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Fates Warning

Progressive Metal

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Fates Warning Awaken The Guardian album cover
3.95 | 326 ratings | 21 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Sorceress (5:43)
2. Valley Of The Dolls (5:22)
3. Fata Morgana (5:25)
4. Guardian (7:33)
5. Prelude To Ruin (7:23)
6. Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter) (6:00)
7. Time Long Past (1:50)
8. Exodus (8:31)

Total Time: 47:47

Bonus CD from 2005 remaster:
1. The Sorceress (Demo) (5:27)
2. Valley Of The Dolls (Demo) (5:33)
3. Prelude To Ruin (Demo) (7:06)
4. Fata Morgana (Live) (5:08)
5. Damnation (Live) (5:44)
6. The Apparition (Live) (5:57)
7. The Sorceress (Live) (4:51)
8. Guardian (Live) (6:40)
9. Die Young (Live) (4:04)

Total time 50:30

Bonus DVD from 2005 remaster:
- Live at Sundance Club, Long Island, NY 12/28/86 -
1. Untitled (0:56)
2. Valley Of The Dolls (4:37)
3. Pirates Of The Underground (6:54)
4. Orphan Gypsy (6:25)
5. Fata Morgana (5:41)
6. Traveler In Time (6:13)
7. The Sorceress (4:37)
8. Guardian (6:54)
9. Prelude To Ruin (7:09)
10. Damnation (6:03)
11. The Apparition (6:00)
12. Die Young (3:24)
13. Kiss Of Death (5:56)
14. Slideshow (7:29)

Total time 78:18

Line-up / Musicians

- John Arch / vocals
- Frank Aresti / guitars
- Jim Matheos / guitars
- Joe DiBiase / bass
- Steve Zimmerman / drums

- Jim Archambault / keyboards

Releases information

Artwork: Ioannis

LP Enigma Records ‎- ST-73231 (1986, Canada)

CD Metal Blade Records ‎- CDE-73231 (1986, US)
CD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-14046-2 (1994, Germany) Remastered by Eddy Schreyer
2xCD+DVD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-14533-2 (2005, US) Remastered by Brad Vance with bonus CD (Demos & Live tracks ) plus DVD-Video (concert from December 28, 1986)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FATES WARNING Awaken The Guardian ratings distribution

(326 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

FATES WARNING Awaken The Guardian reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars In my original review of this album I mentioned that "Awaken The Guardian" was John Arch's legacy, well I have to say that his solo album "Twist Of Fate" is definitely his legacy. It's so personal for John and he sounds better than ever. "Awaken The Guardian" is the best of the Arch-era FATES WARNING albums though. I can't tell you how much I love his vocals, and how much I love this record.

"The Sorceress" is a great opener. It's dark and grungy with those SABBATH- like riffs, and Arch's amazing vocals. Heavy stuff with Matheos and Aresti offering up dual riffs. Zimmerman is an underrated drummer in my opinon. He shines here. "Valley Of The Dolls" is faster paced with powerful guitar melodies and riffs. A headbanger. Again I think of SABBATH with those low end guitar riffs. John lets out some screams on this dark and heavy tune. "Fata Morgana" brings MAIDEN to mind with the fat bass lines and galloping rhythm. Arch's vocals are very strong on this one. Zimmerman is getting to know his drum kit quite well, and the guitar melodies are again very SABBATH-like. Now we have the masterpiece "Guardian" opening with acoustic guitar that is replaced with some excellent axe work, then acoustic guitar again, and back and forth. The vocals are simply jaw-dropping. I'm sure this is what heaven will sound like. Phenomenal ! This song is just so powerful ! Beautiful guitar solo 5 1/2 minutes in and it's just killer when it speeds up.

"Prelude To Ruin" is another mind blowing tune like the last one that was also written by Matheos and Arch. The dynamic duo. Very heavy, and Joe DiBiase is playing some thunderous bass. This song smokes.Guitar solos aplenty and at 7 minutes an amazing vocal melody from Arch. Not worthy ! "Giants Lore (Heart Of Winter)" features more grind it out music, and guitar solos that are anything but tasteful. I love it ! Heavy riffs too. And Arch cries out the lyrics. "Time Long Past" is a cool instrumental with acoustic guitar and electric guitar playing together. This is the advantage of two lead guitarists. "Exodus" is IRON MAIDEN sounding with lots of time changes. I like when it settles after 4 minutes and John sings slowly but powerfully. Then all hell breaks loose. This is pulverizing music at it's best !

This is dirty, dark and rough compared to their albums that would follow, but that's just part of it's charm. One of the best Metal albums I have ever heard.

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Fates Warning's last album with under-appreciated vocalist John Arch was a grand send-off, and the highly complex nature of the songs is where progressive metal really began to coalesce. After this album. bands like Queensr˙che stepped up to the plate and began to really add progressive elements to the mix. The band still owes a sizable debt to power metal bands like Iron Maiden and Helloween, but Awaken the Guardian sounds unique, mainly thanks to Arch's superb vocals and Matheos' equally stunning compositions. Some of the lyrics might sound cheesy on the first listen, but most of them use fantasy lyrics as metaphors for modern topics.

The album opens with The Sorceress, a very dark sounding song that owes a lot to Black Sabbath, and John wastes no time exerting his skill aqs he uses his voice like an instrument to propel the song as much as the riffs and kick drums. Valley of the Dolls is a look at the hair metal scene that dominated mainstream rock music in the 80s. It's a rather humorous tune that basically states these artists care more about style than the music. Fata Morgana seems to be the blueprint for early Blind Guardian. Guardian is an emotional piece that deals with Arch pleading with the listener to remember him (perhaps he knew his future with the band?). In actuality, it is a very personal piece that I believe concerns John's family, but I'm not sure.

Prelude to Ruin is a look at the effect of mankind on the planet, complete with an increasingly frantic composition to match the chaos of the lyrics. Giant's Lore is unapologetically power metal with lyrics of such a fantastical persuasion that even Ronnie James Dio would stifle a chuckle. However, the composition is incredible, but this song takes away from the progressive feel of the album. Time Long Past is an acoustic interlude that leads into the final epic, Exodus. This song captures more insane time changes, riffs and breaks in it's 8 1/2 minutes than nearly any other prog metal outfit can summon in 20 or 30. A masterful end to the album.

Although Fates Warning will never enjoy the popularity and acclaim of its contemporaries Queensr˙che and Dream Theater, it is infinitely more important than both of them. Had Fates Warning not completely thrown out the rule book with this release, QR might never have become truly progressive. Dream Theater probably would have, but they would sound radically different. Matheos is one of the best composers in metal history, and John Arch sings every song, even Giant's Lore, with a passion and conviction that is sadly often absent from prog metal (Geoff Tate is another vocalist who is a master at this). The band would become fully progressive with the next release which features current FW vocalist Ray Alder, but Awaken the Guardian is the watershed release for the band. It's not a pure masterpiece, but no self-respecting fan of prog metal can do without this.

Grade: B+

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Awaken the Guardian" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US heavy/power/progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 1986. A lineup change has taken place as guitarist Victor Arduini has been replaced by Frank Aresti. "Awaken the Guardian" would be lead vocalist John Arch last album with the band before he too would depart.

Listening to "Awaken the Guardian" it very much feels like the natural successor to "The Spectre Within (1985)", just featuring a more sophisticated songwriting approach and an even more skillful performance of the music. Stylistically the music is on the border between traditional heavy/power metal and guitar/vocal oriented progressive metal (even bordering thrash at it´s hardest moments). In other words a very early example of progressive metal. A music style Fates Warning would further explore and develop upon on subsequent releases. The band are generally very well playing even though I´ve never found Steve Zimmerman´s drumming particularly tasteful. Instead it´s the melodic guitar leads and harmonies, the hard heavy metal riffing, and of course the high pitched and ornamented singing by John Arch, which elevate the band´s music to exceptional heights, along with the clever and intriguing songwriting.

Arch deserves a special mention and all the praise in the world for his performance here. He is gifted with one of the most unique and powerful voices on the scene but it´s how he uses his voice that makes him so special. Every note is sung to it´s limits and twisted and turned in every possible direction. Sometimes it sounds like he is improvising and if that´s true, it´s madness in this type of music. It speaks volumes of how great he is, that he has the energy to put on a performance like that in music this demanding. His performance is brilliant throughout but the highlight is his delivery on "Guardian".

All 8 tracks on the 48:04 minutes long album are very well written and performed though and it´s actually only the sound production that holds "Awaken the Guardian" back a slight bit. The guitars feature a thin sound, and the drums and bass aren´t that well sounding either. It´s not really a surprise considering the date of release, but on the other hand I´ve listened to quite a few better produced releases from the same year, so this one has always left me unimpressed. Thankfully the material and the instrumental and vocal performances are of such high quality (although the drumming doesn´t add much positive to the music), that the quality of the sound production doesn´t overshadow the fact that "Awaken the Guardian" is an excellent release on other parameters. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Isa
3 stars |C+| 1986-87... Fates Warning find their sound, and become one of the main pioneers of prog metal.

Awaken the Guardian is the third album of the band Fates Warning, and is considered by most if not all fans to be their breakthrough album, commercially as well as artistically. The band has its roots in the NWBHM style as an Iron Maiden Clone. In their sophomore release was clearly trying to find their sound, with the clear goal of applying progressive composition techniques to that root style. While in the previous sophomore effort the band had some clear awkwardness applying those techniques (though having some success with the epic Epitaph) Awaken the Guardian shows that the band has found their sound, their niche in the metal world as, along with Queensryche at the time, the pioneers of what would come to be called progressive metal. Some material on the album sounds a little heavier and slightly thrash-ier and darker than previous releases, so I wouldn't be surprised it they were emulating Metallica a little, or at least listening to them during the album's creation. Possibly.

This album is far more cohesive, consistent, and creative, and is better produced, with composition that is far less awkward. The vocal melodies are still a little lackluster, but don't bog the album down nearly as much now. The members all seem to have a more even contribution to the more prog sound of the band as well, even the drummer is more creative with his patterns and fills. The transitions between sections of each song are much more convincing now, probably the biggest sign of the band's maturity in their work.

A word on John Arch, co-writer and vocalist: his vocal ability has significantly improved this album; he sings in tune much more often, with even more strength than before. I have a slight (though not well-founded) suspicion Geoff Tate inspired him to improve his range and add power to his tone, as Queensryche had released their debut two years before. Unfortunately this would also be his studio recording with the band, dropping out of the metal scene completely for many years until releasing his own EP. I think his departure might be a bit part of the reason the band would come to lose their NWBHM influences almost completely a few years after this release, the apparent fan of Iron Maiden he must have been.

Track Commentary: The opening track The Sorceress starts of very prog sounding, slow acoustic arpeggios with bass synth pads below. The guitar reverse-fades into an asymmetrically metered riff, very prog metal sounding. Time signature changes are a prominent feature in the opening track. I love the chromatically descending guitar harmonies later on. The guitar solo is in alternating 7/4 and 8/4 meter, very effective. A lot of good riffs and diversity. The second track Valley of Dolls has somewhat more thrashy and speedy feel, lots of sixteenth note chugging at Presto tempo. There's a section with nearly unpredictable meter changes. The intro into the third track Fata Morgana demonstrates that the band certainly hasn't forgone their Iron Maiden influence. I like the double-bass drum precision... I wonder when that started to be used more in metal. The song has a double- time section, playing very fast, with very tight and clean technique. Guardian starts off with some great guitar work, transitioning very effectively into a soft acoustic section layered with synth pads. This is a really solid track, with some of the band's better composed vocal melodies, and some of their best riffs yet. Prelude to Raid opens with some creative work of the drummer's less conventional patterns under power chord layering. This track almost seems somewhat in the darker, heavier vein of Metallica and Savatage. I absolutely love the reverse-fade cymbal work in the 6/4 section, totally awesome. Then we have chimes lead into a section that combines a heavy riff with acoustic guitar and low-vocal sound effects (similar to those at the end of 2112). Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter) starts off with Matheos playing very unconventional sounding heavy metal guitar chords, overall a track with high quality metal composition. Those types of heavy chords would become characteristic of the band's sound as they moved more away from the NWBHM influence. Time Long Past has a very Scorpions sound to it, layering acoustic guitar arpeggios underneath a duel lead guitar melody that is very much like what Mattias Jabs would play. I love the Picardy at the end, suddenly ending with the major chord. A short song with an obvious prog style. Exodus, the last track, continues with the sort of sound heard throughout the album, very creative metal riffs. John Arch's vocal harmonies are very much in tune this time. Ah yes, chorused clean guitar during the soft section, very 80s metal, very pretty. This moves into more of the dissonant sort of heavy guitar chords from before. The repeated riffs toward the end of the track fade out, leading into a very obscure 15 second long sound effect section, ending the album.

Especially considering that this album was released in 1986, I'm certain metal musicians who sought to make their music more creative at the time were influenced by this recording, as it demonstrates that Fates Warning was a force to be reckoned with in making unique and creative metal music. I'm sure this was a prominent album in the under-currents of metal bands' desire to move metal forward in creativity, especially considering it made the Billboard 200 in 1987. This album very much sits between a three and a four for me, but the general lack of melodic intrigue from the singer bogs the album down enough for me to round down. Awaken the Guardian is a highly recommended album for prog metal listeners, and in general a solid album for anyone who likes progressive music, especially if the NWBHM style isn't grating to your ears. Definitely an album I'll come back to listen to every so often, as I have.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Proto-Prog Metal

Awaken The Guardian was the last of the three Fates Warning albums to feature John Arch on lead vocals before the band reinvented themselves with Ray Alder and eventually went on to create such Prog Metal classics as Perfect Symmetry and A Pleasant Shade Of Gray. The music found on this album is rather different from what came after it and this is probably best characterized as Prog Related Heavy Metal or maybe Proto-Prog Metal. Fates Warning with Arch on vocals were clearly trying to make the same type of music as Iron Maiden did during the first half of the 80's, Judas Priest during the second half of the 70's and Black Sabbath during the first half on the 70's. Indeed, Awaken The Guardian is fairly described as a mix of these three other bands. To my ears, however, Awaken The Guardian did not push things anywhere beyond what Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden had already done at that point - and, of course, these classic bands did this kind of music much better than Fates Warning (or anyone else, for that matter) ever did.

Early Fates Warning lacks both the originality and the distinct musical identity of these classic bands that influenced them and the sound and production too is inferior even compared to much older albums like Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality from 1971 and Judas Priest's Sad Wings Of Destiny from 1976. The latter albums sound timeless and eternally relevant while Awaken The Guardian sounds unbelievably dated - even compared to many 70's releases!

Those who were actually "there" might, of course, have a very different impression of this album, but in the absence of nostalgia or any personal memories, I find it hard to see what makes Awaken The Guardian such a celebrated album. From the perspective of someone familiar with both classic Heavy Metal from the 70's and early 80's and modern progressive Metal from the late 80's and beyond (including Fates Warning's own subsequent releases), it is hard to see what Awaken The Guardian adds to the development of progressive Metal. Don't get me wrong though, this is far from a bad album. Indeed, I actually enjoy it! But it is primarily recommended for fans.

John Arch is indeed a very good vocalist in the style of Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson (even if he lacks the distinctive and unmistakable vocal identities of those greats). However, both Fates Warning and Arch himself would go on to make better music without each other. The former with a long string of albums featuring Ray Alder starting with 1988's No Exit and finishing with 2004's FWX and the latter with an excellent solo EP called Twist Of Fate (released in 2003 and featuring Jim Matheos of Fates Warning on guitars and Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy on drums). Arch and Matheos also recently released a collaborative album called Sympathetic Resonance.

Prog fans are better off starting with the Ray Alder-era Fates Warning albums and John Arch's extraordinary solo EP, Twist Of Fate.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Fates Warning's debut album saw them as inferior Iron Maiden imitators; The Spectre Within saw them equal the standards of their influence. Awaken the Guardian, John Arch's final album with Fates Warning, sees the band complete their evolution and move beyond Iron Maiden entirely, into progressive metal territory that Maiden would never even approach. Sufficiently complex as to demand multiple listens to really get to grips with everything that's going on, this isn't an album which grips me from the word go, but every time I spin it it grows on me more and more. Not quite a five-star masterpiece, but tantalisingly close to it, and a fine close to Arch's tenure in the band.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Modrigue
4 stars Awaken the dark prog metal

4.5 stars

Undoubtedly my favorite FATES WARNING album. Last opus with vocalist John Arch, "Awaken The Guardian" also marks the end of an era for the band. Musically, the style is the same as its predecessor's, "The Spectre Within", however even more inspired and lyrical. 80's fantasy / sci-fi heavy metal featuring tortured melodies and unexpected breaks at its best, alternating with softer acoustic passages. The presence of duelling guitars like IRON MAIDEN increases the sound depth. However, this time the band goes a step further than their initial British influences in terms of complexity and darkness, while staying relatively accessible.

The first half of the record is simply flawless. "The Sorceress" is an efficient dark metal opener with many melodic variations. The guitars weave a web sometimes reminiscent of CELTIC FROST. "Valley Of The Dolls" is a heavy metal song, with dark aggressive passages. The heroic "Fata Morgana" is really great. A bombastic tune with a catchy lyrical melody. To let the listener breathe, the mid-tempo "Guardian" features an acoustic introduction and displays a melancholic softer ambiance.

The second half is more about atmospheres and less punchy. The trashy "Prelude To Ruin" is a weaker track, sometimes difficult to follow, whereas the dark mid-tempo "Giants Lore" possesses an haunting atmosphere. "Time Long Past" is mainly a short pretty acoustic piece. The ending song, "Exodus", is the longest of the record. Pure progressive metal, featuring numerous rhythm changes and alternating fast aggressive passages and slow moments. A very good conclusion for this somber journey.

Despite weaker moments in its second part, "Awaken The Guardian" is a very good album, dark and complex. Surprisingly, this opus is also suitable for FATES WARNING newcomers, or just for MAIDEN fans who don't know this underrated band. An tortured nightmarish trip into distant unexplored planets, and an essential listen for progressive metal lovers!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Connecticut-born band's third album release is definitely its coming out / arrival piece--announcing a new type of metal music, one that combines the virtuosity of bands like Metallica with the story-telling of bands like Genesis and Blue Öyster Cult; even more than the entry and arrival of Seattle's Queensr˙che, I think it's this album and this band that announces the arrival of Progressive Metal music! It's official! It's a thing!

1. "The Sorceress" (5:43) definitely using the Ozzy voice effects. I do like the interwoven two-voice parts in the middle-- which are followed by a cool style and pace change--as if the car suddenly pulled off road and had to switch into 4- wheel drive. Nice lead guitar work in the instrumental passage. I have to say, after just listening to Queensr˙che's Rage for Order, that these guys are on a level of instrumental proficiency one or two notches above that of the 'r˙che: more metal and less hairband. (9/10)

2. "Valley Of The Dolls" (5:22) the musical shift sounds subtle and only nominal from the previous song despite the more tech metal guitar play, but the lead vocal performance from John Arch sounds as if one continuous performance. (It's already getting a little old/boring for me.) In fact, I must say that John's vocal range is so high that I find it even harder than usual to tune in and extract words and meaning from his singing. And, yes: these guitarists are much more impressive with both their lead and rhythm play--much more like the accomplished axemen of the future death metal and extreme/tech metal bands to come in the 1990s. (8.667/10)

3. "Fata Morgana" (5:25) more good metal over which Geoff Tate shrieks about the well known evil witch of Arthurian legend. It's good music--and actually quite an impressive vocal performance--it's just not a song or topic I have any interest in or affinity for. (8.667/10)

4. "Guardian" (7:33) gently picked acoustic guitars open this one, woven together quite beautifully. Then the metal team checks in for a bombastic bit before standing down for the slowed-down acoustic guitars to re-establish their domain. Re-enter the electric power chords, only in a well-balanced position of respect and teamwork while Geoff sings over the top. But then it's time for the chorus and here the power instruments dominate. (It's not a very strong chorus.) Aside from the intro, this is a fairly standard construct. The instrumental section in the sixth minute is rather brief as Geoff apparently has a lot to say. Not as good as I was hoping (or as the intro seemed to promise). (13/15)

5. "Prelude To Ruin" (7:23) taking a minute to run through three or four musical motifs, this one eventually establishes a fairly straightforward power metal djenty riff over which Geoff vocalises some "ahhs" before backing off. When he returns the drums are doing some interesting things beneath the djent. Unfortunately, Geoff's quite monotonous voice is by now nearly opaque to my ears and brain. Too bad! He might actually have something interesting to say (though, with this song title--massed together with all of the other song titles--I sincerely doubt it.) The song meanders this way and that over the course of its seven plus minute, but never really finds a home with me. (13/15)

6. "Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter)" (6:00) more interesting music with yet another monotonous vocal. I seriously don't think I can take much more. No shade cast upon Geoff (though with these song subjects shade might be quite appropriate)--he is obviously quite a talented singer--and, as far as I can tell, quite accurate with his pitch and diction--I just have little tolerance for the pitch range of his voice. (Maybe that's why I have trouble with Geddy Lee and Pavlov's Dog. But then, why not Jon Anderson or Ozzy Osborne?) No matter how interesting this music might be (and, to be honest, it's not really: just performed with admirable skill and dexterity), it'll never connect with me so long as that shrillness is accosting my senses. (8.667/10)

7. "Time Long Past" (1:50) actually nice--and not so metal-show-off-y. (4.25/5)

8. "Exodus" (8:31) a fairly laid back presentation of a straightforward metal chord progression over which Geoff sings (with a little more pitch variation than most of the other songs). At 3:30 the train stops and a slow guitar arpeggio establishes a new motif within which heavy drums plod and lead guitar soars above. Geoff's vocal over this section is much more palatable--perhaps slow blues music is where his gifts are best put on display. At the five-minute mark the band launches on a full-speed chase into the woods--the hunt is on! But then at 5:45 we take a trepidatious turn down a more treacherous lane (and Geoff keeps singing). This might be a prog metal masterpiece. (I wouldn't know: it just feels like it.) Definitely a top three for me. (18/20)

Total Time: 47:47

Obviously this band has fallen into the pit--under the spell of SABBATH's public image--having to write songs about the occult, the dark side, the dangerous not-so-Christian side of archetypical lore.

B/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog metal lover's music collection--and a definite announcement to the world that there's a new kind of prog coming down the pipe.

Latest members reviews

5 stars With Awaken the Guardian, the magicians from Fates Warning closed their so-called classic trilogy with excessive perfection, those three initial albums were influenced by the most conventional Heavy Metal, with an important British imprint, and in all cases with the extraterrestrial John Arch to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2963950) | Posted by Lesanderd | Monday, October 23, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Contrary to the majority of reviewers, I see only a small difference between this and their previous effort. Playing is more refined, the band feels more comfortable in a proggy heavy-metal clothing but still it remains a sophisticated heavy-metal album with ambitious twists. Vocals are top-not ... (read more)

Report this review (#2948055) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, August 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Awaken the Guardian" was a revolutionary record for heavy metal, one of those records that helped to change the way of considering the genre forever, as well as one of the albums that literally started Progressive Metal. Along with the coeval "Rage for Order" of Queensr˙che, but, unlike the latter ... (read more)

Report this review (#1873961) | Posted by Crimson Guardian | Saturday, February 10, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As odd a choice as it would seem, Awaken The Guardian has been my favorite album from this outing since the first time that I heard it. The material that this band issued with John Arch is often mistakenly written off as "generic 1980s power metal", when nothing can be farther from the truth. Wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1738836) | Posted by Caleb9000 | Wednesday, June 28, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Awaken The Guardian by Fates Warning isn't just an ordinary album. It is a magical journey through fantasy landscapes drawn by the music. Just the word "magic" is sufficient to describe this album, but I will write some more about this masterpiece. It was released in 1986. I don't like history, ... (read more)

Report this review (#660978) | Posted by NastyProgger | Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ok I have to fess up and say that I absolutely love Fates Warning. I heard them not too long ago and as soon as I did I couldn't stop listening to them. I know this is going to sound goofy, but I am in a progressive metal band and I want nothing more than for my band to sound like Fates Warn ... (read more)

Report this review (#85264) | Posted by ProgRocker05 | Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How long ist it ago, three years, when I bought the "A Social Grace"+"Mosquito" box by Psychotic Waltz. "A Social Grace" then quickly became one of my very favourite records, at least in the Prog sector. Since then I was hoping to find another album that somehow carries the same spirit of inge ... (read more)

Report this review (#80720) | Posted by Bumblebee Man | Thursday, June 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a monumental album. Not many people were doing this type of music back in 1986. Watchtower and Queensryche are pretty much the only bands that came close. Every riff kills, and John Arch's vocals are amazing. I believe this is one of the greatest prog metal releases ever ... (read more)

Report this review (#38038) | Posted by | Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ok my best us power metal album along with ryche's warning and with heirapparent's graceful inheritance. this album is much greater than spectre within and night on broken but unfortunately is the last album with arch as a singer. i know that most people like their prog period after awaken the g ... (read more)

Report this review (#36185) | Posted by | Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Without a doubt one of the best Metal albums of all time (regardless of style), with absolute classics like the first four tracks (''The sorceress'', ''Valley of the dolls'', ''Fata Morgana'', ''Guardian''), and the last, the epic ''Exodus''. Awesome musicianship, not the 'show-off' kind that ... (read more)

Report this review (#23410) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This Album is one of my top ten albums of all time. This album is the last album featuring John Arch on vocals. His vocals are a key point of the sound of this album. They are high and powerful and fits perfectly with the style of Fates Warning. This album has a lot of thrashy riffs and great ... (read more)

Report this review (#23408) | Posted by | Monday, October 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars same good as prevoius one. It's last album with John Arch (Dickinson clone). We have here this specific mood from the beginning but this time it seems even more monumental than before. Very good work and very important for 80's metal. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23405) | Posted by l-s-d | Wednesday, March 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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