Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Awaken!

Maybe you avoided Fates Warning like an piñata full of dirty hypodermics because the word "progressive" was always pinned to it. Perhaps you avoided this album because of its custom van artwork. Whatever the reason, it's time you made peace with Fates Warning and one of the best Heavy Metal albums ever recorded. I don't care for any of their other albums, just this one, but man is it a gem. On Awaken The Guardian, Fates Warning sound like a refined Psalm 9-era Trouble. Perhaps this is due to the influence of Bill Metoyer, Metalblade's in-house engineer at the time. If there was an award given for metal, a Steely if you will, then I imagine this album would have swept up when it was released in 1986. This would be the final and best appearance of original singer John Arch, who deserves a Steely for his nuanced and impassioned performance. I guess after this, he figured he could rest on his laurels for the next seventeen years-- he didn't sing a note until he released a solo album in 2003. But it's not just about Mr. Arch's pipes, there are enough Steely-worthy riffs here to sate the most jaded banger. Seriously, have you ever heard a better metal ballad than "The Guardian"? Didn't think so. This record is essential. And how awesome would that cover look painted on a van?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

A TRUE masterpiece this one. I'we always had the impression that Fates Warning was the epitome of boring, checking out their 3 first albums fixed that. Good stuff.

Steven said...

Fucking Awesome Album. I like most of their other records, especially 'No Exit' (my first FW album), but I gotta agree with ya, this one rules.

A million years ago at my college radio station, I found a taped interview with John Arch from 1987. They were already recording 'No Exit'. He sounded genuinely excited about the record: he already had most of the lyrics written, and as I hazily recall, had even recorded some vocals. Why Matheos sent him packing, I'll never figure out.

Robert said...

You're right... I have been avoiding this ever since I heard a FW album in the 90s and was sort of immediately turned off. I'm going to trust you on this one...

Anonymous said...

Aesop - it made me very happy to see this post this morning. What a good fucking record! The Spectre Within is also very good. You wrote in a different post some weeks ago that The Guardian nearly brought you to tears - i was not surprised by that at all - It's a great metal ballad! And the cover art? Fuck Yea!

john / milwaukee

nano247 said...

This is one of those bands that I hate to admit that I like I liked everything up to 'perfect semetry'
And this album is a killer my first exposure to this band was No Exit

Ripper up dude

Anonymous said...

Your music colection must be staggering... with over 450 posts, 99% of them being an album to download. I feel like most people would have ran out by now, but you keep going strong. Keep up the good work.

Helm said...

This is my favorite Heavy Metal record. It helps me be a better person. That is all.

Steven: why Arch was evacuated from the band can be gleaned from the lengthy interview with him at fateswarning.com

DiNo said...

Definitely my favourite band in the 80s! I don't think there's a record I listened more to than 'The Spectre Within' and 'Awaken The Guardian'...
I also own 4 versions of this one: original vinyl, original CD, re-issue 2CD/DVD and limited picture disc. Yes I'm a nerd. ;) And yes Jon Arch is a legend.

Twin Uzis in Hyrule said...

I lean more towards The Spectre Within mainly due to the riffing and the way they went about evolving as a band on that record. It's more in your face and I like that.

With that said, this is a mammoth slab of heavy metal and definitely more epic in scope and feel. Both records are probably in my top ten heavy metal albums of all time.

I tried telling a younger friend of mine the other day these two records are perfect heavy metal records and he laughed in my face. No friend. LOL on you. L-O-L on you.

Shelby Cobras said...

why would anyone avoid this album BECAUSE of the custom van artwork? such foolishness would surely be punished by the mighty wrath of Crom!

THRIPS said...

Hey, i downloaded this twice and couldn't get it to ope right. anybody else having trouble?

Aesop said...

I just tried it and it worked fine for me.

Danny said...

I can't open it properly either.

Danny

tailsofbeasts said...

ordinarily I wouldn't touch this shit with a barge pole but what a surprise this record turned out to be. Nice!
tailsofbeasts

mike said...

How awesome would that cover be painted on the back of a jean jacket?! That's what I wanted for years. This post may be the push I need to get it done!

Lanticus said...

Couldn't open it either.
I'm gonna try again.
My boy Jay has been calling me out for awhile now for not having any Fate's Warning.

Best. Blog. Ever., by the way.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the "Steely" be called "The Iommi"?

Eric Paradox said...

Absolutely love this album. I too don't really enjoy any other Fates Warning albums, this one appeals to that side of me that loves Jag Panzer and old Satan's Host and Helloween. just great oldschool heavy metal with a little hint of the prog and power metal that would come in the 90's.