Groundbreaking progressive metal act Fates Warning’s second album is finally seeing the ramaster treatment, and while The Spectre Within is certainly no Awaken the Guardian, No Exit, or Perfect Symmetry, it still remains an important recording in the history of the genre, and one the band and many of their fans still look back on with fond memories.
Who can forget such metal classics as the heavy “Traveler in Time”, the epic “Epitaph”, or the sheer prog-metal delight of ‘The Apparition.” The latter especially showed off the wild vocal talents of John Arch, whose high- pitched screams took the Bruce Dickinson influence up another level. While many claimed that Fates Warning were nothing more than an Iron Maiden/Rush clone in their early days, the heaviness of this album, as well as Night on Brocken, the band’s debut, proved they were no mere copycat, as they added intelligent lyrics and lots of complex riffs to go along with the crunch factor. Rampaging tracks like “Orphan Gypsy”, complete with fantasy- based lyrics, and the hard- hitting “Kyrie Eleison”, are both metal classics, and revered by fans to this day.
There are a few bonus tracks, such as “Radio Underground”, plus a few other live, demo, and rehearsal cuts. The sound quality on these is obviously pretty poor, but their inclusion is more for the collector than anything else. The remaster job on the album tracks however is stellar, and does this whole package justice. While many Fates Warning fans are divided on the John Arch vs. Ray Alder years, this is still an important album in the history of Fates Warning and progressive metal.