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Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian

1986 Metal Blade Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-06

An institution in metal, Fates Warning are the unsung heroes of the progressive realm. Awaken the Guardian (their third release) is prime "Arch-era" Fates Warning. Although some parts are a little stiff, you can really hear the band start to stretch their musical legs and throw out some real creative ideas. It's really hard to review stuff like this, because to listen to this now, it would sound pretty dated, but knowing this particular piece of wax as long as I have, there are tons of memories I associate with ATG, all pretty good. Musically, it's an epic sword and sorcery ride through the magic kingdom of metal, equipped with some interesting stuff for the time. Nice vocals from John Arch, who belts out high pitched melodies German Style. Much like comparing Clive Burr to Nicko McBrain, Steve Zimmerman pales a little after hearing what Mark Zonder would later play, but is pretty damn good for the time. One drawback is the production, which while decent, tends to be a little on the muddy side, and "dates" the sound back to the mid-eighties. It's not bad, but remember that Reign in Blood also came out in '86, showing what "could" be, if money wasn't a limiting factor. One of the first Metal Blade bands, and a classic release to revisit often.