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Fates Warning - 1984 Night On Bröcken



ARTIST: Fates Warning
ALBUM: Night On Bröcken
LABEL: Metal Blade
SERIAL: MBR 1025
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2002, Metal Blade, 984-14431-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Arch - vocals * Jim Matheos - guitar * Victor Arduini - guitar * Joe DiBiase - bass * Steve Zimmerman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Buried Alive * 02 The Calling * 03 Kiss Of Death * 04 Night On Bröcken * 05 S.E.K * 06 Misfit * 07 Shadowfax * 08 Damnation * 09 Soldier Boy

WEBLINKS: www.fateswarning.com


Background
Fates Warning have been getting a lot of coverage lately, thanks to Milena's articles on their more recent offerings. I've decided to chip in with a look at their earliest material, starting with this one: 'Night On Bröcken'. In case anyone was thinking the album title was a spelling mistake, the answer is no. 'Bröcken' is a mountain in Germany somewhere, and is related to olden day witches and covens, including references to events like Walpurgis Night etc. Formed in Hartford Connecticut, FW kicked off in 1982 formed by the line-up above. The band released all their material through Brian Slagel's Metal Blade label, this one influenced heavily by the prevailing metal acts of the time: namely Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Singer John Arch has a voice that fuses Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate into one. Arch would in future try out for the vocal spot in Dream Theater vacated by Charlie Dominici, and though a contender, would eventually lose out to James LaBrie.


The Songs
FW lead off with the titanic 'Buried Alive', which eventually gallops off on an Iron Maiden styled romp. 'The Calling' is next, the chugging dual guitars of Matheos and Arduini lands this song in the same territory as bands like Helstar and Obsession. 'Kiss Of Death' is a straight-out riffer, Arch belting out some hard-hitting vocals as well. Again, the mid-section reverts to a Maiden like guitar-gallop. The title track is all about the Mayday celebrations on Bröcken mountain, and turns into a speedy affair that the aforementioned Helstar would be proud of. Arch sorta has a James Rivera vocal inflection, but he sounds more like Geoff Tate doing something heavier and edgier than what Queensryche were doing through this same timeframe.

Jim Matheos brings an acoustic instrumental called 'S.E.K' into the album mix at this point. Not quite Eddie Van Halen doing 'Spanish Fly', but pleasant enough as it is. It's followed soon after by the kick-ass 'Misfit'. This is pretty raw and very good in the vein of 70's era Judas Priest. Not quite the refined Fates Warning that we would come to know years later, but still an interesting part of their early history. 'Shadowfax', another instrumental, cuts back on the tempo somewhat but is no less solid. Some nice twin-guitar parts shine through on this one. 'Damnation' is the change-up song on the album. It's acoustic for nearly half the song (6 mins 27 secs), converting to electric guitar, and romping away on another Maiden like excursion at the end. The finale 'Soldier Boy' is another 6 and half minute workout, with the lyrical waxing on childhood violence morphing into young men converted into fighting machines as soldiers.


In Summary
'Night On Bröcken' featured three album covers that I'm aware of. The first are kinda tacky looking, but were appropriate for the era. The third reminds me of Legs Diamond's 'Land Of The Gun' cover. For their next two albums 'The Spectre Within' and 'Awaken The Guardian', Fates Warning would move into the progressive metal realm, and gradually leave the early 80's HM influence behind them.


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on February 08 2014 07:29:29
Other album covers..

[img]http://gdm.glorydazemusic.com/images/reviews/fateswarning_nob2.jpg[/img] is not a valid Image.
[img]http://gdm.glorydazemusic.com/images/reviews/fateswarning_nob3.jpg[/img] is not a valid Image.
#2 | RobLynott on February 10 2014 09:56:32
Haha, this is - in fact - a spelling mistake. The mountain is called Brocken, not Bröcken -> http://www.harztourist.de/brockencam/8_1_0.html
Motorhead, not Motörhead Grin

It's just 1,5 hour away from my home town, so...
The information about witches etc. is correct though.
 
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