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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
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.

Isa | 2/5 |


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