FATE’S HAND – Fate’s Hand (2021)REVIEW

“[They] trod / The seas for the righting of wrong; / And wrath of battle about them cried, / As vultures cry, / Whose nest is plundered, and up they fly / In anguish lonely, eddying wide, / Great wings like oars in the waste of sky, / Their task gone from them, no more to keep / Watch o’er the vulture babes asleep.” Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Together they are stronger, yes, perhaps too much so — as the death they deal in heroic brotherhood consumes them and becomes a heinous, deepening scar upon our world. Swords plunged to aorta, spines under wheel, you will be the perfect fodder for their champion, a crown-stamping rite of conquer in stoic mind. Awakened only as a ghast by the din of a raven, grown too fat off your carrion to fly away, the end credits roll eternally over the death-strewn battlefield in the twilight lit aftermath of Brisbane/Adelaide-borne quartet Fate’s Hand whom deliver us a gift of traditional heavy metal’s dawn-fed blade-glint, wherein the battle is so gloriously won and the tale beyond so unholy strident that it must be told again, and again ’til future generations begin to appear feeble to the impossible god-sized mythos resultant. ‘Fate’s Hand‘ is without a moments doubt a successful meeting of minds via keenest sensibilities, a hard-flexing first axe swing of shared passion for traditional heavy metal which rises in chest as glowing deus ex machina and empowers the thwarter toward due victory.

Of course I am drooling like an idiot child discovering Fire & Ice (1983) for the first time as I pour over ‘Fate’s Hand’, it being the first release from a collaboration between folks somewhat easily recognized from bands which I am very much on record suggesting as creators of the best music being made in the present day, among them (I believe) D.B. (StarGazer, Road Warrior) for his distinctive voice, guitarist/bassist Goet & drummer Wretch each from Mongrel’s Cross, and I could only guess which fellowe involved with Impetuous Ritual also features here, perhaps SE. Without a doubt existing fans will at the very least hear the hand of Goet in the guitar work. Nepotism of course goes a long way introducing a new project since we immediately know where the artists are coming from, the quality/finesse they are capable of, and without question each of these folks have created timeless heavy metal-influenced works in the past which we can consider “epic” without an inch of irony implied. The banding of folks here makes perfect sense otherwise, eh, well even moreso “in action” of course — This first EP from Fate’s Hand is a bard’s lungful of adventure, glory, and rousing upward-striking heavy metal guitar music that tells its tale via intensely composed works and roar-of-the-crowd worthy performances.

So, is divining the essence of 1979-1983 the gist of it? Can we look to Road Warrior/Johnny Touch and Mongrel’s Cross most recent records for the proper protein-folding mechanisms & alchemical formulae? To some degree the personalities here are of course defined by a deep love for early Iron Maiden, no question about that, and you’ll get some extended melodic stride n’ slashing moments which echo Slough Feg at their most dramatic by virtue of there only being a few bands who can capably achieve this, but we should also look to well-developed taste in 80’s US power metal and broader “epic” variant for vital basal resonances. Tone and composition are self-fashioned traits entirely their own though all arrives with the heroic flair of a certain heavy metal tradition; It makes some sense to tangentially look to the serious side of High Power (France) and the highly detailed, riff-focused narratives of ‘The Spectre Within’-era Fates Warning, debuts from Liege Lord and Stormwitch (Germany), and maybe even a shade of mid-80’s Running Wild-style anthemic rhythm guitar when forming a general idea of what to expect from their songwriting but Fate’s Hand ultimately offer a modern stamp upon these forms which goes several steps beyond refinement via their own sage contributions: Bigger riffs with clever variations that extend from anthems to near-epics by way of dual guitar solos and their requisite “end credits in triumph” melodies.

Sure, that description itself sounds canned but it’ll strike a bit more profoundly when entrenched in what I’d consider the ‘showpiece’ here: “Fascination” wherein we can toss aside a lot of mid-80’s post-prime Maiden also-ran observations and begin to include Fate’s Hand among strong achievements of the here and now. It really is as simple as their ability to do more than carry a tune, but fire each off like a cannon stuffed with shrapnel via powerfully writ riffcraft and the oft-thrilling accentuating leads. “What’s Been Will Be Again” is equally potent as a prime showcase for the range of vocal expression, there is some Di’anno in their inflection but not nearly as much as in Road Warrior. They’ve not stocked these 20 minutes with wall-to-wall singing, making the lyrics count and forming memorable pieces with neatly arranged vocal patternation. I’d found that this made the words themselves more valuable and gave room for the guitar work to take equal lead. We’re served a consistent “heroic heavy metal” atmosphere throughout all four of these songs but the riffs themselves notably shake it up with subtle hits of extreme metal influence from melodic black and melodic death (see: “Fascination” ~2:08 minutes in) which will sound entirely natural, or, less than a crossover to fans of traditional heavy metal influenced black/death but should be a bit rocket-fueled for the trad metal only crowd whom rarely stray heavier than ‘Ride the Lightning’. Regardless of perspective ‘Fate’s Hand’ is a class debut, perfectionist and quite professionally rendered stuff created with a high standard of expression and brilliant taste in riffcraft but, nothing mangled far astray from the crystal clear vision of traditional ‘epic’ heavy metal craft. A very high recommendation.

Very high recommendation. (85/100)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Info:
ARTIST:FATE’S HAND
TITLE:Fate’s Hand
TYPE:LP
LABEL(S):Dying Victims Productions
RELEASE DATE:July 26th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Heavy Metal,
Epic Heavy Metal,
Power Metal

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