Three wayward youngsters, with a thirst for rock, set out on a journey to write Heavy Metal History. After releasing five albums in one of the most successful line ups of their former band, RAGE, and setting the boundaries for a name still successful to this day, the idea of their now current band REFUGE was born.
Their upcoming release ‘Solitary Men’ releases June 8, and OVERDRIVE Music Magazine were lucky enough to get a look at it ahead of time! This is definitely one you’re going to want to get your hands on (believe me!). If you’re unfamiliar with who REFUGE are, and have seemingly been living under a proverbial rock, the gears that help move the REFUGE machine are Peavy Wagner (vocals/bass), Manni Schmidt (guitars), and Christos Efthimiadis (drums).
Summer’s Winter opens the album up with majestic brilliance (the opening riff, holy f**k!). If there were ever a prophecy written that a hero would emerge from the shadows, wielding a guitar, and would deliver us to the astral plane with his music, then it’s written about Schmidt; he is an absolute musical genius, and his performance in this track speaks for itself! What a track, and we’ve only just begun!
The Man In The Ivory Tower showcases vocal prowess from Wagner, who hits each note with precision and delivers a great performance, whilst also boasting an instrumental performance that might insight some living room moshing (take this as your warning!). If you haven’t worked out by now, this is going to be an album that is heavily driven by brutal instrumentals, and as a Heavy Metal fan if that doesn’t excite you then I don’t know what will! Bleeding From Inside packs a ballsy punch with its opening riff, before bursting into a calamity of heavy tones and earthy vocals. Definitely a song you want blasting out of your car stereo, exceeding speed limits with the top down!
With energy levels on overload, From The Ashes maintains the same level of brilliance demonstrated thus far, with yet another killer opening riff (seriously, Schmidt, take a bow!). Wagner’s vocal talents are to be commended, too. In an age where we see performers lose their way as they grow older, he still sees to maintain somewhat of a youthful exuberance which is refreshing. Living On The Edge sees a more gritty vocal performance, and a somewhat darker instrumental deliverance; when combined, something magical is born. The downright ballsiness of this track is sublime!
We Owe A Life to Death continues the REFUGE monarchy – an opening riff that has the power to insight a riot, instrumental deliverance of the highest order, and a vocal performance that perfectly caps one hell of a track! Mind Over Matter continues in true form, the quicker tempo definitely lends itself to the overall performance of the track, also. We’ve seen both sides of the spectrum with REFUGE – both the slower, darker tones being contrasted to their quicker, maniacal guitar shredding – and it hasn’t failed to quench that metal thirst!
This album seriously packs more punches than a Sylvester Stallone flick, Let Me Go opening with a blow that would knock Rocky Balboa flat on his arse! You’re going to find yourselves caught up in the whirlwind that’s the chorus (trust me, I’ve been walking around the house with it stuck in my head for hours!) but that’s not a bad thing! This album has provided some memorable moments so far, this is one of them!
Hell Freezes Over is aptly named, because if you were to be told “this is one of the best metal tracks you’ll listen to all year”, that’s exactly the phrase you’ll hear in retort. The tempo is dialled down a little (compared to the rest of the album), and the vocals are brought to the forefront a bit more also. The instrumentals are reminiscent of Dream Theater in part, with quirkiness filling the vocal break void. Waterfalls is cleverly crafted. Through the ambience of a thunderstorm and a somewhat sombre performance, an abrupt smack from crushing waves of heavy instrumental in the back half of the performance wakes up all the senses, delivering a one-of-a-kind performance. Might not be for everyone, but one that this guy (yes, I’m pointing at myself) definitely enjoyed!
The album rounds out with Another Kind Of Madness, listed as a ‘bonus track’. It definitely strays a little in the beginning from the usual performance we’ve come to witness within this album, but just as you start to question what you’re listening to Schmidt walks on over and smacks you in the jaw with his guitar. This boasts some of the best guitar work on the album, an as a whole one of the strongest performances as a whole. Definitely the perfect ending to a near perfect album!
If you identify as a Heavy Metal fan, and this isn’t on your Watch List, then you need to wake up to yourselves! ‘Solitary Men’ is available June 8, and you can get your hands on a copy HERE!