Sunday, February 28, 2021

Rage - Invisible Horizons EP (1989)

"Invisible Horizons" is hands down one of my favorite Rage tunes ever, and in a just world it would have been one of the hugest metal hits of 1989, so it makes a lot of sense to me that it would see some sort of single release. I found the side-angled, solar sailing version of the Soundchaser here on the cover to be a curious choice, but I was in love with this mascot since Perfect Man before it, and again that steampunk/sci-fi aesthetic really jogged my teenage imagination, although it probably didn't have to do with a lot of their music (a couple lyrics, sure). Now this is another of those limited, short releases which history has now rendered entirely redundant; you can get the two tracks that weren't on the original Secrets in a Weird World on later versions of that album, but I'm kind of/sort of going through these Rage releases in the formats I originally encountered them so I get a little extra space here to speak of those B-sides.

I could go more into the title track when I cover its full-length album, but this is just a glorious cut with some low-down, mean and intense riffs that escalate into Peavy's climactic, anthem-like chorus lines. He was in full form back then and could hit every note necessary, and by the time this dropped he had even managed to shape his pitch to something a little less uncouth and shrieky (although I was a fan of that too). I remember first hearing this track on the local University radio show in advance of getting my own cassette copy of Secrets and I was utterly fucking blown away, and the song still rules today. This lived up to all the mastery they displayed on Perfect Man, but in a way that I found would be even more accessible to those who thought that album was over the top. And not to mention that breakdown groove at around 2:20 which sets up the killer lead. Again, as I'm visiting this I just can't believe that music like this didn't catapult Rage into the top echelons of heavy/power metal fame at the close of the 80s. The band was every bit as infectious as Iron Maiden, Helloween, and Judas Priest of the time, and in terms of the musicianship you could argue they had even more finesse.

The other tunes have no chance to live up to that, but they're still quite decent, "Lost Side of the World" being the one that I believe was tacked onto the original CD release as a bonus track. It's a moody, sweeping piece with some nice leads, maybe too many leads, but I feel like some of the progressions in the tune had sort of been done better on other Rage tracks and you can see why the band and/or producer found it to be filler. "Law and Order" is the more fun of the B-sides, definitely giving off more of an Execution Guaranteed or Perfect Man vibe with the frilly shrieking vocals and gang shouts, especially when he breaks deeper into that wild chorus. Still not a top flight track in their discography, but I'll crave listening to it once in awhile, lots of fast bass lines in there and some nice, slicing riffs and another cool solo from Manni. On the whole, though, despite the amazingness of the title track, this is just another glorified maxi-single without too much to recommend. You just don't need it these days as you can hear the extras on a more substantial product for your dollar. For a year or so it scratched a bit of an itch for more Rage, but today it just seems like another record label attempt to scrap together a couple more bucks for a vinyl and CD.

Verdict: Indifference [5.25/10]

No comments: