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Fates Warning - FWX CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

3.38 | 231 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars |D| Possibly one of my (brother's) worst blind purchases of prog metal.

It seems that reviewers are overall split pretty evenly on whether this is a quality release or an uninspired flop of an album. While I wouldn't say this is a complete disaster, I definitely belong more in the group of the latter. This was also, unfortunately, my first full fledged Fates Warning experience, which made me think I didn't like this pioneering prog metal band for a bit of time until I discovered more of their discography.

Really, objectively, this is a pretty decent album in terms of how the instruments are together, music theory wise. Many of the instrumental passages are almost up their with that of their earlier work with Parallels and Perfect Symmetry. But there are two major things make this album fall flat on its face. Most prevalent are the fail-tastic vocal melodies, which are some of the worst I've heard so far in prog metal. On many tracks we have an energetic riff from the guitar with long, slow moving vocal parts that seem completely out of place with everything else that's happening with the instruments. Just listen to the chorus of the second song, Simple Human; "yeah ah yeah" lasting almost a full two measures over energetic fast moving part. It just doesn't fit. I don't mind Alder's voice itself, but his singing style sounds more like that of those obnoxious alternative rock bands from the nineties, as do some of the guitar parts. The second big thing that I dislike is the overall predictability and repetitiousness of the music overall. On one hand, the band incorporates many great progressive nuances in this album, but the basic parts are overused at best, and are not very interesting to begin with. Usually a track starts with a nice intro, but once the verse and chorus set in, I feel like I've heard the whole rest of the track already, and usually I actually have.

When doing my recent objective listen before this review, I'd listened to the first three tracks and couldn't figure out what exactly about it made the music as weak as I had remembered it. Then upon hearing Another Perfect Day, the only track I'm really fond of on the album, it became abundantly clear; it really did have to do with the quite terrible vocal melodies. And other than the also decent Heal Me, this was how the rest of the album was. Had they been written differently, this could have been a quite powerful and enjoyable album, and it's too bad such a menial thing should bring down the quality of an entire work, as it does for me. I especially disliked Simple Human, River Wide Ocean Deep, and Crawl, which really did sound like simple alternative rock with slight progressive nuances.

Really this isn't a complete disaster of an album, particularly with some quite competent instrumental sections, but there was little I can say I really enjoyed from the album other than Another Perfect Day (especially that great chorus!). The vocal melodies and predictability just ruin it for me overall. Thus, I simply can't recommend this album to anyone but Fates Warning fans alone.

Isa | 2/5 |


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