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As suggested by Trapped!'s fitting title, Rage's remarkably unremarkable career had often appeared to be trapped within very limiting creative parameters. Even worse, every attempt to expand these limits had met with terribly unsatisfying results on previous occasions, leaving the band treading water in a sea of stylistic sameness for much of their first five albums. So it was with no small amount of grateful surprise that fans discovered the contradictory qualities of 1992's Trapped!, which turned out to be one of the group's most original and exploratory outings ever. Truly a pivotal album for this minor-league German institution, Trapped! not only proved that there was some measure of hope for musical growth in Rage's future, but that the normally hapless trio was actually capable of recording a complete disc's worth of consistently strong material when they set their minds to it. Expertly crafted numbers like "Solitary Man," "Medicine," and "The Body Talks" announce the arrival of a revitalizing second wind in Rage's career -- one that few fans ever expected to witness. This was not your older brother's oft-clumsy sounding Rage, but a new and improved heavy metal machine packing awesome riffs and tightly wound arrangements so powerful and focused as to sound like an entirely different band. For once (or twice, lest you forget 1988's equally masterful Perfect Man), the highlights obscure the lowlights on a Rage album, with special kudos going to "Enough Is Enough," "Not Forever," and a light-speed rendition of Accept's "Fast as a Shark" -- all of which confirmed Trapped!'s position as one of Rage's finest efforts. [Noise/Sanctuary remastered, repackaged, and reissued Trapped! in 2002, adding five bonus cuts between live tracks and choice moments from the same year's Beyond the Wall EP.]

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