Album Reviews

Refuge – Solitary Man Review

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: June 8th, 2018

Genre:  Metal

Links: http://www.refuge-band.de/

 

Line Up:

Peavy Wagner –bass & vocals
Manni Schmidt – guitars
Christos Efthimiadis – drums

 

Tracklist:

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
Waterfalls
Another Kind Of Madness (Bonus Track)

 

There are so many bands with a rich history and multiple line-up changes, but has there been any band that had a period during their existence that seemed the strongest that later went on to form a new band to continue making music in the same vein as that lineup? I’m going to guess the answer would be no, at least until Refuge came into existence (and please, if you know of other bands that have done this hit me up about them!) A couple years ago I got to attend my first ProgPower Festival. I had such a blast that I’m geared up for #3 in a row later this year. In my research to learn about some of the bands, I was less familiar with I was having a helluva time finding info about the band Refuge. When I looked into them on the ProgPower page I learned it was actually the band Rage, the members from the period of 1988-1993. This was a huge score for me as this is my favorite period of Rage, so getting to see them live was a dream come true. Started as kind of a side thing for the trio to do for fun, during the ProgPower set Peavy Wagner said that there would be new music from this band (including guitarist Manni Schmidt and drummer Chris Efthimiadis.) I’m pretty sure everyone that was basking in the glory of Refuge was as excited of this news as I was. Don’t get me wrong, I still very much love Rage, but again this era was crucial for me. Kind of like if Lemmy, Fast Eddie, and Phil would’ve gotten back together and called themselves Bomber or some shit, that would’ve been fucking sweet.

As for the debut album of Refuge, entitled Solitary Man, it is pretty much what one would expect from these guys. It’s fast-paced, hard rocking, and as purely fun-loving as the guys performing on it. I guess there was a chance that, for some unknown reason, getting these three back into a studio could’ve turned into a great big failure, but seeing how much they were loving being back together on stage and seeming to have not lost a beat, how could it not come out sounding fantastic? If you’re looking for Wagner and the boys to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, don’t. I feel like tracks like “Living On the Edge,” “Bleeding From the Inside,” and “Hell Freeze Over” would fit seamlessly into the Rage catalog when they were still under that moniker.

Rage has always been and will always be one of those bands that will instantly bring a smile to my face when their music starts. Refuge shall continue that honor. When you have such a clear passion for the music you’re making and still at the level of skill as you were in your youth, why not get together with old friends and create more music in that style? I think more bands should possibly consider this when you have major line-up shifts instead of keeping the name and confusing and muddying up a legacy. Of course, I guess it couldn’t work for all bands as well as it looks like it will for Refuge. Solitary Man is a great album that would not only stand up to this line-up’s classic work as Rage but kicks it up a notch even.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10

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