Rage in Eden, released in 1981 through Chrysalis Records, is the fifth album by British band Ultravox. The album is a continuation of the artsy New Wave Music style developed on Systems of Romance and especially Vienna, though with a more focused direction compared to the Genre Roulette of the latter. Production of the album was much more drawn out than Vienna as well, taking over three months to record compared to the mere three weeks of its predecessor, owed to the band deciding to craft the material as they went along rather than using live performances to test out prospective songs.
Despite the band's reservations about its potential sales, being worried that Vienna would be too much of a Tough Act to Follow, Rage in Eden was another commercial success; while not as strong-selling as Vienna, it peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums chart and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry. The album would also be certified gold in New Zealand. In the United States meanwhile, the album peaked at a far quieter No. 144 on the Billboard 200.
The album produced two singles: "The Thin Wall" and "The Voice".
- "The Voice" (6:01)
- "We Stand Alone" (5:39)
- "Rage in Eden" (4:12)
- "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)" (4:57)
- "The Thin Wall" (5:39)
- "Stranger Within" (7:26)
- "Accent on Youth" (5:57)
- "The Ascent" (1:10)
- "Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)" (4:29)
Native these tropes speak to me:
- Alternate Album Cover: The original album cover, designed by Factory Records collaborator Peter Saville, depicts a stylized face with a gold pane. According to Midge Ure, the artwork was based on an unspecified film poster. Due to rights issues, European reissues replace it with a surrealist painting of a wooden landscape, and the 1997 remaster replaces it with the "UV" horse logo associated with the album against a burgundy and navy blue backdrop. A further variant of this, used for the 2015 LP reissue, features the same logo against a gray and white backdrop.
- Backmasking: Done to the chorus of "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)" to form that of "Rage in Eden"; according to the band members, the backmasked chorus was the starting point for writing "Rage in Eden".
- Beneath the Mask: "Stranger Within" examines the effects of being unable to keep the mask on.
- Color Wash: The music video for the 2022 mix of "The Thin Wall" takes the video for the original mix and makes it Deliberately Monochrome, with white tones dominating the image.
- Concept Video: The video for "The Thin Wall", which features Midge Ure in a labyrinth of horrors as his bandmates conspire to kill him.
- Darker and Edgier: The songs on Rage in Eden are more dour and introspective in tone compared to Vienna.
- Design Student's Orgasm: The original album cover and first Alternate Album Cover are both fairly elaborate, consisting of a stylized face and a surrealist landscape, respectively.
- Epic Rocking: "The Voice" and "Stranger Within" both exceed the six-minute mark, while "We Stand Alone" and "Accent on Youth" come pretty close.
- Fading into the Next Song: Done with the last three tracks on the album, forming an interconnected piece.
- Foreshadowing: The seemingly gibberish vocals in the Title Track's chorus are actually a backmasked rendition of the chorus to the next track, "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)".
- Holy Is Not Safe: Implied with "Rage in Eden", which depicts a race of divine beings appearing to humanity and slaughtering hordes of them, leaving the survivors terrified out of their damn minds.
- Medium Blending: "Rage in Eden" ends with the song fading into radio static, which is promptly shut off. On CD copies, this gives the impression of the radio simply switching to another station, which ends up fitting well with the opening lyrics to "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)".
- Mind Screw: As with Vienna, the lyrics on Rage in Eden are filled with surreal figurative imagery and metaphor.
- Miniscule Rocking: "The Ascent" clocks in at just 1:10.
- The Not-Remix: The album received one by Steven Wilson in 2022, following up on his similar treatment of Vienna two years prior. Like the Vienna remix, the one for this album doesn't focus on radically changing the material, but rather rearranging the structural elements to make certain instruments more or less prominent.
- Screw the War, We're Partying: Deconstructed on "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)"; despite trying their best to distract themselves from the ongoing chaos in the news, the narrator and their friends are unable to avoid the inevitable and end up breaking down as they remember peaceful days gone by.
- Sense Loss Sadness: The subject of "Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)".
- Siamese Twin Songs: "Accent on Youth", "The Ascent", and "Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)" are all interconnected to the point where they could be a single piece.
- Word Salad Lyrics: According to Midge Ure in a 2022 interview, the lyrics for the album used William S. Burroughs' "cut and paste" technique in order to invoke this trope, citing David Bowie's use of the technique as an influence. The results are even more abstract and metaphorical than those on Vienna.