The Missing Link

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The metal world may have stopped turning with the advent of grunge in the early '90s, but Germany's Rage just kept plugging away, as oblivious as they'd ever been to the commercial music world's ruling fashions and trends. Not only that, come 1993 the group was coming off their strongest album in ages, having surprised old fans and gained some new ones with the previous year's very impressive Trapped!. With that album, Rage had effectively disposed of the inherent bumbling characteristic of their early releases and redefined their sound in order to launch a new phase in their unstoppable run. Unfortunately, their subsequent effort, The Missing Link, wasn't nearly as inspired, compositionally speaking. In fact, like almost every other Rage album before it, The Missing Link was fraught with exceedingly mediocre tracks ("The Pit and the Pendulum" and "Lost in the Ice," for example), as well as the odd clunker (the quite lame "Wake Me When I'm Dead"). But a few standout cuts, such as "Nevermore" and "Refuge," make their presence known and retained the clinically precise execution and bone-crushing power riffing heard on the preceding album. All in all, Rage were clearly not about to threaten the likes of Helloween or Kreator for their Teutonic metal crowns, but within their own idiosyncratic canon, The Missing Link is definitely among the more rewarding volumes. [Noise/Sanctuary remastered, repackaged, and reissued The Missing Link in 2002, adding five bonus cuts ranging from outtakes to fun cover versions of the Police's "Truth Hits Everybody" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."]

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