German heavy metallers Rage have been around since the mid 80s, and they have continued to produce a steady steam of material that entire time. Their newest album, 21, came out in February.
This album blends together a lot of traditional heavy metal with power metal, and in some tracks, a touch of thrash finds its way into the mix as well. The overwhelming feeling I got from listening to this entire record was that I had heard it all before, but that it was done well and was a lot of fun to listen to. They shift approaches from heavier to lighter enough that they keep the tracks from running together. Keyboards also enter into some songs and not others, adding a little additional diversity. Despite the fact that the songs don't all sound alike, though, none of them sound particularly unique either. Instead, they just sounded like they knocked off basic riffs and sounds from a scattering of loosely related bands.
This was still okay to listen to, since the band executed their material with plenty of skill and at least decent energy. What I think I found sad, though, was that they would hit on something that sounded good, then move on in the next song to something else entirely that often would not work as well. It basically felt to me like a compilation album, with all the issues that entails. It wasn't really a bad album, because several of the songs on it were enjoyable and the band obviously know what they're doing with their instruments by now. As an album, though, it managed somehow to be all over the place and still not be particularly creative.
Several individual songs were pretty good, if not terribly original. Unfortunately, they didn't fit together well as part of a unified whole. Not a bad listen overall, but nothing to go nuts for either.