After almost 29 years between releases, the band Fifth Angel returns to the music scene with their third album, The Third Secret.
They came out of the same Seattle scene in the early 80’s (specifically Bellevue WA) that produced heavy metal stalwarts Queensryche and Metal Church. Following in the footsteps of Queensryche, they shopped a Terry Date produced four song demo that eventually got pick up by Shrapnel Records. Based on the strength of that release, they were picked up by Epic Records. They signed a big record deal in 1988 and were dubbed as rock’s next big band.
Their second album, Time Will Tell, was released in 1989 and got lost and overlooked due to the movement that would become Grunge. Ironically, Grunge also came from their home area of Seattle.
By 1990, Fifth Angel decided to call it quits and disbanded. Fast forward to 2009 and Fifth Angel reunited to headline the Keep It True festival in Germany. The reunion went well and lead to other shows and member changes. After settling on the line up of original members of guitarist Ed Archer, bassist John Macko, drummer Ken Mary and the Time Will Time guitarist Kendal Bechtel now turned lead vocalist, The Third Secret line up was set.
FIFTH ANGEL – The Third Secret
Quite simply The Third Secret is a very good heavy metal album. The record is full of guitars and great riffs. What really got me is how good of a vocalist Kendal Bechtel is. Replacing original vocalist Ted Pilot is no mean feat, but Kendal really succeeds. He has a dark tone in his voice and a ample range. His style reminds me of Ronnie James Dio. Another thing I really like about this album is its length. Clocking in at 43 minutes, the record does not overwhelm the listener with too much material. With so much time between releases, I could understand overloading the album with material, in order to make up for lost time. Quite the opposite has happened, as the album is to the point and a comfortable listen.
The record opens with the fast paced “Stars Are Falling.” This song is a good opener, with a speedy, driving tempo, a real pace setter. The next track is the more melodic “We Will Rise”, followed by the slow driving “Queen of Thieves.” The pace picks back up with the heavy “Dust to Dust.” It is at this point that I get a sense of how good a drummer Ken Mary is. Pounding bass, driving beats throughout, he takes the songs to the next level.
Things slow down with “Can You Hear Me.” While I do not consider this a ballad, it is extremely powerful and epic. It has a very moving guitar solo in it. “This Means War” brings that pace back up, with a quality Heavy Metal tune.
“Fatima” is another slower offering, while the title track follows. “Third Secret” may very well be my favorite track on this album. A mid tempo song, where you can really hear each musician take a turn in the spotlight. The guitar playing in this song is exquisite.
The album ends with two fact paced rockers, “Shame on You” and “Hearts of Stone.”