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John Arch - A Twist Of Fate (EP) CD (album) cover


John Arch


Progressive Metal

4.31 | 71 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars John Arch the former FATES WARNING vocalist is back ! 16 years is a long time but we last heard John on FATES WARNING's "Awaken The Guardian" album back in 1987. He did try out for the vocalist position with DREAM THEATER but they hired James LaBrie instead. He also was up on stage as a guest with FATES WARNING back in 1994, but that's it. In early 2002 Jim Matheos called John and asked if he'd be interested in singing for a new project that he and Mike Portnoy were starting called OSI. John declined but that call really got him thinking about getting back into singing so he phoned Jim back and asked if he could squeeze some time in between this OSI record and the next FATES WARNING album they were going to record. Jim agreed and Portnoy wanted to be a part of it as well. Mike Portnoy and John Arch have been friends since before the first DREAM THEATER album came out. Former FATES WARNING bassist Joey Vera was also added to fill out the band. During the summer of 2002 they recorded this EP. I wish this was one band that stayed together, what a lineup ! I have to say as well that this is hands down the best EP I have ever heard, and one of my all-time favourite recordings. Thought provoking pictures as well like the boy pulling his wagon of possessions (toys etc.) on the cover, contrasted with the picture of the old man pulling a shopping cart with all his possessions in tow. A twist of fate indeed. Jim and John wrote the first track "Relentless" together, while "Cheyenne" was written solely by Arch. John has said the lyrics are very personal, the first track brings up his childhood while the second deals with native Americans (John is part Cheyenne). He sure puts everything he has into this vocally.

"Relentless" opens with Vera's deep bass lines as Portnoy comes in.They both stop as Arch and Matheos come in reservedly. Not for long ! My God ! It settles again as this contrast continues. It picks up 2 1/2 minutes in as Matheos rips it up. Portnoy is on fire ! Arch is back and this is so moving for me. John sings about being a kid, and brings up his dad. "I remember skipping rocks across the still waters. And I remember chasing colors flying through thin air. And I remember the waters shone my first reflection. I can't forget, always waiting, I was always wishing you were there.You were never there". Thunder 6 1/2 minutes in as Portnoy and Vera shake the soundscape. Arch spits out the lyrics. Amazing vocals 8 1/2 minutes in. Check Matheos out before 10 minutes.

"Cheyenne" is so epic. Synths open the song before acoustic guitar and vocals come in. Keys follow. The chorus just makes a lump in my throat as John sings "Cheyenne I am, I am so far away, can you feel our dreams they are slipping away. Cheyenne I am, I am the sky, the wind, the rain, in my dreams my friend I can see you again". The song kicks in before 3 minutes. Guest violin 4 1/2 minutes in. The vocals a minute later are unbelieveable ! Nice and heavy right here. Check out Portnoy especially before 8 minutes. They are kicking ass again 9 minutes in. It settles 10 1/2 minutes in as we get a sample of a male native speaking some moving words. John follows him up with vocal melodies that are like native chanting. Incredible ! Piano joins in. Gulp. Check out Portnoy and Matheos 13 minutes in as Arch sings with passion. It settles down to end it.

Not worthy ! Arch is my all-time favourite singer and i'm so proud of him with this release on a number of levels. God bless you John Arch.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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