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Fate - If Not For The Devil

If Not For The Devil
by YngwieViking at 18 November 2013, 4:28 PM

With an astonishing amount of uncontrollable shifts of destiny, a few tricks of good fortune and many bad luck twists along their history, the FATE’s saga is spread for almost 30 years now, the band wasn’t always in full activity since 1985 and the release of their first album, that was regarded back then, only, as a solo AOR fantasy outlet for Hank Sherman after his departure from the legendary and almighty MERCYFUL FATE. Soon , it became obvious that FATE, was much more than that, and they even managed to follow their tortuous path without Mr. Sherman (ex-BRATS / ZOSER MEZ / GUTRIX / FORCES OF EVIL / VOLBEAT), they had also to reinvent themselves after the disappointing "Cruisin' For A Bruisin'” album, they changed for a much better singer, known back then as Per Henriksen (later renamed Johansson) and they discovered a really young amazing six strings player : from Sweden’s FROZEN EYES and future ultra charismatic leader of his very own famous trio FREAK KITCHEN: the one and only Mattias Eklundh.

Those brilliant additions were tremendous, it was the beginning of an updated version of FATE and it really pushed the 1990’s “Scratch And Sniff” album to the very top of unexpected heights, (a very recommended album reissued in 2005 by MTM classix) however the curse was still vivid and so, the musical chairs game, and its  vicious circle started again, quickly FATE & Eklundh parted ways, he was replaced by future UREAS guitar player Soren Hoff, with whom the band recorded a couple of demos work and from time to time the Danish gang did some gigs, before vanishing in consequence of the departure of forming drummer Bjarne T. Holm (MERCYFUL FATE / ZOSER MEZ / GUTRIX / FORCES OF EVIL) and beginning an intensive winter ten years sleep in 1993.

The musical legacy of FATE survived in the burning heart of many fans, in 2004, after a few years of a deafening silence, on a wake of an exceptional reforming show promoting the reissue work of their early albums, the FATE gang was reunited for good, they were back on the right tracks with nothing than their best album ever, rightfully titled “V” released in early 2006, this platter was highly controversial, but it remains at least for me a hot re-discovery and a rough jewel, still very underrated by most, the sound was heavier and the riffs sharper, the new direction was done in a perfect timing and embellished by a new vocal concept that fit perfectly with the more adventurous style.

Once again, the strong conquering dynamic was broken by another change in the personnel line-up, but fortunately the hassles became an advantage and all turned well, 'cause with the amazing reinforcement duo comprised of Guitar wiz Torben Enevoldsen (FATAL FORCE / SECTION A / DECOY) and a new singer Dagfinn Joensen (hailing from the Faroe Islands), with a good technique and a voice type more consensual than ultra the high pitch of Per Johansson (THIRD EYE / UREAS), firstly discovered and exposed in the anniversary compilation “25 Years The Best Of 1985-2010” and confirmed as an irresistible asset in their new function, by another quite interesting album called “Ghosts From The Past” (AOR Heaven), more accessible and much more related to the authentic musical heritage but with clearly a new edge and still an untarnished sense of melodic power. “If Not For The Devil” is the FATE’s album number one for Avenue Of Allies  label, it’s the straight continuation of the back to the roots sound initiated at the early stage of their fourth era of this intrepid band.

Today the line-up contains only one original member the bass player / mastermind Peter Steincke (aka Pete Steiner) but the ultimate crew additions demonstrated that are still very important as wonderful Keys player Mikkel Henderson (BURNING KINGDOM / SEVEN THORNS / ex-CIRCUS MIND), the Dagfinn Joensen vocals are in the perfect coherency with the Melodic Metal style and the lead guitar spots are always the cherry on the cake. As always with Torben, the guitar tone is tasty as hell and reveals an immense fluidity and an ultra-melodic density uplifted by some hi-tech shredding capacity, his superb solos only, are worth buying the disc.

The genre constantly displayed from begin to the end in “If Not For The Devil” is ranged from Heavy AOR (“Feels Like Making Love” / “Gambler” / ”Hard To Say Goodbye”) mostly in the first part of the disc to a softened Melodic Power Metal (“Taught To Kill”/”Reaping”), both stylistic side are reinforced with an intensive Scandinavian hooks method (both “My World” and ”Gimme All Your Love“ sounds like modern TREAT), some layered keys used with a fierce presence in the mix (“Man Against The Wall”), and a few Euro Metal flavors (“Turn Back Time” / ”Made Of Stone”). Once again, their compatriot Jacob Hansen handles the mixing duties, with the huge talent that he is known for, with a perfect dedicated focus in the guitar / keyboards relationship balance.

If you were already a fan of this legendary Danish outfit, this is an essential release… If in a randomly manner, you want to extend your narrow musical universe: This is the right approach to a beautiful way of playing Melodic Metal without cheesiness, topped by an impressive equilibrium of antagonistic elements with an disarming ease and a superb homogeneity, in a faultless fashion that is finally rarely seen in our days.

4 Star Rating

1. Reaping
2. If Not for the Devil
3. Bridges Are Burning
4. Feel Like Making Love
5. Gambler
6. Hard to Say Goodbye
7. Made of Stone
8. Man Against the Wall
9. My World
10. Turn Back Time
11. Taught to Kill
12. Gimme All Your Love
Torben Enevoldsen – Lead Guitar
Jens Berglid - Drums
Peter Steincke - Bass
Dagfinn Joensen – Lead Vocals
Mikkel Henderson - Keyboards
Record Label: Avenue Of Allies


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