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Fates Warning - The Spectre Within CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

3.47 | 173 ratings

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4 stars "The Spectre Within" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US heavy metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 1985. The bandīs debut album "Night On Bröcken (1984)" was a decent and at times promising start for the band with itīs traditional heavy metal sound. "The Spectre Within" sees the band adopt more progressive elements although the music on the album should probably still predominantly be tagged traditional heavy metal.

The band are still heavily influenced by especially Iron Maiden, but the songwriting on "The Spectre Within" features an increased sophistication and tracks like "Traveler in Time" and "Epitaph" are to my ears fully fledged progressive metal tracks. They feature multible sections, intriguing instrumental parts and an epic touch. The more "regular" heavy metal tracks on the album are also quite sophisticated though. Check out the twin guitar solo in the opening minute of "Orphan Gypsy" for an example of that. The fast-paced "Kyrie Eleison" (fantastic track IMO), "Without a Trace" and "The Apparition" are great tracks too. The only track that feels a bit disjointed is "Pirates of the Underground" and despite that itīs still a great track.

The musicianship is generally on a high level but itīs lead vocalist John Arch that steals the show throughout the album. He is a spectacular vocalist and the vocal lines on the album are twisted and turned inside out through his masterful voice control. His somewhat nasal and extremely high pitched vocal style is probably an aquired taste, but no one should take away from him how passionate and skilled he is.

The sound production leaves a bit to be desired. To be honest itīs a bit powerless and typical for the eighties a lot of reverb has been applied to all instruments and vocals. Itīs definitely an issue but not one that completely kills the listening experience.

Even with a sound production thatīs slightly lacking in quality, itīs obvious that "The Spectre Within" is a special album. It should without a doubt be considered among the seminal progressive metal albums. Or at the very least it should be counted among the first albums released in the genre. Their closest relatives at this point were Queensrĸche and to a lesser extent Watchtower, but Fates Warning stood out as quite the unique act especially because of John Archīs vocals. I might be shooting a bit high here but I think a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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