Fifth Angel – The Third Secret

Fifth Angel – The Third Secret

  • 01 Jan. 2019
  • Artist: Fifth Angel
  • Released: October 26, 2018
  • Genre: Melodic Metal
  • Posted by: Honey Badger

Back in 1986, Shrapnel Records released the self-titled debut album from Seattle, Washington metal band Fifth Angel. The album was later re-released in 1988 when Epic Records signed the band to a record contract. It was with that re-release that I discovered Fifth Angel and instantly fell in love with their brand of melodic heavy metal. The band’s initial lineup consisted of Ted Pilot (vocals), James Byrd (lead guitar), Ed Archer (rhythm guitar), Ken Mary (drums), and Kenny Kay (bass).When the band was signed to Epic, Byrd left the band and was replaced by Kendall Bechtel while Kay left and was replaced by John Macko. The band went on to release one more album on Epic Records (1989’s Time Will Tell) before being dropped by the label and disbanding in 1990. 

After a few attempts at a reunion over the years, we flash forward to 2018 and Fifth Angel is back after over 30 years with it’s third studio album titled The Third Secret, released on October 26, 2018 by new label Nuclear Blast Records. Replacing original vocalist Ted Pilot is Kendall Bechtel, performing double duty on guitar and vocals and Ed Archer returned to the band as well. The album was produced and mixed by Ken Mary (who is also the current drummer for Flotsam & Jetsam).

After my initial listen to The Third Secret, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I was a HUGE fan of former singer Ted Pilot, whose strong and powerhouse vocals were distinctive to the bands sound with songs like Midnight Love, In The Fallout, We Rule, Angel of Mercy, and so many more. So when I decided to review the new album I had to put away my fanboy memories from the past and instead, I review the album as if it was a brand new band. So from this point on I will refrain from any unfair comparisons to the past.

The album starts off with the powerhouse drumming of Mary and shredding guitar of Bechtel on Stars Are Falling. Bechtel’s vocals are aggressive and powerful, reminiscent of classic Ronnie James Dio and a bit of Tim Ripper Owens. The song has a galloping rhythm and a memorable chorus so we are off to a great start. We Will Rise has a strong opening riff and chugging guitar rhythm. Bechtel’s vocals are excellent with a soaring melodic tone and a catchy soaring chorus.

The band does a great job of infusing modern metal influences and recording techniques into their brand of classic 80’s metal on Queen of Thieves, a headbanging anthem with a mystical melody and some killer groove. Dust To Dust has some shredding guitar work and a quick pace thanks to Mary’s skill behind the drum kit.

The band still has a penchant for writing a killer metal power ballad with the haunting Can You Hear Me. Bechtel’s strong vocals are emotive and powerful. This Is War is another metal monster with a crushing riff and intricate drum work. The title track is another strong track with Bechtel’s Dio-esque baritone vocals getting the spotlight. The song has a mid-tempo groove with some fantastic guitar work. 

The title track has a slow deliberate pace, building with intensity until it reaches a crescendo on the massive chorus. Shame On You is a fast paced rocker with Ken Mary’s fast footwork on the double bass drums leading the charge. Hearts of Stone closes things out with a traditional melodic metal anthem that has all the elements of classic Fifth Angel with powerful drums, hooks, melody, shredding guitars, melodic vocals.

With The Third Secret, this is not a band relying on its past. Fifth Angel is a band reborn. If you were a fan of the band in its original incarnation, you will enjoy their “comeback” album. If you’ve never heard of Fifth Angel, but you’re a fan of classic sounding melodic heavy metal in the tradition of Dio, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, then The Third Secret belongs in your collection.

Photo credit: Laura Siivola

About the author

Honey Badger
I am a lifelong fan of hard rock/metal since I discovered my childhood idols KISS. Music is my passion and progressive and power metal are my favorites in the sub genres of heavy metal. I also work for the premier metal festival in the U.S. ProgPower USA as a co-admin for their official Facebook page. In my spare time (what little i have of it!) I enjoy working out and snuggling with my French Bulldog Molly!