(9/10) Refuge is nothing else than the re-vitalization of the Rage line-up from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Manni Schmidt (g), Christos Efthimiadis (d) and singer/bassist Peavy Wagner all together have been Rage between 1987 and 1994, releasing some excellent metal records that still belong to the best the band ever released.
After 1994 the three musicians parted ways with Wagner continuing with Rage while Manni Schmidt joined Grave Digger and Efthimiadis started up Tri State Corner. A sort of turning point was reached in 2014 when the three guys came together for performing a secret show in Herne, their hometown. Although the show was secret, the guys were announced as Tres Hombres and no more marketing was done than pure mouth to mouth propaganda, it has been 1.200 fans that found their way to the venue. This unexpected success was motivation enough to continue with the project and Tres Hombres became Refuge.
The final kick-start for a new album was in 2017 when the band played a number of festivals and the chemistry just felt right. Ideas for new songs were born and last but not least Refuge inked a deal with Frontiers Music. At this point it’s important to mention that Refuge doesn’t impact Rage. Peavy Wagner states on the band’s website, that both bands are two different endeavors.
June 8th will be the moment when the rubber hits the road. It’s release day for Refuge and things can’t be different than becoming a big success. I grew-up with ‘Perfect Man’, ‘Secrets in a Weird World’, ‘Reflection for a Shadow’, ‘Trapped’ and ‘The Missing Link’ and that’s for sure one of the facts why I truely like ‘Solitary Men’ too. Listening to this longplayer feels as if time stood still. The old vibe is there from start to end, spread out over 10 new songs that are all equally good.
As soon as guitars kicks-in with ‘Summer’s Winter’ fascination takes over. Energy, dynamic and vitality is what comes with each of the ten songs. Basically you can randomly chose whatever track you want to listen to; you will not be disappointed. Tracks like ‘From the Ashes’, which is an uptempo axe-attack with some more complex elements, act like the pepperoni on the pizza. Heavy riff, melodic vocal lines a progressive song structure aren’t mutual exclusive counterparts. Refuge shows that these ingredients can go together very well.
‘Solitary Men’ is the work performance record of three very talented and experienced German metal musicians that found back the early day’s spirit and translated this into an album that belongs for sure to the highlights of 2018. This longplayer is at least as good as the latest Rage records, maybe even better.
- Summer’s Winter
- The Man in the Ivory Tower
- Bleeding From Inside
- From The Ashes
- Living On the Edge of Time
- We Owe a Life to Death
- Mind over Matter
- Let Me Go
- Hell Freeze Over
- Another Kind of Madness (Bonus Track)
Label: Frontiers Music
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date EU: June 8th, 2018