MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Fates Warning - Parallels CD (album) cover

PARALLELS

Fates Warning

 

Progressive Metal

4.13 | 351 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 140

"Parallels" is the sixth studio album of Fates Warning and was released in 1991. The line up on the album is Ray Alder (lead vocals), Jim Matheos (guitar), Frank Aresti (guitar), Joe DiBiase (bass) and Mark Zonder (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of James Labrie (backing vocals) and John Bailey (computer sequencing).

Fates Warning is probably the earliest example of the merging of the Progressive musical approaches of bands such as Rush and the heavy metal genre as pioneered by some other bands. They have had sort of an unofficial rivalry with another pioneering band of the progressive metal genre, Queensryche. However and according to the critics, their music is actually about as comparable as night and day. While the Seattle based quintet was mixing keyboards in and delving into political concepts, this group of musicians from Connecticut dealt mostly with mystical themes. Anyway, this album is somehow a bit of a departure from that approach in favor of a more philosophical approach.

When in 1991 Fates Warning created "Parallels", we can say they created one of their best, most important and coherent albums. Their sound keeps evolving through time, providing the progressive metal field with unique and astonishing moments. "Parallels" is, in my humble opinion, a great place to start with Fates Warning, especially if you've never heard them before. I feel that "Parallels" marks their perfect transition from their old school roots to their more atmospheric experimental progressive phase. This album lies somewhere in between with guitarist Matheos focusing his attention and power on more concise songs, developed melodies and mapped out compositions.

"Parallels" has eight tracks. All tracks were written by Matheos. The first track "Leave The Past Behind" is a very Rush like piece, with sparkling acoustics that slowly build into a steady, captivating bass and the mechanical guitar chords of the prior album. The chorus is fairly obvious, but certainly a winner if you are a fan of "Perfect Symmetry". It's an effective opening track and very comfortable too. The second track "Life In Still Water" seems anything but still, as the volley of lush chords and Zonder's electronic drum fills splash about the surface. The latter half of the verse is great, for the ringing guitars that sear over the shaking bass, and it builds to an appropriate chorus climax. The third track "Eye To Eye" forges a resonant intro with more of the brazen acoustics and calm but hooky metal rhythm ensues, a precursor to the tranquil lament of the verse. Again, the chorus feels predictable and subdued, and there is simply nothing else here of note except a very safe lead. The fourth track "The Eleventh Hour" is the lengthiest track on the album and arguably one of the best. The curtains part for a lurid dreamscape of sombre, shining cleans and effects, while Alder embarks on a journey of escalating isolation. Just before the 3:00, the hard chords arrive and herald an epic stream of melody. But the best moment of the song is beyond 6:00, with an excellent guitar pattern that plays off the central rhythm. The fifth track "Point Of View" represents a familiar pattern with the melodic, urgent chords over the potent, but understated rock beat. It's a decent tune, and in particular I enjoy Alder's performance in the chorus, an edgy banshee keening its message through a still night. The sixth track "We Only Say Goodbye" is another excellent track and it's almost embarrassing to say it because it sounds a bit pop. It's a super calming and catchy song. It seems to be a song made to some sort of massive US radio presence. I can almost picture that all Fates Warning fans being sick to death of hearing it on every classic rock radio station in their region. However, it remains a great track. The seventh track "Don't Follow Me" puts us back on the path to the band's previous album, with a huge, forward melody recalling "Through Different Eyes" or "Static Acts", parting for another of the band's safe, moody verses before a decent chorus and great spry lead guitar. The eighth track "The Road Goes Forever" concludes the album with an opening that is filled with guitar fills produced from two guitars plus voice line. It's the wonderful combination of guitar sounds that helps enrich this song. This is almost a track in the feel of a power ballad. It's a great ending for the album.

Conclusion: "Parallels" is an album highly accessible to fans of metal outside of progressive circles. Some fans of progressive metal might be a bit disappointed with this one, but it has a lot of the same strengths that "Perfect Symmetry" has, just in a set of songs with simpler structures and less odd time references. This is where people no longer ignored the fact that an album could be both progressive and melodic at the same time. "Parallels" is a good album to get into Fates Warning. If you like this, you'll love their 1994 release "Inside Out" as well. If you, however, want something heavier, all you need is to go backwards and pick up "Perfect Symmetry". That should give you some idea of this amazing band's growth and metamorphosis. Then you can concentrate on their earlier 80's releases and late 90's greatest masterpiece, "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray". Anyway, there are no bad albums of Fates Warning, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this FATES WARNING review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives