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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

REVIEW: Black Fate (GER) - Commander of Fate (1986)



Black Fate were a German heavy metal band in the eighties releasing only one full length album in 1986 called 'Commander of Fate'. Compared to the more rocking material that their country-mates such as Sinner, Railway, and MP (Metal Priests) were putting out at the time, Black Fate leaned more towards purest form heavy metal, perhaps influenced more by early eighties era NWOBHM. Music on the album could be described as a combination of Accept and early Running Wild riffs with healthy dose of NWOBHM influence. Averagely powerful singer Michael Hüttemann is able to use both more rough mid range voice (as in 'Champange'), as well as classic clean mid-range heavy metal vocals (majority of the time), and despite being German, with his good pronunciation he almost resembles of Angel Witch's Dave Tattum at times, with similar dramatic sounding tone, just not as powerful. Hüttemann's clean, non-soaring and stable wailing does hold some magic on it's own.

Rhythm guitar riffs by Stefan Witt and Michael Roll are quite straight-forward, with standard mid-fast palm muted "chainsaw" riffing and power chords in roots of Judas Priest, Accept and earlier Running Wild. Melodic, dry, and gloomy sounding deliberate lead guitars spice up the songs very nicely nodding towards NWOBHM influence. This can be heard especially in songs like epic mid-tempo Child Of Hell with it's gloomy and dramatic atmosphere, where distorted and clean electric guitar passages take turns. The classy and haunting chorus echoes in spirit of the most honest and pure early eighties heavy metal with lots of emotion. This song could very well be fit somewhere in Angel Witch's second album Screamin'N'Bleedin', being perhaps the best track of the whole record. Other melody driven tracks include speedier 'Wild In The Streets' and mid-paced 'Warchild'. Both tracks have great NWOBHM'ish vocals and strong memorable chorus lines. 'Champagne' is speedy track in style of "early Running Wild meets Motörhead", where Hüttemann uses his rougher singing style quite successfully. 'Frozen Tears' is standard half-ballad with acoustic versus electric guitar deathmatch, with some keyboards thrown on the background. 'Heaven Can Wait' is your standard upbeat palm-muted rhythm-guitar-laden Accept influenced track, while 'Midnight' reminds me of 'Head Over Heels'.

All in all 'Commander of Fate' is rather good effort, but I feel that the guys could had made it even better by pressing "gas pedal" further towards the floor. It definitely sounds like mix of traditional German heavy metal and NWOBHM. Rhythm guitar riffs are quite standard but solid, and riffing is more tight than sloppy, and deliberate lead guitars are rather non-flashy but beautiful, adding some quite memorable well thought out melodies in the songs. Every band member can hold his own. The sound production is decently good, though maybe slightly thin. Bass playing is audible in the mix and sounds pleasant. Drumming is rather standard, but I like Ralf Berndt use of cymbals/hi-hat. Generally speaking 'Commander Of Fate' is not one of the most generic albums around and does have it's fair share of gloomy quite memorable melodies and good clean mid-range vocals. Being quite enjoyable ride, Commander Of Fate lacks the biggest classics. Epic Child Of Hell is potential candidate for a minor classic, Heaven Can Wait, Midnight, and Warchild are semi-great, but the rest of the material doesn't quite reach the same status, despite being "good". That being said there are no real fillers either, meaning that the performance is quite solid from the first to last song. If you enjoy Breaker-Restless And Wild-era Accept, Running Wild's Gates To Purgatory, or melodic NWOBHM such as Grim Reaper, then I'm sure this album has a place in your collection.


77

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Frank Sondermann - Bass
  • Ralf Berndt - Drums
  • Stefan Witt - Guitars
  • Michael Roll - Guitars
  • Michael Hüttemann - Vocals

  • 1. Heaven Can Wait 03:18
  • 2. Champagne 03:36
  • 3. Child Of Hell 06:03
  • 4. Wild In The Streets 03:16
  • 5. Warchild 06:00
  • 6. Frozen Heart 06:04
  • 7. Prelude 00:42
  • 8. Midnight 05:12
    • Total running time: 34:11





For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – Fate
Type – LP/G/86
Near Mint – $135
Very Good+ - $75













2 comments:

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    1. Hey Michael, nice to see you read my humble little review, and thanks for your post! English is not my main language, but I'm trying to learn it while blogging - thus my reviews aren't perfect.

      By the way, I accidentally pressed "delete" on your comment, when I was supposed to press "reply", thus that's the reason why your comment was accidentally deleted. My apologizes!

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