FATE – If Not For The Devil (2013)
Legendary Danish Melodic Hard Rockers FATE are back with their brand new album “If Not For The Devil”, which will be released worldwide on November 22nd through Avenue Of Allies.
Two years after their solid 2011 comeback CD, the new record features the same line-up featuring Dagfinn Joensen on lead vocals, Torben Enevoldsen on guitar, Mikkel Henderson on keyboards, Peter Steincke on bass and Jens Berglid on drums, and once again Jacob Hansen (Pretty Maids, Volbeat, Amaranthe) was behind the mixing desk.
“If Not For The Devil” delivers the traditional Fate melodic numbers, but also some harder, darker tracks placed in the second half of the disc.
All starts with the killer “Reaping”, a goose-bumping rocker driven by a kick-ass riff and smashing drumming, where the potent vocals are backed up by generous doses of keyboards.
Next, title track “If Not For The Devil” is one of my favourites; mixing hard with Scandinavian AOR this one is pure adrenalin via stabbing synths, a steady rhythm section and sharp guitars (including a great solo). It must be pointed Dagfinn Joensen’s awesome vocal performance, one of the highest virtues of this recording.
If the previous songs are fantastic, then the pair “Bridges Are Burning” and “Feel Like Making Love” are even better. The former jumps via terrific guitar / keyboard chains of wonder, the latter is a heavenly melodious piece of Hard / AOR in the best Scandi tradition with a foot-tapping hook and a luxury chorus. Both highlights.
“Gambler” is another solid one, mid-tempo paced and with a modern Melodic Rock vibe rich in keyboards, where the instrumentation is slightly more separated to provide variation, followed by the simple yet effective power ballad “Hard to Say Goodbye” with acoustic guitars, pianos and crowned by a short but intense solo.
We’re at track 6 and you feel this is an album to purchase and keep.
On the second half we find Fate, as mentioned earlier, trying new sounds on some songs.
All are stamped with the band’s signature style, but the guitars are tuned down a little as on the groovy “Made of Stone”. The marching “Man Against The Wall” has a structure recalling mid-eighties post NWOBHM era but rounded with a modern sound.
“My World” reminds me nineties British Ten (Gary Hughes), the moody “Turn Back Time” is quite melodic and “Taught to Kill” is the heavier song on the CD with strong riffs and mysterious keyboards. “Gimme All Your Love” close the album in modern Melodic-Hard way akin the present Swedish scene like Tommy Denander.
Some my argue that “If Not For The Devil” is a mixed bag, but to me is a fantastic album by Fate.
With a ‘mixed bag’ I mean rabid AORsters will love the first 6 songs and perhaps not so much the second half of the disc. Wrong.
Fate conjure on this album their melodic ’80s origins (AOR / Melodic Rock) with the band’s more edgy, harder nineties era. And works greatly. You have awesome, classic catchy Scandi tunes and then more groovy rockers, something like side A / side B.
There’s a sharp production, never boring songwriting, tight musicianship and a jaw-dropping vocalist who works in perfect sync with Fate’s diverse musical orientation here. What else can you ask for?
02. If Not for the Devil
03. Bridges Are Burning
04. Feel Like Making Love
06. Hard to Say Goodbye
07. Made of Stone
08. Man Against the Wall
09. My World
10. Turn Back Time
11. Taught to Kill
12. Gimme All Your Love
Dagfinn Joensen – Vocals
Torben Enevoldsen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mikkel Henderson – Keyboards
Peter Steincke – Bass
Jens Berglid – Drums