overground scene

Is this where I came from? #2 White Spirit and Rage

In this second entry in the “Is this where I came from?” series of posts I discuss the influence of White Spirit, one of the unheard heroes of the NWOBHM, on Rage, one of the most important bands of the Teutonic metal invasion.

White Spirit – Way of the kings (1980)


White Spirit was a band whose claim to fame is that Janick Gers, its guitarist, went on to join Iron Maiden in 1989 after Adrian Smith’s departure. However, I personally think that the album that they released in 1980, the year the NWOBHM broke loose with monumental releases such as Iron Maiden‘s debut album, Motorhead‘s Ace of Spades, Diamond Head‘s Lightning to the nations, and other great albums, was a very influential album to the genre that has gone unnoticed. The riff of the opening song “Midnight racer” is reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s “Two minutes to midnight”, released four years later. However, this riff was, at the same time, a riff that defined British heavy metal and you can find similar riffs to most metal bands of that era. Nevertheless, I think that this band should be credited with influencing Maiden’s future sound in a different way, by introducing the long epic songs and the minimal guitar harmonies. Fool for the gods, the song that closes the album, could easily be in any Dickinson-era Maiden album. At the same time, while Maiden crafted a powerful sound that utilised twin guitars, White Spirit had one guitar and keyboards instead. Keyboards did not age as gracefully as guitars have.

Anyway, Gerr’s riffing on this album is pretty cool. His awesome riff on “Way of the kings” is my favorite in the album. The song starts at 14:50 on the video seen below (*no matter how many times I upload this song or the whole album, it is always taken down! Apologies).

Rage – Refuge (1993)


Rage is an all-time favorite band and its leader, Peavy Wagner, one of my all-time favorite musicians (among Steve Harris, King Diamond, Jeff Hanneman, Chuck Schuldiner, Tony Iommi, Nicke Andersson, Lemmy Kilmister, Fred Estby, Ronnie James Dio, Andre Olbrich, Hansi Kürsch, and Gregg Mackintosh). The album Missing Link is one of their golden-era albums and there are no words to describe how perfect it is. “Refuge” is one of the speedier songs of the album and the opening and main riff sounds like a more elaborated version of the main “Way of the kings” riff. Of course, the song goes on to include an amazing bridge, beautiful chorus, stunning twin guitar harmonies and a clean guitar chorus passage, which bring it into a whole new level of perfection.


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