Fifth Angel – The Third Secret

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: January, 2019
Released: 2018, Nuclear Blast 
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Erich

Most metal fans have a few bands that they connect with on a level that most other people miss or simply do not get. It’s how cult albums, films, and other forms of art and entertainment are established. For me, when I was about fifteen years old that band was Fifth Angel. Hailing from Seattle, the band’s highly accomplished traditional metal sound had potential commercial appeal. Seeking to capitalize, Epic records signed the band and re-released their self-titled debut that had originally been put out on Shrapnel. After two albums, the band was done, other than the occasional live performance or festival.

Now in 2018, we have the first new Fifth Angel album in twenty-nine years released on Nuclear Blast. Four out of five of the 1989 album TIME WILL TELL lineup are on board, with only singer Ted Pilot declining. Like most reunion albums, THE THIRD SECRET has a modern mix, but the band still plays very much in a true metal/power metal style. “Stars Are Falling” opens with drummer Ken Mary setting the tone before the band’s patented gallop kicks in, recalling the glory of the debut. We also hear guitarist and lead singer Kendall Bechtel’s vocals for the first time, delivered with power and a comfortable range. He will not make anyone forget Ted Pilot’s vocals, but they are appropriate for the music.

“Queen of Thieves” tackles religion and Eve’s eating of the apple lyrically. Musically, it has a slower, almost stuttering pace full of Bechtel and Ed Archer’s pinched harmonics and fluid guitar soloing. Pulling back slightly, “Can You Hear Me” is the album’s first single, and a semi-ballad that serves as a showcase for some of Bechtel’s finest vocal efforts. “Shame On You” is perhaps the fastest and most firmly rooted track to the band’s past and for me the stand out song of the album.

Overall, THE THIRD SECRET is a heavier and often darker album than the band’s previous two offerings. In keeping with the band’s name, religion is explored along with war and life in general. The commercial leanings are likewise gone, particularly in the removal of the deliberately contrived yet catchy choruses of the debut album. At ten songs and forty-three minutes, THE THIRD SECRET is a compact and forceful slice of vintage metal. The album art was designed by Zsofia Dankova, also responsible for Powerwolf’s album art. Ultimately, THE THIRD SECRET is a welcome return from an underappreciated band. Even though it does not soar to the heights of the band’s earlier albums, it lays the groundwork for what will hopefully be more albums to come.



Track Listing:


01. Stars Are Falling
02. We Will Rise
03. Queen Of Thieves
04. Dust To Dust
05. Can You Hear Me
06. This Is War
07. Fatima
08. Third Secret
09. Shame On You
10. Hearts Of Stone


Ken Mary – drums
John Macko – bass
Kendall Bechtel – vocals, guitars
Ed Archer – Guitar



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