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Fates Warning - Darkness in a Different Light CD (album) cover

DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT

Fates Warning

 

Progressive Metal

3.89 | 209 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progbethyname
5 stars And Yet It Moves...

Are You Kidding Me? Of Course It Moves, Grooves And Proves That Still After A 9-Year Absence Fates Warning Are Still One Of The Most Lethal, Talented Progressive Bands Around.

Excited, amazed and astonished to hear earlier in 2013 that Fates Warning would be making its way back into the studio to construct a new album after being away (as a group) for so long...9 1/2 years to be exact. Undoubtably though, there have been certain side projects/official bands by the existing Fates Warning army to tie us 'Fates Faithful' over like Jim Matheos partnership with the incredible Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater) forming OSI. Powerhouse vocalist, Ray Alder has not been silent either being the permanent frontman of the highly successful prog metal band'Redemption' and even Bassist Joey Vera released a solo album in 2007 with 'Circles' under the 'A Chinese Firedrill' moniker. lastly, of course there is 'Arch/Matheos' releasing the album, 'Sympathetic Resonance,' which many would not contend with the thought that it was like having another FW album to add to their lengthy discography seeing as how the Arch/Matheos project contains all existing FW band members of today except Ray Alder. All side projects aside in my opinion, it just doesn't compare to the relinquishing of the official Fates Warning line up (minus Mark Zonder) punching out the powerful album, Darkness In A Different Light' for 2013 with Alder at the helm. This is where it's at and presently it is in the now. Thank god.

Getting into Fates Warning's latest conquering, 'Darkness In A Different Light' I feel isn't gonna be a hard go (listen) for someone who is a true FW fan and who loves the Prog Metal genre while being a complete guitar driven enthusiast when it comes down sound preferences while constructing a 'metal' album per say. That's right ladies and Gentleman, there is not one keyboard/synth note played on this album at all! Darkness In A Different Light is an album that runs on the euphoria of dual-wielding guitars with plenty of distortion effects for versatility by the axe flailing Frank Aresti and Jim Matheos, who in my humble esteem are the heart of FW machine, but if Aresti and Matheos are the heart of the darkness certainly Ray Alder and Bobby Jarzombek are the energy while Joey Vera adds that extra needed toughness with a snarling almost pig-like, bass Guitar playing/sound. These characteristics of each band member is very evident throughout much of the entire album. Darkness In A Different Light is an album that is full of character, power, versatility and well written lyrics making it a poetic gem in the Prog metal world. Here's why.

Upon listening to the opening track 'One Thousand Fires' immediately its like being shot out of a cannon with no guide, but in a very good way because after the nearly 2 minute intro of pure power laden Guitars, Bass and Drums we are greeted with Ray Alder's incredible vocals which add melodic grace, emotion, versatility and command to change the overall tempo of the song. As soon as I heard the opening lyrics 'So We Begin, A Perfect Launch...A Perfect Wind' I got chills of goosebumps shooting down my backside cause I knew Fates Warning were back. Hearing Ray's desperate, powerful emotional voice on 'One Thousand Fires' made me feel safe and excited like I knew the record was gonna be amazing once I sifted even deeper through it. Needless to say I was right and 'One Thousand Fires' is one hell of a great opening track and really sets the tone so nicely making it definitely one of my personal favourite tracks on the album. Its an absolute whirlwind. Venturing a bit further we are greeted with 'Firefly.' Now this is a track that could very well be tailored for radio play due to its steady hammer-on's (non complex) guitar riffs with a beautiful, melodic chorus sung by Alder. This was the leading single off the album the band decided with their record company (InsideOut) to use as a promotional catalyst. An incredibly wise choice and if one was lucky enough to grab the 2-disc Special Edition another version of 'Firefly' is available for one's listening pleasure. 'Firefly' is extended by additional Two-minutes with an extra guitar movement that is both soft, slightly distorted and fairly elegant by Aresti and Matheos while Alder adds some additional vocals creating another mood dimension to the song....that is more emotion I should say. Personally I prefer this version to the original and I think many other Prog-Heads out there will as well. Moving on to the third track of the album is 'Desire' and there is a lot to be desired about this track, namely it's interesting eerie opening distorted guitar lick by Aresti while shooting forward with a cacophony of guitars and drums making 'Desire' one of the most uneven tracks tempo wise on the album. However, the main Chorus of the song 'Drowning In My Own Desire!!! All Your Needs To Aspire'' is good but not totally amazing and it doesn't hold a candle to Firefly's superior melodic verses, comparably speaking. Next is 'Falling' which is a beautiful, soft ballad track that is very short in length, but is very purposeful cause it gives the Listener a little break in the action. 'Falling' is completely a vocal/acoustic track while drums and Bass take a league of absence. If you were like me, upon hearing 'Falling' your gonna wish it was longer and that is my only discrepancy with the track; however, once again that bonus disc (disc 2) proves to be wonderful again cause we are treated with 'Falling Further.' 'Falling Further' is amped up into a highly commercially sounding track even more so than 'Firefly' which is nothing like 'Falling' at all, but its a very good extension of just how different 'Falling Further' is from its original predecessor. You could think of 'Falling Further' fitting into the 1991 classic 'Parallels' album beside 'Eye To Eye' in the track listening. It could work...maybe? In any case, the short original number 'Falling' does make for a very clever transition by leading into the track 'I Am,' which is one of the best and strongest guitar performances on the album. 'I Am' is all power and everything musically/instrumentally is kicked in to higher gear offering lengthier time signatures and soloing done by Aresti while Vera's bass growls at you like a wild animal. The intro to 'I Am' is awesome as well with Jarzombek's drums slowly creeping louder and faster as the whirlwind starts to unfold. Also, Alder's voice is nothing short of incredible on this track and some would argue that it's his best vocal performance sung since 'Blink Of An Eye' off the 'Redemption' album, 'This Mortal Coil.' Certainly, Alder belting out " IIIIIIam!!! Tearing Walls Down...I Am!' is both infectious and highly addictive. I had the vocal chorus of 'I Am' stuck in my head for months believe it or not, but for good reason of course cause its both engaging and richly powerful. A true Prog-Metal tune.

The second half of Darkness In A Different Light doesn't let up nor shut down the listener in any way. All of that versatility with amped up, distorted guitars, soft vocal melodies and amazing tempo changes are kicked off with 'The Lighthouse.' 'Lighthouse' proves to be the most slow and eerie track on the album. It's a special and unique song because it really showcases Fates Warning's versatility with their approach to creating mood and a ton of atmosphere on the Darkness In A Different Light album. Indeed, this is where that so called 'different light shines ever so brightly with 'Lighthouse.' It's haunting, slightly acoustic sound approach immediately hooked me in its clutches and it was love at first listen. One could compare this song to 'River Wide Ocean Deep' off FWX because of its slowly driven, eerie guitar atmospheres that surely sets up the listener for a big crescendo, which insures the listener something big and fast is gonna happen later on. 'Lighthouse' gets full marks for atmosphere and really gets the listener nicely sedated only to be absolutely rocked by the next track that ensues which is the upbeat and strong, 'Into The Black.' This is a track that for the first 4 minutes starts off pretty cheery and punchy with the guitars and drums, but then gets a bit more angry and tense due to Ray's pommeling emotional vocals. Overall, 'Into The Black' has one of the most ripping guitar solos on the record exactly 3mins in, but as I said earlier after that 4min mark Ray Alder takes you on a very dark and tense journey, but it sounds absolutely amazing with his syncopated vocal delivery approach. Definitely some of Alder's best vocal performances exist on 'Into The Black' but sadly not on 'Kneel and Obey.' For me personally, 'Kneel and Obey' is my least favourite track on the album, although it is not a bad song musically speaking with the Guitar work or Drums, but vocally it's a bit of a challenge to listen to or get through at times mainly with the main chorus of the song. Actually, Alder's approach vocally on this track makes him sound like he has an extra 'Y' chromosome in his genetic make up because I certainly got a case of down syndrome when trying to listen to 'Kneel and Obey' vocally. Alder's voice is just off key or off kilter on this track and sounds morbidly out of tune, especially with the main chorus of the song. Meanwhile, my feelings are not the same for the next track to follow being, 'O Chloroform.' My goodness is this song so well constructed as well as created, and a lot of that has to do with the clever song/lyric writing from Mr. Kevin Moore, who in many ways has been one of my music heroes for quite some time now and I am so glad he was able to be featured on at least one track off FW's latest opus. In my opinion, even though the lyrics don't all together make perfect sense subject matter wise, 'O Chloroform' still has this incredible flow to it lyrically and it's a song that is oddly poetic as well. Those who have familiarity with Kevin Moore's music with OSI, Chroma Key and a bit of Dream Theater know that usually Mr. Moore's lyrics are all kinds of strange, period. 'O Chloroform' is without exemption from the wacky, inner workings of Kevin Moore's lyrical mind and hearing lines like "And Know one takes over when you sleep Ten hours of eternity, Tell yourself and call yourself a refugee, we're suffering so long...so long". This put a huge smile on my face because there are so many underlying messages with Moore's lyrics and he allows you, the listener to think outside of the box a little bit. Not to mention, 'O Chloroform' is unbelievably catchy musically as well. It's not just the vocals and lyric content that will grab you to love this song it is the expert soloing done my Matheo's and Aresti. The dual guitar sound on O Chloroform is grand and about 2mins into the song Matheos will knock you on your you know what with a soft, melodic guitar solo that will sedate you momentarily cause the entire song it's self has more tempo changes then all the songs on the album...except one... 'And Yet It Moves.'

Personally, I could write an entire memoir length book on just how much I love the last and grand-epic final' track off the Darkness In A Different Light' album. '...And Yet It Moves' quite simply has everything that I look for in a Progressive Metal song; in fact, if I were to include a short list of songs from various artist that capture the true essence of what Prog Metal is and how it's evolved so nicely over time to someone, who wanted to learn a thing or 2 about the genre, you can be sure I'd put 'And Yet Moves' by Fates Warning on that list. It's a song I feel that is just that good. All the tangibles are there including a wide atmosphere of obscure yet sophisticated time-signatures, beautiful vocal choruses and rich instrumentation that add mood and versatility which can never leave the listener feeling dull or bored out of his/her mind. 'And Yet It Moves' is 14mins long and it feels like its actually half that length because of just how beautifully put together this song really is. I think most listeners will feel engaged and interested every minute that passes by when listening to 'And Yet It Moves.' You have the soft and graceful flamenco guitar sounding intro, which is really a nice calm before the storm on the song itself cause shortly after your whisked into a dual guitar frenzy with punchy bass lines and powerful drums that will force anyone who has that metal spirit to get a slight case of whiplash from excessive head- banging or nodding if you prefer. Furthermore, the transitions from slow to fast do not stop there cause at the 9:15 minute mark of the song your taken on another gorgeous, melodic acoustic guitar performance by Matheos while Aresti adds a nice electric guitar sound to counterbalance the mood of Matheos's soft, acoustic guitar movement. Mainly though, throughout the entire 'And Yet Moves' track it hard to overlook just how well each band members unique and talented skills are portrayed and displayed so well for that matter. Ultimately, I feel I have to give more praise and accolades to Ray Alder once again because the way he sings on 'And Yet It Moves' he gives it everything he has and I felt everything he was singing, mainly cause his heart was truly on his sleeve and the emotion conveyed was evident in every pitch and tone of his voice. Overall, And Yet Moves is the pinnacle of Fates Warnings masterful approach to creating exciting and still very relevant Prog Metal music.

Thus, I obviously didn't have much negative to say when describing FW's latest installment, 'Darkness In A Different Light' and for good reason. This is a masterful album and some can say that this is an FW comeback album, and if this is so I believe that with 'Darkness In A Different Light' it puts Fates Warning right back up on the top of that grand Progressive Metal Totem Poll. There is now no doubt or gap in my mind that Fates Warning's music is still relevant and still very strong. I award this album no less than 5 stars based on the true merits of my opinions, that 'Darkness In A Different Light' is a masterpiece with in the Progressive Rock genre as a whole. I am certainly delighted that the FW machine are back and it looks like they are here to stay...at least for a while.....and yet it does move...after all.

5 stars (My album of the year for 2013)

progbethyname | 5/5 |

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