Reviews Archive:

RAGE - Ghosts
RAVEN - Rock Until You Drop (re-release)
RAVEN - Wiped Out (re-release)
RAVEN - All For One (re-release)
RAVEN - Live At The Inferno (re-release)
RAWHEAD REXX - Rawhead Rexx
RELENTLESS - Wait For The Lightning
RELLIK - Killer
RIOT - Sons Of Society
RIVER OF CHANGE - Where Reality Cannot Enter
ROB ROCK - Rage Of Creation
ROUGH SILK - Wheels Of Time (2CD)
RUNNING WILD - Pile Of Skulls (re-release)
RUNNING WILD - Death Or Glory (re-release)
RUNNING WILD - Blazon Stone (re-release)
RUNNING WILD - Black Hand Inn (re-release)
RUNNING WILD - Masquerade (re-release)

(Gun Records)

Peavey Wagner is RAGE, all know that, maybe not the other band members who all left him or got fired after recording "Ghosts"- each side has its own version, choose yourself. Besides this annoying band problems, the new album sounds exactly like the predecessor "XIII". The new members, Mike Terrana on drums and guitarist Victor Smolski, didn't contribute in the songwriting and the recordings, besides some guitar solos. A rather strange way to release an album. The Lingua Mortis Orchestra remained an important part of the music as well as the METALLICA influenced parts and Peavey has become a good vocalist through the last years. RAGE fans who miss the power of their older albums will again not be satisfied with the new output, the other ones will easily get into the eleven new catchy sounding tracks. For me the commercial approach is too evident(the sweet "Wash My Sins Away" for instance), three or four pounding Metal tracks would have been the right decision to jump on the Metal train again they left four ye ars before. There are still some good tracks ("Back In Time" or "Love After Death"), but all previous RAGE supporters should be aware - this is not the METAL band RAGE anymore, no "Black In Mind", no "Perfect Man", no Heavy Metal. If you don't have any problems with that, "Ghosts" is to recommend, if yes, keep the hands off it.
Heinz Konzett

All For One (re-release)
Wiped Out (re-release)
Rock Until You Drop (re-release)
(Neat Metal)

These are really essential re-issues - not only that all three albums are really hard to find on CD nowadays, they are also still the best RAVEN records ever made! Back in the early 80's these guys came up with a highly fresh and not less chaotic sounding mixture of NWOBHM and early Speed Metal and definitely set new standards in the genre. Unfortunately John Gallagher's extreme and often highpitched voice turned a few people off of these guys as he's really screaming his lungs out like crazy (especially on the "Wiped Out" album, which to me always was the less exciting of these three)!! The production was still pretty basic, but nevertheless totally fitting on the debut, while "Wiped Out" already marked a little progression towards a more professional studio sound. Their alltime classic "All For One" is still their absolute masterpiece - produced by no one else than Michael Wagener this record comes up with a fat crushing guitar- and drum sound and also the songwriting is unbelievable strong here. Very effec tive, catchy and yet totally devastating! All three albums feature nicely designed booklets with all the lyrics and also several bonus tracks, which have been taken from their old single- and EP releases. In particular there are the B-sides of the "Don't Need Your Money" and "Hard Ride" 7"es, the unreleased material off the "Crash Bang Wallop" EP and the session they did with ACCEPT's Udo Dirkschneider for the "Break The Chains" 12". All of the original releases are rare collectors items by now. This means after purchasing these classic albums, you will not only own the best RAVEN stuff, but their entire vintage material! Go for 'em!
Frank Stöver

Live At The Inferno

Crash, Bang, Wallop... I don't know what actually went wrong with RAVEN after their incredibly strong "All For One" album, cause I never ever got the same feelings for them again as I have for their early material. If you never understood all the RAVEN worshipping you probably have never experienced these crazy lunatics in a live situation, cause that's what they do best! And "Live At The Inferno" is not only RAVEN live, it also features material from their first three albums exclusively, so to me this will always remain an all time classic and the Megaforce re-issue is 100% justified! One of the most unique survivors of the NWOBHM that always stayed true to their roots (well, except for their kinda wimpy Atlantic period maybe...). So, if you still do not own anything by this chaotic Metal three-piece in your collection, this is a perfect album to start with!
Frank Stöver

Rawhead Rexx
(AFM Records)

Remembering the German QUEENSRYCHE clones GLENMORE? The ex-vocalist Jürgen Volk of that deceased band founded a new traditional Metal band from Germany and they release their debut album after playing the Heavy Oder Was festival last year and doing a good demo-cd. So their name is already well-known in the underground, quite a rarity in these days and reminding of the good old days where tape-trading could make a band popular BEFORE an official release. What should you expect? A bloody painting with skulls and a kind of punk monster holding his own heart in his hands... a disgusting cover, like OMEN's "Battle Cry" one. And like the OMEN classic "Rawhead Rexx" is also a killer! METAL CHURCH-ish riffing, a clean, powerful voice and some more classic US Metal arrangements, like old VICOUS RUMOUS used on their first four albums, make RAWHEAD REXX an un-typical German band that stands out of the masses. The opener "Town Of Skulls" - a Speed Metal tune (Hell yeah, Speed Metal is not dead after hearing this tune), old ANNIHILATOR riffing in "The Wolf" or real power in "Holy War" - music for the real Metal maniac - a true Heavy Metal album.
Heinz Konzett

Wait For The Lightning
(Metal Attack)

For the youth in America to rally under the banner of traditional metal astounds me- so when this band from Maryland put out 4 songs that have visions of early Metal Blade acts, MOTORHEAD and ANVIL I take notice. Especially when the ages involved in the band members are 17-22. Most of these songs were recorded as first takes- so expect lots of energy and little in the way of studio enhancements/ Lead guitarist Rick Buentello handles the vocals- and he quickly delivers all the lyrics but doesn't really distinguish one song from the next. The lyrics to "Dressed To Possess" made me laugh- an ode to luscious ladies and very obnoxious in terms of delivery (sample line: 'I'm gonna grab her ass and make her mine') but the ending harmony guitar makes this song at least a winner musically. I prefer the opener "Storm The Gates" and the NWOBHM sounding "Wait For The Lightning" that could have easily appeared on 1 of the first RAVEN albums most. A good beginning but the band should really work their craft for a more solid release next time. You may hear about RELENTLESS in a couple of years. Contact: Metal Attack Records, c/o John Flaherty, PO Box 2851, Kensington,MD , 20891-2851 Email: Web:
Matt Coe

(Doomed Planet)

Here comes a reissue of a somewhat obscure EP originally released in '86 as a self financed effort. Thanks go to Rob Preston who gives a new chance to that release to be discovered on a somewhat bigger basis. So what do we have here? More VIOLENCE/ EXODUS type of Metal or something in the shape of TESTAMENT/ VICIOUS RUMORS? Well this band doesn't really fit one of those categories, I'd say RELLIK lies somewhere between AMULANCE, KRAKEN (Canada) and RUTHLESS. If you can imagine a mix of those bands, then you got RELLIK. Still I wouldn't really label them as a Power Metal act, but more like a powerful Heavy Metal one. Of course you get the somewhat faster stuff of "Street Sinner", "Defend Or Attack" but the majority of the material is still mid paced most of the time. Out of the six tracks that appeared on the original record, only "Feed The Hunger" and "Beg, Borrow Or Steal" sound somewhat like filler- despite the great vocal delivery; courtesy of Mike Moore being very reminiscent of early Dan Beehler and Jeff Hatrix. The four bonus tracks included on this vinyl show a somewhat heavier edge. "Prisoner Of Reality" reminds me of "Princess Of The Dawn" for the verses and general tempo, very good stuff. "Defend..." sounds a lot like "Street Sinner", not only tempowise but the general structure and tones are very similar. "Why We Are" starts almost like a ballad before becoming another mid tempo affair featuring a very enjoyable chorus but as a whole, this song is a filler. "Skulls" ends this record and it's undoubtly one of the finest songs here starting as a great heavy inspired instrumental featuring excellent demolishing riffing all the way. Definitely a good reissue from another Bay Area band who deserved a better fate. Check out mail orders like O.P.M., Steel Fortress etc.. and you should be able to find a copy as only 500 copies were pressed.
Laurent Ramadier

Sons Of Society
(Metal Blade)

I confess - I love this band. "Fire Down Under" and "Thundersteel" are among my personal top twenty all-time charts and the third RIOT era that have begun with the "Night Breaker" album can be compared to a Metal version of RAINBOW. "Sons Of Society" offers again this kind of high quality music and stands in the line of the predecessor "Inishmore" in 1998. Starting with the classy opener "Snake Charmer" to the groovy title track or the balladesque "Cover Me", Mike Reale and his bandmates are again capable to come up with a very good melodic Metal album. Maybe the second half of the album is a little bit lacking in inspiration and some refrains could be more effective ("Promises", "Bad Machine"), but that's the only point to criticize. Consistency is a trademark of RIOT and with the great emotional vocals of Mike Dimeo, the THIN LIZZY type of riffing and double leads of Mark Reale and Mike Flyntz, the fills of drum god Bobby Jarzombek and the groove of bass monster Pete Perez, RIOT are in the same class like S AXON, a band that consists of strong songwriters and fantastic musicians and when you only hear ten seconds of their music you recognise - this is RIOT.
Heinz Konzett

Where Reality Cannot Enter

Album number 100 (...) in the last year that's coming out of the land of pizzas, mafia and soccer. And the sound is not much different from average neighbours like HEIMDALL, HIGHLORD or HYPERION, meaning melodic Metal with keyboards and strong progressive elements. RIVER OF CHANGE vary between traditional Metal (the good opener "Omen Of Knell"), more progressive arrangements ("Gleams In The Dark") and Hard Rock stuff ("Memories"). In particular the singer Claudio Conti has a pleasant high pitched voice, though sometimes sings in lower fields. The keyboards are, unfortunately, far too dominant and not well integrated in the band's sound. That has to be improved the next time if they want to become a serious act in the Italian Metal armada. With this eleven track debut they are not yet in the position to compete with DOMINE, LABYRINTH or SHADOWS OF STEEL. Maybe next time, nuff' said.
Heinz Konzett

Rage Of Creation
(Massacre Records)

Shock came to my face when hearing that IMPELLITERRI let go vocalist Rob Rock because he wanted to record a solo record and tour more worldwide. Isn't that what Metal musicians long for- the mutual exchange of live gigs and crowd energy? I digress- "Rage Of Creation" sees the reunion of Roy Z as producer with Rob Rock- plus a welcome return from guitarist Jake E. Lee. All ten songs (plus the national anthem-like intro "In The Beginning") prove that Rob has a wonderfully versatile melodic Metal voice- equally adept on the speedburners like "The Sun Will Rise Again" or "Streets Of Madness" or a moodier piece like the epic "Judgement Day". Some of the lead guitar work from Jake E. Lee can put IMPELLITERRI to shame- the pacing from slow note bending to the Oriental scale shredfest within 16 measures of "One Way Out" will make everyone a believer again in his guitar prowess. "Rage Of Creation" has a modern production like Roy Z's efforts in the latest HALFORD or Bruce Dickinson solo albums, yet the songwriting and performances recall the best montage of 70's and 80's Hard Rock/ Metal acts. The first tempo change in "Judgement Day" has a vocal melody akin to the refrain in "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"- while other songs have pieces of DIO, JUDAS PRIEST and ACCEPT. Everyone who loves Snakepit should get this album- an early favorite for album of 2001.
Matt Coe

Wheels Of Time (2CD)
(Massacre Records)

26 songs - four new ones, one previously unreleased, three new recorded and two remixed, that's not an ordinary "10 years anniversary - best-of" release, no, ROUGH SILK intended to give their fans something special when releasing a double cd compilation of their first five albums. I have liked their first three melodic Metal albums (the okay "Roots Of Hate", the better "Walls Of Never" and the excellent QUEENesque "Circle Of Pain"), because of the opposites in their sound - traditional Metal against/with sweet piano and vocal melodies, on the other hand, the non-inspired and partly too modern sounding "Mephisto" and the heavier yet mediocre "Beyond The Sundown" records weren't a step forward. But the advantage of such compilations lies in the fact that the band/label are able to choose the best tunes of each album. So did these Germans (the exception is the bad title track of the "Mephisto" album). And some of the new tracks, in particular the fine "Wisdom Of Steel", sound again more sophisticated in their ow n style and the singer Ludolphy, who couldn't compete with the old one, Jan Barnett, on his first performance on "Beyond The Sundown", is now obviously more integrated in the band's sound and sings much stronger (besides on the plain cover of Billy Joel's English waltz "Piano Man"). All in all, nearly 140 minutes of rough and silk music.
Heinz Konzett


After firing the vocalist DC Cooper and the weak Andersen solo disc, I was very sceptical if the Danish Hard Rockers could come up with another bombastic piece of marvellous music. With "Fear", they succeeded and there are two reasons: firstly, the great performance of the new vocalist John West (ex-ARTENSION, LYNCH MOB, solo career) who strongly reminds of Glen Hughes in his heydays, singing powerful and clear, what a helluva singer! Secondly, the music that goes back to their best work "Moving Target" in 1996, means the seven songs, all with more than 6 minutes playing time, offer opulent melodies with dominating classical, warm sounding keyboards (Andersen is the only keyboarder along with Jon Lord that I am fond of listening to...) and really good guitar leads. Few bands were/are capable to integrate progressive Metal, Hard Rock and AOR parts in their music without losing the thread. ROYAL HUNT are one of these, tremendous tunes as "Cold City Lights", "Lies" or "Voices" deliver the peak of perfection in Hard Rock music. Well-done.
Heinz Konzett

Pile Of Skulls (re-release)
Death Or Glory (re-release)
Blazon Stone (re-release)
Black Hand Inn (re-release)
Masquerade (re-release)
(Noise Records)

For all of you who already own the complete RUNNING WILD back catalogue this re-issue series is probably a big pain in the ass, but everyone else will surely freak out on it as five classic RUNNING WILD discs are now available with several bonus tracks (some of them not even appeared on the Japanese editions!). Musically RUNNING WILD should be known to all SNAKEPIT readers, so I will just give you a little rundown on the bonus material. "Pile Of Skulls" comes up with the "Lead Or Gold" EP from 1992 ("Hanged Drawn And Quartered" and "Win Or Be Drowned") as well as the previously unreleased "Beggars' Night" and a '92 version of "Uaschitschun". "Death Or Glory" has the entire "Wild Animal" EP from 1990 ("Wild Animal", "Tear Down The Walls", "Störtebeker" and a new version of "Chains And Leather"). "Blazon Stone" features the "Little Big Horn" EP from 1991 ("Billy The Kid" and the THIN LIZZY cover "Genocide"). "Black Hand Inn" gives you 1994's "The Privateer" EP ("Poisoned Blood" and "Dancing On A Minefield") and "Masquerade" f.i.n.a.l.l.y. has the CD premiere for the two legendary "Death Metal" compilation tracks "Bones To Ashes" and "Iron Heads". So, the only material which is still waiting for a CD appearance now is RUNNING WILD's two songs from the "Rock From Hell" compilation. All in all this is really great stuff, but it certainly would've been more fan-friendly if those tracks would've appeared on the original albums already or if Noise Records just would have combined them all onto one single CD.
Frank Stöver

(Gun Records)

Hindsight being 20/20- I'm willing to admit that "The Rivalry" received maximum airplay beyond my initial impressions that saw print in Snakepit 3. So the follow up "Victory" was eagerly awaited to see if they could maintain a high level of traditional metal without succumbing to the speedier/ symphonic laden orchestral trend. Well, they've brought "Victory" to the metal community and it's a winner. RUNNING WILD surprise me as their 11th studio album contains a couple of newer elements in terms of varied drumming ( as not all of new studio drummer Angelo Sasso's parts deliver double bass or one dimensional snare action) and Ralf's stretching his vocal melodies with echo edges and even more of an Irish/ cultural slant- noticeable on favorites "When Time Runs Out" and "The Hussar". You'll still get the faster material too on "Timeriders" and epic material like "Tsar" that features cool Russian folk elements in the riffing. Lyrically Ralf even tries new territory with "Silent Killer"- a sci-fi tale that's part " X-Files" and part "The Time Machine" about people who disappear without a trace. The production remains solid- the songs are more compact but the energy and passion still bleed metal through and through. Some veteran bands age better in their elder years- including RUNNING WILD as they prove their place in Germany's metal guard with "Victory".
Matt Coe