at lunch and going out after work yet seem to have nothing really to say or talk about. Why does FML exist as an abbreviation when I’ve never heard any body say it? Why doesn’t BFF stand for Best F***ing Friend? The above review helps me deal with these issues, as well as being a great piece of writing, thanks.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Glad I could help.

    • Nukenado

      Wait, what’s FML?

      • Foster’s Malt Lager.

        • Nukenado

          That makes way more sense now. I was thinking that it was Full Metal Libido or something.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Reading that made my stomach turn

      • Mollusc

        It’s not Feel My Lips or Fleshy Modern Limpet. Nor is it Floppy Man Lard as you might expect.

        • Nukenado

          Shit, aren’t the cool kids all about SEEEEEEEX? I was sure it had something to do with that…

          • Mollusc

            It’s F*** My Life, for when something terrible happens. Except it’s not usually something terrible haha

          • Nukenado

            Yeah, searched it after SD replied since I wasn’t sure if it was real or not (I have no idea how the cool kids talk.) I just kept going anyways.

          • Name’s Dalton


        • Weirwolfe

          Fix my laundry. I’m 56.

          • Mollusc

            Is that your ticket number?! I’m 35. I think anything above 30 and it’s all arithmetic.

  • Grimstrider

    …thirty-something? Hell, yer an infant.

  • Phantom667

    Is anyone reviewing the new Paradise Lost album? Its good, like the last one! (and I am more surprised by that than anyone)

    • Wilhelm

      I’m about 100% sure this will be reviewed on this site. They were spot on with the last one being not very good.

      • Phantom667

        Found it, yeah it was a 2/5. Well, I dont have to agree with everything on here. Its the only PL album that rotated month later still once in a while in my player since …I dont know One Second?
        Dr. Fisting wrote: “Elsewhere, shit just gets weird.” Oh, yes it will be again. ;)

        • Nukenado

          Really don’t care for The Plague Within. I usually spin Tragic Idol and Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us.

          DiM likes TPW though, so you’re not alone.

          • Phantom667

            Can you remind me again who DiM was? ;)

          • Nukenado

            Diabolus_in_Muzaka, another AMG reviewer.

      • Here’s Johnny

        No, they weren’t.

  • Nukenado

    Someone in Grymm’s editorial about being olde pointed out that not a lot of young people actually listen to metal anymore. It’s funny how most comments here are about being old.

    As a high school student and millenial, Rage is just fun since I can get out all my excess energy wasted on being a goddamn nerd. Neither olde nor trve…

    • RuySan

      Yes, you’re right that metal isn’t really popular among younger generations. Most concerts I go the audience is mostly about 30 and 40 somethings with the odd twenty something in there.

      Someday Emperor will be known as dad rock

  • Thatguy

    I’m old. But I don’t like this.

    • Erick Ribeiro

      I’m not old, but I like this.

  • a glass o’ milk

    Well at least “Septic Bite” is good for a laugh. Not in a good way though…

  • madhare

    This is one of those bands that apparently has been around forever and made tons of albums. And yet I have no memory of ever hearing about them before this.

    I must have at some point considering how I’ve been a big fan of their contemporaries since the late 1980s. But I guess they didn’t stick. I guess too they’ve been too average for me or something.

    I suppose it’s part of not being that much of a music geek. If the band isn’t stellar it’s not worth spending time and attention on.

    And probably also because back then the channels through which one could find bands were much more limited. Basically your friends, the local music shop and, if you had the money, the occasional copy of Metal Hammer or something.

    So basically I’m just saying that this is one of the reasons why following AMG is fun. I’m discovering unknown things about my (lost) youth! :D

    • bwat47

      some of their output is on the average side, but they also have some really great stuff.

      I’d recommend at the very least checking out Trapped!, The Missing Link, and Soundchaser.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Gotta agree with this score…some good songs, some meh songs and some terrible ones.

    I’ve always liked Rage a lot but i thought Smolski elevated them to a different level(Mike Terrana in tow too). The playing on last couple albums is pretty average compared to that.

    solid outing but will be forgotten quickly.

  • Innit Bartender

    I’m with you Doc. As a matter of fact, I’m way ahead of you at 47. I was there when Wasted Years first came through the airwaves. Heck, I was there when a buddy brought the vinyl of Piece of Mind to (Italy’s equivalent of) Sunday School. And the Priest, trying to be progressive, asked him: “What do you like about them?”.
    Great review by the way. I think you have some Carver-like short tales in you. I really do. If you ever write something let me know.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    You woke me up from my nap for this?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra
    • Tofu muncher

      Old and delinquent

    • [not a Dr]

      So… that’s a happy bearded viking’s skull?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Can’t tell for sure. I’m no skullogist.

  • Tofu muncher

    The album’s got some pretty catchy songs. So it’s good. I’m 43 btw.

  • Jake Becker

    eh, so long as their by-the-numbers new records don’t put off other young’ns from absorbing the Noise and G.U.N. classics, it’s whatever.