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Fates Warning - Still Life CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

4.31 | 91 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is an excellent live set from Fates Warning that contains two discs of the band's performance recorded live in Europe, April 16-26, 1998. Disc one is a full performance of the band's concept album A Pleasant Shade of Gray in its entirety. Disc Two contains other material that includes the performance of an epic The Ivory Gate Of Dreams. A Pleasant Shade of Gray can be considered as a masterpiece album as it has a perfect flow of music combining high and low points with balanced moods created mostly from floating style. Coupled with great live performance and excellent sound production - as if it's a studio album - I have no little doubt to put Disc One with full five star rating. On Disc Two, even though the band maintains the great performance, I can only give a four star rating because some compositions are not that truly stand-outs.

Disc One : A Pleasant Shade of Gray

By the time I write this review, I have not heard the studio version of this concept album. But, I'm amazed with this live set as overall the music is truly wonderful, performed non-stop in its entirety from part I to part XII. If by listening to live set only I can enjoy the music really well, I conclude that the album must be a masterpiece one. It has wonderful arrangements and excellent structure. Each part connects tightly to the overall structure in a cohesive way. The music is not a typical progressive metal vein with heavy guitar riffs, rather it has some psychedelic and symphonic blend performed in floating style from start to end. For those who do not favor metal music, you don't need to worry as you won't find heavy riffs or fast tempo music.

The disc starts off with an ambient nuance where the music flows softly in floating style using simple guitar fills and keyboards, augmented by voice from the crowd. Ray Alder's voice enters the music in a powerful way. At the end of the lyrical passage the music flows in an energetic way to Part II. It's an interesting music to enjoy, especially when I observe the beats of the music - indicated by Mark Zonder's acrobatic drumming. Part III is still in an energetic style but it has different beats with some vocal accentuation. The guitar work of Jim Matheos is so obvious. Joey Vera also performs his inventive bass guitar work excellently.

Under Part IV there is some variation especially on how the guitar is played during opening part, not typical to any progressive metal style. It even reminds me to neo prog music. Ray's vocal is cool, really! Part V brings the music with a unique blend of guitar, drums, bass and vocals in an excellent harmony with energy. Under Part VI the music turns into ambient nuance and quieter passage with simple guitar fills backed by long sustain keyboard sound at the back. I like the melody when Ray's vocal communicate with the audience and responded by the audience. "Here we are!!". Again, guitar is floating beautifully. It's like a psychedelic music! It's good to have this Part VI with this kind of composition. Even the bass lines seem like floating as well. With the symphonic nature of keyboard sound, do we call this music is progressive metal? I doubt it man .!!

The music on Disc One flows wonderfully until it reaches concluding track Part XII. It's a masterpiece work - so I give five stars for Disc One.

Disc Two

It's another excellent disc which starts with an epic The Ivory Gate Of Dreams (20:54) . It's basically like a straight forward hard rock music performed lively with high energy. It starts mellow with transparent voice of Ray Alder accompanied with guitar fills, augmented with audience crowd. It moves into energetic style with increasing audience participation. (Well, it seems like the show was performed in a small venue but the environment sounds really good). It's good enjoying the electric guitar solo here - it really rocks! On Disc Two Bernie Versailles plays additional guitar on top of Matheos.

The Eleventh Hour (8:14) returns the music into Fates warning style with ambient guitar work and floating voices. Ray Alder's voice sounds excellent in the middle of the track where he sings in high register notes. Point Of View (4:33) is a straight forward rock music. Another track that is of interest is At Fate's Hands (6:47). It's an excellent composition combining symphonic nuance and progressive metal. It's an adrenalin exploder, I think. At least, it applies to me, mate.

Disc Two is an excellent rock live record. Overall rating for Disc Two is 4 out of 5 stars.


It's an excellent live record. Musicianship, performance, and song compositions are really top notch! This is not a typical progressive metal vein. Fates warning has its own way in expressing their music. Sonic quality of the CD is wonderful - it does sound like a studio album, really. Overall rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended live record! Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


Review #302

Gatot | 5/5 |


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