Awaken The Guardian-Reissues
9/15/2005 - Review by: Ken Pierce
Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian (Remastered/Expanded Edition) - 2005 - Metal Blade Records
One cannot deny the contributions that Fates Warning has given to the Progressive Metal genre over the course of their career. They were one of the first to be labeled as such a band and if one listens to their release “Awaken The Guardian” you can easily see why. This 3rd release by the band is considered a masterpiece among fans of Progressive Heavy Metal music. Given their being a major staple in the Metal Blade Records artist roster it was fantastic to see this CD (originally released in 1986) be given the upgrade. This CD is special for a number of reasons for it is not only a careful and effective remaster of the original release; it is also a bonus CD and DVD as well. On the original CD, the music is clearer and everything just seems to have a little more punch. John Arch’s vocals slice through Frank Aresti’s guitar playing like a knife. The drums and bass are also nice and solid and seem to be a little heavier even on the updated version. You will feel as if you are listening to brand new recordings of songs like “The Sorceress” and “Guardian” when you first begin to absorb the CD. The bonus CD is more geared towards the type of fan who used to hunt for demos and alternate versions of tracks that were on an album. I remember endless walks through Greenwich Village in NYC with Friends who were like that. Comprised mainly of demos and live tracks this is sure to fill the need for those who hold this album in high regard.
The addition of the DVD that is the third disc is also a welcome thing but the buyer must be aware of the limitations that plague this video. It’s more important to take this as a piece of history in the bands career than a fine audio visual of the band. Filmed at a live concert at The Sundance club in Long Island on 12/28/1986; the viewer gets to enjoy what appears to be the only footage of the lineup of 1986. There is a terrible audio hissing, so you might want to play it low and just take in the visual. To my knowledge no other live footage of Fates Warning when John Arch was singing for them exists. The packaging is smartly done as well, as the whole thing is surrounded by a cardboard box that holds the two jewel-cases very nicely. The booklet is filled with lyrics and pictures while the DVD contains liner notes from Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy. This CD/DVD is not only for the diehard Fates Warning fans, but also those that enjoy the band and replace that original copy that will sound so inferior compared to this.
Check it out.
--Ken Pierce 09.01.05
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