I’m not gonna lie- this was quite a challenge for me. I know that nowadays most of Fate fans are rather coming from the older generation and having a huge sentiment for this record. However, due to my age I definitely cannot call “Ananke” the album of my youth – when it came out I was learning how to talk (and 28 years later I ended up writing my low quality texts for all you here). Anyway, my age and recent reissue of this material gave me the opportunity to listen to this album with no sentiments and prejudice in my head.
And yet I still have some problems with “Ananke”. Fate turned out to be the band capable of doing shockingly good stuff. At the same time they had some elements that were far from perfect. I would lie if I call it an average release though – nothing meets the “medium level” here. This album is a mix of wonderful and really bad things.
Let’s start with what is definitely the strongest aspect here – the lyrics. The group from Ziębice (good luck saying that, my foreign friends) has nailed it. Sure, a lot of classic bands knew how to use words to share the ideas. But Fate has reached the level of mastery here, which is not seen very often. The band approaches standard ideas like veganism, anti-facism or anti-church topics, but they are able to put those important things in the beautiful words. I’ve heard some opinions, that Fate’s lyrics are too naive and sometimes too childish, but in my opinion that’s what makes them so strong. Simplicity showing that topics running the world are much simpler than it looks like. And despite all of that it’s heartwarming to see that against to most of the bands that appear on this website, Fate is actually more optimistic than it seems. I cannot stop the feeling, that this band actually believed (and hopefully still does) that a better word is within a reach.
Musically, the band mixes punk, reggae and a bit of local folk. And faster, more punky parts go pretty nice. Sometimes they got a bit more psychodelic and those moments are the highlight of the album. Those reggae related parts…..nah, not my cup of tea. But overall speaking the songwriting is really smart, even if I don’t like all the compositions and ideas there, I still appreciate that it’s not as simple and straightforward as it could look. The problem is – sometimes it all sounds really nice. And sometimes it gives you a cheap feeling of a scouting camp. It’s hard for me to say openly whether I dislike the ideas or not. But there are some parts that I wanted to listen to over and over again. And there were some that I wanted to end as soon as possible (especially those reggae parts turned out super-cheap. Okay, I don’t like reggae, but here it really sounds low quality).
The album was recorded in legendary Złota Skała studio and it was supervised by (even more legendary) Robert Brylewski. And once again- there is a good side and a bad side. Everything sounds very clear, nothing gets lost in a noise. And I suppose, that it really sounded superb years ago. But openly speaking – “Ananke” did not survive the test of time. Those more aggressive parts lacks power and nowadays it all really sounds…old. And I don’t mean it in a positive sense, unfortunately.
The way it was re-released is extraordinary. Nikt Nic Nie Wie label released it as a double-vinyl with beautifully printed gatefold. Inside we can find not only dozens of archival photos, but also an insert with a history of “Ananke” and ban members memories from those time. It looks very sentimental and gives you a great feeling of what it could be back in the day (and I had this feeling even tough I’m too young for sentiments back then). It also sounds really good, so speaking about the release itself- it’s flawless. Alright, there’s one thing I can be grumpy about – for some reason all song titles are translated to English…but only the titles, not the lyrics themselves. It may give the rough idea what the band is singing about, but still I think it’s a shame, that such a good lyrics go untranslated.
So just to summarize everything – “Ananke” is an album that’s a bit of a monument to the past. It shows great potential and a band with great ambitions. At the same time, it shows some musical ideas that are far from perfect. I’m afraid that with the years to come, this album may be even more forgotten. And it’s a shame – I might not like or enjoy everything here, but I cannot deny the value of this material. And if you’re from an older generation and want to catch up with what it was like in the early 90’s – I think that this might be an album for you. Fate is unpolished, but it’s still a gem.