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NO EXIT

Fates Warning

Progressive Metal


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dinkins65@com
3 stars This album was my exposure to progressive metal and something a bit more complex than 4/4 verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus hair metal I'd been previously exposed to. As the first track started (an almost a capella piece by Alder), I thought I had made a mistake. Once the album began, I felt at home.

Disregarding the overtriggered drums and low mix guitar, this album rocks hard. Ray Alder's vocals in many places are piercing (good that he toned it down a bit in the future) in many places, but he's on target 100% with his delivery. Track 5, Shades of a Heavenly Death, is one of my all time metal favorites. The riffs and changes and vocal melodies in this song are excellent.

The epic "The Ivory Gate of Dreams" is a mixture of ethereal acoustic guitars, harmonic guitar tones, and odd time metal with some recurring, haunting themes. The music here is quite soundscapish in a way. I'm always reminded of a warrior riding off from his home for some reason. The biggest problem with this track is how some of the sections are blended together as they don't really flow (one section had to be faded out while the other faded in).

Each track on this album is quite memorable and unique unlike a lot of current metal. It's not for everyone, especially those that don't like the classic Iron Maiden metal sound.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36366)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my opinion this is among the best progressive metal albums ever recorded. It has a very rare combination of energy, hunger, originality, and masterful songwriting and arrangement. It roars like a powerful metal album yet is layered with unpredictable drumming and complex textures you just don't hear anywhere. I prefer Ray Alder's voice to John Arch's - although I'm sure those were great albums - Ray's voice is a sonic powerhouse that rivals any opera-class vocalist, and is a formidable force in itself, probably the most talented musician in the band. The album is a bit raw but for me that just adds to its effect. I am a huge fan of Fates Warning, and I would say this belongs up there with any of their best. This, Perfect Symmetry, and A Pleasant Shade of Grey should all be at the top of the list. I find every song to be very good or excellent, and the album overall to be rock soild start to finish. No Exit, Anarchy Divine, Silent Cries, In a Word, Shades of Heavenly Death - all are excellent tracks, and The Ivory Gate of Dreams is an unheard of underrated masterpiece. As far as a reviewer commenting that progressive metal should be left to Queensryche, I totally disagree. These are two different bands who I have seen on tour together along with Dream Theater. All are outstanding performers, and all are favorites of mine. I own every album from each group. Queensryche remains untouchable and rightly so, but in my opinion, so does Fates Warning, and also Dream Theater. This album rocks as hard as anything you've ever heard and has haunting melodies to boot, combined with an aggressive complexity that does not wear over time (I've had this one 15 years.) Queensryche is great but there is nothing this heavy in their catalog. This one is unstoppable.

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Send comments to mdorovich (BETA) | Report this review (#52000)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars actually!

Fates Warning, to me, is the first truly progressive metal band. Queensryche is a great band, but I only see them as progrelated, because on Mindcrime, the only thing that really makes it "prog" is the concept and the few overly long songs, and trust me, many bands have done both on the same album without being "prog" (undeniably an influential album though) This album has its historical value though, although being not very well known. This was the first album where Fates Warning took their Rush influences to a new level, with rapid shifts in songs like Shades of Heavenly Death and the massive Ivory Gates of Dreams, the first progmetal epic (although one could argue 2112). This is pivotal in that Dream Theater toured with them around this period, and was a vital step in influencing their evolution from When Dream and Day Unite to Images and Words (although coming out before the former) , the pivotal and most influential progmetal album arguably to date, which thus spawned the whole prog metal movement. Hate it or love it, it's here for a while. Anyways, enough history lessons, onto the review.

1. No Exit- essentially, an intro to the next track/rest of the album. Why they would choose to name the album after an intro track is beyond me, but at 42 seconds, there isn't much to be said about this, other than the fact that it marks Ray Alders' vocal debut, and can have many comparisons drawn between he and Geoff Tate of Queensryche.

2. Anarchy Divine- first actual track, exploding with guitars, and already the time signature fun begins. Lyrically, one could link this song's theme to that of Mindcrime, and I'm sure they full well knew that when writing it. Still, fantastic track, reminiscent of previous albums

3. Silent Cries- seems like a continuation of the previous track, if I hadn't seen the track change on my CD player, I wouldn't have known the difference. This means its similar soundwise to the previous song. I find Adler's voice in the chorus somewhat annoying at times, and he on this album particularly sometimes tries to hit the high notes, and succeeds, but without being coherent. A more typical metal track, not too progressive, but stil a good song

4. In a Word- starts with haunting acoustic guitars, only to be somewhat ruined to a degree by the triggered snare and booming echoey bass pedal that seemed to plague the time period. A good song, somewhat ballady song with some haunting melodies

5. Shades of Heavenly Death- kicks off with almost a semi blast beat and a Slayerish type riff, which quickly changes, and the prog fun begins! For such a short track, this song cycles through many parts, all different in time signature and tempo. Great track, second favorite off the album

6. The Ivory Gate of Dreams- amazing song, and arguably the first sidelong progmetal song (again, discounting 2112, as the progmetal genre did not exist yet) Starts with beautiful guitar and a great recurring theme that comes back in the middle in piano form, and finally at the climactic end in guitar solo form, before going back into the same part acoustic part that it started on. Very highly overlooked in the progmetal community, this track set the basis for all progmetal epics to come, which, in some way or another, reflect the ideas used in this song, particularly Dream Theater's A Chang of Seasons.

Overall: Lyrically, the band seems to have evolved, with Aresti and Matheos seeming to veer away from the fantasy themes that they seemed to dabble in in John Arch's presence, particularly in The Ivory Gate of Dreams, which seems to be almost Rush like, although apparently is based off of Greek mythology in some way or another.

Soundwise, there are ups and downs. The bass can barely be heard in this album, 4.5 stars actually!

Fates Warning, to me, is the first truly progressive metal band. Queensryche is a great band, but I only see them as progrelated, because on Mindcrime, the only thing that really makes it "prog" is the concept and the few overly long songs, and trust me, many bands have done both on the same album without being "prog" (undeniably an influential album though) This album has its historical value though, although being not very well known. This was the first album where Fates Warning took their Rush influences to a new level, with rapid shifts in songs like Shades of Heavenly Death and the massive Ivory Gates of Dreams, the first progmetal epic (although one could argue 2112). This is pivotal in that Dream Theater toured with them around this period, and was a vital step in influencing their evolution from When Dream and Day Unite to Images and Words, the pivotal and most influential progmetal album arguably to date, which thus spawned the whole prog metal movement. Hate it or love it, it's here for a while. Anyways, enough history lessons, onto the review.

1. No Exit- essentially, an intro to the next track/rest of the album. Why they would choose to name the album after an intro track is beyond me, but at 42 seconds, there isn't much to be said about this, other than the fact that it marks Ray Alders' vocal debut, and can have many comparisons drawn between he and Geoff Tate of Queensryche.

2. Anarchy Divine- first actual track, exploding with guitars, and already the time signature fun begins. Lyrically, one could link this song's theme to that of Mindcrime, and I'm sure they full well knew that when writing it. Still, fantastic track, reminiscent of previous albums

3. Silent Cries- seems like a continuation of the previous track, if I hadn't seen the track change on my CD player, I wouldn't have known the difference. This means its similar soundwise to the previous song. I find Adler's voice in the chorus somewhat annoying at times, and he on this album particularly sometimes tries to hit the high notes, and succeeds, but without being coherent. A more typical metal track, not too progressive, but stil a good song

4. In a Word- starts with haunting acoustic guitars, only to be somewhat ruined to a degree by the triggered snare and booming echoey bass pedal that seemed to plague the time period. A good song, somewhat ballady song with some haunting melodies

5. Shades of Heavenly Death- kicks off with almost a semi blast beat and a Slayerish type riff, which quickly changes, and the prog fun begins! For such a short track, this song cycles through many parts, all different in time signature and tempo. Great track, second favorite off the album

6. The Ivory Gate of Dreams- amazing song, and arguably the first sidelong progmetal song (again, discounting 2112, as the progmetal genre did not exist yet) Starts with beautiful guitar and a great recurring theme that comes back in the middle in piano form, and finally at the climactic end in guitar solo form, before going back into the same part acoustic part that it started on. Very highly overlooked in the progmetal community, this track set the basis for all progmetal epics to come, which, in some way or another, reflect the ideas used in this song, particularly Dream Theater's A Chang of Seasons.

Overall: Lyrically, the band seems to have evolved, with Aresti and Matheos seeming to veer away from the fantasy themes that they seemed to dabble in in John Arch's presence, particularly in The Ivory Gate of Dreams, which seems to be almost Rush like, although apparently is based off of Greek mythology in some way or another.

Soundwise, there are ups and downs. The bass can barely be heard in this album, but the guitars are the heaviest they've ever been with FW. As I mentioned earlier, there is still that triggered snare that seemed to work its way even into Images and Words, which was done in the nineties. Ray's vocals are very operatic, but he has a tendency to try to go too high, and as a result, it occasionally blocks out the music and you can't understand what he's saying

Overall, a must have for any prog metal enthusiast, and a great addition to any progressive collection, if not for The Ivory Gate of Dreams and Shades of Heavenly Death alone!

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Send comments to heyitsthatguy (BETA) | Report this review (#87780)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Enter new vocalist Ray Adler but that's about the only major change from their previous release "Awaken The Guardian". Like it's predecessor "No Exit" is punishingly heavy and quite dark. The band thanks WATCHTOWER and QUEENSRYCHE in the liner notes, and it wouldn't be such a stretch to say this release is like a cross between these two bands.

I have to agree with heyitsthatguy that it seems strange that this record is named after this 41 second opening song, that is a slow paced vocal and guitar piece that is rather forgettable. The first two songs do not do anything to make fans forget about John Arch as the vocals in both are not his best by a long shot. I actually find them almost annoying in the second song "Anarchy Divine" but the guitar throughout is great as the drums and bass provide a good rhythm. "Silent Cries" is one of the best songs on the album and the faster paced sections sound similar to the previous song but it's the quieter, atmospheric passages that make this song so amazing ! "In A Word" is another incredible tune with passionate vocals and wild guitar moments. Great song ! "Shades Of Heavenly Death" opens with pounding drums and guitar that is on fire in this uptempo rocker.The vocals get better as the song goes along. Nice guitar solo 3 minutes in and at 4 minutes the song gets even heavier and darker.

"The Ivory Gate Of Dreams" is a side long track that consists of 8 sections beginning with "Innocence" an acoustic guitar track that is just over a minute long. In "Cold Daze" the power is turned up. Here we go ! This is a melodic, uptempo section with scorching guitars. In "Daylight Dreams" Ray's vocals are at their best even singing in the same style as Mr.Arch. The ending of this section is heavy duty. The "Quietus" section is one of my favourites on the album. Opening with piano this is pastoral until things start to pick up with some good guitar melodies and pounding drums.This all accellerates even more and it sounds awesome ! The section ends as it began with piano. "Ivory Tower" rocks out really good, with guitars galore. "Whispers In The Wind" opens with acoustic guitar as the vocals and drums are added to this slow paced tune. "Aquiescence" is hard, fast and heavy. The ending section "Retrospect" is a minute of acoustic guitar.

This may not be as good as "Awaken The Guardian" but if you liked that record i'm sure you'll like this one as well. I highly recommend this beast !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#107419)
Posted Sunday, January 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know what was going on with Fates Warning at this point in their lives...but I sure like it! When I let friends listen to this CD, they are blown away. Well, until the vocals. "Enter Young Man...Welcome". Ray Alder's voice is enough to scare away most people, but lucky for me I had been listening to King Diamond for months at this point. I kept listening to the cd over and over until I had memorized most of the lyrics and then I started buying the other albums starting at the begining. WOW! In those few years, Fates Warning had come from Night on Brocken to this masterpiece. I didn't know how they pulled it off, and I really didn't care. But after this CD another change took place. A horrible one as I see it, and I have no clue as to why. This cd was definitely the heaviest Fates Warning ever put out. The more I listen to the CD as a whole, the more the grand concept FW may or may not have been going for reveals itself as well as the brilliant musianship and (now that I"m used to him) Ray Alder amazing metal voice.

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Send comments to metalmaniac67 (BETA) | Report this review (#125815)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars No Exit is the fourth album from american progressive metal band Fates Warning. No Exit saw a big change in the lineup of the band as original singer John Arch was replaced by Ray Alder. John Arch was a very skilled and distinct vocalist and the fans were nervous about the choice of a new singer for the band. It has to be mentioned here that John Arch left the band at his own choice and on good terms with the other members to devote his time to his family. Ray Alder has a very different voice compared to John Arch but he was without a doubt the perfect substitution at the right time for the band. No Exit saw Fates Warning pursue a more technical metal style but the music isn´t tech metal complex.

Side one of the original LP had an intro and four 4-5 minute songs which are all good but not that impressive IMO. The real treat here is the epic 21:50 minute side long track called The Ivory Gate of Dreams which will be the song that holds most interest to progressive metal fans.

The musicianship is generally good and Ray Alder is a great replacement for John Arch. The drums are a big problem for me though. Steve Zimmerman who would be replaced by Mark Zonder after No Exit is a traditional eighties metal drummer. He hasn´t got many tricks up his sleeve and totally lacks the sophistication of Mark Zonder which means that songs that could have been somewhat enjoyable soon becomes a bit annoying. His drumming style just didn´t suit Fates Warning´s increasingly technical playing and thankfully he left after this album.

The production is another major problem on No Exit. I rather enjoyed the eighties production in the previous album Awaken the Guardian but this time it´s just horrible. Totally empty sounding and with no room for emotion. One of the worst emotionless eighties productions I have ever heard.

The cover artwork is pretty ugly if you ask me and doesn´t really invite me in.

After the great Awaken the Guardian I don´t think No Exit really lives up to the standard that album set. The compositions are as such pretty good but the horrible production and the terrible drumming somewhat destroys my experience. Fates Warning have made a good album after all though and I´ll rate it 3 small stars. No Exit was a big transition as Ray Alder entered the band but with the departure of Steve Zimmerman and the inclusion of Mark Zonder on the next album Perfect Symmetry would revolutionize Fates Warning´s sound and propel them into progressive metal stardom. Be sure to check that one out. This one is really only for the fans but it´s a bit too good to only receive a 2 star rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#176921)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'No Exit' - Fates Warning (8/10)

Save for the twenty one minute long 'Ivory Gate of Dreams,' there isn't too much of a progressive theme to be found on this album. There is certainly some progressiveness to the other songs, but that's the song that gives this release such a ground breaking element to it. Until then, there really wasn't too much of a progressive metal scene going on. Having a song cycle of such epic proportions thrown into a genre that was generally (at the time) about drinking, women and drugs was quite a shock to the system.

However, everything considered, I'm still not a big Fates Warning fan. I find Ray Alder is a technically accomplished vocalist, but I simply don't like his voice all too much. This might be however, a result of my other major problem with the band; their lack of attention to actual melody. The vocal melodies on this album (and alot of Fates Warning's other work) seem like they were just put in for the sake of having a singer. Some of the acoustic parts of 'The Ivory Gate of Dreams' however offer an exception to this, which is always a refreshing change to listen to.

The aforementioned epic is a real journey through many different emotions; melancholy through rage. It's very surreal and while I didn't really think it worked especially well altogether on my first few listens, months after buying, I realized that there are so many recurring themes that weave their way through the music that make it a sort of song cycle you have to listen to from start-to-finish to really get a kick out of it.

The other tracks on the album range from very good to mediocre. The epynomous intro to the album segues into the most memorable 'single' track on the album, 'Anarchy Divine,' with some absolutely amazing guitar solos. 'Silent Cries' doesn't do much for me, but the other two songs have some very cool moments, especially the fifth track before the epic begins, 'Shades Of Heavenly Death.'

This album would probably interest metal fans more than actual prog fans, but seeing as I am both, it's definately not a poor addition to my collection. While I would certainly not compare it to the stands of Dream Theaters 'Scenes From A Memory' or Symphony X's 'New Mythology Suite,' it's definately a good listen. Think an American, more progressive version of Iron Maiden.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#202456)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album marks a transitional period for Fates Warning. Singer John Arch had left the band after their Awaken The Guardian album and tour so this marks the first album the band released with Ray Alder. I consider Alder to be one of my favorite vocalists in the prog metal genre (as well as underrated), but this album he seems to be singing in a higher range than his voice is suited for. Most likely this is due to the fact the bulk of the material (perhaps the entire album) was written prior to Alder's joining the band.

Musically, it doesn't differ terribly from Awaken The Guardian. The first two tracks (album intro "No Exit" track aside), "Anarchy Divine" and "Silent Cries", are very thrash-metal inspired tunes, as is "Shades of Heavenly Dreams". Though in typical Fates fashion, with "Shades of Heavenly Dreams" in particular, the band break off into extended instrument passages that leave you wondering what direction the song will next take. "In a Word" is quite a memorable ballad that is a welcome break from the frantic riffing of the other tracks, probably one of my favorite songs off the album along with "Anarchy Divine".

The remaining tracks of the album form the "Ivory Gate of Dreams", probably the most ambitious piece the band has recorded at the time. While the indivdual parts are interesting, together they do not flow as well as some of their other longer pieces found on later albums. My favorite pieces of this "suite" are "Quietus", "Whisper on The Wind" and "Acquiescence", all of which lie in the second half of "Ivory Gate of Dreams".

Overall, this album is not essential Fates Warning, but it is still an interesting listen. In later albums, both Ray Alder would find his voice and as the band writes with Alder's voice in mind, the material gets much stronger.

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Send comments to Stooge (BETA) | Report this review (#215162)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is truly No Exit...

The true tip of Fates Warning at their creative and progressive peak. This album is an onslaught of classic progressive metal, and by and far ahead of most their other releases in terms of pure aggression and bite.

Soft atmospheric opener No Exit betrays your ears as The blisteringly knotty and ferocious Anarchy Divine rips you apart. The playing is jagged and perverse in its powerful maddening complexity and sheer thundering force. The lyrics are thought felt, and the singing is more impassioned than ever before (or perhaps after). The solos are tossed in indiscriminately for this song, and each one smacks you hard.

Silent Cries doesn't let the fire go, and assaults you with another fierce shark slash. This one is more restrained and realized than the previous song. What it sacrifices in force (which isn't much) is supplemented by shifting times and vibrant alterations. The vocals are enthralling, to be sure. Fates Warning at their darkest and most venomous.

In A Word halts to a soft and enticing crawl. Well, that is until it smashes then jerking itself back. A lovable train crash. Shades Of Heavenly Death is utterly devastating. A raging stomp the likes of this band has never seen before. More excellent screeching from Ray, and with fine lyrical content. Nothing on this album fails to impress, and it does so in multiple ways. Flailing madly and unexpectedly, this is their most interesting release.

Then the rain comes. It arrives the shape of the 20 minute long epic Ivory Gate of Dreams. Possibly the overall finest moment Fates Warning ever crafted. It slowly builds from the first couple of minutes, before ti thrashes itself wildly amongst complex rhythms and melodies, riffing at a furious rate, and changing itself sporadically. This disjointed nature is fantastic, and highly unpredictable. It is almost as if the guitars laugh at you as they fly and stomp, crafting an angry and eerily dark, entrancing atmosphere. The jazzy trots that pop in, along with the fierce solos dripping in and out, as the song slowly progressive and alters itself over time. Both deep, complex, and metallic. This is the album peak, end, apex, and boundary crusher.

That's it. Half the album is fiery classic progressive metal, the other half a towering epic with many enjoyable facets. I can't cite much as a real negative aspect of the album. Perhaps the brash and raw nature of it all could turn some people off, but it is certainly a classic, and Fates Warning at one of their strongest moments.

Best Song - Ivory Gate Of Dreams

Worst Song - In A Word, but it is still great.

***** stars

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#218615)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Until the moment this album was released, I knew about Fates Warning and even I had some interest for them, but they wasn't a band of special interest for me. It was with this album that they took a giant step the become a favorite band for me.The adding of Ray Adler as lead singer is an importat element in that evolution, since he exceed widely John Arch, not only range of his voice, but in personality and sensibility too, opening for the band huge new territory. But it's not only the change of the voice, because the musical concept of the band got widened to limits unsuspected in previos records. Was it the Adler adding the definitive fact in the inspiration of the band to exceed themselves? I can't tell, but for sure this is one of my favorites prog metal albums ever. Despite the obvious influence of Iron Maiden and the main thrash metal bands of the moment, like Metallica, Testament and even Flotsam And Jetsam in same moments, Fates Warning turned into a first-rate band. I can't emphasize any track, all of them are wonderful and the full album is a masterwork perfectly balanced, not only the long and epic The Ivory Gates Of Dreams, that took up the full B side in the original vynyl release.

Essential for a full understanding of prog metal evolution.

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Send comments to Tritone (BETA) | Report this review (#239265)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "No Exit" is the title of a very important album in Fates Warning's history - first of all, it is the first album with Roy Alder on the lead singer's role; it is also the effort in which the FW sound that took a string of three albums to develop and endeavor finally achieved its definitive shape. Regarding the latter factor, this is where the band generated the capitalization of the epic metallic ambitions that the following two studio albums would epitomize in full splendor. The album opens up with a brief exposure of dark doom in the namesake prologue: the Gothic guitar textures and sinister singing properly elaborate a gloomy atmosphere with eerie undertones. Next is the first proper song, 'Anarchy Divine', which serves as the impressive presentation letter from the new kid in the band: Roy Alder shines right from the first sung lines, with the instrumentalists building a complex development of riffs and unusual time signatures. In fact, you can tell that the whole band as a unit shines more brightly than ever. 'Silent Cries' comes next, starting with a solid attack during the first thematic riff, but soon enough the track reveals itself as a more complex exhibition of prog-metal inventiveness. Just by listening to the sequence of these first 3 pieces you can hear the furious birth pains of the genre as a robust musical path, and let's consider that we are talking about material that doesn't even complete an 8 minute span altogether. By all means, it is quite clear that the progressive (and metallic) sub-genre was born as a mature being itself. 'In A Word' instills a more ceremonious mood in the album's framework. This piece is closely related to the band's earlier material, as well as Di'Anno-era Maiden and late 80s Queensryche: the final result bears a distinguished mood to it, although I can't help feel a bit frustrated at the premature arrival of the fade-out. This track surely deserved a more epic delivery? but what do I know anyway? The album's first half ends with 'Shades Of Heavenly Death', the longest piece comprised in it. Now? this is epic! With a sort of speed that equals anything done by Metallica or Megadeth at the time yet with a more polished approach and a more accomplished compositional drive, the FW guys move steadily and enthusiastically through various moods and motifs that merge passion and darkness in a most dynamic way. The dual acoustic guitar interventions some time after the 4 minute mark (plus a mysterious chorale) are spine chilling, not interrupting but complementing the overall explicit energy. Once again, a fade-out settles the score but this time I feel that the piece has been properly completed. The album's second half is occupied by the suite 'The Ivory Gate Of Dreams', which can be tentatively described as the "missing link" between Iron Maiden's 'Ryme Of The Ancient mariner' and Dream Theater's 'A Change Of Seasons'. The opening verses consist of a beautiful prelude on classical guitar. It doesn't take long before the full band stages a clever metallic attack (Zimmermann's finest hour, IMHO) divided in various series and featuring varying levels of rocking power. At the 6'30" mark, a slow section intrudes and states a reflective note for a brief moment before a new electric section gets in ? anyway, the reflective ambience remains intact. The suite's lyrics are also some of the best ever in FW's history: "Ivory towers appear beyond the gate / Invisible fortresses of escape / Traversed by ramparts made of hopes and fears / Impervious to reality" ? poetry!! Want some more poetry? Check this: "When reality obscures the dream / Makes the mind a grave of memories / That wander like the lonely breeze / Whose whispers echo through ruins rust / Of towers torn and dreams turned to dust". Lovely!! The magical introspection of the 'Whispers on the wind' section segued to the previous section's radically abrupt end beautifully signals the image of a person's awakening. There is also poetry in this sort of instrumental arrangements. In fact, at this point, the piece escalades toward an impressive climax that gives enough room to Alder's highlighted singing. The suite ends where it began, a classical guitar epilogue as serene as it is touching. It makes total sense: a lovely closure for a lovely groundbreaking album.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#262367)
Posted Sunday, January 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Prog metal at it's best

Fates Warning is one of those bands that stand tall after the change of orientation in prog during the middle 80's. I felt their music a lot more interesting and creative than Queensryche and they use to be overlooked by many people. Well, this album shows the quality of the musicians, the great concept of the merging in between metal and progressive rock. The result is a great album that deserves a better place here.

Well, the band kicked out the great singer John Arch, but even that was a bad choice, the new singer, Ray Alder, shows quite well why he took the role. More controlled but still aggressive and acrobatic, his vocals brought new life to the already creative and intricate music this band played at the time. It was 1988, the music world was changing, and they survived and evolved into a better band.

Jim Matheos is one of the most underrated guitar players in the history of rock. He is creative and his quality of songwriting is all there. The focus of the album is the epic song The Ivory Gates of Dreams, that last more than 21 minutes and it's an entertaining piece of wonderful music, full with energy, power, melody and time signature changes.

While the quality of sound is not the best, is quite good enough to enjoy. If you like metal or prog metal, you cannot pass this by. Give it a try. And for those who don't know yet this band, at least during this era, they were like a raw version of Dream Theater, a little less bussy in the technique department and more focus on the emotional-dramatic side of things. Music with energy and sense is what we need more often, and this kind of songwriting is not very common to find. Please, don't let this chance to pass you. This is an album to hear and enjoy. 4 stars is fair.

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#273707)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars The start of the Prog-era

No Exit was the first Fates Warning album featuring singer Ray Alder and thus in many ways the start of a whole new era for the band - a more progressive era. Think Judas Priest circa Stained Class, but more progressive and without Priest's distinctive identity. Alder does indeed sound a bit like Rob Halford but again without Halford's distinctive identity. In addition to Judas Priest, one can also detect a Rush influence.

Like early Queensryche, the progressive ambitions of Fates Warning were not immediately apparent. The first half of this album consists of shorter songs that are quite conventional Metal songs not far away from the style of Queensryche. It is on the second side of the album that the progressive ambitions of the band become clear. The Ivory Gates Of Dreams is a 22 minute, eight-part epic with a nice acoustic guitar intro and a multitude of riffs. It toke many listens for me to sink in, but now I like it a lot. It is also featured on the very good live album Still Life.

A good start of Fates Warning as we know it, but it would get better on subsequent albums.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#557388)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It was only to be expected that Fates Warning's first album after the departure of John Arch would be a rather transitional affair, but new frontman Ray Adler hits the ground running and the band do much better under the circumstances than many other groups would have. The first side of the album consists of a series of solid and entertaining enough songs which, despite being fun, have an air of "playing it safe" about them.

All doubts are dispelled, however, with the concluding side-long epic The Ivory Gate of Dreams, in which the band tackle the most complex and challenging progressive metal they'd concocted to date and come up with a true classic of the genre, a piece to rival Rush's 2112 in its importance to prog metal. The first side of the album is three and a half stars, the second is five, so let's say four and a half as a fair compromise.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#588863)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 really

With No exit released in 1988 Fates Warning beggins a new era, here appear for the first time the excellent vocalist Ray Alder who gives a new dimention to Fates Warning pieces from now on. I can say that I'm a fan of this band , collected almost everything they have across the years and love them for 20 years now. This album to me is a mixed between Queensryce and Watchtower, both bands appear in the liner notes on tanks section. The music is powerful with lots of guitar breaks, Jim Matheos must be one of the most overlooked guitar player in the history. A legendary album for sure with many great moments, but I can't say is on par with their next one Perfect symmetry to me their best album from first era. Very good songs here with a plus on ending track The Ivory Gate of Dreams - a 22 min sheer beauty. This song is among the best Fates Warning ever done, has it all, great guitars, piano, fabulos vocal parts, top notch druming from Steve Zimmerman , the last FW album where apper. Lost of tempo changes, time signature all meted ina heavy progressive way. This album is solid but I can't say is in my top 3 from them, still great to be discovered by younger genration , Fates Warning were considered and are considered the fathers of prog metal since late '80's. So to me only 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#921883)
Posted Sunday, March 03, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ray Alder is an excellent vocalist. John Arch is also fantastic, so you cannot go wrong with either. Their vocals sound different, but they both fit well into the progressive metal genre. No Exit is a fresh start with a new vocalist, but it is hard hitting with lots of bite delivered in epic fashion. It is easily Fates Warning's most underrated album and a strong candidate as one of their best. Jim Matheos and company have delivered another solid album that starts off a bevy of other future masterpieces. The highlight of course is the 22 minute epic The Ivory Gate Of Dreams, which was actually broken up into 8 separate tracks on my expanded edition. This is a must buy for anyone that likes Fates Warning or Progressive Metal.

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Send comments to javajeff (BETA) | Report this review (#1224459)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014 | Review Permalink

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