Execution Guaranteed

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Teutonic terrors Rage decided to take a few chances on their second album (third if you count their lone outing as Avenger) and proceeded to fall flat on their collective faces. A few exceptions notwithstanding (see frenetic bookends "Down by Law" and "When You're Dead"), 1987's Execution Guaranteed saw the quartet generally stepping off the speed metal gas pedal in order to focus on more traditional heavy metal songwriting, with less than stellar results it must be said. Simply put, they should have stuck to thrash because once they were stripped of their manic intensity and vital raw energy, excessively long and overwrought offerings like the title track and "Mental Decay" only conspired to reveal the band's rather glaring creative shortcomings. Main man Peter "Peavey" Wagner's vocal deficiencies are particularly easy to single out, but so is the band's mostly unnecessary deployment of synthesizers to embellish plodding exercises like "Streetwolf" with wholly unconvincing dark atmospherics, or worse, insert pointless bleeps and squawks into the otherwise promising "Deadly Error." Top it all off with a second half's worth of complete filler and it's no wonder Rage broke up only a short time after releasing this letdown of an album. [Noise/Sanctuary remastered, repackaged, and reissued Execution Guaranteed in 2002, adding five live and unreleased bonus cuts to boot.]

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