Refuge – Solitary Men – Album Review
For fans of Rage (obviously), Accept, Judas Priest, Metal Church, Iced Earth, Jag Panzer, Saxon....
Peavy Wagner, Manni Schmidt & Christos Efthimiadis released five critically acclaimed albums as one of the most successful line-ups of German metal legends Rage and have now reunited under the name REFUGE to carry on the sonic assault they started back in ’87!
So, it’s old-school power/thrash/speed you’re expecting, craving and demanding, right?
And, that’s exactly what you get!
Highly melodic and huge in stature, Solitary Men is simply the sound of classic German heavy metal played by veterans of the scene. Strong on quality – perhaps not on originality – but very much equal to the sum of its parts.
The opening double-header of “Summer’s Winter” and “The Man In The Ivory Tower” are solid enough but Solitary Men comes alive with the metalized hard-rock boogie of “Bleeding From Inside” and the stomping “From The Ashes”. Both are nigh on impossible to resist, chugging their way through devastating power and Peavy’s instantly recognisable holler.
“Living On The Edge” (not an Aerosmith cover!) then turns suitably moody, with a darkness descending over what had been, up to this point, a relatively upbeat affair. Suitably epic and hard-hitting, Refuge hit their stride with “Living On The Edge” and only the subtlety of semi-ballad “Waterfalls” comes close to matching it in terms of high drama.
Comparisons with the early work of Rage are not really necessary as Refuge are their own animal, awakened from slumber and ravenous. Besides, Prayers Of Steel (released under their original moniker of Avenger) and Rage’s Perfect Man (1988, and one of the finest moments in Rage’s formidable back catalogue), Secrets In A Weird World (1989), Reflection Of A Shadow (1990), Trapped! (1992), and The Missing Link (1993, also indispensable) were a long time ago and while Refuge are clearly feeling nostalgic, more importantly they’re looking to the future; their resurrection now fully complete.
The band sound completely at ease with one another, relaxed and fully immersed in delivering a time honoured sound that has matured while gaining new focus. Clearly a labour of love, the first album of original material from this classic Rage line-up in 25 years does not disappoint. Refuge are coming for you, emerging from the annals of time to reclaim their metallic crown! 7/10
Peavy Wagner – bass & vocals
Manni Schmidt – guitars
Christos Efthimiadis – drums
RELEASE DATE: June 8, 2018
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