FATES WARNING - AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN (Metal Blade Records)
In the first half of the eighties we welcomed the first Progressive Metal bands. In 1983 Queensryche surprised the world with their mind blowing original EP and one year later a band called Fates Warning released their first album. Both bands produced a different sound from what we were used to hear in those days. Especially the vocals were much more virtuosic and the music was extra complicated, demonstrating an extreme form of superior musicianship.
The first singer of Fates Warning was John Arch. With the first records he already amazed the audience and illustrated how exceptional his skills were. With the third album ''Awaken The Guardian'' these guys from Connecticut wrote a true masterpiece and once again John Arch had an important role in it. Jon Arch was an exceptional singer and often the 'sky' was his limit. With his voice he juggled at the edge of perfection.
Fates Warning kept on using Traditional Metal ingredients but didn't forget to construct a powerful base. Next to this fact they seemed to be inspired by Progressive Rock bands like Yes, Saga and Genesis, using much more breaks and complex arrangements. Fates Warning didn't exaggerate in showing the world all their talents and kept their eyes to harmonious base lines although a lot of riffs were atypical. Though their music isn't simple at all and their songs are often pretty long the listener still has the possibility to follow the 'red line' through their music. Fates Warning received the result of writing technical but still attractive music and kept the mix of all elements perfectly under control. Songs like 'Valley of The Dolls', 'Fata Morgana', 'Prelude To Ruin' and 'Exodus' will never be forgotten. This time Fates Warning engraved their selves into the annals and made Metal sound much more mature.
The production was very strong for this period and the album still has an irresistible effect. These musical wizards wrote songs that inspired a lot of US Power Metal and Progressive Metal bands soon after. ''Awaken The Guardian'' was well tasted by a respectable fan base but the appreciation came many years later. The reason is pretty obvious because too much other bands were impressing the scene.
After this release John Arch left the band and was replaced by Ray Alder who's mentioned in other reviews about Fates Warning. Jon Arch disappeared but came back in 2003, releasing a very good solo album, containing two long Progressive Metal songs. It's great to see he came back home because he's an outstanding singer who deserves a quote in the history books.
We can't say Fates Warning defeated the world with this release but it was astonishing enough to be called 'major founder' of Progressive Metal. Along with Queensryche and a few other bands they inspired Dream Theater who became the most prominent band in this style a few years later. If you're a fan of this kind of music you're obliged to find this precious stone, if not you should at least listen out of respect.
My Points: 100 / 100