Fates Warning United States

A136 Prog116
[Solidly Awesome Musicianship20, Beyond Great Production24, Beyond Great Composition19, Beyond Great Songwriting19 and Excellent Lyrics18]
added by Mike
Links:BCPA
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Review by Time_Signature published
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A Dark Groovy Prog Metal

The first proper Fates Warning album in nearly ten years, “Darkness in a Different Light” has obviously been greatly anticipated. Of course, we Fates Warning fans godt a massive treat when Arch/Matheos’ masterpiece debut album “Sympathetic Resonance” was released in 2011 featuring Fates Warning’s current line-up in its entirety and former Fates Warning vocalist Jon Arch in front. While many people consider “Sympathetic Resonance” the lost Fates Warning album or the Fates Warning album that never was, “Darkness in a Different Light” is the real comeback from these pioneers of progressive metal.

Stylistically, this album falls somewhere between “Disconnected” and “FWX”, which are probably my least favorite Fates Warning albums, but in combining these albums, “Darkness in a Different Light” rises above these two albums, taking the best of both and moving it in a direction of its own. The songs on the album are, for progressive metal standards, pretty short and relatively straightforward at first listen. But after a couple of listens, the listener will discover little details that are more reminiscent of the bands legendary early 90s output. This is largely due to the return to the two-guitarists set-up, which Fates Warning exploit in a number of interesting ways on this album.

The opening track opens with a frantic wasp-like guitar figure on top of a groovy guitar riff and takes the listener – in true Rush-style – through a couple of different passages before the verse kicks in. The verse is a heavy and groovy affair with an acoustic guitar overlaid on top. Already here, the listener is reminded of some of the aesthetics of “Parallels” and “Inside Out” which made efficient use of the combination of distorted and clean guitars. But, still, what we hear here is not quite identical to those two albums, as Fates Warning pursue a much heavier and groovier sound on this album. ‘Firefly’ is dark and heavy, drawing on some simple and groovy guitar figures. ‘Desire’ has a considerably dark almost Twin Peaks-like atmosphere to its verse due to the use of clean-ish guitars with a retro flanger effect. The chorus, however, is more groovy with a sing-a-long-friendly vocal melody – which is actually characteristic of the entire album. Both of these tracks focus more on atmosphere than on technical finesse, but still they feature that band’s trademark odd time signatures, and the former in particular treats the listener to some rhythmically mindboggeling passages. ‘Falling’ is a wee acoustic piece featuring emotional lyrics and vocals by Ray Adler – I do not know if it is intended as a mere filler, but it definitely suits the dark feel of the album and is, at least, not out of place. ‘I Am’ has some groovy alternative metal elements and is slightly reminiscent of some of the most characteristic tracks of “Disconnect”, except that ‘I Am’ is slightly slower and does not feature any of the industrial elements of that album. ‘Lighthouse’ is the most atmoshperic track on the album, while ‘Into the Black’ takes the listener through various shades of black, and ‘Kneel and Obey’ and ‘O Chloroform’ revisit the heavy grooves and progressive rhythms of the first handful of tracks on the album. My absolute favorite of the album is the mammothian ‘And Yet It Moves’, which opens with a medieval-sounding acoustic intro and takes us through a number of groovy odd-metered instrumental sections with slightly different guitar figures overlaid on top each other. In the verse, Adler’s melancholic voice fits the overall atmosphere very well, and the rhythm section delivers some nice ostinatos that contrast with the guitar rhythms upon which – true to their 90s sound – Fates Warning have overlaid clean guitars. Drummers are bound to adore this track, as it is the one that showcases Jarzombek’s magnificent skills behind the drumkit. Combining heavy riffs, challenging rhythms, odd time signatures and captivating vocal melodies, this is the magnum opus of the album, and personally I hope that future output from Fates Warning will be more in the vein of this awesome, driving progressive metal tune.

The characterizing features of the album are, not surprisingly, darkness and melancholy in atmosphere (imagine the depressive atmosphere of “A Pleasant Shade of Grey” but more intence and much heavier) – and this is of course a mood that Ray Adler’s voice and vocal melodies excellently convey. Another characteristic of the album is groove and heaviness. Many of the songs on the album evolve around groovy riffs, some of which are straightforward while others are accompanied by challenging odd time signatures and frighteningly tight drumming by Jarzombek – definitely a more than worthy successor to Mark Zonder. Finally, with the return of Frank Aresti in the studio, Fates Warning have re-embraced the twin guitar sound, but not quite in the same way as on their early 90s classics. As on “Parallels” and “Inside Out”, they make use of clean guitars on top of distorted ones, but, unlike these two albums and “Perfect Symmetry”, there are no twin guitar leads. Instead, Matheos and Aresti experiment with ways of rhymically utilizing two guitars by having them play different grooves on top of eact other; this also appears on previous Fates Warning albums as well as “Sympathetic Resonance”, but this approach is much more developed on “Darkness in a Different Light” than on any previous Fates Warning related album.

We are definitely dealing with a successful comeback, and I particularly enjoy the combination of simple grooves and technical rhythms. Not all tracks on the album appeal to me equally much, but overall we are dealing with, for my money at least, the best Fates Warning release since “A Pleasant Shade of Grey”. This is a promising album, and it makes me hopeful. I hope to see Fates Warning further explore the twin-guitar sound in the future, and, of course, I also hope for a more regular stream of releases from the progressive metal giants that are Fates Warning.

(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)

Review by Time_Signature published
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S Epic Prog Metal

"A Pleasant Shade of Gray" certainly is a very interesting Fates Warning album. This album is more or less the first step down the pathway of melancholy which characterizes subsequent albums (especially "FWX"), but it does lack the electronic approach of "FWX" and "Disconnected".

"A Pleasant Shade of Gray" is one ambient epic song which contains a lot of interesting parts. Musically it mixes simple Alice-in-Chains-style riffs with more comples FW-like progressive riffs. I guess it is more of an alternative rock/metal-meets-progressive-metal album than a pure progressivemetal album (if the concepts of "Pure" and "progressive" can even be combined).

Outstanding tracks are "Part III", "Part IV" with its beatiful lyrics and vocals, "Part V", which is a more traditional progressive metal track with a lot of quirky stuff in it, the symphonic couplet "Part VII"-"Part VIII", which are simultaneously melancholic and uplifting, and "Part 11" which is probably the heaviest track on the album.

I would recommend this album to fans of progressive metal and also fans of melancholic alternative rock who do not mind a bit of musical and technical acrobatics.

(original review, which was based on my original comment on this release, posted on metalmusicarchives.com)

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Review by Time_Signature published
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Parallels 1991
S Melodic Prog Metal

This album has been described as Fates Warning's most commercial release ever. Well, it may be commercial, but, if it is, then it is probably one of the best commercial releases ever. I mean, compared to a lot of commercial music at the time, the quality of the music on this album is lightyears ahead.

And, for the record, I do not think that "Parallels" is commercial. It is melodic, but melody does not equal commercialism. One of the strong points of this album is, indeed, melody. The vocal melodies are simpler than on any previous releases, and it's nice to be able to actually sing along. Also the combination of distorted and clean guitars create a quite unique sound, I think, and I also like how the guitar riffs themselves incorporate melody. But the album never descends into the lowest common denominator of mindless pop music, because the compositions retain some of the Fates Warning technicalities that ensure that the music is, while catchy, still challenging and interesting to listen to.

I think this is one of the best progressive metal albums of the 1990s, and I would recommend it to fans of progressive metal, but also fans of melodic commercial hard rock, because I think it offers the melody they tend to appreciate, but add another dimension that is typically missing from commercial hard rock.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)

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S Eye to Eye 4:06
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Review by Time_Signature published
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FWX 2004
A Melancholic Prog-Adj Metal

A headful of doubt - that how I feel about this album. It is my least favorite Fates Warning album, as I prefer their older progressive metal and even older more traditional metal albums. I think that, like on "Disconnected", the guitar sound is a bit thin on this album, and musically its more in the vein of alternative metal or alternative rock than progressive metal or progressive rock.

Yet, I think that a lot of the tracks on the album are quite good, and I really like Ray Alder's vocals on the album - that's probably my favorite aspect of the album, since the emphasis has been removed from guitar harmonies and complex giotar riffs. There are some really cool guitar riffs on the album, such as the intro riff of "Simple human" or the chorus riff of "Heal Me".

It's a good album, but it does not do as much for me as their other releases do. I'd recommend this album to fans of alternative metal and alternative rock.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)

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A Left Here 6:59
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A Heal Me 7:38
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S Crawl 4:21
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C Wish 6:38
Review by Time_Signature published
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S Dynamic Prog Metal

Fates Warning is one of my favorite bands, and "Inside Out" is one of the main reasons why. "Inside Out" has been described as an underrated album, and it probably is - maybe it's because of the very uninteresting cover artwork that it did not capture the attention of that many people.

Musically, however, it's got everything. It's got Zonder's brilliant drumming. It's got guitar harmonies. It's got guitar solos. It's got simple and comples riffs. It's got catchy melodies. It's got fantastic vocals. It's got odd time signatures. It's got "Monument", which is my favorite Fates Warning track. It's even got the obligatory couple of ballads that I don't care fore.

It is true that "Inside Out" is softer than Fates Warning's older stuff, but that does not make it a bad album. Ofcouse, I'm biased, as I think it's one of the best rock albums ever.

(review originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)

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S Pale Fire 4:18
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S The Strand 5:29
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S Shelter Me 4:45
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S Monument 6:34
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C Afterglow 3:26
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- Shelter Me (demo) Bonus 6:00
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Review by Time_Signature published
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S Melodic Prog Metal

A great groovy yet progressive effort from Fates Warning, sporting both melody and "hard-hittingness". There are lots tricky and energetic of one-string riffs here as well as some strong power chord-based riffs. Some riffs are slightly reminiscent of "Perfect Symmetry" while others remind the listener of "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" - now, that's not a problem, because those are great albums. And, "Disconnected" goes beyond just being a clone of those albums, and it goes beyond just being a mixture of them. It is, in my opinion, like most other FW albums, quite original.

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A One 4:27
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A So 8:07
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- Under the Milky Way Bonus 4:34
Review by Time_Signature published
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S Prog-Adj Metal

quot;The Spectre Within" is a vast improvement since "Night on Bröcken". While the Iron Maiden influences are still pretty obvious, Fates Warning have nevertheless found their own sound and style on his album (which would come to fruition on "Awaken he Guardian"), and John Arch does some superb vocal performances on this album as well.

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S Epitaph 11:57
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Review by Time_Signature published
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B Melodic Classic Prog-Adj Metal

Quite reminiscent of Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate and, less so, Judas Priest, "Night on Bröcken" contains a number of decent tunes, some of which are actually very good. It is obvious that Fates Warning haven't quite found their own sound yet, but they're certainly on the way, and "Night on Bröcken" is certainly worth buying if you like classic metal and progressive metal. It does seem, however, that the vocals get a bit out of hand from time to time.

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S S.E.K. 1:19
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B Misfit 5:06
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S Shadowfax 3:16
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B Damnation 6:27
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Being a rehearsal version, the sound is terrible; yet, the song itself sounds great, which shows that Adrian smith and Bruce Dickinson made a great timeless song ... and it's performed okay here by Fates Warning.

Review by Time_Signature published
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S Prog Metal

Musically, a very interesting and challenging album excelling in technicality and top notch musicianship. The vocals may take some getting used to, but once you're there, you can't imagine it any other way. The only problem is the production in that, as is typical of metal releases of the 1980s, there's why too much reverb in general, and specifically on the drums - the snare especially (the cymbals sound very nice though).

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S The Arena 3:18
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The intro is absolutely fantastic!

Review by Time_Signature published
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No Exit 1988
S Epic Prog Metal

A must-have prog metal release which is original while at the same time blending in several elements from different types of metal which were relevant in 1988. While there is nothing wrong with the music, the production suffers from the same problem as most metal releases from the 80s - namely, the whole thing is almost drowned in reverb.

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B No Exit 0:41
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A In a Word 4:25
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- Quietus (demo) Bonus 3:59
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Review by Time_Signature published
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S Prog Power Metal

A prog metal classic, "Awaken the Guardian" certainly is recommendable as it contains several great tunes blending various subtypes of its metal.

Originally released in 1986, AtG is very much ahead of its time taking progressive metal one step further, in many ways building on what Maiden had established, blending it in with a bit of thrash metal and a lot of power metal.

The one weakness is the incongruity between the overall production and John Arch's admittedly unique and impressive voice. The problem is that the general production is rather brutal, the guitars having almost a death metal quality to them with a lot of distortion and a lot of bottom which leaves Arch's vocals often flowing about the place which in turn means that, unfortunately, one tends not to notice the vocals and focus on the music (which is a shame because Arch does a lot of interesting and unusual things). But, it grows on you as soon as you get used to it.

Ignoring this, AtG is certainly a progressive metal milestone and recommendable to any prog metal head.

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S Guardian 7:35
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S Exodus 8:31
Review by PowerWyrm published
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S Melodic Prog Metal

This album is on the mellow side of prog metal. Most of the songs are very emotional (not mentioning the ballads that have a large place here), sometimes even dark and depressive, with all the musicians doing a great job. The technical side is not forgotten, giving a balanced feeling to the 12 compositions. The vocals are outstanding, always between dream and doom...

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A short intro with distorted guitar and gentle vocals.

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Part II and Part III are probably the heaviest parts on the album, but the vocals always remain emotional.

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Part IV starts the most enjoyable moment of the album. It starts almost like a ballad but turns technical at half song.

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The first ballad of the album... splendid quiet intro with all sorts of moods, and then the crying guitar for a burst of emotion....

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A variation on the same theme as Part V... a bit repetitive.

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Oops... this part smells a lot like Dream Theater. Probably because of the dominant keyboards (and the same keyboardist)...

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A gorgeous ballad... half acoustic with guitar and piano and of course the crying vocals...

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My least favorite track... sounds flat compared to the rest of the album.

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Nice quiet finish with a progressive ballad... the end is a little bit cheesy for me, but overall a great song.

Review by Bj-1 published
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Parallels 1991
S Melodic Prog Metal

One of the best prog-metal releases from the 90's, "Parallels" continues the style of "Perfect Symmetry", with superb instrumentation and complex yet highly melodic songs. In my opinion, this album represent Fates Warning at their peak and it rarely shows weak signs since even the more commercially oriented parts on this album are strong. The album opener "Leave the Past Behind" is one of the bands finest songs, and the album's melodic yet technical approach makes "Parallels" stand out as Fates Warning's best release to me.

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