HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Blitzkrieg - Sins And Greed
(Metal Nation)

NWOBHM stalwarts Blitzkrieg keep cranking out studio and live records, keep playing live, keep flying the flag for their patented brand of thrashy NWOBHM, y'know, melodic and gothic speed metal heavied up through the inspiration of bands like Exciter, Razor, Anvil, Metallica and Exodus. End result is a record good and solid for 1986 and, presumably, for fans who want more records like that. The material is a notch up o'er '02's dreadful Absolute Power, as is the production, although, this record's production is still bad compared to almost anything out there, especially with respect to drums. The band's unique dimension remains presence of the doomy, gloomy, yet plaintive and clear and measured Brian Ross at the mic, and the guys find the odd really cool riff (Desolation Angel), but man, you gotta really love the old shit to find nourishing repast amongst these curmudgeonly British bread crusts.
Rating 5.5

Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian
(Metal Blade)

Metal Blade is quietly distinguishing themselves as reissue gods - when they go for it, they dive in with two sets of devil horns, as witnessed through their Voivod and Armored Saint campaigns of recent. Awaken The Guardian is now the focus, and why? Well, as Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy explains as the punch line to the liner essay, Fates Warning really deserves the credit (he says, over his own band), for the invention of progressive metal, even if, of course, it's Rush first. As well, Awaken The Guardian is the fan fave, perennially paired with The Spectre Within but always ranked well above it, both records creating a maelstrom of doomy metal punctuated with time signature changes and riffs a' plenty, as with H.P. Lovecraft, an alternate, enchanted universe extraneous of time is achieved. Cool thing here, one disc is left to stand sacrosanct as the album proper. Next, a second disc gathers three sonically sound demo tracks from the album, as well as six live tracks - of lesser quality. A third disc culls the only known live footage from the era, and is also of a quality somewhere between bootleg and cheaply intended for issue. Besides the surprise Portnoy tribute, only lyrics and band shots are included, so it's a little thin on the book stuff. All is housed in a two jewel case pack, cardboard over-sleeve holding it together.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5