(9/10) 2018 is the year of two glorious comebacks of Seattle-based bands that released milestone records in metal during the 80’s. Prog masters Heir Apparent is one of them and Fifth Angel is the other one. The latter released a terrific debut in 1986. Songs like ‘In the Fallout’ and ‘Fifth Angel’ belong to the best metal records up till now. Three years later it was the sophomore ‘Time Will Tell’ that included another eleven metal hymns. Timeless metal tunes such as ‘Cathedral’ and ‘Angel of Mercy’ are as relevant today as they were in 1989. Metal Blade recently re-released the two albums a few months ago and there is more to come.
After the band stopped in 1990 it was in 2009 when the metal community received some signals of activity in the Fifth Angel camp and it was the 2017 show at the Keep It True festival that led to a deal with Nuclear Blast Records.
The first countable result of this new cooperation is Fifth Angel’s third album, a record a lot of people dreamed of but never thought that it would become real. It became reality though and here it is – ‘The Third Secret’.
The longplayer features ten new songs, done by the core team of Fifth Angel at the time, which is Ken Mary, John Macko and Kendall Bechtel. In the meantime, the band grew to a quartet with former Fifth Angel member Ed Archer rejoining the band in summer this year.
One of the first songs that were unveiled is ‘Can You Hear Me?’. The track got a lyric video and it’s the first impressive teaser for the album. The almost five minutes long track shows excellent melodic power metal that reminds a bit more of the debut days than the ‘Time Will Tell’-phase with a calmer chorus and the bombastic chorus, crafted in perfection.
Fifth Angel maintained their great sense for melodies over time, reflected in songs like the uptempo opener ‘Stars Are Falling’. Equipped with great hooks, the track reflects the 80’s metal roots, transferred into the here and now. The songs sound more modern while the metal spirit found its ways from past to present.
Next on the batting order is ‘We Will Rise’, being a real metal anthem before the mid-tempo ‘Queen of Thieves’ takes over. The song needs a few more spins before unveiling its beauty and it’s ‘Dust to Dust’ that could have been on one of the first two records too. Via the mentioned ‘Can You Hear Me’ listeners get to ‘This is War’. Moderate pace, great vocals, powerful riffs and a pounding rhythm is what characterizes the song.
‘Fatima’ comes as a power ballad. I actually don’t like the word but it describes the song quite well. Chiming bells and an acoustic intro kick-off the track, a song that slowly builds up to an energetic metal track, always keeping soulfulness as the main theme.
One of the highlights on the album is the title track ‘The Third Secret’. The way this anthemic song is built, and also the Bechtel’s vocals, reminded me of Dio. Fifth Angel shifts gears with ‘Shame on You’ before the melodic metal acts as the grand finale.
‘The Third Secret’ isn’t a secret anymore. The album is unveiled and sits in the starting blocks. Fifth Angel added a great album to their offer and the only thing that’s maybe missing is a metal rocket-like ‘Cathedral’ or ‘In the Fallout’. Anyhow, besides that it’s great to listen to ‘The Third Secret’. Welcome back Fifth Angel.
- Stars are Falling
- We Will Rise
- Queen of Thieves
- Dust to Dust
- Can You Hear Me?
- This is War
- Third Secret
- Shame on You
- Hearts of Stone
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date EU: October 26th, 2018