1989 was my first brush with this trio of German metallers. Their album 'Secrets In A Weird World,' at the time stunned myself and my peers with its powerful music and hugely melodic overtones, or sing-a-long-a-thrash as we liked to call it. I haven't been keeping tabs on Rage's music over the years, but I was quite looking forward to eventually seeing the three-piece. It was a chance to witness another band of whom I thought I'd never get to see.
With twenty years experience and twenty-eight releases under their belt I was quite surprised to see Rage appearing second on the bill. With their vast discography I was expecting them to be a little higher, but I don't think bassist, vocalist and Rage stalwart Pete 'Peavy' Wagner actually cared. They just looked happy to be in England, on a large stage and in front of a couple of thousand heavy rockers.
Although I knew there was little chance of the brilliant 'Time Waits For No-one', what we did get was an entertaining slab of solid metal. 'No Fear,' and 'Soul Survivor' from the new release 'Speak of the Dead,' sounded excellent, as did the catchy 'Don't Fear The Winter' from 'Perfect Man.' The crowd were responding well however the reaction cooled somewhat during 'War of Worlds,' and 'Human Metal.' It's difficult to pin a reason as to why this happened, but the band soon turned the situation around with the excellent 'Higher Than The sky.'
Pete 'Peavy' Wagner looked as if he was enjoying every minute of his Bloodstock experience. Russian guitarist Victor Smolski demonstrated his guitar prowess well, but I think he could have done more to entice the crowd. The times he prowled the front of the stage received a greater response than time he spent chocking out the licks in his own little spot. It must be difficult for a trio to fill a festival stage, but I think Victor could've done a little more to help try and help his fellow bass player.
Even with some drum technical difficulties, (it happens to the best of them) Rage played a solid and enjoyable set, and if they had some merchandise for sale at the merchandise stall then perhaps they would've shifted a few units.