Fireworks

Fates Warning 'Awaken The Guardian Live' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 14, 2018    
 
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It's proof that great songs can, and do, stand the test of time.

We all know what a wonderful Progressive Metal act Fates Warning have become over the years. Yet those newer fans of the group, who only know Ray Alder as the singer, might not realize that the band actually started life as far back as 1982, and at that time they were more of a straight ahead Metal band with Prog overtones. Their debut album, 'Night Of Bröcken', and follow-up, 'The Spectre Within', were lapped up by the Metalheads who were around at the start of the eighties, but it was their third album, 'Awaken The Guardian', where the world would finally start to take notice of them; it became a favourite amongst the Fates faithful, myself included. When I talked with band leader and guitarist Jim Matheos last year, I was intrigued and excited when he mentioned that the original members (who'd recorded 'Awaken...') were going to reform and perform the album in its entirety at a couple of Rock festivals, and here is the end result.

It's a wonderfully packaged box-set featuring the two live CD's and a DVD taken from the Keep It True XIX (Germany) and ProgPower XVII (USA) Festivals. As a long-time fan, I loved watching the DVD of the shows, and whilst not the big budget, massive stage events they should have been, the two gigs are still a wonderful testament to a group of musicians who have stayed friends over many years, and on this showing still love playing and performing music together.

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Regarding the concerts themselves, all you really need to know is that it's 'Awaken...' in all its glory with little fuss. After a short intro, the band hit the stage at Keep It True and it's like thirty odd years have just melted away. Matheos, John Arch, Frank Aresti, Joe DiBiase and Steve Zimmerman are on blistering form, and the loyal audience at both shows sing and clap along to every note with joy. To be honest, half of them probably weren't even born when this album was released, so this is a first time situation for many of them (makes you feel old, doesn't it?).

Tracks worth highlighting include 'The Sorceress', 'Fata Morgana', 'Guardian', 'Valley Of The Dolls', 'Prelude To Ruin' and, to be honest, all the others as well. If watching a classic Metal band performing a classic Metal album wasn't enough for you, then there's encores including 'The Apparition', 'Damnation', 'Night Of Bröcken' and 'Epitaph' to equally enjoy. Of the two shows, I'd say that the ProgPower show has the slightly better sound, but also slightly worse lighting. However, I was so enthralled by getting to hear this music played by the original band again that those small niggles were soon forgotten, and I just let myself get absorbed in all the nostalgia of the occasion.

Beautifully put together and presented, this, for a Fates Warning fan, is a must have release, and it's proof that great songs can, and do, stand the test of time.

Ian Johnson

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