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FATES WARNING Awaken The Guardian Live

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 2:31 PM


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FATES WARNING
Awaken The Guardian Live

Metal Blade Records 2017




These are the days when bands we grew up with are celebrating the thirtieth or thirty-fifth anniversaries of the release of albums that once provided the soundtrack to our teenage years or played a vital role in the formation of our tastes in music. As far as I'm concerned, my first reaction when I see that this or that album was released thirty years ago is the awful realization that I'm getting older, which is not necessarily a bad thing but … you know. However, the beauty of it is that such anniversaries are often marked with tours and releases of special live DVDs and CDs afterwards.

Last year, progressive metal pioneers FATES WARNING marked the thirtieth anniversary of the release of their legendary milestone album Awaken The Guardian with two special festival appearances of the Awaken The Guardian-era line-up on either side of the Atlantic. The first show was on April 30, 2016 at the Keep It True XIX festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany and the second one on September 9, 2016 at Prog Power USA XVII in Atlanta, GA. Both shows are now to be released as Awaken The Guardian Live in various formats, ranging from the strictly limited (2,000 copies) “Deluxe Edition Artbook” with 52 pages, 4 CDs, a DVD and a blu-ray to a double CD + DVD digipack and various vinyl editions.

At both shows FATES WARNING performed Awaken The Guardian in its entirety. The German show, directed and edited by Oliver "Bomber" Barth, also included “The Apparition”, “Damnation”, “Night On Brocken”, and “Epitaph”, while at Prog Power USA, John Arch, Jim Matheos, Frank Aresti, Joe DiBiase and Steve Zimmerman added “Damnation”, “The Apparition”, “Kyrie Eleison” and “Epitaph” to the performance of their milestone album. The sound recording and video editing of the US show were in the capable hands of Kent Smith. Both shows were and mixed and mastered by Bill Metoyer.

The big question is now how the reunited Awaken The Guardian line-up handles the extremely demanding material from thirty years ago. The answer is simple: they do a bloody brilliant job. The band sounds absolutely superb at both shows, especially singer John Arch is in the best shape, still hitting all the characteristic high notes with ease and stamina just as if the last thirty years hadn't happened. The rhythm section is as tight as a duck's arse and the guitar work is awesome.

Quite why this package contains two shows with an almost identical setlist is not absolutely clear to me but each performance does cast a slightly different light on the highly complex music, so comparing the details of the two recordings of each song is definitely a worthwhile activity because this is bloody good music. Soundwise, I find that the recording of the US show has a bit more of a heavy edge and clarity to it than that of the German show, which comes across slightly sterile and less direct but I might be mistaken. Listen for yourself.

Awaken The Guardian Live is a must-have for all prog metal fans in general and, needless to say, for all FATES WARNING fans. This magnum opus of a DVD/CD live release will help you overcome any possible melancholy caused by the inevitable “What? Thirty years?” kind of reaction because this timeless music in a fresh and modern sound is the best antidote.

4.5 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of Awaken The Guardian Live in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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