Fates Warning is a band synonymous with the Progressive Metal genre. Although they have never achieved the popular success Progressive Metal bands like Queenryche and Dream Theatre did, Fates Warning is still regarded as one of the godfathers of the genre. Their influence can be heard in bands from Coheed and Cambria and Iced Earth, just to name a few.
In 2016, Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian celebrated its 30th anniversary. This album is by far the best made by the band and the last with the original lineup that included front-man John Arch.
To celebrate the anniversary of this album’s release, guitarist Jim Matheos reconstructed the album’s line up for two festival shows in Germany and Atlanta, Georgia. These shows were recorded and filmed to create Awaken the Guardian Live. The album’s cover has been given a bit of a modern makeover. The updates include some enhanced color and detail to the cover, giving it a more modern look without taking away its original integrity.
When listening to the album, the magic of Awaken the Guardian comes back as it did 30 years ago. John Arch’s voice sounds as good, if not better, than it did on the original album. Jim Matheos’ guitar work is as amazing today as it was when the original album was released. One of the highlights of the album is hearing the track “Guardian” live. This song begins with a soft 12-string guitar intro, then blasts into a heavy melodic metal song. The other highlight is the live version of “Valley of the Dolls.” This is by far the heaviest song on the album. It has a hard thrash sound, coupled with Arch’s operatic vocals, that makes it a true classic.
Awaken the Guardian Live is a great tribute to a groundbreaking album that has met the test of time. If you are a Fates Warning fan then I am preaching to the choir, because you have already pre-ordered this album. If you were a passive fan of Fates Warning, this album is a must. It brings the past to the present and you will enjoy how the album has held up over the years. If you weren’t born when Awaken the Guardian originally released, then definitely buy this album. You will enjoy hearing a band that has influenced some of the biggest metal bands of today.