Fates Warning – No Exit
Similar in style to Crimson Glory (more on them later), Fates Warning were another band to adopt a power/thrash approach to progressive metal.
Formidable and frenetic, it’s the 22 minute epic,“The Ivory Gate of Dreams” which looms large over prog metal history; Fates Warning taking the genre by the scruff of the neck and dragging it kicking and screaming into mainstream acceptance.
No Exit also thrashed hard, check out “Anarchy Divine”, while incorporating progressive metal’s composite structures and Ray Alder’s intensly powerful vocals continued where his predecessor, John Arch, left off; vocals that may be an acquired taste but were to become a staple in late 80’s/early 90’s prog metal.
No Exit is as surprisingly experimental now as it was in 1988, its rampant time changes and Ray Alder’s intensely powerful vocals proving as indelibly effective as ever.
Rigor Mortis – Rigor Mortis
Rigor Mortis‘ self titled debut opened with a furious instrumental that pretty much set the scene for the entire record. Violently relentless, Rigor Mortis‘ raw production, animalistic tendencies and jugular-slashing riffs lent them a kinship to Death‘s Scream Bloody Gore, Possessed‘s Beyond The Gates and Kreator’s absolute classic Pleasure To Kill but these were an animal all of their own making, with the formative years of death metal clearly heard within guitar god Mike Scaccia’s (RIP) lightning-speed tremolo picking and the abrasive rasping vocals of Bruce Corbitt.
The whole record is nigh on flawless but if an introduction to these speed-freaks is required then listen to “Demons”….you’ll soil yourself!
Some may argue Rigor Mortis epitomised 80’s thrash metal…..and some people are right!
Sword – Sweet Dreams
The epitome of metal in its purest form, Sword’s Sweet Dreams bucked the trends of the decade and simply metalled the fuck up, embellishing the quality found on of 1986’s outstanding Metalized by adding even more melody and a shit-ton of shred!
Neither thrash, power or speed metal, Sweet Dreams was simply a traditional metal album, built on effective riffs, convincing vocals and massive hooks. In fact, Sword seemed to have perfected a melodic Megadeth sound years before Dave Mustaine courted the mainstream while incorporating the flamboyant, fun and frantic nature of arena-worthy 80’s metal.
100% heavy metal led by Rick Hughes’ outstanding vocals, Sweet Dreams retains its charms 30 years after the fact….there can be no better recommendation than that!