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Fates Warning - FWX CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

3.37 | 211 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars


Based on my experience with progressive music, there are three categories of prog albums based on my listening experience. Category A is the album that blew my mind at first listen and it became my all-time favorite and I kept on playing the CD at my player on and on. Examples of this Cat A includes: Marillion (Fish era), Arena, IQ, Dream Theater, post Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, Yes "Fragile", Yes "Going For The One", Yes "Drama" etc. Category B is the album that was hard for me to accept at first listen but it grew with number of spins and by (typically) spin number 8 (eight) it became my favorite. This album of Fates Warning and also "Disconnected" fall under this category. Other examples include: Gentle Giant (except "Civilian"), Yes "Tales from Topographic Ocean", Yes "Relayer", Pain of Salvation "Perfect Element Part 1" and "Remedy Lane", etc.. Category C is the album that did not attract me to have other spin due to weak composition (lack of structure or melody) or lack of originality of its music (too much influence of other bands). I don't want to give examples of this, actually, as it would create further controversy with other prog listeners. But I have to be honest as I experienced it myself. Examples: Jump (a group that was coached by Mark Kelly), Landmarq "The Vision Pit", RPWL "God Has Failed", first three albums of Spock's Beard, Grey Lady Down, Thieve Kitchen "Argot" (this album is overrated? Dunno). Albums under this category may move to Category B. Disagreement with my view is welcome as we are talking about prog, aren't we?. It's not prog at all if I do not welcome any disagreement or differing views.

Album Review

As for FWX album, my chief reason of putting it under category B was that I did not get used to the kind of music these guys were playing. It was a bit "weird" for me as it's not typical progressive metal music like Dream Theater or Symphony X where I was familiar with. That's why this album did not attract me at all at first listen. It has grown significantly after fourth spin and I can assure you that this album deserves more than four star rating actually. But, I don't want to be that na´ve to give five star right away.

If you expect that this album is typical prog met vein with heavy rhythm and riffs, you will be dissatisfied and most probably you do not want to give another chance of listening. You must be open mind with its music, try to accept whatever sounds and melodies the band is playing and have multiple spins if you can not enjoy at first shot. You will then, hopefully, find the beauty of Fates Warning music as I have experienced with this album as well as "Disconnected". In a nutshell, the music of this album is like an "atmospheric progressive metal" with strange (but stunning) guitar, dynamic drumming and high register voice line. I'm really amazed with the musical quality of this album; it's an excellent one!

The album kicks off with a simple acoustic guitar in ambient style as an intro of "Left Here". The music flows with electric guitar and drumming plus bass line followed by a distanced voice line. There is a symphonic nuance indicated by keyboard sound at background. The drumming style is unique and very noticeable throughout the track. The distorted guitar is long sustain, free form open passage with sort of unusual signatures.

"Simple Human" blasts off the music in "almost" similar vein of prog met music with relatively heavy riffs but the music suddenly turns quieter with unique singing style backed with great bass line. Yes, the bass line is noticeable in this track - it forms like a simple and soft riffs for the music. The guitar is now played differently with some rhythm style plus effects. This track might be accessible to any prog metal fans.

The third track "River Wide Ocean Deep" starts off with simple music with percussion and keyboard sounds accentuated with nice female chanting (really great chanting!) that accompany the male voice line. I observe the long sustain distorted guitar with beautiful effects during this intro part. The voice turns to higher notes backed with dynamic drums and guitar effects. Oh man .. I scream aloud when I listened to this track. What a wonderful song this one is!!

"Another Perfect Day" was I thought a ballad song when I listened to the opening guitar rhythm. But it turns to a powerful guitar riffs in fast tempo that suddenly turns quieter with the voice line entering the music. The interlude part with lead guitar combines the prog metal music with classic rock sound.

"Heal Me" opens with a slow tempo voice line backed with simple guitar fills and bass guitar. The keyboard sound projects a symphonic nuance of this track especially when it's accompanied with a tape loop of drum sound. The full music then follow with great drumming and guitar. The transition piece with tape loop is then follow with fast tempo music in full scale with high register vocal. It's a stunning composition and it will favor most of prog metal lovers. I love drumming work, it's so powerful. The use of acoustic guitar with dynamic drumming during transition / interlude part has enriched this song.

"Sequence #7" is a short instrumental song that contains sound effects and distortion with accentuated bass line, simple guitar fills and distanced voice. It reminds me, for some reason, to some pieces in Porcupine Tree "Stupid Dream" album. It flows seamlessly to next track "Crawl" with medium tempo. Again, I'm fascinated by the drumming sound and distorted guitar.

"A Handful of Doubt" offers another style of music in mellow style at first half. The opening guitar fills and bass line work really well for the singer to enter the music. The last half of the track features full music with faster tempo and high register. Simple yet enjoyable track. Next track "Stranger (With a Familiar Face)" seems to me like a straight forward hard rock tune with some progressive touch especially the drumming part. It's an excellent track though.

The concluding track "Wish" is another excellent track The voice line starts something different: using lower register than any other tracks. Unusual with other tracks, the piano is used beautifully in this song (sounded weird to me: progressive metal with piano? - but it's nice with this track).

Overall Conclusion : Buy this CD. Rating: 4.25 /5 - it potentially might grow to 5 in the future. Keep On Progging! - GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |


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