Rage – Afterlifelines (english version)

2024 SPV GmbH / Steamhammer Records

Last September, during his visit to Madrid, Lucky (Vassilios Maniatopoulos), the current drummer and manager of the band, mentioned to me in a small group that for 2024 Peavy and company planned to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary by releasing a double album (the first in their career), with a first half predominantly metal and a second half with the characteristic orchestral touch that the band enjoyed using in the past. Despite the exciting news, the fact that it was a «double album» raised some concerns
as such proposals often result in lengthy or tedious works, simply filled with filler tracks to meet the requirement.

Time passed, the mentioned album was announced, and this past March 29th, the album, which is the 24th in Rage’s career (the 25th if we include Avenger’s, which by the way marks the band’s birthdate), titled AFTERLIFELINES, finally saw the light of day.


Considering that I’ve been a follower of the band for at least 31 of the mentioned 40 years, and that my opinion might not be the most objective for reviewing it, I’m going to take the plunge without safety measures because I believe the occasion deserves it. From my humblest opinion, we are facing the best work Rage has produced in the last 20 years.

I don’t make the above statement lightly. I have thoroughly immersed myself since its release and up to the moment of writing this, I have listened to this masterpiece at least 20 times, not out of obligation or to be able to write this (those who know me know that I’ve been out of the reviewing game for over half a decade), but because I have been completely captivated by the new work Peavy and company have produced. Claims like those made by our colleague Oswaldo Martín that Mr. Wagner wakes up and has composed half an album for breakfast seem to fall short, despite knowing about the compositional capacity of Rage’s driving force.

First things first: The album feels short. There are 21 tracks, an hour and a half of music, comprising this new album, of which 19 are songs, excluding the intro and an orchestral interlude (a small gift for longtime fans, featuring a medley of several popular band songs, as they did in the past with Lingua Mortis Orchestra, including «Higher than the Sky» or «End of all Days»).

The first part, called AFTERLIFE, consists of the aforementioned purely metal songs, and LIFELINES, the second part, consists of those with an orchestral base. However, you’ll find it difficult to separate one from the other due to how well the orchestra is employed this time around.

The album feels alive, with vigor, pulse, and energy. Jean Bormann’s work on the guitar throughout is commendable for the variety of techniques he had to employ.

I don’t want to highlight specific tracks because they all shine at a high level (right now, I wouldn’t mind a whole concert composed only with this Afterlifelines), reviving old emotions from the band’s golden era. However, part of the charm of this album is that it seems to have a bit of all their previous albums, taking
a musical journey through their entire history, and therein lies the magic of this work: sounding familiar without repeating itself at any moment.

When facing the second part, the big surprise is that contrary to expectations, the songs don’t slow down in pace. Rage has learned its lesson, and now both orchestra and band are on the same page, ready to push the accelerator when needed. I would even say that this second half is even better than the first. The album keeps growing, and there’s no noticeable distinction between its parts, as they blend together into a wonderful whole. It’s true that there’s a moment to lower the intensity with tracks of great craftsmanship such as «Dying To Live,» the extensive «Lifelines» (over 9 minutes long), or the closing track «In The End,» where we find a heartfelt Peavy who throughout the album shows himself to be particularly inspired, adding color with his voice.

Conclusion: in case it wasn’t clear, this Afterlifelines is a superb piece of work from a veteran band that had nothing to prove at this point. Certainly, Peavy and Rage didn’t need to delve into the tricky territory of releasing a double album, but Peavy has succeeded, and he can be proud. Proud of their 40 years of history, of always pulling the weight, of the immense amount of great songs he has composed, of the fans who have always been there, of the joy they have brought us with their music, and of the gift they have given us to celebrate 40 years of a band that has had better times and unfairly isn’t where it should be, but has always delivered the quality expected of them.

If this is what Peavy can offer us after 40 years at the forefront, then 40 is the new 20, and we wish him and the band at least another 20 years of musical fertility.

Hats off to you, Mr. Wagner.

PS: I never give a 10, and I won’t do it this time, but I wouldn’t sleep soundly without considering it a worthy 9.

Photographs courtesy of Rage official website