Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30th , 2014 - The Spectre Within My Golden Ale... or... The Belgian Devil Within Fates Warning

Evenin' rockers and brew lovers... the Meista here with another rockin' artisan ale and metal pairing for you!  Tonight I'm drinking a Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale (Release #75) from Epic Brewing Company and listening to the genius that is Fates Warning's "The Spectre Within" (Remastered)!  This pairing goes out to my pals Jeff and Erika, and to the mighty John Arch... cheers my friends!!

Released in October of 1985 through Metal Blade Records, "The Spectre Within" is the (very underrated) sophomore album by progressive metal godfathers Fates Warning.  (The version I own is the remastered version with 4 bonus tracks.)  Inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest along with early Genesis, King Crimson, and Yes, Fates Warning nearly single-handedly invented the progressive metal genre. At the time "The Spectre Within" was released, the band was made up of Jim Arch (keyboards), John Arch (vocals), Victor Arduini (guitars), Joe DiBiase (bass), Jim Matheos (guitars), and Steve Zimmerman (drums).  Lyrically and musically the album is very atmospheric, dark, and purposeful. Vocally, John Arch lays down some of the best tenor range appended with a well-developed head voice that you will ever have the privilege of hearing.  Combine that with face melting, driving guitar acrobatics by Arduini and Matheos, a bombastic and thunderous rhythmic backbone by DiBiase and Zimmerman, and soaring and ethereal keys by Jim Arch and you've got yourself the beautifully heavy and inspiring sound that can only be Fates Warning!  Every song on this album is progressive/power metal perfection!  Here's the brilliant full track list:
  1. "Traveler In Time"
  2. "Orphan Gypsy"
  3. "Without A Trace"
  4. "Pirates Of The Underground"
  5. "The Apparition"
  6. "Kyrie Eleison"
  7. "Epitaph"
  8. "Radio Underground" (Live Underground - Bonus Track)
  9. "The Apparition" (Rehearsal 1985 - Bonus Track)
  10. "Kyrie Eleison" (Dickie" Demo 1985 - Bonus Track)
  11. "Epitaph" ("Dickie" Demo 1985 - Bonus Track)
If you aren't familiar with Fates Warning, do yourself a HUGE favor and check these guys out (especially if you are a fan of Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, and the like)!!

I've paired this beer before, but it was an earlier release and I think it has the perfect complexity and intense flavor to accompany "The Spectre Within" properly. The Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale (Release #75) is a very well-balanced and wonderfully robust ale that is brewed with Premiant, Saaz, and Tettnang hops along with Premium Weyermann Pilsner, Ultra-Premium Muntons Maris Otter, Briess Carapils, and White Wheat malts, flaked oats, and light candy sugar.  It pours a very hazy, opaque apple cider gold with a thin, bright white head that leaves a nice ring and some surface cloudiness.  The nose is a big bouquet of fruit ester... pear, white grape juice, banana, and light peach syrup.  There are also some really nice spice aromas (cloves and nutmeg).  The Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale has a very refreshing, yet very rich and forward intensity. It is initially sharp, tart, and slightly sweet with a "pink bubble-gum" finish. There's a real nice bitterness as well from those hops that really comes out in the mid-range and finish. There are also some nice spice notes (clove, nutmeg, coriander) and ester notes (apple cider along with the traditional banana of a good Belgian). There's a slight booziness in there as well... but nothing overpowering... again, well-balanced. As Epic's own description states, the Brainless is "deceivingly drinkable, some liken these ales to the Devil sneaking up on you." That comes from the 9.5% ABV hiding in that refreshing flavor.  Grab a bottle of the Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale and make sure you check out Epic Brewing and all their great beers at!

Cheers and hails!!

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