Sjak : In the eighties the melodic metal outfit Fifth Angel was seen as one of the most talented bands within the metal community and therefore it was predicted that the band would have a very prosperous future. Despite of the fact that their unmistakable talent was showcased in a very beautiful way on the two fantastic albums that the band released in that period, being the incomparable debut ‘Fifth Angel’ from 1986 and the even somewhat more melodic piece of work ‘Time Will Tell’ from 1989, the band has never gotten the success that they so well-deserved on the basis of their talent and potential. Besides, those of you who don’t have these gems in their collection yet can still purchase them now as both albums have been rereleased by Metal Blade Records just a couple of months ago.
Shortly after the release of their second album the band decided to call it a day and nothing was heard from Fifth Angel anymore for a very long period of time. However, in 2010 a one-off reunion show was given as headliner of the iconic Keep It True Festival, where the band was received very positively and where they were overloaded with compliments regarding their performance there. That one-off aspect proved to be false, as in 2017 they again performed at the Keep It True Festival and also this show was a great success. The fact that Fifth Angel was still in the hearts of many metal fans resulted in the fact that drummer Ken Mary, bass player John Macko and guitarist/singer Kendall Bechtel decided to enter the studio again to write new material for their long awaited third full-length album, which has now seen the light of day in the shape of this ‘The Third Secret’ record.
Of course it’s impossible to equal the pure magic of the first two albums or to even surpass that and that also definitely didn’t happen with ‘The Third Secret’, but it has to be said that the three gentlemen have delivered a great album again which contains all the aspects that made Fifth Angel so special in the eighties. The song material is heavy, yet very melodic and is carried by the great riff of Kendall Bechtel, which supported by the equally fine rhythm section, is the absolute star of this album. In advance I didn’t think that he would be able to come close to the vocal performance of former Fifth Angel singer Ted Pilot, but also in this aspect he knows to positively surprise me. In all honesty I have to say that in my opinion he doesn’t reach the level of Ted Pilot completely, but he really comes close.
The great song material that is to be found on this record and the excellent performance thereof account for the fact that you will be captivated from start to finish and as such there’s no single weak tune to be found on this ‘The Third Secret’. Everybody will have his own personal favourites and for me especially ‘We Will Rise’, ‘Dust To Dust’, ‘This Is War’, ‘Shame On You’ and ‘Heart Of Stone’ are the positive outliers of the album, but the rest isn’t too far behind. It’s really good to see that the band has been capable of almost effortlessly connecting to the quality level that they displayed in the eighties after a hibernation period of about twenty-two years. As mentioned earlier that quality level is still not entirely equalled, but that doesn't take anything away from the fact that also ‘The Third Secret’ has become a mighty-fine Fifth Angel record. Let’s hope that this is the start of a long-term comeback instead of a one-off revival.