Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day
This is progressive metal innovators Fates Warning’s debut album. John Arch is a singer I’ve always heard a ton about, even before I listened to any of their albums. It’s pretty amazing when a singer can be as regarded as he is with such a relatively small body of work. He certainly has an impressive high register, however I feel like he’s half Dickinson and half Tate in sound. The riffs on the album are certainly rockers, and kick some serious ass. They are easy riffs to bounce your head with. The elements are ALL there for the bands really cool style and sound. There are a lot of harmonized guitar solos that just kick ass too. The instrumental is REALLY great too, with a lot of awesome guitar work, and multi-faceted parts. Even though their second and third album are talked about way more than this one, I actually like this one the most of the three.
Founding guitarist Jim Matheos hates this album, calling it a demo that got upgraded to first album status, and the sound on the album backs that claim up. The guitars are a bit low in the mix, and the songs just sound like they’re rough cuts, or early ideas that hadn’t been fully fleshed out yet at certain points. Also, I think the opening track “Buried Alive” is EASILY the worst track on the entire album. It almost made me go into the album with a bad taste because of how boring it was. Finally, the Iron Maiden influence is pretty clear on this album, so it’s arguable if the band would take another album to really develop their own style.
Favorite Tracks: “Night on Bröcken,” “Shadoxfax,” “Kiss of Death,” “Misfit,” “The Calling.”
This isn’t a perfect album, and there are certainly moments that drag a bit, but it’s still great to me. The band showed that there was a lot of growing room, and that it would only get better from here, yet they still came out with a really interesting debut. Despite what their founding guitarist thinks, I really enjoyed this album a whole lot. It might not have been the birth album for their truly progressive material, but the riffs on it are even better, to me.