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Fate - 1990 Scratch And Sniff

ALBUM: Scratch And Sniff
LABEL: EMI (Holland)
SERIAL: 7955572
YEAR: 1990
CD REISSUE: 2005, MTM Classix, 0681-126


LINEUP: Per Johansson - vocals * Mattias IA Eklundh - guitar * Pete Steiner - bass, keyboards * Bjarne Holm - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Gotta Have It All * 02 You're the Best (Money Can Buy) * 03 Walk On Fire * 04 Freedom * 05 Won't Let You Down * 06 The Whalesong * 07 Larry * 08 Good Times Coming * 09 One By One *10 Surgeon In Love * 11 Wanna Be Your Lover * 12 Think For Yourself


After the release of Fate's 1986 classic 'A Matter Of Attitude', many punters wondered whether the band could reproduce another masterpiece like that. The short and simple answer was no they couldn't. Fate released the 'Cruisin' For A Bruisin' LP during 1988, but after that, two key members of the band (Shermann and Limbo) departed, casting doubt on their future. Still, the rhythm section was still intact so new players were bought in to fill out the rest of the band. 'Scratch And Sniff' was the result. Swedish guitarist Matthias Eklund was one of these, and his Steve Vai influenced noodling was interesting, but not a good fit to be honest (Whitesnake's 'Slip Of The Tongue' anybody?).

The Songs
For those of you who remember early 90's Swedish greats Masquerade, then you will simply love 'You're The Best'. An absolute copy-cat I reckon. 'Walk On Fire' is a near six minute work-out. It's pretty good to be honest, the band definitely hard as a diamond and typifying the overblown Scandi style. Fate take a breather for the ballad 'Freedom', some nice touches including acoustic guitar and layered vocals. Changing tack, 'Won't Let You Down' shifts into heavy metal territory, with Eklundh leading the way with some killer guitar work. He continues this with the short instrumental 'The Whalesong', which is an exercise in sonic frequency manipulation. Then we move onto 'Larry', which is a sad tale of modern day masculinity. I thought it was going to be a story of the 80's arcade game hero Larry The Lounge Lizard! 'Good Times Coming' was another Masquerade sounding effort, while the excellent melodic rock of 'One By One' was spoilt by some horrible guitar soloing from Eklundh. 'Surgeon In Love', despite the dopey name, was pretty good too, but probably three minutes too long (it is timed at 6 min 46 sec).

In Summary
I don't know. Some parts of this were good, other parts were awful. The album is dominated by Eklundh, and if he didn't rip off Steve Vai at every occasion then this might have sounded half decent, but it ended up sounding more of a parody than anything else. Technically the guys is good, but having your own identity rather than someone else's is far more important don't you think? In any case, Eklundh left after this album and reappared with Freak Kitchen, and Fate continued on until 1993 I'm led to believe before splitting. Two more songs were recorded in 1992, and eventually found their way to the 2005 CD reissue. As we know, Fate were revived in 2006, and recorded two albums since then, but they were far from the glory days of 1986.

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#1 | melodiapositiva on October 16 2016 18:50:59
I think this is their best album and the work of eklundh is simply brilliant .Half malmsteen half vai but more entertaining than both .The singer is also better than the previous one .
One of the better scandi hard aor albums ever!
#2 | gdazegod on October 16 2016 21:02:26
Eklundh is a good player but not well suited to this band. Certainly not 'one of the better hard aor albums ever', as described above comment. Jeez..
#3 | melodiapositiva on October 17 2016 16:59:14
Well, for me it is .All opinions are respectable,and i put this album at the same level as Masquerade debut,for me both albums are great and the guitar work is fantastic .

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