Awaken the Guardian

Awaken the Guardian is the third studio album by progressive metal band Fates Warning, released in 1986 through Metal Blade Records. The album was the band's first to enter the U.S. Billboard 200, reaching No. 191 and remaining on that chart for four weeks.[1] It is also the first Fates Warning album to feature guitarist Frank Aresti and the last with original singer John Arch, who was replaced by Ray Alder on their subsequent 1988 album No Exit.

Awaken the Guardian
Studio album by
ReleasedLate 1986
RecordedSeptember–October 1986
StudioStagg Street Studios, Los Angeles; Preferred Sound, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
GenreHeavy metal, progressive metal, power metal
LabelMetal Blade
ProducerFates Warning, Brian Slagel
Fates Warning chronology
The Spectre Within
Awaken the Guardian
No Exit
Alternative cover
2005 deluxe edition


Awaken the Guardian has been reissued several times. The first was as part of a double album with No Exit in 1992,[2] followed by a remastered edition in 1994,[3] and once again as a deluxe Digipak edition on June 28, 2005.[4] The latter includes a bonus disc containing demos and live tracks, as well as a DVD of a concert from December 28, 1986 at the Sundance Club in Long Island, New York; this being the only known video footage of the Awaken the Guardian line-up performing live.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Rock Hard[6]

Robert Taylor at AllMusic gave Awaken the Guardian three stars out of five, calling it "a closet classic from the underground metal years of the '80s" and the song "Guardian" being noted as a highlight. As with Fates Warning's previous album The Spectre Within (1985), Taylor recommended it more for fans of heavy metal than progressive metal, remarking that "the song structures are too rudimentary to be called progressive."[5]

Jeff Wagner at Decibel magazine ranked the album at number 134 in the Decibel Hall of Fame, saying it was "one of the celebrated masterworks of the genre."[8] Adrien Begrand at PopMatters, reviewing the 2005 reissue, called it the best of Fates Warning's catalog, adding that "such a stirring combination of traditional metal and progressive sounds would never be duplicated by the band", and concluding that "Awaken the Guardian still resonates with life today" and it "solidifies Fates Warning's place in metal history."[7]

Loudwire named it in #4 on its list "Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time."[9]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Jim Matheos and John Arch, except where noted.

1."The Sorceress"5:44
2."Valley of the Dolls"5:22
3."Fata Morgana"5:25
5."Prelude to Ruin"7:23
6."Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter)" (Arch, Frank Aresti)6:00
7."Time Long Past" (Matheos)1:51
Total length:47:57


  • John Archvocals, production
  • Frank Aresti – guitar, production
  • Jim Matheos – guitar, production
  • Jim Archambault – keyboard
  • Steve Zimmerman – drums, production
  • Joe DiBiase – bass, production
  • Bill Metoyer – engineering
  • Scott Campbell – engineering assistance
  • Steve Himelfarb – engineering assistance
  • Kevin Beauchamp – engineering assistance
  • Dave Obrizzo – engineering assistance
  • Eddy Schreyer – mastering, remastering (reissue)

Chart performance

1987 Billboard 200 191[1]


  1. "Fates Warning Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  2. "Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian / No Exit". Discogs. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  3. "Fates Warning - Awaken The Guardian". Discogs. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  4. "Awaken The Guardian". Amazon. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  5. Taylor, Robert. "Awaken the Guardian - Fates Warning | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  6. Trojan, Frank. "FATES WARNING - Awaken The Guardian". Rock Hard (in German). Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  7. Begrand, Adrien (September 15, 2005). "Fates Warning: Awaken the Guardian (Expanded Edition)". PopMatters. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  8. Wagner, Jeff (March 2, 2016). "Fates Warning - "Awaken the Guardian"". Decibel. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  9. Hill, John (August 2, 2017). "Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time". Loudwire. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
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