FATES WARNING — Night On Bröcken

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FATES WARNING - Night On Bröcken cover
2.78 | 32 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Buried Alive (4:40)
2. The Calling (5:03)
3. Kiss Of Death (4:38)
4. Night On Bröcken (5:29)
5. S. E. K. (1:19)
6. Misfit (5:06)
7. Shadowfax (3:16)
8. Damnation (6:27)
9. Soldier Boy (6:24)

Total Time 42:26


- John Arch / Vocals
- Jim Matheos / Guitar
- Victor Arduini / Guitar
- Joe DiBiase / Bass
- Steve Zimmerman / Drums

About this release

September 9th, 1984
Metal Blade

Reissued in 2002 with the following bonus tracks:

10. Last Call (Misfit demo, 1984) (5:39)
11. The Calling (rehearsal, 1983) (4:36)
12. Kiss Of Death (live at L'amour, 1985) (4:35)
13. Flight Of Icarus (rehearsal, 1983) (5:18)

Thanks to [email protected], Stooge, Lynx33, adg211288, 666sharon666, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Back in the early 80's when the metal world was going crazy for the rise of thrash metal and the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), a new, Connecticut-based band quietly unleashed this gem upon the world, to little or no mainstream recognition; Fates Warning were laying down the blueprint for what would become progressive metal.

Sounding almost identical to early Iron Maiden, 'Night on Bröcken' takes most of its influence from the NWOBHM, with melodic, galloping guitar riffs, choc-full of harmonies and duel-guitar leads. Vocalist John Arch even sounds like Maiden's Bruce Dickinson at times. But with some interesting song arrangements and a few odd time-signatures thrown in, Fates Warning were laying down the foundations that bands like Dream Theater and Queensrÿche would build upon to make prog metal what it is today.

Fates Warning would certainly go on to release better albums than this, but this is a good, solid debut, with some memorable songs and some catchy hooks. Sadly, this record hasn't really stood the test of time, as it's mostly forgotten about today. But if you like NWOBHM or you're interested to hear the roots of progressive metal, then it's worth keeping an eye out for.
siLLy puPPy
FATES WARNING was formed all the way back in 1982 in Hartford, CT in the midst of the NWOBHM really taking the world by storm. In the beginning the band consisted of the twin guitar assault of Jim Matheos (the only constant member since the beginning) and Victor Arduini, drums handled by Stever Zimmerman, bass by Joe DiBiase and the trenchant vocal duties of John Arch whose well developed tenor head voice earned him comparisons to Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Midnight of Crimson Glory, but as the majority of reviewers of this album have already pointed out, it’s Iron Maiden who gets most of the credit for pretty much all of the influences on board on this debut release NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN. The title comes from a mountain in Germany associated with witches in Goethe’s “Faust.”

It’s hard to believe this band would go on to become one of the most innovative progressive metal bands of the ages on this release. First of all there is nothing progressive here at all and it is debatable if there is really anything original at all to be heard. To me this sounds like an Iron Maiden demo in a parallel universe where Bruce Dickinson was in the band at the beginning and recorded a demo or two. I have a highly sensitive ear to plagiarism and it doesn’t get any stronger than on this first album. Not only does Arch nail Dickinson’s vocals in tone, register and intensity but the guitars and bass perfectly mirror Maiden’s thundering galloping and chord progressions. The three albums “Number Of The Beast,” “Piece Of Mind” and “Powerslave” are the fertile grounds of choice to copy here and it sounds to me like they simply rearranged riffs, leads, drum rolls etc to create newly assembled songs with new titles.

Just a few examples: “Kiss Of Death” uses a “2 Minutes 2 Midnight” riff and “Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariners” gallop. “Night On Bröcken” employs a “Quest For Fire” drum roll which is followed by the band almost exactly like the original. “Shadowfax” copies “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra).” I could go on and on about which track rips off which riffs, lead, drum roll etc but…. yawn! The acoustic “S.E.K.” may be the most original piece on here sounding like something different but unfortunately it only lasts over a minute. This one is an extreme disappointment. Not progressive. Not original. Not even a decent copycat job. I can stand it from time to time when a band simply nails every aspect of the band they are ripping off but in the case of NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN i find it hard to even sit through it without cringing. If you want a really good Iron Maiden clone band then go straight to Russia’s АРИЯ (Aria) who not only matches Maiden’s intensity and skill sets but also adds some original touches to the mix. This, i’m sorry to say, does none of that. For completists only.
Fates Warning would eventually become standard-bearers for 80s progressive metal, but their debut album shows no signs of the innovations or complexity to come. Instead, what we have here is some fairly simplistic metal clearly heavily influenced by Iron Maiden, to the point where John Arch seems to be trying to sound like Bruce Dickinson most of the time. However, at this point in time the band's compositional chops were nowhere close to Maiden's, leaving the songs here pale imitations of the sort of material their great inspiration was coming up with at the time. It's competently done, but there's little reason to give this one a spin if you've got Number of the Beast, Powerslave or Piece of Mind handy.
Fates Warning are often considered one of the most influential and important progressive metal acts, so this 1984 debut may come as a bit of a surprise for those who are only acquainted with their later works. Night on Bröcken is NWoBHM inspired traditional heavy metal in its purest form, with a very strong influence from Iron Maiden - as a matter of fact, Fates Warning could've very easily been labeled as an Iron Maiden clone back in these days. The progressive influences that characterized their later albums are only here in small doses, and this is first and foremost an old school traditional heavy metal release. This certainly isn't a problem for me, though, as Night on Bröcken is nine tracks of high- quality heavy metal that should undoubtedly appeal to fans of the genre. Fates Warning would go on to do greater things throughout their career, but Night on Bröcken is a promising debut from this legendary band.

As previously mentioned, Night on Bröcken sounds a hell of a lot like Iron Maiden. John Arch's powerful and downright terrific vocal delivery brings Bruce Dickinson to mind, the galloping basslines are here in abundance, and the melodic twin leads just scream NWoBHM. There are a few slightly progressive tendencies scattered throughout, but they aren't much more than you'd hear on The Number of the Beast; Fates Warning was focused almost exclusively at creating kick-ass heavy metal on this debut, and I'd say that they've succeeded for the most part. All of the songs are pretty catchy and well-composed, and it's also made clear on multiple occasions that Fates Warning are a pretty skillful group of musicians. Jon Arch's vocals ultimately end up taking the cake, though; he would improve even more on future albums, but his delivery here is top-notch. Simply one of the best heavy metal singers out there in my opinion.

There are lots of quality songs on Night on Bröcken, particularly the title track, "Buried Alive", "Damnation", and the instrumental "Shadowfax". This is a short-lived but extremely fun listen, and I always find myself having a great time when I put on Night on Bröcken. This may not be the most original eighties' heavy metal album out there, but it's difficult to deny quality like this. Even the production (a frequent complaint of mine on metal albums from this era) is quite impressive, and all of the instruments are clear and distinct. Hell, even the bass playing is audible! The production may sound a bit muddy and dated by today's standards, but it never detracts from my enjoyment.

Night on Bröcken is a pretty impressive debut effort from Fates Warning, and it's definitely a good purchase for fans of the band as well as traditional heavy metal in general. You won't find much in the way of originality (that would come on the next few albums), but you will hear plenty of great metal tunes for sure. I'd say this is a pretty good example of a 3 star album. Night on Bröcken is largely inessential within the context of Fates Warning's discography, but I'd still give it a warm recommendation to anybody who has already heard their more classic releases. All in all, a good listen for those curious about where one of America's most important prog metal acts began.
"Night on Bröcken" is the debut full-length studio album by US metal act Fates Warning. The album was released in September 1984 by Metal Blade Records.

While Fates Warning is predominently known for their progressive metal sound, the music style on their early albums, and in particular on "Night on Bröcken", is in a more typical eighties heavy metal style. The tracks are vers/chorus structured and the influence from early NWoBHM bands is worn on the sleeve. Queensrÿche is the closest comparison though but the music on "Night on Bröcken" never quite reach the hights of Queensrÿche´s debut album "The Warning (1984)". The music is pretty straight forward heavy metal and there are not many twists. Some harmony lead guitar themes and a couple of well played solos are some of the assets on the album. The high pitched vocals by lead vocalist John Arch are outstanding though, that man is just born with the most powerful pipes ever. He is such a skilled singer. He would improve even more on subsequent albums though. The two tracks that stand out the most is the short acoustic guitar piece "S.E.K." and the instrumental "Shadowfax". The rest are pretty standard heavy metal tracks of a decent quality.

The sound production is pretty typical for eighties heavy metal with a thumb drum sound and distorted rythm guitars that don´t pack too much punch. It´s allright but nothing more.

It´s been a couple of years since the last time I listened to "Night on Bröcken" and to my surprise I´m enjoying the album a bit more these days. It´s still not an album I spin very often or probably will spin very often in the future, but it´s a decent album considering the time of it´s release and a 2.5 - 3 star rating isn´t all wrong.
Time Signature
The calling...

Genre: traditional heavy metal with progressive elements

Quite reminiscent of Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate and, less so, Judas Priest, "Night on Bröcken" contains a number of decent tunes, some of which are actually very good. It is obvious that Fates Warning have not quite found their own sound yet on this album, but they are certainly on their way. Jon Arch is a magnificent singer, and this album really show that. However, I do think that the vocal acrobatics get out of hand now and then.

"Night on Bröcken" is certainly worth buying if you like classic metal and progressive metal.

Members reviews

Fates Warning's first record is a mediocre mixture of heavy metal, power metal and a few smooth progressive metal passages that is actually easy to listen to but not outstanding enough to survive amongst many groundbreaking releases of the same period. Basically, we have a young band that worships the sounds of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal by sounding like their most recognized heroes Iron Maiden and we can also hear some influences from Judas Priest, Rainbow, Triumph, Black Sabbath, Dio and even Queensrÿche in here. I would say that this album overall sounds rather European than American. This album has probably influenced the early years of European power metal around bands such as Helloween and later on Stratovarius.

The problem with "Night On Bröcken" is that I would not only prefer the original influences to this record but also the bands that were influenced them and kicked off their very own style with these basics afterwards. Let's say that too many songs sound too similar and are mid paced heavy metal tracks with some high pitched power metal vocals. Let's say that John Arch's vocals are the most outstanding and memorable thing about the band but I would still always prefer a Geoff Tate. The two instrumental tracks only have a filler status and are quite bearable.

This is still easy listening party metal with a pretty high standard and fans of early Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche or Helloween won't do anything wrong with the purchase of this album. But it's far from being essential or original and hasn't anything special to offer a part of its entertaining factor. The highlight is surely the epic and rather diversified album closer "Soldier Boy" that justifies the existence of the band and gives us a little glimpse at what would come from this group in the near future.

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