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Fates Warning - Night On Bröcken CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

2.71 | 180 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Fates Warning are often considered one of the most influential and important progressive metal acts, so this 1984 debut may come as a bit of a surprise for those who are only acquainted with their later works. Night on Bröcken is NWoBHM inspired traditional heavy metal in its purest form, with a very strong influence from Iron Maiden - as a matter of fact, Fates Warning could've very easily been labeled as an Iron Maiden clone back in these days. The progressive influences that characterized their later albums are only here in small doses, and this is first and foremost an old school traditional heavy metal release. This certainly isn't a problem for me, though, as Night on Bröcken is nine tracks of high- quality heavy metal that should undoubtedly appeal to fans of the genre. Fates Warning would go on to do greater things throughout their career, but Night on Bröcken is a promising debut from this legendary band.

As previously mentioned, Night on Bröcken sounds a hell of a lot like Iron Maiden. John Arch's powerful and downright terrific vocal delivery brings Bruce Dickinson to mind, the galloping basslines are here in abundance, and the melodic twin leads just scream NWoBHM. There are a few slightly progressive tendencies scattered throughout, but they aren't much more than you'd hear on The Number of the Beast; Fates Warning was focused almost exclusively at creating kick-ass heavy metal on this debut, and I'd say that they've succeeded for the most part. All of the songs are pretty catchy and well-composed, and it's also made clear on multiple occasions that Fates Warning are a pretty skillful group of musicians. Jon Arch's vocals ultimately end up taking the cake, though; he would improve even more on future albums, but his delivery here is top-notch. Simply one of the best heavy metal singers out there in my opinion.

There are lots of quality songs on Night on Bröcken, particularly the title track, "Buried Alive", "Damnation", and the instrumental "Shadowfax". This is a short-lived but extremely fun listen, and I always find myself having a great time when I put on Night on Bröcken. This may not be the most original eighties' heavy metal album out there, but it's difficult to deny quality like this. Even the production (a frequent complaint of mine on metal albums from this era) is quite impressive, and all of the instruments are clear and distinct. Hell, even the bass playing is audible! The production may sound a bit muddy and dated by today's standards, but it never detracts from my enjoyment.

Night on Bröcken is a pretty impressive debut effort from Fates Warning, and it's definitely a good purchase for fans of the band as well as traditional heavy metal in general. You won't find much in the way of originality (that would come on the next few albums), but you will hear plenty of great metal tunes for sure. I'd say this is a pretty good example of a 3 star album. Night on Bröcken is largely inessential within the context of Fates Warning's discography, but I'd still give it a warm recommendation to anybody who has already heard their more classic releases. All in all, a good listen for those curious about where one of America's most important prog metal acts began.

J-Man | 3/5 |


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