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Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

3.98 | 289 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Fate's Warning "Awaken the Guardian" may be the best album for this metal band, along with "No Exit". At times they may be channelling Iron Maiden, especially with the air raid siren vocals and vibrato like Dickinson. The music is very different though and is the real drawcard.

The album cover art is iconic and one of the best in the metal world. The inspiration for the imagery is obviously from Star Trek's "City on the Edge of Forever' episode from the 60s. The Guardian in this episode is almost identical to that on the album art. The spacescape in the centre of the formation is intriguing as the time travel portal of the episode only showed images from the past. It is a spacey scene but the music on the album is more prog metal than space rock, though some of the thematic content has a fantasy aspect such as 'The Sorceress' and 'Exodus'.

'The Sorceress' has some powerful riffing and a strange time sig. The vocals of the great John Arch are strong almost dominating the metal guitars. It changes into a faster blaster mid way through, and then a new sig takes over at 3:30 and the feel is better, with more chugging riffs and a new melody, like a song within a song. The lead break is well executed; Aresti and Matheos have a powerful guitar style.

'Valley Of The Dolls' has some awesome guitar and riff within riff. Arch blares brilliantly sounding as high as King Diamond's octave vibratos. The speed metal segments here are terrific. There are so many time changes and this is very precise and technical playing. 'Fata Morgana' is another great song thanks to the incredible vocals of Arch, and even sounds a bit like Queensryche vocally in places.

'Guardian' is a metal power ballad, that builds slowly in to heavier passages, and the vocals are incredible throughout reminding me of Helloween. 'Prelude To Ruin' begins with pounding drums slowly keeping rhythm and the guitars ring soundly before the riffs lock in. Arch's confident high falsetto vocals follow as the sig breaks up, and this is some incredible guitar work.

'Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter)' has an interesting story. The lead break in this is incredible with hyper fast speed picking and overall this is one of the best FW songs.

'Exodus' is one of the definitive highlights with stirring vocals by Arch and awesome lyrics; "Distant vision tempting water, fall to my knees, I'm going to drink it dry, Blazing desert sun reflection on the water, He caught my eye, Up in a tree looking at me, vulture of fear why don't you go away, He said you're mine one day, Spit out the sand of the mirage, Be on your way." The lead break is one of the better here from Matheos. The way the song settles into a slower pace is a great way to balance all the speed. It builds again with a new sig and power metal riffs.

This album reminds me a bit of Helloween's "Keeper of the Seven Keys" period. The melodies in the vocals are strong and the diction of Arch and intonation is always above the average metal singer. Arch has a cult following and this is definitely one of his shining triumphs. Guaranteed to please metal heads without a doubt.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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