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Music / Rage in Eden

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"The screenplay calls a message for the nation."

Rage in Eden, released in 1981, 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 a much rockier affair than Vienna as well, taking over three months to record compared to the mere three weeks of its predecessor, owed largely to the lack of sufficient live performances to test out the material that would be included on the record. Consequently, the band would move away from working with Plank during the production of Quartet, which would instead be produced by former Beatles producer George Martin.

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".


  1. "The Voice" (6:01)
  2. "We Stand Alone" (5:39)
  3. "Rage in Eden" (4:12)
  4. "I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)" (4:57)


  1. "The Thin Wall" (5:39)
  2. "Stranger Within" (7:26)
  3. "Accent on Youth" (5:57)
  4. "The Ascent" (1:10)
  5. "Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)" (4:29)

Native these tropes speak to me:

  • 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.
  • 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: All four variations of the album cover; it helps when you get Joy Division/New Order designer Peter Saville to do your artwork.
    • The original cover, depicted above, is a minimalist stylized rendition of a face with a gold pane apparently nodding to former frontman John Foxx's solo album Metamatic.
    • The first alternate cover depicts a surrealist painting of a wooden landscape.
    • The second alternate cover, used for the 1997 remaster, depicts the "UV" horse logo against a burgundy and navy blue backdrop.
    • The third alternate cover, used for most current-day reissues, feature the same logo against a gray and white backdrop.
  • 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.
  • 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.