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PARALLELS

Fates Warning

Progressive Metal


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4 stars continuation of prevoius record. We have really beautiful melodies and was was definition of band's style since No Exit. This album certainly is same good as Perfect Symmetry but both are not better than Spectre Withing or Awaken The Guardian. Queensryche clone? Maybe, but as I said :Quensryche did it little better.

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Send comments to l-s-d (BETA) | Report this review (#23439)
Posted Wednesday, March 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Excellent Prog Met Album in a different vein than Dream Theater .

Since previous album "Perfect Symmetry", the band has pushed their musical envelope into prog arena. This album is I think much prog than the previous one in these dimensions: the musical composition and musician's style. Mark Zonder's drumming style is truly amazing man .!!! It's definitely a prog style of drumming. Ray Alder's singing style is not a kind of straight forward singing but it has some great bends of singing stream with great variation of high and low points. Jim Matheos is - as usual - performs his guitar uniquely and it's very stunning. Musically, this is not a traditional prog met or Dream Theater like music at all. There are some guitar riffs, but it's not as heavy or as intense as Dream Theater's or Symphony X. Fatez Warning (oops .. sorry for misspelling as it is written in the DT Images and Words sleeve note as reciprocity act on the misspelling of Dream Theatre in FW sleeve) music is categorized under its own box, I think. The close proximity is probably with Pain of Salvation or Queensryche - Ray Alder's voice is in a way similar with Geoff Tate's even though musically it's different kind of music.

The album starts with Leave The Past Behind in an ambient vocal style augmented with guitar fills. The drum starts to roll after some bass lines and bring the music into faster tempo with a dynamic drumming and tight bass lines. Guitar than plays rhythm section followed with other guitar solo as the lead. Short guitar solo is performed stunningly during choruses. Ray Alder's powerful voice has nailed a very strong and unique music nuance. It's an excellent album opener.

Life In Still Water starts with some soft riffs followed with an energetic music in relatively fast tempo, faster then the album opener. Again, Mr Zonder impresses me his "acrobatic" drumming. I think he's one of the best rock drummers. The music itself is uplifting with some long sustain guitar sound and stunning solo. James LaBrie of Dream Theater contributes his part on vocal line even though Alder's voice is much dominant. I hardly hear LaBrie's voice actually.

Eye To Eye's opening sounds like any hard rock tunes with some guitar riffs and melody. But when the voice line enters, it creates a a prog nuance until the lyric part "eye to eye" where the music is truly like a hard rock one especially when I hear the guitar riffs and drumming. It sounds like rock bands such as Europe, etc.

The Eleventh Hour starts off with a nice guitar fills in the vein of 70s prog followed with a vocal line sung in a mellow style. The music turns louder with extremely powerful voice of Mr. Ray Alder (in the vein of Mr. Geoff Tate's voice) with a very high register notes! Oh man . I think he is also one of the great rock singers on planet earth! Yeah ... the music is turning up with beautiful guitar work by Mr. Matheos. This is the track that has made my adrenaline EXPLODE!! Great composition and technically flawless delivery. Great track!

Point Of View begins with an upbeat tempo style dominated by drum sound and some soft guitar riffs. The music turns into a quieter passage to let vocal enters the music with Mr. Alder's powerful voice. It's another great track with acrobatic drumming style. This track has an uplifting mode from start to end. Guitar solo is truly stunning; performed in high register notes. There is a nice segment where the two guitars are played in alternate between Matheos and Frank Aresti. The only downside is that this track ends up with through fading out. But this is more on personal taste because I don't like a song that fades out at the end.

We Only Say Goodbye is a relatively mellow track at the opening; it moves up in a more upbeat tempo. The music turns quiet in the middle of the track to accompany some accentuation on vocal line. It returns back to original upbeat tempo. Guitar works appear in solo style and sometimes the two guitars are played together that reminds me to Iron Maiden's music.

Don't Follow Me starts off in relatively fast tempo in an energetic style. Drum works still play its important roles especially in providing variations around transition. The interlude part is filled with double guitar sounds played in alternates. Bass lines are composed excellently.

The Road Goes On Forever concludes the album with an opening that is filled with guitar fills produced from two guitars plus voice line. It's wonderful combination of guitar sounds and it helps enrich this song. When drumming enters the music, the tempo is maintained the same from opening part. Guitar solo is performed in a soft way, benefiting from the use of two guitarists.

Overall, this album has a very tight composition and flawless delivery. Musicianship is excellent: Matheos, Zonder, Alder, Joe DiBiase. As my friend ever told me: there is no such bad album of Fates Warning, this one is not an exception. Recommended. Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#23441)
Posted Thursday, March 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
paokus@homtia
5 stars The album that introduced me into their music. Parallels cannot be described with words you have to listen it. I don't know what to mention first...the great vocals of alder? The great guitar work from Matheos or the great drumming by the master Zonder? All the songs are great and the album includes my personal favourite song from them ''the road goes on forever'' which means so much to me. The album is easily listenable but its quality is beyond words...buy it now and give fates the place that they really deserve in prog history. Eternally grateful!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39695)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are 2 albums by fates that i´d give 5 stars and one of them is Parallels. This album for me works as the thriumph of inteligent Structures and emotion music over vituoso playing just for the impression And shallow compositions filled buy themes over themes in the place of Good music.

The songs here are so filled with a human touch that they grow inside you And become actualy a part of you. Definitly progressive with the real Meaning of the word you can enjoy some of the most clever riffs and Themes ever recorded by a metal band. Just compare them with the riffs of Train of thought and you´ll get my pont.

Finaly a special mention must be made for mr. Zonder. Simply marvelous this Man has a completly unique style.

Enjoy

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Send comments to freddie (BETA) | Report this review (#40225)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Along with Perfect Symmetry, Parallels is absolutely the best of Ray Alder era Fates Warning. Every song is excellent. And you get the bonus of LaBrie on backing vocals on track 2. A definite 5-star effort from one of the premiere prog metal bands of the 80's and 90's.

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Send comments to viperjr98 (BETA) | Report this review (#55810)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've always been a huge Fates fan and seeing so many great reviews about Parallels i would figure i give a shot. Man this is beatutiful its a bit commercial but Fates Warning doesn't dissappoint with some awesome progressive rhythms. It seems to almost add up with No Exit being their heaviest tightest album, Perfect Symmetry being their most complexed and progessive, A Pleasant Shade of Gray being their best epic song with lots of complexed rhythms and progressions. Well to me Parallels is by far their most melodic progressive album they released. There are lots of great songs here from the energetic power of Leave the Past Behind, Life in Still Water, The Eleventh Hour, Point of View, and Don't Follow Me. To the very melodic and heart warming sounds of Eye to Eye and We Only Say Goodbye. to the very beautiful yet sad but great The Road Goes on Forever you just can't loose with this album. I will admit it does have an 80s fill to it but it still has that FW crunch that makes these guys the innovaters of prog metal. I mean first off you got Ray Adler a wonderful singer with his amazing soft sweet voice, to his courageous harmonies, and well TO THOSE WAILS MAN. I know guys like Geoff Tate, Russel Allen, and James Labrie (who does awesome for the backups on LISW) can get those high notes but man Ray is just a man not to be mess with. Then you have the duo of Frank and Jim to very gifted guitar players who know how to use them progressive riffs and solos. I was very pleased at how wonderful both of there soloing is at times i think these guys can really show Queensyrche guitarist what there made up. Then you have the rhythm section with Jim and Mark. Jim does a great job making people know what a bass player is. AND MARK ZONDER oh man i love this guy's playing style he is just acrobatic and has wicked control. its almost like the way he is playing with the kit its almost like he's floating in air i mean listen to the beginning of Life in Still Water and how awesome that rhythm sounds. so definitely a great addition for any Fates Warning fans i will say not quite as heavy but that doesn't mean it is heavy cause there are some section where they don't mind some heaviness. but definitely this is probably one of Fates Warning's best albums.

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Send comments to Progdrummer05 (BETA) | Report this review (#84720)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the mid to late 80's, Fates Warning released five albums of masterful progressive metal, a few of which (namely 88's No Exit and 89's Perfect Symmetry) could be considered genre classics. Combining technically proficient musicianship with strong compositional construction, Fates Warning rose to the heights of progressive metal splendor, sharing company with the likes of Dream Theater and Queensryche. For their sixth album, however, they had chosen to present their musical ideas in a less complex, more straightforward and accessible form, a move that seemed to parallel that of other 80's thrash/progressive bands such as Voivod, Oueensryche and Metallica, who also stripped down their approach when the 90's began. It was also a move that did not find favor with some of the band's longtime followers who felt that Fates Warning had gone the dreaded "sellout" route.

While such opinions are understandable on one hand, it is also shortsighted when taking into consideration the skill and conviction with which the material on Parallels is delivered. While there are no 20 minute epics or complex song structures to be found on the album, the band's trademark sense of dynamics and knack for potent song writing, not to mention their stellar instrumental skills, are on display throughout. What the band seemed to have aimed for here is a concentration on mood and atmosphere, as there is a definite feeling of despair and longing throughout these songs as well as within the lyrics. Musical passages of a more reflective, contemplative nature are in abundance working in conjunction with the deeply introspective lyrics. But this is in no way easy listening, as the material is heavy with a brooding emotion, inspiring one to dwell on some of life's more serious aspects.

Of important notice is the fact that guitarist Jim Matheos is responsible for writing the entire album, music and lyrics, and the rest of the band do an admirable job of carrying out Matheos's vision. Vocalist Ray Alder turns in an incredible performance, singing every line with passion and conviction, forsaking most of his high-pitched wail in favor of a more suitable midrange, making it hard to disagree with the notion that this man is one of the most impressive vocalists the metal scene has ever had to offer. Despite the more streamlined approach of this material as compared to past works, drummer Mark Zonder nevertheless keeps things interesting with his amazing percussion skills, spicing up even the simplest of passages with tricky cymbal detail and offbeat rhythms. Zonder's intelligent playing, along with the always impressive guitar work of Matheos and Frank Aresti and solid bassist Joe Dibiase, is enough to carry one through this album. However, just as vital are the feelings and atmospheres present in songs like "The Eleventh Hour", "We Only Say Goodbye", "Don't Follow Me" and "The Road Goes On Forever". The end result is a mature album of utter class.

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Send comments to bleak (BETA) | Report this review (#86095)
Posted Monday, August 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first fates Warning CD I bought it because mike portnoy (Dream Theater) kept on mentioning them so I figured I would give them a try and I did not regret it. This is a GREAT CD, there is literally not a bad song on the disc, the guitar work is great and the drumming is sick. Ray Alders voice is one of the best in the business, very operatic and strong. My major complaint is that the disc is only 45 minutes long a little disappointing, but the songs are all very good. I hate to compare them to DT like every other band they they definately have there similiarities.

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Send comments to Highlander (BETA) | Report this review (#108756)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This would be the first time Terry Brown produced one of their albums. Recorded at Metalworks in Toronto. The band would thank Gil Moore the drummer for TRIUMPH and owner of Metalworks, as well they thank DREAM THEATER and WATCHTOWER. Speaking of DREAM THEATER, James LaBrie sings backup on the track "Life In Still Water". Hugh Syme would do the album cover. So there is a definite Toronto connection with this album, they even wrote "We Only Say Goodbye" on the shores of Lake Ontario. Of course LaBrie is from Ontario as well, he actually grew up in a town about 25 miles from where I live and grew up.This album is more commercial then the previous one "Perfect Symmetry" and not nearly as complex either. A testimony to this is the fact that no less then 4 songs from this album are on their greatest hits compilation "Chasing Time".

"Leave The Past Behind" opens slowly with fragile vocals and gentle guitar.The song picks up and the main melody features the guitars churning it out while Ray sings passionately. Some scorching guitar 4 minutes in sound great ! This is a really good song. Ray's vocals fit perfectly with this style of music, as they did on "Perfect Symmetry". "Life In the Still Water" features the ever-present guitars that grind it out, and the drumming from Zonder is amazing as usual. He's definitely not as "out front" as he was on "Perfect Symmetry" though. Some nice guitar solos on this song as well. "Eye To Eye" was the first song where they wrote the lyrics before the music.This was the second single that was released off this record and it has some tasteful guitar throughout with fantastic vocals.

"The Eleventh Hour" is one of my favourite FATES WARNING songs post "Awaken The Guardian". Someone from the band said if one song could define the band it would be "The Eleventh Hour". An atmospheric intro with light drums and gentle guitar. Ray's vocals are fragile as it all seems so haunting until about 3 minutes in when the song starts to come alive. Best part of the album is the guitar solo followed by Ray's battle cry vocals. "Point Of View" is perhaps the hardest hitting song on the record. Zonder has said it's his favourite off the album to play live. It opens with some great bass from DiBiase and the lead guitars again grind it out. Great tune ! "We Only Say Goodbye" is a surprisingly good song for being so ballad-like. One of my favourites. "Don't Follow Me" is a more uptempo song, while "The Road Goes On Forever" is a slow, atmospheric song with percussion throughout. The guitar to open is beautiful.

Excellent record from the band ! This new accessible direction the band took didn't please all their fans, but this one comes highly recommended.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#113631)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars You get tired of screaming... WHEN YOU'RE NOT... reaching anyone...

I love this album. It makes me feel good every time I listen to it. If that fact alone isn't reason enough for me to give it 5 stars, let me back it up with musicology.

This is progressive metal at its finest. Zonder does nothing short of amaze. Like Rush, this is a band for percussion fans. This is not to detract any necessary praise from Matheos or Alder.. but one must admit that the drums drive this album far beyond any contemporary efforts.

Let's focus in on one song, for a moment: "Eye to Eye." Perhaps it has commercial qualities that may detract possible fans. Perhaps it's too "metal-y." Regardless, one must admit that it moves in a progressive fashion, it switches up expectations, it provides a perfect segue from "Life in Still Water" to "The Eleventh Hour," which are both undeniably brilliant songs. Once one learns to appreciate "Eye to Eye," one can truly see the brilliance of this album. Similarly, once learns to love Dream Theater's "Take the Time," "Images and Words" becomes one of the greatest albums ever made.

Speaking of "The Eleventh Hour," I would imagine a person would have to be deaf, or at the very least retarded, to not love this song. This is beauty in motion. From the point when the guitar slows, then stops... to the immediate 7-string pick up... I cannot avoid goosebumps. And then Alder kicks in: WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY is it so hard... to understand...?

Lovely. I can't imagine less than 5 stars for this one.

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Send comments to chorvath (BETA) | Report this review (#115520)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Parallels' was my introduction to Fates Warning, and as far as first impressions go, this one is certainly a memorable one.

Having not been exposed to any of their material before this, I came across this album on Ebay, which I thought I'd check out as I knew they were closely connected to Dream Theater. At first I was a little put off by the more straight forward song writing style than that of the over-the-top musicianship of a band like Dream Theater, but after a while it clicked with me what Fates Warning are about.

The guitar work is hugely impressive, especially the nice combination of distorted and clean guitars, on songs such as 'Eye to Eye' and 'We Only Say Goodbye'. And then there is, of course, 'The Eleventh Hour', a reasonably simple song by Progressive Metal standards, but with a groove so awesome I don't think anyone can resist headbanging to it.

Plenty of guitar harmonies and melodies keep this an interesting album, and some unique guitar riffs by Jim Matheos will keep most guitar players intrigued by what they're hearing.

Sadly, this album doesn't get a five-star rating from me. 'Don't Follow Me', is a good song, but I feel it really isn't as good when compared to the previous tracks, and the final track 'The Road Goes on Forever'. I regret to say, but this song is pretty boring.

This album as a whole is amazing though. Don't be put off by my comments of the last two songs. I think fans of any genre of Prog, or Metal fans who aren't afraid of a bit of melodic music, will find something to enjoy here.

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Send comments to Valarius (BETA) | Report this review (#186178)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Classic progressive metal band Fates Warning release a splendid album, with many good musical ideas.

I shall begin by saying that the musicians here are fantastic, and the compositional skill level is quite profound. Fates Warning come together in a masterful and solid mesh.

The opener Leave The Past Behind goes from heavy progressive rocking, to all out blistering inferno solo slinging. The end half of this is a shock wave of great musical ideas. Alder's vocals are great and powerful. Rhythm section lays down well, and keeps things on an enticing pace.

Life In Still Water rocks even harder, with the blaring beginning riff. It is quite catching, and maintains a fine level of interest. It does begin sounding a bit too much like the previous track, though. Eye To Eye is one of the more popular songs off the album, and features a strong overall melody. Still, it sounds a bit too same as the previous songs. That would probably be my main criticism of this album.

the 11th Hour drops all that, though, in favor of some atmospheric and building progressive mastery. Starting slow and soft, then growing into screeching catastrophic metal. There are multiple facets, and ever changing feel. A definite highlight.

Point Of View returns to the crunching somewhat straight forward fold of before, and has intelligent lyrics. Where it still sounds a bit much like Eye To Eye, it relentlessly smashes forth. We Only Say Goodbye is I'd say one of the weaker songs to come, but that is mainly due to it feeling so much like the rest of the album, without any newly presented ideas. Don't Follow Me is stronger, but still doesn't capture too much interest for me. That main lead guitar line is fantastic, though.

The Road Goes On forever ends this album superbly. An atmospheric solo played over a soft and mysterious dark vibe. Altogether finely crafted, and stellar performance. It is almost in the feel of a power ballad, though. And it apes itself entirely too much on the same standard sound.

In all, the songs range from fine to very good, with more reliance on the former. For this, I give them three solid stars. If only they;d worked harder on the album's overall atmosphere.

Best Song - Point Of View or The 11th Hour.

Worst Song - The Road Goes On Forever, but it is still nice.

*** strong stars.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#218609)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this album Fates Warning finally found their own grial: the perfect communion between their classic influences (Iron Maiden, Rush, Queensr˙che, Marillion, etc.) and their own sound, leaded by the spectacular guitar duo Jim Matheos-Frank Aresti, the clean, beauty and powerful Ray Alder's voice, and the original drum playing by Mark Zonder. Matheos wrote these songs trying to be less complicated than the previous and also excellent Perfect Symmetry. The songs are played in a classic "in crescendo" mode from the first notes to the chorus, the more catchy in all Fates Warning career. The Eleventh Hour, one of the best prog metal songs ever written, it's Parallels hight point, but the rest are all absolutely magnificient. In Paralles Fates Warning shows perfectly how a band can mix their brilliant technical skills with a well structured songs, like Queensr˙che in Operation Mindcrime and Empire.

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Send comments to DTJesus (BETA) | Report this review (#258441)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 realy

After the briliant Perfect Symmetry , one of the best prog metal albums in history of the genre, Fates Warning comes with another worthy release named Paralles from 1991. Besides the fact that the album got very good reviews all over the world I don't think Paralles is as good as Perfect Symmetery. I mean is in a good Fates Warning style, as we used to with last two albums with Alder on voice, but this time FW tries a little more mainstream sound, quite accesible in places. Still some great arrangements like on Eye To Eye, Point Of View, We Only Say Goodbye and The Eleventh Hour , these pieces shows Fates Warning still has great potential to deliver something great and yet complex enough to please most of the prog metal fans. Also another thing that is important is that LaBrie features here on Life is still water on backing vocals, in that time not yet the giant vocalist will be with Dream Theater later on.Mark Zonder did a splendid job again, great drumer, very complex chops and very intristing aswell, Alder voice is again great on every track. So a good album for sure, but not as good as Perfect symmetry , the best they ever done, IMO. The cover art is excellent, and goes hand in hand with the music.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#335210)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Parallels" is the 6th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released in October 1991 by Metal Blade Records. "Parallels" was re-issued in 2010 in a Deluxe Edition. In addition to the original album, The Deluxe Edition contains a bonus CD with live tracks and demo tracks and a bonus DVD which features a full concert recorded live in New Haven, Connecticut on February the 13th, 1992. Fates Warning had with each album, since their inception in the early eighties, added more and more progressive elements into their heavy metal sound culminating with the release of their, at the time, most progressive release "Perfect Symmetry (1989)". If the fans had expected an even more progressive release with "Parallels", those expectations weren´t met.

...in fact Fates Warning crafted a much more melodically accessible and subtle progressive metal release in "Parallels". The album features a pleasant warm atmosphere and mellow thoughtful melodies. A stark contrast to the cold, hard and at times even aggressive sound on "Perfect Symmetry". While the tracks on "Parallels" are certainly progressive, they are not progressive in an abrasive fashion and I see why some people would question if "Parallels" is a progressive metal album or actually more a melodic heavy metal album. If you listen closely to the music you´ll find plenty of time signature changes, unusual off-beat drumming and other features that are usually associated with progressive metal. Other than the 8:11 minutes long "The Eleventh Hour", which features a moderately complex structure, the song structures aren´t terribly adventurous but again there are subtle progressive details in all tracks that keep the tracks interesting throughout. The most obviously progressive tracks on the album are the above mentioned "The Eleventh Hour", the opening track "Leave the Past Behind", "Life in Still Water" and "Point of View". Tracks like "Eye to Eye", "We Only Say Goodbye" and "Don't Follow Me" are very accessible and some people might say commercial sounding, but all three tracks feature subtle time-signature changes and off-beat playing that ensure a progressive edge. I guess the only track I haven´t mentioned is the closing track "The Road Goes on Forever". A beautiful mellow/ soft and again subtly progressive track and a perfect closing track (check the lead guitar part in that track. Just beautiful).

One of the defining features in Fates Warning´s sound at this point in their career (besides the clever and sophisticated drumming by Mark Zonder which is also a feature that stands out a lot) is how the two guitarists (Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti) compliment each other´s playing. Jim Matheos plays a lot of clean (non-distorted) electric guitar parts under the distorted rythm and lead guitars by Frank Aresti. The consequence is a layered "busy" soundscape that´s very characteristic for this era Fates Warning. The dynamic it gives, that you have both mellow/ soft clean guitars playing at the same time as heavy distored guitars, is vast. Many metal releases suffer from the fact that the bass is either too low in the mix or that it just follows the guitar, but that´s certainly not the case with "Parallels". Joe DiBiase is a very active part of what makes the sound on the album so special. You´ll often notice his sophisticated yet powerful playing. Lead vocalist Ray Alder delivers an emotional and paatos filled vocal performance. His vocal style on "Parallels" is quite different from his style on "Perfect Symmetry". He sang in a very high pitched screaming vocal style on that album and while his vocals are still occasionally high pitched on "Parallels", he mostly utilizes more "human" registers and lower volumes too, which gives his performance a more varied sound than on earlier releases. The lyrics on the album mostly evolve around broken relationships and emotions.

"Parallels" is superbly produced by Terry Brown (Rush, Voivod, The Rolling Stones, Lizzy Borden...etc). A perfect sound which emphasize both mellow warmth and colder edge. A very suiting dynamic sound production to these ears.

"Parallels" has been a favorite of mine for many years now. It´s one of those albums that gets several spins in a row when I listen to it, because I simply can´t graps how good it is and I always discover a little detail I hadn´t heard before. Very few albums have that effect on me and of course "Parallels" deserve a 5 star rating.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#474472)
Posted Sunday, July 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Leaving the past behind (slightly)

Following the influential Perfect Symmetry album, the almost equally excellent Parallels saw Fates Warning transforming a little bit. Moving slightly from more underground towards more mainstream Metal. This album is thus a little bit less complex and more melodic, less progressive if you like, a more polished production. The ambition was probably to attract a wider audience without alienating the already converted. But the energetic riffs are still here. My own initial impression was less favourable to this album, but it has grown on me a lot since I first heard it. Even if it does not quite rival Perfect Symmetry, it is certainly one of the best albums by the band.

There is a nice variation between slower and faster tempos and between riffs and melodies, but I miss the slightly richer variation in instrumentation found on Perfect Symmetry. I might be wrong, but I hear a bit of Rush here in addition to the more traditional Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences. The band sounds confident and professional and they are clearly a well-oiled machine.

Another very good Fates Warning album and a highly recommended companion to Perfect Symmetry

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#525279)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars There's was life on Earth before Dream Theater!

When Images and Words was eructed from DT's esophagus, it's like the world stop turning and the All Mighty blessed us with another messiah. The future of progressive metal was in the hands of 5 guys: one singing too high, one playing too fast, one talking too much, one talking not enough and one given too little chances to speak. Game: find who is who.

The world before Images and Words was okay with me. It was a time when pyrotechnics were just powders mixed together to make bright colors, and not a guy with a goatee shredding the strings of his guitar to show the girls how it's done. There was Fates Warning, a band that knew how to take it's time to make a song that's both catchy and technical. Now the bar is set so high that kids forget what is intelligent music, music that feeds your soul and not just numbs your brain with dizzy speed.

This album not only sports a thoughtful cover, but also has a growing potential on you. It may be not the most complex thing written ever, but how needs it anyway? Life is already complicated enough, and frankly, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa or Anglagard made the cut for being mind-blowing-complexity-but-forgiven-easily-since-it's-such-awesome-music; so let them worry about that.

When you're listening to Parallels, you're letting your mind wonder just right, not too fast but enough to fulfill your desire to unwind stress from your crappy week. The guitars are sharp (but not blistering hot), the bass is audible (ahem ahem John Myung), the drums are well thought (but not double bass drum and 3rd arm hidden somewhere), but it's just not too much.

To me, Parallels is a very good example of the right elements of crunchiness wrapped into a rich chocolate accessiblilty.

Feel free to chew.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#587518)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars This site has been keeping my iPhone screen glowing during many of my daily commutes on the train. It's a feverish pastime of mine now to look up bands I know and see how they fair among the reviewers and also to seek out artists that are new to me. Fates Warning should have been in my collection from long ago because I sought out every metal band I read about back in the mid-eighties. That I didn't know of them is even more surprising considering that I loved both Iron Maiden and Queensryche, two of the other progenitors of progressive metal in the 80s.

Not sure where to start, I usually read the reviews of a band's top-rated albums on this site before visiting Amazon and giving the short song samples a run through. I also sometimes look up an album on YouTube for full-length songs. The album recommended for Fates Warning was Perfect Symmetry but Parallels was several bucks worth cheaper on Amazon (no re-mastered version with a bonus DVD), and so without any prior listen I ordered the CD, expecting to hear something along the lines of Iron Maiden, Queensryche and Dream Theater.

What I got was rather disappointing. The first song, Leave the Past Behind starts out with a prog metal flair but soon transforms into something very much like a slower number by Queensryche, or perhaps rather by a Queensryche cover band. On I went to the next song and the next, neither of them particularly standing out. Eye to Eye sounds like The Warning era Queensryche meets No One Like You by Scorpions. The Eleventh Hour is praised as being a signature song of Fates Warning but it wasn't until my fifth listen that I began to find guitar parts I like and my foot started tapping. Ray Alder just sounds too much like Geoff Tate and the guitar sound is very much like Queensryche, too.

On the first listen, by the time the last track The Road Goes on Forever ended I realized that I hadn't even noticed when the last few songs had started and ended. The real test for me is to throw a bunch of albums (or randomly selected songs from albums) onto a playlist and hit shuffle as I spend the hour it takes to commute to and from work. If a song comes on that pricks up my ears, I take more interest in the album. I did this with Parallels but whenever a song from this album came on all I could think of was a watered down Queensryche.

What is it about this album that's just not working for me? One is the sound quality. I have a 1991 version and the instruments and vocals just lack sonic depth. Another is that whenever I try to listen carefully to the music, I hear mostly standard 4/4 beat drumming with few fills, bar chords just keeping up with the chord of the melody without any awesome metal riffs, and a bass guitar that... just does nothing to stand out. It's people like Terry Butler of Black Sabbath, Geddy Lee of Rush and Chris Squire of Yes who got me turned on to the sound of the bass guitar. It's very much a background instrument here. Oh, there are some parts where the drum beat goes off the usual 4/4 time and the guitars do play some cool distorted riffs but it all sounds very lackluster to me. As I mentioned above, I was a rabid metal fan in the 80's and by 1989 I had over 300 cassettes in my collection. This album by Fates Warning... I feel like I have heard it all before. Perhaps if I had heard this album in 1985 I would have been blown away.

What I feel about this album is that Fates Warning managed to come up with easy-listening metal because there is not much edge or bite here. A lot of songs actually begin with a metal riff but the excitement drops off as every song gears down for the first verse. It's a tiresome formula: start with a cool metal sound then turn it down and go all mellow until the chorus. I think about 5 songs follow this formula on this album. And if progressive metal includes quick tricky passages, abrupt changes to melody and even key mid-song, and odd time signatures with staccato blast lead breaks then there's none of that here. It makes for a good melodic metal album but I can't say I can recommend this as a real prog rock or prog metal album. Many reviewers praise this album but I am not hearing it as a master piece. Perhaps I really need to focus on the music. As it is, my mind keeps wandering whenever I play a track from this album.

I wouldn't say that Fates Warning are not a good prog metal band. Perhaps buying Parallels first instead of Perfect Symmetry would be like buying Hold Your Fire by Rush instead of Power Windows or Going for the One by Yes instead of Relayer or Close to the Edge. I might have just missed hearing their best work and thus just missed being blown away. I feel a bit bad giving this a low rating but as a melodic metal album I think it's just good and nothing more and as prog metal metal I find it lacking. But I will be checking out some of their other albums. Hopefully I'll be more impressed with my next purchase.

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Send comments to FragileKings (BETA) | Report this review (#797206)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ray Alder's 3rd album with Fates Warning, Parallels, feels like a powerful return to form to me. As well as adapting to Alder's vocal range more effectively, the band are also able to properly integrate Mark Zonder's technical wizardry on the drums and seem to have clawed back the tendency to get technical for technical's sake that turned me off of Perfect Symmetry. Instead, by clawing back some of the melodicism they had previously set aside the band are able to strike a brilliant balance between progressive ambition, emotional resonance and widespread accessibility, making the album not just another success for the band but also a great starting point for exploring their music.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#949058)
Posted Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Review Permalink

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