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Fates Warning - A Pleasant Shade Of Gray CD (album) cover

A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY

Fates Warning

 

Progressive Metal

4.13 | 267 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm sorry, this will be an extremely short review for my usual standards. The reason is that I already reviewed this album more than 6 moths ago, but had that review deleted when i read it again and found it sucked. It was written after just one listen of the album, in a rush, pressed by my own self to "finish my first ever review", and trying to prove the world and outside galaxies that the band's singer, Ray Alder, was the worst thing to happen to the world of music since the day MTV was created. It was a bad review, a bashing exercise that now I find ridiculous.

So here am I again facing the task of writing something about A PLEASANT SHADE OF GREY, an album by a band I just recently truly discovered. The problem is, I've been here, I've done this, so I'm going to give just a general idea about my feelings towards the record and what I think about the music.

APSOG is a truly progressive-metal album. It's like a long song sub-divided in shorter ones that share common themes and elements that provide the whole work with unity and equilibrium. The general mood of the music is dark, dark-purple like the cover (or dark-blue) but, better yet, as the title implies, grey, obscure, pessimistic. I've just realized how un- optimistic Fates Warning's music has turned as of late, and this album is no exception. The songs are slow, heavy, the band never really goes in full-speed mode. The Maiden references of old are gone for good, waht we have here is 100% progressive-metal with interesting, complex, innovative structures and rhythms. The whole concept grows and grows till it becomes a fact, from a whisper it turns into an assertion. The overall gloomy atmosphere, the fog the music creates in our minds, has a lot of twists, there are a few catchy melodies, but most of them are just pragmatic, to-the-point themes that serve a purpose. The usual instruments are joined by scarce keyboards that add to the dismal environment. There is a certain "alternatuve, grungy" vibe going on at times, but never too present.

The musicians are fantastic. Jim Matheos is a skilled song writer and more so a guitarist, his riffs very original and distinguishable from other ax-men's. There's not too much soloing in the album but enough to satisfy the hunger for at least some virtuosity. Joey Vera gives us a good performance in bass, always keeping it on time and precise. Mark Zonder, the drummer, one of the most underrated in the business; his hi-hat patterns are so unique, so HIS OWN; he never over-plays, never relies too much in double-bass or tom-toms; his work is the work of a clocksmith: accurate, on time, right where and when it's needed. Kevin Moore helps on keyboards, not shining but collaborating. Now a final word about my former "musical-foe" named Ray Alder. I still don't like his style completely, I still think he could SING more and yell and scream less; but he doesn't annoy me anymore; I don't regard him as the most-awful singer on this side of the earth or the other one for that matter; and at times, even if not throughout the whole album, I actually find him GOOD.

This could've been a 5-star album with just a little more in the way of dynamics; it's just that through this album, is as if Fates Warning was a racer that never switches gear from 4th to 5th or 6th. There's only one song when the band plays in a slightly fast tempo, and that's my only complaint. Other than that, almost a masterpiece.

Recommended for: Fans of Fates Warning; fans of Progressive-metal: fans of intelligent metal; rock fans that can bear precise, never extreme of grinding metal.

Not recommended for: People that can't stand any thought of metal; people that like fast- paced albums and music; old-style Maiden-ish FW fans; but, specially, THE T VERSION 1.0...

...he is human after all (insert any face you like here).

The T | 4/5 |

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