FIFTH ANGEL has inked a deal with Nuclear Blast Records. The band’s third album, “The Third Secret”, will be released in September.
The Seattle music scene in the mid 1980s was a breeding ground of exceptional talent. Heavy metal was a new wave of music that was beginning to sweep the globe, and FIFTH ANGEL was one of the forefathers of the legendary Seattle music scene that also produced iconic bands such as QUEENSRŸCHE and METAL CHURCH. In 1984, high school friends Ted Pilot (vocalist) and Ed Archer (guitarist) teamed up with lead guitarist James Byrd. They filled out the lineup with drummer Ken Mary (ALICE COOPER, HOUSE OF LORDS) and bassist John Macko. Inspired by the success of QUEENSRŸCHE, who shunned playing clubs for the sake of writing, recording and releasing their own music independently, FIFTH ANGEL followed a similar path.
Concentrating on honing their writing and recording skills, FIFTH ANGEL crafted the incredible debut album, “Fifth Angel”. This recording was initially an independent release funded and produced by the band, and co-produced by the famed Terry Date. “Fifth Angel” was Date‘s first-ever production, and Date later went on to produce platinum artists such as PANTERA, SOUNDGARDEN, WHITE ZOMBIE and DEFTONES. The album was first released in Europe through a fledgling label named Roadrunner Records based in the Netherlands and instantly became a cult classic in the European metal community.
Epic Records in New York City caught wind of the band and were so impressed with “Fifth Angel”, they signed the band to a seven-album deal. Remastering the original independent recording and re-releasing the album, Epic introduced FIFTH ANGEL on to the worldwide stage in 1988. The band received rave reviews and was touted in the press as the “next big thing” in all the major metal magazines of the day, including Hit Parader, Kerrang!, RIP, Metal Edge, Metal Forces and many others. Kerrang! went as far as attaching a flexi disc of the band’s music onto their cover and giving the center fold-out of the magazine to the band. During this same time period, Ken Mary was covering the drumming duties with Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame artist Alice Cooper on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” tours. While on these world tours with Alice, Ken promoted FIFTH ANGEL in both press and radio interviews, which gave some additional momentum to the release.
The band entered the studio once again in late 1988, this time with producer Terry Brown (RUSH) and Epic released “Time Will Tell” in August of 1989. “Time Will Tell” saw the departure of lead guitarist James Byrd, and the introduction of guitar prodigy Kendall Bechtel. The video for “Time Will Tell” was released from the album and went into rotation on MTV, and the track “Midnight Love” became the theme song for shock jock Howard Stern‘s radio show for over four years. However, the winds of change were beginning to stir over the music industry and when grunge music hit hard in the early ’90s, (ironically based out of Seattle as well), FIFTH ANGEL disbanded. But that’s not the end of the story…
In 2010, some 22 years after the Epic release of “Fifth Angel”, the band was asked to headline the Keep It True festival in Lauda-Koenigshofen, Germany. Gathering many of the core members and adding HEIR APPARENT vocalist Peter Orullian (Ted Pilot is now an endodontist practicing in Seattle and was not able to sing for the reunion), the band prepared a blistering set of songs from the first two albums. The reception was incredible, with the sold-out crowd singing the lyrics to every song.
FIFTH ANGEL again headlined the sold out 2017 Keep It True festival as well and this positive momentum planted the seeds for a new album. Jaap Wagemaker from Nuclear Blast Records, one of the most successful metal labels of all time, listened to a couple of demos Kendall Bechtel had been working on and expressed interest in hearing more. A few of the members began writing and recording together and the collective enthusiasm was very strong over the music that was being created. Nuclear Blast signed the band to a new record contract based on a three-song demo that was submitted.
FIFTH ANGEL recently put the finishing touches on their first new album in almost 30 years, “The Third Secret”, which will be released in September of 2018. The album features the incredible talents of guitarist and lead vocalist Kendall Bechtel, bassist John Macko and drummer and backing vocalist Ken Mary. Says bassist John Macko: “When we began this process, we always were mindful to write songs that moved us as a band first. We felt that if we achieved that, then the music will most likely touch our fans as well.” Adds lead vocalist and guitarist Kendall Bechtel: “We are very proud of the new album! We hope the fans will hear the classic threads of the FIFTH ANGEL they know and love, along with the growth and maturity the individuals of the band have gone through over the years. We hope they love the new songs as much as we do!”
Says drummer Ken Mary, “Over the years, we have worked with some amazing record companies, such as Roadrunner Records, Shrapnel Records, and one of the biggest labels in the world, Epic Records. However, we are even more excited to be working with the Nuclear Blast family for one simple reason: the incredible people that run this company really love the music itself and are themselves fans of great metal music. This indeed is a unique and astounding situation, and we could not be more excited to make this announcement of making Nuclear Blast our home! We also want to thank all of the metal warriors that have kept the spirit of FIFTH ANGEL alive and well for over three decades, and we are so very excited to finally… finally… finally announce the release of our long-awaited new album, ‘The Third Secret’.”
Adds vocalist and guitarist Kendall Bechtel: “We also want to say a special thank you to Nuclear Blast for giving us the musical freedom to create the art that we feel best represents FIFTH ANGEL! We had an incredible and very long journey creating this record and we hope the fans love it as much as we loved making it for them. In the end, it is the fans of the music that keep it alive, and without you this record would not be possible!”
States Nuclear Blast A&R manager Jaap Wagemaker: “Nuclear Blast is very proud to reveal the secret about the signing of legendary U.S. metal band FIFTH ANGEL! Last year when I was at the Keep It True festival I was blown away by the live performance of FIFTH ANGEL! I have always been a big fan of the two albums they released, and seeing them play these songs live with such an ease was a real joy for the ears! Before and after the show, I had the pleasure of meeting John Macko and Kendall Bechtel and they played me some new music. Although it was still in the demo stages and sounding rough, you could hear that it had that iconic FIFTH ANGEL signature! We remained in contact and a couple of months later I received the first of three completed demo songs. These songs captured the sound and the spirit of the old classics perfectly! I listened to those songs in rotation for days! It is with great pride that we welcome FIFTH ANGEL to the Nuclear Blast family!”
FIFTH ANGEL is:
Ken Mary – drums
John Macko – bass
Kendall Bechtel – vocals, guitars