Fates Warning – “Night On Bröcken” (1984)

In my opinion, Fates Warning was the jewel of Metal Blade’s roster in the early years of that label.  I’m a big fan of Fates Warning’s first three albums (the “John Arch years”).  Night On Bröcken was Fates Warning’s debut.  Though the British metal influence (Iron Maiden in particular) was evident, Fates Warning had a secret weapon in John Arch, whose fussy, ethereal vocal style went against the grain of what was considered normal at the time.  With an album like Night On Bröcken, there is a significant time investment required by the listener in order to “get into” the album.  This album seems to get better and better with repeated listens.  Arch’s vocal melodies keep the listener off-balance, which, at first, may seem like a cumbersome experience.  But with time, it becomes clear that Arch was a creative and unique talent.

The guitar duo of John Matheos and Victor Arduini patched together fine riffs, harmonies, and leads.  Much of this calls to mind Iron Maiden’s stuff, but somewhat thicker and darker in nature.  There are two instrumentals on Night On Bröcken, which do not add too much value (unless you need a piss break), but pretty much every other track on the album is a winner.  Buried Alive and Kiss Of Death are two faves.  So too is Damnation, which incorporates some softer segments backed by acoustic guitar.  The title track contains arguably the album’s most memorable moment; at the 2:50 mark, the song turns on its head and eventually unveils a soaring, epic, refrain.

Night On Bröcken was originally issued with the cover art shown above.  This was the art presented to Metal Blade by the band.  Apparently, the fact that this painting looks like something out of a children’s coloring book was lost on the band.  Metal Blade replaced the cover art shortly thereafter with this sorry piece of crap.  In time, Metal Blade decide that one sucked too, and changed the cover to this boring mound of feces.  My score: A-

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One thought on “Fates Warning – “Night On Bröcken” (1984)

  1. Excellent album….classic album just like Jag Panzer’s “Ample Destruction” which was released the same month as this September 1984.

    It was Jag Panzer’s “Ample Destruction” that inspired me to get this, because all the Jag Panzer fanatics at my high school swore up and down that this was a molten metal headbanger, ala “Ample Destruction”.

    Fates Warning had the career I thought Jag Panzer was going to have, ( back to back to back to back classic albums). Jag Panzer was 3 different bands with there first 3 albums Ample…..Chain of Command…and Dissident Alliance, where as Fates Warning keep progressing, while keeping there cores sound.

    Liege Lord cited as influences of Jag Panzer, Fates Warning and Savage Grace, and I do hear alot of Fates Warning in Liege Lord’s sound.

    The cover art with the moon, has been pressed on CD 3 times, Metal Blade/ Restless 7 seriesand Metal Blade/ Music for Nations in the CD Zorro series…and Metal Blade/ Holland & Metal Blade/ Sony (RED), in the MBR 3984-series.

    The CD pressing with the original artwork would of been the 4th pressing, with bonus tracks.

    Classic album !!!!!!!

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