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Fates Warning - Perfect Symmetry CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

4.15 | 403 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I am new to this forum, so I would like to begin by reviewing an album that I consider "perfect." To me, Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" seemed the obvious choice.

First of all, I would like to comment on Gatot Widayanto's comment that the album is "not truly prog." This statement alone brings up many interesting issues for me. Personally, I think the debate on what "is" prog and what "isn't" is truly ridiculous. There is no length of songs, no designated number of time signature changes, no specific level of musicianship that makes an album "prog" or "not-prog." For me, it's about *feeling* -- the feelings one gets from something that is progressive, or moving in a more "forward" direction than that of the status quo. This feeling was captured perfectly in albums like Yes's "Close to the Edge" or Genesis's "Foxtrot" or, prior to these, in King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King"... and later in Marillion's "Script for a Jester's Tear" and "Fugazi." I believe, as well, that Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" is an undeniable successor to albums such as these.

First of all, let's look at the year in which the album was released. 1989. If we assume that the artist is merely a reflection of his or her culture, we're looking at a retrospective response to the 1980s. Nothing could be more poignant than lyrics that accurately represent the excesses of commercialism, the need to "fit in," the drive to assimilate. These themes are all present in the lyrics, with both stunning and biting accuracy:

Immersed in the cause and the call of the day, sacrificed inner needs give way. To shared individuality in collective reality.

Those familiar with the lyrics of the album can easily site many more instances in which this idea of mass conformity (for the purpose of individuality!) are present. The lyrics present a ridiculous view of America in the 1980s which those alive and alert during this period can easily relate to. Now... let's move on to the music:

In defiance of the 1980s tendency towards pop (propagated by MTV), which emphasizes predictability in song structure, Fates Warning in "Perfect Symmetry" defies traditional notions of song structure in every way possible. From the opening notes of "Part of the Machine," the band defies logic and contrasts drum and guitar in an erratic, atonal melange of dissonance. Is the purpose of this dissonance to scare off the listener? No. Its purpose is to intrigue the listener, to draw him or her in to a world of contradictions and confusion. This is the statement Fates Warning is trying to make: that the present world is contradicting and confusing. Through dissonant music, the band points out these faults in modern society, and through its lyrics works toward correcting them.

Personally, I am appalled by the rating this album has so far gotten on this site. I place it as a masterpiece far above anything Pink Floyd has ever done. I also welcome challenges to this review or my opinions on Fates Warning in general...

chorvath | 5/5 |


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