Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Fates Warning - Night On Bröcken CD (album) cover


Fates Warning

Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
3 stars For those who are not familiar in the story of this band, there are two groups exist under the same name. John Arch was the singer in the band called Fates Warning, but after the third album a new singer arrived and a new band was born that plays exacting progressive metal, namely Fates Warning, while the 'other' Fates Warning disappeard. Now I'm talking about the first one which played complex heavy metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and early Queensryche. I'd like to draw two tracks to your attention, the brilliant title track 'Night on Bröcken', which is a precursor to what was to come on the next two albums and the excellent ballad 'Damnation' with yet another excellent vocal performance by John Arch.

The remastered version (its cover is the original painting, which is ridiculously amateur) also contains a demo track, a live song and 2 songs from rehearsals, one of them is an Iron Maiden cover (Flight of Icarus). It's a great debut from a unique metal band, but the best album from the Arch-era (and in the whole Fates discography) is "Awaken The Guardian".

Highlights: Buried Alive, Night on Bröcken, Damnation, Soldier Boy


Report this review (#43813)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This record has IRON MAIDEN all over it. From the vocals of John Arch to the galloping rhythm to a picture of the drummer in the liner notes wearing an IRON MAIDEN t-shirt to the bonus track of them covering "Flight of Icarus". This is FATES WARNING's first record and they made quite an impression on me with the raw sound and the dark lyrics.

"Buried Alive" assaults you right away with fast riffs and pounding drums. The guitar solos are relentless. And the vocals are so strong and powerful. "The Calling" is one of my least favourites, but it opens with a galloping rhythm and the guitar has a SABBATH tone to it. Jim lets loose with a scathing guitar solo. "Kiss Of Death" is a well done, melodic, MAIDEN sounding tune. Arch's singing is on another level ! "Night On BrocKen" is another pedal to the floor boards, flat out rocker. For the first time on the record the melody slows down and it's appreciated as the guitars slowly grind and Arch is singing his heart out. "S.E.K." is a short, acoustic instrumental. "Misfit" features some nice riffs and scorching guitar melodies while Arch's vocals are second to no one. "Shadowfax" is a mid paced instrumental for 2 minutes before speeding up, excellent drumming on this one. "Damnation" is the first slow paced song. This one is so emotional and beautiful until about 2 1/2 minutes in when all hell breaks loose with head banging riffs and John wailing. This is my favourite on the record. "Soldier Boy" has again a galloping rhythm and does Arch ever sound like Bruce Dickinson here, great guitar too as this one just smolders. The band hasn't found their own sound yet on this record, but it's still excellent none the less.

Report this review (#107790)
Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Night on Bröcken" is the debut full-length studio album by US metal act Fates Warning. The album was released in September 1984 by Metal Blade Records.

While Fates Warning is predominently known for their progressive metal sound, the music style on their early albums, and in particular on "Night on Bröcken", is in a more typical eighties heavy metal style. The tracks are vers/chorus structured and the influence from early NWoBHM bands is worn on the sleeve. Queensrÿche is the closest comparison though but the music on "Night on Bröcken" never quite reach the hights of Queensrÿche´s debut album "The Warning (1984)". The music is pretty straight forward heavy metal and there are not many twists. Some harmony lead guitar themes and a couple of well played solos are some of the assets on the album. The high pitched vocals by lead vocalist John Arch are outstanding though, that man is just born with the most powerful pipes ever. He is such a skilled singer. He would improve even more on subsequent albums though. The two tracks that stand out the most is the short acoustic guitar piece "S.E.K." and the instrumental "Shadowfax". The rest are pretty standard heavy metal tracks of a decent quality.

The sound production is pretty typical for eighties heavy metal with a thumb drum sound and distorted rythm guitars that don´t pack too much punch. It´s allright but nothing more.

It´s been a couple of years since the last time I listened to "Night on Bröcken" and to my surprise I´m enjoying the album a bit more these days. It´s still not an album I spin very often or probably will spin very often in the future, but it´s a decent album considering the time of it´s release and a 2.5 - 3 star rating isn´t all wrong.

Report this review (#161862)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If you happen to listen only this debut album by Fates Warning, it would be hard for you to understand why the band has been included right here in progressive music website. I don't blame you on that because this debut album is basically a heavy metal music of the 80s, nothing really prog. In terms of style, it's exactly the same with the kind of Iron Maiden music. In fact if this album was played at the same radio station which also played Iron Maiden, maybe people would find trouble differentiating the two. For me personally, initially I did not like this kind of music until it grew on me just for the sake of 'change' not as my true cup of team, really. The music is basically in its rough form with good vocal and guitar work. Those of you love heavy metal or melodic rock would most likely love this album. There are many heavy riffs throughout its songs as well as some guitar solo. I think the vocal quality is excellent and at the same excellence as Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.

The album is recommended for those collectors or die-hard fans of Fates Warning. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#523679)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars |D+| Some interesting hints at where prog-metal would go...

In terms of its context, Fates Warning's debut Night On Bröken is actually a quite decent album, most of the tracks having some good riffs and musicianship. This is another of the many albums created in the early eighties of bands who were greatly influenced by the world-wide spread of NWBHM's popularily, and the strong influences of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are almost overly predictable. Not unlike Savatage's early work, interestingly enough. I'm pretty sure I hear some Scorpions in there as well, which isn't all too surprising considering their popularity among that audience at the time. The vocalist on this album is very different sounding than their more well known one Ray Alder. John is essentially a Bruce Dickinson clone, and in just about every way. The use of classical guitar and chimes and such in some of the tracks is interesting, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rush might have influenced them enough to give them the courage to implement such devices.

Track Commentary: The first two tracks are of the usual galloping palm-muted metal figures with fast soloing and the usual headbanging sort of thing. Night On Bröcken, the album title track, is not surprisingly one of the best tracks on the album, showing some good potential for progressiveness. S.E.K. is a nice little classical guitar ditty, reminding me of Savatage's classical guitar stuff in the late eighties. Misfit and Shadowfax are more of the same heavy metal style, though Shadowfax is crazy fast, sounding like the brink of the musicians' technical speed, where they actually start to sound kind of sloppy, unfortunately. (Needless to say I appreciate the Lord of the Rings reference.) Damnation, despite its name, another quite soothing classical guitar ballad work (sounding a lot like... hm... what band made that album? Interesting coincidence...) leading into some more 80s metal riffing and headbanging. The only bad thing is that it exposes the singer's inability to sing with any sensitivity whatsoever, though the heavy section is pretty solid. Soldier Boy actually sounds a lot like Scorpions' Lovedrive with Dickinson styled singing, haha, and with some not-so- convincing war sound-effects.

Thus, an interesting album for sure, especially for those interested in proto-prog-metal, as one might call it. I think this album is a good marker for where NWBHM was just starting to incorperate progressive tendencies here and there, and is comparable to early Savatage and Queensryche (though totally inferior to the development the latter showed in their debut). All of the tracks have their charm to them, though I think this is more of an album for fans of Fates Warning, people who love NWBHV influenced bands, and especially those (like me) who are those weird prog-metal Musicologists with a fascination in the origins of prog-metal's sound, which this album certainly has.

Report this review (#560693)
Posted Monday, October 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#561874)
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Fates Warning would eventually become standard-bearers for 80s progressive metal, but their debut album shows no signs of the innovations or complexity to come. Instead, what we have here is some fairly simplistic metal clearly heavily influenced by Iron Maiden, to the point where John Arch seems to be trying to sound like Bruce Dickinson most of the time. However, at this point in time the band's compositional chops were nowhere close to Maiden's, leaving the songs here pale imitations of the sort of material their great inspiration was coming up with at the time. It's competently done, but there's little reason to give this one a spin if you've got Number of the Beast, Powerslave or Piece of Mind handy.
Report this review (#578852)
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fates Warning's first record is a mediocre mixture of heavy metal, power metal and a few smooth progressive metal passages that is actually easy to listen to but not outstanding enough to survive amongst many groundbreaking releases of the same period. Basically, we have a young band that worships the sounds of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal by sounding like their most recognized heroes Iron Maiden and we can also hear some influences from Judas Priest, Rainbow, Triumph, Black Sabbath, Dio and even Queensrÿche in here. I would say that this album overall sounds rather European than American. This album has probably influenced the early years of European power metal around bands such as Helloween and later on Stratovarius.

The problem with "Night On Bröcken" is that I would not only prefer the original influences to this record but also the bands that were influenced them and kicked off their very own style with these basics afterwards. Let's say that too many songs sound too similar and are mid paced heavy metal tracks with some high pitched power metal vocals. Let's say that John Arch's vocals are the most outstanding and memorable thing about the band but I would still always prefer a Geoff Tate. The two instrumental tracks only have a filler status and are quite bearable.

This is still easy listening party metal with a pretty high standard and fans of early Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche or Helloween won't do anything wrong with the purchase of this album. But it's far from being essential or original and hasn't anything special to offer a part of its entertaining factor. The highlight is surely the epic and rather diversified album closer "Soldier Boy" that justifies the existence of the band and gives us a little glimpse at what would come from this group in the near future.

Originally published on on October 5th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#808887)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
2 stars FATES WARNING was formed all the way back in 1982 in Hartford, CT in the midst of the NWOBHM really taking the world by storm. In the beginning the band consisted of the twin guitar assault of Jim Matheos (the only constant member since the beginning) and Victor Arduini, drums handled by Stever Zimmerman, bass by Joe DiBiase and the trenchant vocal duties of John Arch whose well developed tenor head voice earned him comparisons to Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Midnight of Crimson Glory, but as the majority of reviewers of this album have already pointed out, it's Iron Maiden who gets most of the credit for pretty much all of the influences on board on this debut release NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN. The title comes from a mountain in Germany associated with witches in Goethe's "Faust."

It's hard to believe this band would go on to become one of the most innovative progressive metal bands of the ages on this release. First of all there is nothing progressive here at all and it is debatable if there is really anything original at all to be heard. To me this sounds like an Iron Maiden demo in a parallel universe where Bruce Dickinson was in the band at the beginning and recorded a demo or two. I have a highly sensitive ear to plagiarism and it doesn't get any stronger than on this first album. Not only does Arch nail Dickinson's vocals in tone, register and intensity but the guitars and bass perfectly mirror Maiden's thundering galloping and chord progressions. The three albums "Number Of The Beast," "Piece Of Mind" and "Powerslave" are the fertile grounds of choice to copy here and it sounds to me like they simply rearranged riffs, leads, drum rolls etc to create newly assembled songs with new titles.

Just a few examples: "Kiss Of Death" uses a "2 Minutes 2 Midnight" riff and "Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariners" gallop. "Night On Bröcken" employs a "Quest For Fire" drum roll which is followed by the band almost exactly like the original. "Shadowfax" copies "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)." I could go on and on about which track rips off which riffs, lead, drum roll etc but.... yawn! The acoustic "S.E.K." may be the most original piece on here sounding like something different but unfortunately it only lasts over a minute. This one is an extreme disappointment. Not progressive. Not original. Not even a decent copycat job. I can stand it from time to time when a band simply nails every aspect of the band they are ripping off but in the case of NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN i find it hard to even sit through it without cringing. If you want a really good Iron Maiden clone band then go straight to Russia's АРИЯ (Aria) who not only matches Maiden's intensity and skill sets but also adds some original touches to the mix. This, i'm sorry to say, does none of that. For completists only.

Report this review (#1419435)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars Back in the early 80's when the metal world was going crazy for the rise of thrash metal and the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), a new, Connecticut-based band quietly unleashed this gem upon the world, to little or no mainstream recognition; Fates Warning were laying down the blueprint for what would become progressive metal.

Sounding almost identical to early Iron Maiden, 'Night on Bröcken' takes most of its influence from the NWOBHM, with melodic, galloping guitar riffs, choc-full of harmonies and duel-guitar leads. Vocalist John Arch even sounds like Maiden's Bruce Dickinson at times. But with some interesting song arrangements and a few odd time-signatures thrown in, Fates Warning were laying down the foundations that bands like Dream Theater and Queensrÿche would build upon to make prog metal what it is today.

Fates Warning would certainly go on to release better albums than this, but this is a good, solid debut, with some memorable songs and some catchy hooks. Sadly, this record hasn't really stood the test of time, as it's mostly forgotten about today. But if you like NWOBHM or you're interested to hear the roots of progressive metal, then it's worth keeping an eye out for.

Report this review (#1481969)
Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars In terms of Progressive Metal, Fates Warning is a fundamental band. Although initially they were a mix between Iron Maiden, Saxon and Judas Priest and "Night On Broken" (title and cover inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "Faust") "Night On Brocken" is a 100% US Power Metal album, it must be said that, immediately , they put a lot of Prograssive elements on 100% US Power Metal music. What strikes me most is the magic that "Night On Brocken" has, which makes it immortal. I must immediately note that John Arch although he is an excellent singer is not suitable for a progressive context, being more suitable for expressing power and epicity, which is felt above all in the beautiful third album "Awaken the Guardian", his last album with Fates Warning . In "Night On Brocken", however, this defect is not known, because the songs have minimal progressive moments (given the bands to which they are inspired, one would expect that they have drawn inspiration from their more Progressive albums).

The songs are all very valid and powerful, with a really convincing writing (even if some songs are too sought after... In the sense that they have Progressive Power Metal passages [a decade before Angra] that make them a bit heavy). However "Night On Brocken" is an album that can still be listened to with pleasure. The twin guitars (by Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini) are techniques at the right point as long as the power stands out without penalizing the technique also because the rhythmic section (Joe DiBiase and Steve Zimmerman) is really very dynamic and well written and arranged. Zimmerman is an excellent US Power metal drummer who knows how to play jazz scores with a phenomenal naturalness and DiBiase is a truly technical bass player who knows very well how to play things closer to Jazz, as already in this album you can perceive it in different moments. "Biried Alive", "The Calling", "Damnation" and "Soldier Boy" are notable songs, which kidnap your brain for the writing and feeling they contain. However, "Misfit" is the centerpiece. It is a Progressive Speed Power Metal which, although very linear and direct, manages to bring out the Progressive element. "Misfit" was written with John Arch in mind, because it does not present real moments in which he can suffer. "Shadowfax" is an instrumental all played on symphonic-like guitars until it transforms into a Speed Metal which, however, loses the symphonicity of the guitars only for the change of atmosphere, because it seems to become jazzy, which I always peace to point out. Another thing that I like to highlight is the acoustic intro of "Damnation" due to the fact that having inserted the electric bass and being very dramatic, it becomes really epic and enters the head very well. In addition, the attack of electric guitars is thrilling, as is the fact that the rhythms and structure of "Damnation" is not common in the US Power Metal. In this sense, "Damnation" is an excellent example of primordial Progressive Metal. In 2002 a remastered version came out with 4 bonus tracks. Noteworthy are "Last Call" an extraordinary Epic Metal written by Arch alone (and included in the 1984 demo called "Misfit") and the cover of the iron Maiden "Flight Of Icarus".

"Night On Brocken" is not considered a Progressive Metal album. However, it is an excellent album to recommend to understand what Progressive Metal was at the beginning (also to listen to "The Specter Within" and "Awaken The Guardian" [of the first three albums the most Progressive]). Fates Warning are a transversal band, you know. Loved by both Power Metal and Progressive Metal fans. Also because since this debut album they proved to be above average musicians and composers.

Report this review (#2415201)
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2020 | Review Permalink
3 stars I always considered Fates Warning to be inferior to many 90's prog metal bands but you have to admit that they were one of the first ones on the scene. The 80's prog metal scene was closer to heavy metal than any other decade later.

Fates Warning is a relatively good Iron Maiden clone here minus Iron Maiden songwriting skills. I think each FW member picked one IM member to imitate and they succeed here. Guitar playing is quite good. Vocals were an acquired taste for me but somehow I got used to them and they fit heavy metal well enough.

If you're looking for a heavy metal album, there are many better ones, even from 1984. Do not expect anything progressive here yet; as a result, this album for collectors only. I don't have a large heavy metal collection and therefore I kept it in my library for the straightforward energetic heavy metal mood.

Report this review (#2947999)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | Review Permalink

FATES WARNING Night On Bröcken ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of FATES WARNING Night On Bröcken

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.