You know you always seem to have that band that you keep meaning to check out but never ever get a chance to do it? Growing up I always used to see Fifth Angel vinyl, CDs and cassettes (yes I am that old) as I perused the shelves at Radical Records and Metal Mayhem trying to find albums I should check out. I would normally see a Fifth Angel album, their artwork always stood out, but as nobody had ever recommended them to me I never took the chance on them. Well that and the fact that there were only ever two albums around – Fifth Angel and Time Will Tell – young me would never have understand that the band had already disbanded. Well now I just have to try and track down those older albums because I have just had a listen to the band’s new album, The Third Secret, their first new music in thirty-one years and I just have to say that it is absolutely amazing.
Perhaps the best thing about The Third Secret is it almost sounds as though this music was recorded thirty years ago. They could be forgiven if Fifth Angel had headed into the studio and decided that they wanted to modernise their sound… the good thing is they haven’t and this legitimately feels like what Fifth Angel would have released if they hadn’t disbanded all those years ago.
That old school Seattle sound shines straight through on ‘Stars Are Falling’ and as you listen to the amazing work of guitarist Kendall Bechtel it feels like I have jumped into a time machine and gone back to my ten-year-old self’s bedroom. On this album Bechtel actually does reveal himself as one of the most under-rated heavy metal musicians of all time. His playing on ‘We Will Rise’ continues to astound and the catchiness of the track makes you want to sing along. Bechtel is seriously a guitar God.
As the album goes on it seems to do the impossible and just get better and better. Bechtel’s vocals and playing takes a gruffer approach with ‘Queen Of Thieves’ which seems to capture the magic of ‘The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ perfectly. The smooth ‘Dust To Dust’ is well worth another listen but then comes ‘Can Your Hear Me’ which shows that Fifth Angel can also deliver a pretty epic sounding ballad as well.
The pounding drums of Ken Mary shine trough on ‘This Is War’ while in the vein of Ozzy Osbourne ‘Fatima’ is one of the songs of the year. There is so much crazy stuff going on in this song, instruments all seem to take their own path and then it is once again brought together by the amazing vocals of Bechtel. This is the kind of track that you can listen to over and over and never grow tired of… it is an instant classic.
‘Third Secret’ and ‘Hearts Of Stone’ are again healthy doses of good old school Seattle metal while the aggressive side of the band comes to the fore with ‘Shame On You’ who is obviously being aimed at somebody who pissed off the band… it is sang with force and meaning.
The Third Secret is just one of those albums that any true metal fan must have. As you listen to it your realise what a shame it is that Fifth Angel disbanded so long ago. With every track on this album pure perfection you can only think what might have been if these guys had been recording music together for the last thirty years. This album deserves to be considered a classic and I can only hope that we get to hear more music from these deserved legends over the next few years.