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Rage is a German heavy metal band, formed in 1984 founded by Peter "Peavy" Wagner. They were part of the German heavy/speed/power metal scene to emerge in the early to mid-1980s, along with bands such as Helloween, Running Wild, Blind Guardian and Grave Digger.
Rage is a part of the German heavy metal scene that emerged in the mid-1980s. Formed in 1984 under the name, Avenger. After releasing their debut album Prayers of Steel and their Depraved to Black EP in 1985, the band changed their name to Rage because there was another band in England that also had the same name. Originally the new name was meant to be Furious Rage but it was eventually shortened to "Rage".
Thirteen musicians have been part of Rage over the years, been the most successful line up the one knows nowadays as the Refuge Years, with Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis. The second notable line-up was the one formed with Mike Terrana and Victor Smolski.
Through the years, Rage established themselves as a notable successful band and as pioneers of the Power Metal scene, including in their music elements of Progressive Metal and Classical Music. in 1996 Rage was really the first Metal Band to write and record an album with a full symphonic orchestra Lingua Mortis followed by the album XIII, considered one of the greatest Rock & Metal Albums of all times.
Rage released 22 Albums (23 if counting the "Avenger era") in 30 years (in total more than 50 releases counting DVDs, EPs, Japan Editions, VHS (in the early years), a remarkable international success with more than five million records sold and been in more than 40 chart entries.
From Avenger to Rage (1984-1986):
Rage story begins in 1984, in Herne, Germany when Peavy Wagner "Bass and Vocals" alone with Jörg Michael (drums) and the guitarist Jochen Schröder Avenger first got together. Following the arrival of their debut album recorded in 1984, Prayers of Steel and released by Wishbone Records, followed by an EP called Depraved to Black in August 1985. Avenger changed their name and became Rage and got a record deal at Noise releasing their first official LP Reign of Fear on May 12, 1986.
The Noise Years (1986-1994):
On May 11, 1987 they released the album Execution Guaranteed under the label Noise. In the same year they released their first official video clip "Down By Law" as well, introducing the new line-up with Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis.
With this new line-up in 1988 the album Perfect Man was released, having as a single the song Don't Fear the Winter which became a massive hit in the scene. The band began touring with Running Wild, U.D.O., Motörhead and Saxon. In 1989 Rage released the album Secrets in a Weird World hitting the charts with the single Invisible Horizons, also a highlight in the career of the band.
The early 1990s: their 1992 album Trapped! marked their international breakthrough, hitting the charts worldwide. As a result, the band performed their first major tour in Japan. Their success was repeated again in 1993 with the release of The Missing Link. This Album turned out to become one of the most successful and influencing of this era.
In early 1994, the guitarist Manni Schmidt left the band and Peavy Wagner formed a new line-up with Sven Fischer and Chris Efthimiadis's brother Spiros Efthimiadis.
Two Guitars Years (1994-1999):
After the change in their lineup, in 1994 Rage went on to record their ten years anniversary album called 10 Years in Rage which was the last album released by Noise Record, and was not well promoted by the media. Rage signed with Gun Records the same year and released the breakthrough album Black in Mind, followed by a world tour and several chart entries worldwide. Especially in Japan and Europe this Album brought the band to a different, much higher level and still is seen as one of the power metal reference Albums ever.
The Album Lingua Mortis recorded in 1996, was the first album by a metal act, where a band would collaborate with a classical symphonic orchestra. Their material was performed live for the first time in late summer 1996 in Kufstein, Austria. Subsequently, Rage and the orchestra embarked on a Christmas tour and played several European festivals. In March 1998 Rage released Their thirteenth album XIII including the Lingua Mortis Orchestra and had considerable success on the charts. XIII was ranked number 272 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.
After the album XIII, in 1999 Rage continued working with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra for their next album Ghosts. Shortly before the release of the album, the band went through a major line-up change. Peavy Wagner reformed Rage once again and the former members formed the Pop band Sub7even.
The Smolski Years (1999-2015):
Peavy recruited the new members Victor Smolski on guitar and Mike Terrana on drums. The trio performed first at Wacken Open Air in August 1999, and released their Album Welcome to the Other Side in 2001. In the following two years, the albums Unity and Soundchaser were released with positive response from critics. Rage toured with Primal Fear in 2002 and Helloween in 2003. The band's 20th anniversary in 2004 was celebrated by the From The Cradle To The Stage tour, where the show in Bochum was recorded and released under the same name on CD and DVD in 2005.
In 2006, Rage again featured a symphonic orchestra, this time from Minsk, Belarus, named "Lingua Mortis Orchestra" that performed on their following album Speak of the Dead. It was the last album with Mike Terrana on drums. On first of January 2007 it was announced, that the new drummer would be André Hilgers, formerly the drummer of Axxis. He was already featured on the 20th anniversary album Into The Light of Nuclear Blast, which was composed, produced and mainly played by Victor, and its lyrics were written by Peavy.
In 2007, the band toured throughout Europe with the orchestra, and their performance at Wacken Open Air in August in front of 80,000 fans was recorded for a DVD to be included as a bonus to their next album. Carved in Stone was released on 22 February 2008. In 2009 the band played at Bundesvision Song Contest 2009 BuViSoCo on 13 February, which was hosted by Stefan Raab (TV Total). In result of the participation, the band reached the third place. Their participating song Gib Dich Nie Auf (Never Give Up) was released on an EP. That year was also the occasion for a 25th anniversary tour, and their Wacken performance - together with guest musicians like Hansi Kürsch - was released on a bonus DVD of the 2011 album Strings to a Web.
Rage entered the studio in October 2011 to begin the recordings of their 21st album, appropriately named 21, for an early 2012 release. Two years later, for the band's 30th anniversary, "The Soundchaser Archives, 30th anniversary", was released, featuring rare and demo songs from the last 30 years of Rage history. An anniversary tour was performed during the entire year and has ended in January 2015 with their last show in Sofia.
The fourth of February 2015 Peavy Wagner announced, that there is not going to be any further cooperation with Victor Smolski and André Hilgers.
Meanwhile, Peavy has renewed contact to his ex-bandmembers Manni Schmidt and Christos Efthimiadis, and had a secret concert in Peavy's hometown Herne under the pseudonym Tres Hombres. After the success they have decided to play again together as Refuge, and confirmed several festival participations for 2015.
The new Rage era (2015-Present):
The new line-up was announced on June 18, 2015, featuring guitarist Marcos Rodriguez (from the band Soundchaser) and drummer Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos (vocalist and percussionist of the band Tri State Corner and also a former drum technician and apprentice of Chris Efthimiadis). A tour is scheduled for the end of the year, and two new albums for 2016, the first album being an EP entitled My Way, for January.
Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos
Rage 2015 @ Metal Hammer Paradise
Lingua Mortis Orchestra:
The Lingua Mortis Orchestra (LMO) is the name associated with the orchestras who played with Rage since 1996 on the albums or on stage. Rage's tenth studio album, Lingua Mortis was the first classical album by a metal act, and a collaboration with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Later, Rage worked with the orchestras in some of the band's most known albums, such as in XIII and Ghosts. In 2006, a orchestra Minsk, Belarus that was also named Lingua Mortis Orchestra recorded with Rage the Speak of the Dead album, and on the next year, Rage toured with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra, and their performance in Wacken Open Air was recorded as a bonus DVD for the next album, Carved in Stone.
In 2011, it was formed as a side project by the Rage musicians Peavy Wagner (vocals and bass), Victor Smolski (guitar and keyboard) and André Hilgers (drums) as a continuation of 1996's Lingua Mortis album, back then a true piece of pioneering work. They recorded in 2013 the debut album along with Rage LMO, with two orchestras from Spain and Belarus. The album features Metalium's ex-vocalist Henning Basse, Jeannette Marchewka and Dana Harnge as additional vocalists.
The first symphonic shows under the band's name have taken place at the 70000 Tons of Metal festival, followed by several summer festivals, among them Wacken and - still before the album's release - Masters Of Rock. The last one was also recorded, and included as a bonus DVD of The Soundchaser Archives.
Victor Smolski has taken over the female singers and the classical musicians after his departure for a new symphonic metal band called Almanac, while the name Lingua Mortis Orchestra was kept on being reserved for Peavy's future classical activities.
Equals to Rage, LMO is an important part of me and I will put in the same amount of passion and creative energy as I have done in the past.
-- Peavy Wagner, http://www.rage-official.com/lmo/
In 2014, Peavy reunited with Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis, they decided to play a secret show in their hometown, Herne, under the name "Tres Hombres", and from there came the idea of the creation of Refuge, with the same Rage line-up from 1988 to 1993. The name Refuge came from one of the most known songs by Rage, "Refuge" from the album The Missing Link which was recorded by the same line-up. Peavy said in an interview that Refuge isn't a professsional band, as the band members have their regular jobs and and famillies, so Refuge is more like an "extended hobby", for playing special events and festivals. Peavy also said Rage would still be coexisting with Rage and the new line-up with Marcos and Vassilios.
In 2015, Refuge played in many festivals around Europe, including the Rock Hard Festival, which was broadcast live, and was also recorded as a new live album entitled Live at Rock Hard Hard Festival, for the Boxset The Refuge Years.
Peter "Peavy" Wagner - vocals, bass (1984-present),
Marcos Rodriguez - guitars, vocals (2015-present),
Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos - drums, vocals (2015-present),
Alf Meyerratken - guitar (1985),
Thomas Grüning - guitar (1985-1986),
Jochen Schröder - guitar (1985-1987),
Jörg Michael - drums (1985-1987),
Rudi Graf - guitar (1987),
Manni Schmidt - guitar (1988-1994),
Chris Efthimiadis - drums (1988-1999),
Ulli Cohler - keyboards (1990),
Spiros Efthimiadis - guitar (1994-1999),
Sven Fischer - guitar (1994-1999),
Christian Wolff - keyboards (1996-1999),
Victor Smolski - guitar (1999-2015),
Mike Terrana - drums (1999-2006),
André Hilgers - drums (2007-2015)