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

A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY

Fates Warning

 

Progressive Metal

4.10 | 276 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album would see the band moving in a different direction on a number of fronts. First would be the exit of lead guitarist Frank Aresti and bassist Joe DiBiase. Bassist Joey Vera would be added as the sole new member. If your familiar with their previous two records "Inside Out" and "Parallels" then it won't be surprising that they didn't replace Frank on lead guitars as one lead guitarist would be enough. Kevin Moore would play an integral role on this album as a guest keyboard player. This wasn't his first time playing with FATES WARNING as he did guest briefly on "Perfect Symmetry". The sound of the two previous records were much more commercial sounding then anything they had done before while this one would be a return to the progressive sounds of "Perfect Symmetry" only different. This is different then anything they had done in the past, a slow moving, atmospheric and melancholic album. Yes this is a gray record as the title suggests. I laughed when I read the thankyou section in the liner notes.They thank producer Terry "How much grayer could it be ?" Brown.That shows you they got their desired results.They also thank "Mike Portnoy (an honourary Fates member)". Cool. Hugh Syme again does an excellent job on the cover art. It's gray.

This album is supposed to be one song broken down into 12 parts. I must say this doesn't feel like one song as there are breaks between songs at times and it just doesn't flow well at times either. Certainly not like GREEN CARNATION's "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness" which is truly one long song. "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" appears to be about the thoughts (or words) of a man towards his partner as he lies in bed.

It opens with a guitar being strummed once as you hear the rain fall. Vocals come in. Part II is atmospheric with processed vocals and it has an industrial, mechanical feel to it. The mellow sections of Part III remind me of PORCUPINE TREE. The drumming from Zonder is great ! Nice bass as well.This is a heavy passage. Zonder shines again on Part IV, the sound is fantastic on this one. Part V has a good piano melody followed by some complex guitars and drums. Synths follow and the sound is great ! Part VI is my favourite section. It opens with a FLOYD-like melody before we get some ominous bass lines. A guitar melody rises slowly and builds out of the soundscape.The vocals come in as only bass remains. It gets heavy 4 minutes in and the long slow guitar solo is incredible.

Part VII opens with some great keys from Moore. Heavy drums and guitar come in as well as rough vocals from Adler. Part VIII has some beautiful piano melodies. Part IX is a gorgeous song with acoustic guitar and fragile vocals. A tasteful guitar solo 3 minutes in. Part X is industrial sounding. Part XI is an uptempo rocker and it's great ! Part XII is dark, heavy and atmospheric. Nice. The song ends as it started with rain falling before you hear an alarm go off.

I really like this album but I feel that it doesn't measure up to "Perfect Symmetry". Both are progressive and complex but "Perfect Symmetry" is more metal. 4 stars.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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