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Classic Review: Fates Warning - Night on Brocken
Fates Warning
Night on Brocken

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1984
Duration: 42:24
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Metal


Review online: March 14, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 3.62/5 (72.34%) (47 Votes)

This is Fates Warning’s very first album, forged back in the early age of metal. It was just a taste of what they would later produce, but even though primitive by today’s standards, it still holds up very well.

Compared to later albums, this is a very straightforward CD, very reminiscent of Iron Maiden in the early days. The production is pretty raw, sounding almost like a four-track recorded in a garage at some points. It’s a testament to the band’s ability and the strength of the material that they can overcome the murky sound so well. "Buried Alive", "The Calling", and "Kiss of Death" are all in a similar vein: straight ahead metal songs with good riffs and catchy choruses. "Kiss of Death" stands out as especially memorable.

"Night On Brocken" is the first real sign of the Fates Warning to come. It’s a more epic song with a cool acoustical break before the final hammering passage. There’s no real chorus to this song, just an assembly of musical parts, it’s different and really stands out. "SEK" is a short instrumental, followed by "Misfit", which is perhaps the oldest Fates Warning song of all, and it’s a good tune, even though it is very primitive when compared to their later work.

"Shadowfax" is a nice acoustic interlude, then comes the real centerpiece of the album: "Damnation". A 6+ minute epic that starts out acoustic and then segues into a colossal riff that still ranks as one of their best. "Soldier Boy" is a solid head-banger, though it goes on a little long, finishing out the album at full throttle.

I have the ’94 reissue of this album with the full-moon photo on the cover, previously this album had a cover painting of witches on a mountaintop that was truly gruesomely bad. (Mount Brocken is in Germany, and was a famous gathering place for witches according to lore. If someone stands on the peak of the mountain at dawn on the vernal equinox the sun will strike them and supposedly cast a huge shadow on the morning mist, this is called the ‘Brocken Spectre’). There was another reissue of this very recently with several demo tracks added on as bonus, but I do not have that edition. The CD has some band photos and lyrics inside the small booklet.

"Night on Brocken" holds its own with any other album put out in ’84, and still holds up very well today. The production is very basic, but the songs are strong enough to shine through regardless. Anyone who likes old-school classic or straight ahead metal, or who cares about metal history, should have this in their collection.

More about Fates Warning...
Review: Awaken the Guardian (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Awaken the Guardian (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Awaken the Guardian (Re-issue) (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Inside Out (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Live At The Dynamo (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Live in Athens (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Long Day Good Night (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: No Exit (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Parallels (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Perfect Symmetry (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Spectre Within (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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