Header
Fates Warning - A Pleasant Shade Of Gray CD (album) cover

A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY

Fates Warning

Progressive Metal


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
rc857@comcast
5 stars This album is fantastic. Fates totally prog. This album is a journey from begining to end. Bringing you up and bringing you down. Song 2 has vocal distortion that everyone is now using. Songs 4-7, exellent time changes and the meat of the album, song 12 gently brings you back home.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23453)
Posted Friday, December 05, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars I want to explain my judgement.At first i believe that this cd is great and full of moods that come out throught every single song.Kevin Moore gives a great contribute to fates warning's prog, with keyb solos and composed melody. At the same time the most beautiful album of FW is a step down compared to Images and Words of Dream theater and Tiranny of Shadow Gallery, in fact listening fates warning it seems that goes out something and this make me sure that is 4 stars and other cds that i've said, they are 5 stars( they are more complex and full of pure technicism).

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to fred84 (BETA) | Report this review (#23460)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Actually a very good record, but with a lack of drama, to be honest i expected a little bit more of this record, but in the end is the real prescedent of what it turned out to be the OSI record... really. Is quite a dark album, with very solid rhythm and obvious craft for the vocal, levaing of course the main role for the guitar, and surprinsingly to the keys (courtesy of Kevin Moore). However, the record got is peak point in the 8th part of it, a real interaction in-between guitar and keybords, and ends with a sad 12th part that reminds you a very "pleasant shade of GREY". Anyway, is a very good effort from a band that really converted from heavy metal to prog-metal, the true "forefathers" of this genre. period, a must if you are interested in documenting the development of music.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to arqwave (BETA) | Report this review (#23461)
Posted Friday, September 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "A Pleasant Shade of Grey" is the album that started the one-guitar era in Fates Warning's career. The physical factor of having only one guitarist in the fold (Matheos) gave way to a significant presence of keyboard parts, which are handled by longtime friend and DT alumnus Kevin Moore: he performs as a guest, not coming to the fore to display a tour-de-force, but keeping a more subtle role as a builder of ambience with lots of layers, orchestrations and harmonies. At this point, FW starts to sound more progressive than ever before, keeping the metal aspect of their music more restrained, not null, but just less explosive than their previous albums. I would even add that FW never sounded as varied as they do here: besides the symphonic stuff, there are also hints of industrial resources and some occasional neo-prog melodic drive. The one- guitar factor also translated into major room for maneuver in the rhythm section, in this way allowing drummer Mark Zonder to punctuate his jazz leanings and be more featured in the mix: guest bassist Joey Vera's performance functions as the perfect bridge between Matheos and Zonder. Matheos' clear reservations toward self-indulgent pyrotechnics are well reflected in the guitar parts of this album, which are mostly riffs, harmonies and interplaying counterpoints with many keyboard parts. All this sonic landscape serves jointly as the perfect scenario for Alder's emotional vocal delivery: the sparse and elusive lyrics are given an extra passionate dimension by Alder, sometimes by emphasizing particular syllables, some other times by going with the instrumental flow, and other times by keeping a melodic line clearly and confidently. Such display of exquisiteness makes "A Pleasant Shade of Grey" my fave FW album so far. This was originally conceived as one single piece of music, focused thematically on the inner self's emotional world, but alas the recording company pressures led Matheos to divide it into 12 sections. He didn't even bother to give each section an autonomous name, so that the listener wouldn't be distracted from the essential unity of the piece. In fact, this unity is preserved by the well ordained recurrence of some motifs and verses. Let me check some of the repertoire now: Parts II, III and XI are the most metallic ones, while the prototypical prog sophistication is beautifully conducted in Parts VI, VII, VIII (special mention to the amazing acoustic guitar/piano closing duet) and XII (brilliant closure!). Concerning the latter sections, there is a predominant presence of eerie, reflective overtones in both lyrics and melodic schemes: in this way, they serve as energizers of the rawer emotions delivered in the former sections, and so, the idea of thematic unity for the whole album is emphasized. Parts V and IX are both moving ballads, full of genuine romanticism and sheer vulnerability. Some may miss the musical power of the two-guitar albums, but the way I feel it, "A Pleasant Shade of Grey" presents a renewed power that doesn't need to rely on pyrotechnics in order to elevate the listener up to a fiery plateau of passionate and intelligent music. Overall balance: a masterpiece of metal prog, as well as one of the most brilliant concept-albums of the 90s.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#23462)
Posted Friday, September 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
paokus@homtia
5 stars i know i mentioned this album before in my reviw for psychotic's into the everflow. this album is the greatest step that fates did in their career. a step forward in music and 100 steps back in fame. they never cared about fame. they never cared about money and the most important they only cared and do care for themselves and for their fans. PSOG is the best fates album in my opinion. i love all of their albums but this album is the most progressive one and the darkest album that fates ever recorded. psychotic waltz-queensryche-fates warning the holy trio of progressive metal.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36028)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Despite the rift that many prog fans do not like progressive metal, this particular album does not typify what the genre has come to represent in the minds of most. That's why this album is arguably the quintessential album of the genre. Many progressive metal bands aren't really progressive. They don't try new things. However, A Pleasant Shade of Gray is a stand out.

In typical prog fashion, the album is one entire piece broken into 12 parts. The parts are all varied with a few repeated themes. The music is a mixture of some incorporation of "techno" keyboard (provided by Kevin Moore, ex-Dream Theater...you know that guy...responsible for keeping the restraint on old DT) with space rock,restrained heavy metal, acoustic sections, and an amazing performance by vocalist Ray Alder.

The songs on this album are replete with emotion that is often missing from albums of the genre. There isn't any real shredding guitar wise, but there is no shortage of interesting solo sections and riffs. There are a few parts where Mark Zonder's drumming will make you wonder why this guy isn't more recognized. It took me a while to get into this album because I treated it like background music at first. It definitely requires a serious listen to let it inspire you.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to HeirToRuin (BETA) | Report this review (#37287)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
bearsrevil@ne
5 stars Probably my favorite Fates ablum, for many reasons. First you have the entire concept album thing going on, an that's always good in my book. Second, the parts flow well and are not too much of one instrument. Not too many keys, and when you start to get sick of them the guitar takes over, and when you get sick of that, Joey Vera starts to run some simple yet very feeling bass lines on you. A big bonus is Kevin Moore on keys. This particular mix of musicians is VERY TIGHT, although as a whole Fates Warning has never had problems with that, and I give the MVP award to Mark Zonder on this record. He pulls some amazing stuff on this one. But all the musicians on this album are top notch, and I highly recommend this one.

Oh and at the end of the CD theres a cool surprise if you let it run...

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#41807)
Posted Saturday, August 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
horza
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Have Fates Warning toured the UK ? If they ever do I'm going to see them and THIS album will be part of the reason. If they HAVE toured then I'm gutted I missed them. The album is made of tracks titled 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray'-parts I to XII. Part I sounds like a Tarantino Western movie soundtrack before keyboards take up the opening sequence and segues into track II further developing and showcasing the band as a whole. Part III is where the singer Ray Alder really starts to draw us in,and part IV whilst starting in a restrained manner has really nice tight playing and interplay for the last third of the track. Track V is my favourite and has a bass contribution which reminds me VERY much of Chris Squire. I really like the singing and keyboards on this song. The guitar is also tasteful,economic and very,very effective. The pace picks up in the latter half of the track and draws it to an uptempo end featuring great drumming. I have to say that the band are superb and impress me very much. Track VI has a Dire Straits feel to the beginning,with echoes of Floyd (pardon the pun). Another excellent track which effortlessly slides into track VII. This is an album which should be savored and listened to in its entireity, it makes more sense that way somehow. Track VIII continues the overall theme of excellence whilst track IX has a more acoustic almost Kansas-like feel to it. Track X has a sequencer opening and replays a musical motif which reccurs throughout the album. Track XI takes us deeper and before we know it we are at the finale,track XII. At over 9 minutes it is the longest track on the album. It starts off in sombre mood and develops nicely. Fates Warning are now one of my favourite new prog bands. It's hard to believe they looked and sounded like they wanted to be part of the NWOBHM when they started out. This is an excellent album.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#55752)
Posted Wednesday, November 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The guide on 'how to keep a low profile'.

Quietly sitting on their side of the progressive rock, Fates Warning is a quite reserved and polite band. Are they restraining themselves on purpose? I believe so. What you have here is a band that could play like Dream Theater. The more and more I listen to the album, it's showing that these guys know where they are going on the album. They stick to their concept and they don't go too much around it. The addition of Kevin Moore is a good idea. His keyboard work is rather not stylish, it's more like a nice silver wrapping, giving the final classy touch.

I wouldn't have bought the record if it wasn't because of the concept. One long song, divided into 12 segments of 3 minutes or so, really intrigued me. At first, the skinny sound, with no guitar solos and cold bass lines surprised me. Aw man, did I wasted my dineros? Of course not, I got convinced I had something strong after the 6th listen. In fact, part 8 convinced me of keeping it close. Great piano with perfect atmosphere for a rainy day. Kinda reminded me of Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes) is some sections. I also recalled the same feeling hearing Alex Lifeson's Victor for the first time. This is a kind of protocole we don't ecounter often in the metal prog world. More instrumental goodies would've been appreciated, but I guess this is done on purpose. I guess the final tip is to listen often before making any judgment!

Everything 's grey on this record (litteraly!) and it lefted me wondering at first, but don't worry if that's you first reaction. This is not a flashy, showing off exercice. If you want pyrothecnics, go look someplace else. For others, this is a good companion for cloudy dayz when you feel like being alone with your thoughts.

The grandfather of Office of Strategic Influence?

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#58795)
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars In my humble opinion, the best Fates Warning album. Period. Songwriting is excellent, musical performances are flawless, and Alder's vocals are the best he recorded. I love the idea of recurring themes exploited differently throughout a concept album, and let me tell you, APSOG is an example in this field. Kevin Moore shines by his restraint, playing what fits where it fits. Zonder's beats, patterns and fills clearly set him close to Neil Peart on this one. Joey Vera also does a great job. Matheos, not displaying virtuoso capabilities, instead displays restraint and uses the guitar as a songwriting instrument more than a means to show off technically. Arrangements are great, lyrics too. Really not a happy album, Grey seems to be a suitable color for the music. Dark, depressing, but so heartwrenching. A great balance of feel and technicality through and through. Fates Warning magnum opus, nothing less !

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Melomaniac (BETA) | Report this review (#76231)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've read alot of reviews for this album calming that it is not memorable or that its no flow: i couldn't disagree more. Sure its a tough album to get into but after a couple of spins i myself have realized that this is yet another fine piece of work by the innovaters of prog metal. Fates Warning have done it here in A Pleasant Shade of Gray by creating (in my opinion) one long 52 minute opus divided into tracks that has alot of new things added into the band. First off the lineup is now composed of one guitarist instead of two (Goodbye Frank Aresti) plus former Dt player Kevin Moore becomes a part time member of FW to really add in some great keyboard effects to FW. Plus they bring a new bassist Joey Vera who in my opinion is a much better bassist than Joe Dibiase as he puts more feeling in the bass and makes himself known as a rhythmic bassist. But anyway there alot of great moments in this album such as the great guitar solos, the acoustic and piano duet, Zonder's amazing rhythms, the vocal harmonies, lots of ongoing rhythm, and some beautiful softer sections from the band. The band also does a swell job as on this album such as Ray Alder to me a much better vocalist than that Bruce Dickinson clone. To me one of his best vocal performance as he knows when to really use his voice for good use and he isn't too waily like he was with Perfect Symmetry. Jim Matheos the creater of music for Fates also shows that he doesn't have to be extremely fast and shredding as he uses his guitar skills to not just play awesome proggressive riffs and changes but to also display his more melodic side with his solos. Joey Vera like i've said before better bassist for the rhythm and he really does have a nice bassline in the intro of Part 6. Kevin Moore not a bad job for him with the nice touch of some sampling, loops, some synths, and beautiful piano playing. Mark Zonder WHOA why is this guy not getting recognized enough i mean i love Portnoy but Zonder deserves as much priase as these other great prog players. He is just so smooth with his odd time meter rhythms, amazing fills, and well he is just too good to me probably one of his best performances on this album. So all in all a great album by a very talented group i could care less what other big reivewers have said this is one of fates warning best albums by far. However though i will say it was hard for me to get into it since it was my first FW album but after hearing more FW from the 80s and so on i finally understand the change they had made which for some reason has made me love this album even more. So if your a fan of FW don't start with this album like i did start with something like Perfect Symmetry or Parallels and work your up and back if you wanna get their earlier stuff. But still a perfect masterpiece

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Progdrummer05 (BETA) | Report this review (#80358)
Posted Monday, June 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars what we have here is simply the best progressive metal album ever.. a real time concept conceived by Matheos years before its release but only after the line up could support it - with the arrival of Mark Zonder - did he start making it true...

it has everything: industrial parts, heavy riffing, jazz drumming, classic preludes, instrumental orgies, beautifull ballads, mindfull lyrics...

P.S. hats off to Terry Brown and his excellent production..we met him with Rush...we loved him with Fates..

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to toolis (BETA) | Report this review (#83296)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An album I never got what all the hype was about.

Fates Warning is a very talented band. The addition of Kevin Moore makes it even moreso. However, I just never bought into this one. The concept is actually quite good, straying from the oh so popular "my friend is in a coma" concept that has been done to infinity.

Compared to the majority of prog metal, most of this record is much more subtle, with drums and keys serving more as an accompaniment rather than the "in your face" approach expanded upon by so many other bands. No denying that Kevin Moore had something to do with this, as he can give any band a great deal of class and "touch" similar to the way Wakeman handled himself. This is a sign I like, as it's far to easy to go with the norm and lump yourself in with all the other acts. I'm also highly impressed by the stylistic elements of the drummer.

This album is much less "metal" than others. Sure, there is still the signature guitar tone and a nice rich bass, but this album is more drawn back to a large degree. I'm also a bit dissapointed that one of the sections reminds me of a line from Images and Words. The first 2/3 or so of the album are better than the last bits, which appear to get a bit over dramatic for no apparent reason, this album didn't need it, it was well without. Their also is not a whole lot of shift in the singer's style, which is a downer for those looking for variety that you might find in a Daniel Gilednlow.

Overall a well thought out album, and a definite must for fans of prog metal. I'm wishing more would have been done in closing the piece, but if you're a Kevin Moore fan you'll like what you get out of it.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#97880)
Posted Thursday, November 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't think I have ever heard a band who has changed its sound so much over the course of its career as Fates Warning. For me that is one of the great appeals of this band. This evolution has resulted in one of the finest back cataologues of music in progressive metal.

A Plesant Shade of Grey is vastly different from their previous album Inside Out. On this album they went more into their progressive side, leaving behind the more commmercial sound they had developed in the early 90s.

APSOG is basically one epic song broken up into 12 parts. The music itself is very atmospheric, much of which is brought in by the magnificant keyboard work of former Dream Theater member Kevin Moore. A very different and welcome touch to the music of Fates Warning. But still there are some damn heavy riffs and the soaring meoldies we've come to expect are there as well. What APSOG does is send you on a fantastic emotional ride, that is a dark emotional ride of despair.

This for me is up there as one of their best alongside No Exit and Perfect Symmetry.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Hrvat (BETA) | Report this review (#97949)
Posted Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm sorry, this will be an extremely short review for my usual standards. The reason is that I already reviewed this album more than 6 moths ago, but had that review deleted when i read it again and found it sucked. It was written after just one listen of the album, in a rush, pressed by my own self to "finish my first ever review", and trying to prove the world and outside galaxies that the band's singer, Ray Alder, was the worst thing to happen to the world of music since the day MTV was created. It was a bad review, a bashing exercise that now I find ridiculous.

So here am I again facing the task of writing something about A PLEASANT SHADE OF GREY, an album by a band I just recently truly discovered. The problem is, I've been here, I've done this, so I'm going to give just a general idea about my feelings towards the record and what I think about the music.

APSOG is a truly progressive-metal album. It's like a long song sub-divided in shorter ones that share common themes and elements that provide the whole work with unity and equilibrium. The general mood of the music is dark, dark-purple like the cover (or dark-blue) but, better yet, as the title implies, grey, obscure, pessimistic. I've just realized how un- optimistic Fates Warning's music has turned as of late, and this album is no exception. The songs are slow, heavy, the band never really goes in full-speed mode. The Maiden references of old are gone for good, waht we have here is 100% progressive-metal with interesting, complex, innovative structures and rhythms. The whole concept grows and grows till it becomes a fact, from a whisper it turns into an assertion. The overall gloomy atmosphere, the fog the music creates in our minds, has a lot of twists, there are a few catchy melodies, but most of them are just pragmatic, to-the-point themes that serve a purpose. The usual instruments are joined by scarce keyboards that add to the dismal environment. There is a certain "alternatuve, grungy" vibe going on at times, but never too present.

The musicians are fantastic. Jim Matheos is a skilled song writer and more so a guitarist, his riffs very original and distinguishable from other ax-men's. There's not too much soloing in the album but enough to satisfy the hunger for at least some virtuosity. Joey Vera gives us a good performance in bass, always keeping it on time and precise. Mark Zonder, the drummer, one of the most underrated in the business; his hi-hat patterns are so unique, so HIS OWN; he never over-plays, never relies too much in double-bass or tom-toms; his work is the work of a clocksmith: accurate, on time, right where and when it's needed. Kevin Moore helps on keyboards, not shining but collaborating. Now a final word about my former "musical-foe" named Ray Alder. I still don't like his style completely, I still think he could SING more and yell and scream less; but he doesn't annoy me anymore; I don't regard him as the most-awful singer on this side of the earth or the other one for that matter; and at times, even if not throughout the whole album, I actually find him GOOD.

This could've been a 5-star album with just a little more in the way of dynamics; it's just that through this album, is as if Fates Warning was a racer that never switches gear from 4th to 5th or 6th. There's only one song when the band plays in a slightly fast tempo, and that's my only complaint. Other than that, almost a masterpiece.

Recommended for: Fans of Fates Warning; fans of Progressive-metal: fans of intelligent metal; rock fans that can bear precise, never extreme of grinding metal.

Not recommended for: People that can't stand any thought of metal; people that like fast- paced albums and music; old-style Maiden-ish FW fans; but, specially, THE T VERSION 1.0...

...he is human after all (insert any face you like here).

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#114824)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album would see the band moving in a different direction on a number of fronts. First would be the exit of lead guitarist Frank Aresti and bassist Joe DiBiase. Bassist Joey Vera would be added as the sole new member. If your familiar with their previous two records "Inside Out" and "Parallels" then it won't be surprising that they didn't replace Frank on lead guitars as one lead guitarist would be enough. Kevin Moore would play an integral role on this album as a guest keyboard player. This wasn't his first time playing with FATES WARNING as he did guest briefly on "Perfect Symmetry". The sound of the two previous records were much more commercial sounding then anything they had done before while this one would be a return to the progressive sounds of "Perfect Symmetry" only different. This is different then anything they had done in the past, a slow moving, atmospheric and melancholic album. Yes this is a gray record as the title suggests. I laughed when I read the thankyou section in the liner notes.They thank producer Terry "How much grayer could it be ?" Brown.That shows you they got their desired results.They also thank "Mike Portnoy (an honourary Fates member)". Cool. Hugh Syme again does an excellent job on the cover art. It's gray.

This album is supposed to be one song broken down into 12 parts. I must say this doesn't feel like one song as there are breaks between songs at times and it just doesn't flow well at times either. Certainly not like GREEN CARNATION's "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness" which is truly one long song. "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" appears to be about the thoughts (or words) of a man towards his partner as he lies in bed.

It opens with a guitar being strummed once as you hear the rain fall. Vocals come in. Part II is atmospheric with processed vocals and it has an industrial, mechanical feel to it. The mellow sections of Part III remind me of PORCUPINE TREE. The drumming from Zonder is great ! Nice bass as well.This is a heavy passage. Zonder shines again on Part IV, the sound is fantastic on this one. Part V has a good piano melody followed by some complex guitars and drums. Synths follow and the sound is great ! Part VI is my favourite section. It opens with a FLOYD-like melody before we get some ominous bass lines. A guitar melody rises slowly and builds out of the soundscape.The vocals come in as only bass remains. It gets heavy 4 minutes in and the long slow guitar solo is incredible.

Part VII opens with some great keys from Moore. Heavy drums and guitar come in as well as rough vocals from Adler. Part VIII has some beautiful piano melodies. Part IX is a gorgeous song with acoustic guitar and fragile vocals. A tasteful guitar solo 3 minutes in. Part X is industrial sounding. Part XI is an uptempo rocker and it's great ! Part XII is dark, heavy and atmospheric. Nice. The song ends as it started with rain falling before you hear an alarm go off.

I really like this album but I feel that it doesn't measure up to "Perfect Symmetry". Both are progressive and complex but "Perfect Symmetry" is more metal. 4 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#118474)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I am amazed by the praise this album receives-- I found it utterly underwhelming and unworthy of its high marks.

To start with, the band's playing is not nearly as exceptional as it is hyped to be. I acknowledge some exceptionally complex instrumental passages, but as a whole there is little to grab the listener here; the heavy parts are monotonous and the textures are not nearly as dynamic as I've come to expect from Moore; moreover, Maethos' guitar is consistantly crunchy/distorted and has little emotion. I found the band's non-metal moments to be there most interesting, unfortunetly they are few and far between.

Worst of all though-- and I think this is probably what ruined the album for me-- is the TERRIBLE singing of Ray Alder. At his best, he sounds like an '80's hair-metal frontman, but he is more often than not groaning out uncreative, monotonous passages with zero range or charisma. The band would be much better off as an instrumental act, and even then only if they upped the ante with more inspired songwriting and playing.

Listen before you buy, and even then buy any of the many many many more excellant prog-metal albums out there before getting this one!

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#122249)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars First this is a lot diffrent album than the predecesors, in good way, and second is one of the best Warning records so far. Much more symphonic than Symmetry for example, but still prog metal of the highest calibre. Fates Warning reches a new level in their career composing an album, hard to forget, at lest for me. The album is comprised of one long song with 12 parts and more than 50- minutes, delivering the high skills from each member, Mark Zonder is a techer, absolute stunning drumer. Lead guitarist Frank Aresti and bassist Joe DiBiase are put on hold and bassist Joey Vera would be added as the new member. One of the most varied albums from prog metal with Kevin Moore ex Dream Theatre keys shining on every piece.What more, a recommended album in every way, but still not their best in my opinion, i remain to Symmetry to be the best Fates Warning album. Great voice from Ray Alder. 4 stars

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#155855)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars While other prog-metal bands like Qüeensryche were missing creativity and punch on each new album in the 90's (for example, searching for radio friendly tunes), Fates Warning fortunately released on each subsequent album different and exciting music [which was ever unsuccessful or absent in MTV (at least the Brazilian MTV), an excellent indication of good music: bad for MTV = very good music!]. This is true for A Pleasant Shade of Gray: virtually a song of 54 min (in 12 parts) that never bored me. Fantastic performance of all musicians and the vocalist. The bass is very present and keyboards are in the right measure [just for atmospheric effects and background, no cheesy solos (arrrghh!!) as usual in Dream Theater and so many prog-metal bands]. There are sublime moments, as Parts III, V, VII, VIII, XI and XII, but all parts are fine, no filler, no cheesy tune. Highly recommended for any progressive or prog- metal fan. ****1/2 stars.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Asiostygius (BETA) | Report this review (#171600)
Posted Monday, May 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars There comes a time in every bands career when they make changes to their sound. Some bands do it flawlessly, gaining new fans and keeping old ones. Other bands fail miserably, alienating everyone. Fates Warning is an example of a band doing it properly.

Fates Warning's 90's albums are pretty strong releases, and there was no question that 'Parallels' and 'Inside Out' would be hard to top, but with 'A Pleasant Shade of Grey' the band really hit their stride as a Prog band with what I consider to be their greatest work.

With only one guitar (instead of the usual two) and a keyboard player, Fates Warning take on a more progressive feel with their music. Gone are the metal songs and in their place stands atmospheric, ambient songs. Though don't get me wrong, this album still has plenty of heavy riffs to keep faithful fans happy, but the album as a whole focuses more on mood, and the concept album thing keeps the songs connected.

As always, impressive displays of musicianship are everywhere, especially from drummer Mark Zonder and vocalist Ray Alder. Though Jim Matheos is no slouch, and his thoughtful, complex riffs are everywhere. Added to this album is keyboard player Kevin Moore (known for his work with Dream Theater) who adds a new level of emotion on the album.

On first playing this album it took me a few listens to get into the swing of it. I guess that's what you get with concept albums though. Instead of 5/6 minute rock tracks you're getting one long story told through 12 different parts.

It'd be hard for me to point out any highlights as the album works so much better as one piece, rather than individual components. This isn't the sort of album that would grow on you upon your first listen, but then isn't that what we love about Prog?

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Valarius (BETA) | Report this review (#175296)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Mainly, I agree with the user Prog Leviathan's views about this album. This album could've done much better as an instrumental recording. There are a few exceptional instrumental passages, and the drumming is far above average. But the vocals, specially when he goes high pitched (in the more metal/rocker moments, like the two first songs who settle the mood for this conceptual piece), I feel the need to cut my veins: TERRIBLE! Actually, I think the best of this album is the MP3 sample on this site (parts 4 and 5), which features a great instrumental performance. The album is a bit too 'laid back' for my taste, it never 'launches' (musically speaking). That said, this album has, IMO, little inventive, a very bad singer, and decent band (specially the drummer; Kevin Moore here is waaay different from the work he did with DT, and he doesn't show off as he used to do).

Overall, this album gives me little need to keep exploring Fates Warning music, and this will be my first and last purchase of the band (at least for now).

Rating: 1.9/5

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Barla (BETA) | Report this review (#208702)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Grey and more grey.

This album is often regarded as the best from the highly seminal progressive metal band, Fates Warning, but how does it really stack up against the rest of the genre. As can probably be noted from the tracklisting, the album is all one long song, and it's a concept album - so prog heads may have their attention grabbed right there. What you can expect from the realm of progressive metal is over the top solos, winding instrumentals, creativity and a general uptempo feel thanks to the metal behind the prog. However, almost none of that applies to this album, and the entire thing can often come off as seeming rather dull and, well, grey, especially if this isn't the kind of music that you normally appreciate in the first place.

If you're expecting instrumental pyrotechnics then you're in the wrong place. Obviously it would be out of line to bash an album for doing something that it never intended to do in the first place, but as a point of caution, that isn't what the album's about. Thanks to the subject matter of the concept at hand (which can be better described by my contemporaries) the music is all rather dark and brooding, and this applies all throughout the 12 parts. Although some of them are a bit more uptempo the general mix and tone of the album keeps everything very... well, grey. There's no parts that simply act as heavy rockers to break up the slow-burning concept, and any instrumental tracks easily get washed away while you're listening to it as the points between some of the vocals and the next part of vocals. Ray Alder is on the mic for this album and has, by now, gained a following as a legendary lead man, that reputation alone being one of the sole drivers behind the incarnation of Redemption, but here, while he does put on the power metal voice for the sake of the context of the band, he comes off as rather bland throughout - albeit with flashes of killer performances throughout.

The main problem is that while the album is good on the whole it really lacks an entry point, making the entire thing completely inaccessible. Since the song simply chugs along through its 12 parts without a moment that may be a little poppier or less unforgiving the entire disc can pass by without a trace. Other bands have been able to pull off the ''one song album'', but those bands (like, say, Jethro Tull) also knew the importance of having some kind of snag or catch to pull you back in for another listen instead of just bludgeoning you with a heavy concept and slow burning music. A Pleasant Shade Of Grey is the kind of thing that could have taken a spot on another album as a 12-minute song and been one of the best pieces on the album rather than extending every nook and cranny of the song until it took up the entire album.

On the bright side, what moments of the album do manage to make its way under your skin will undoubtedly be good ones. While you may not remember them afterwards, on the whole the album is an enjoyable listen, and if you like one part, then chances are that you'll like them all. It's like a black and white painting, a shade of grey, it doesn't dare to flash out at you with bright neon colors, it would prefer to take its time and let you appreciate all the subtleties of what it's trying to do. The problem is that if it can't hook you to look at the painting long enough then you'll probably dismiss it as just another piece of work. Overall, 3 stars out of 5 for an album that is just a little too grey for its own good.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#211381)
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars rue Art is indeed a form of Self Expression, and that is exactly what Pleasant shade of Gray is, genuine self expression.

In the early 90's there was somewhat of small progressive metal bubble, which blew up in the mainstream. Pull me Under was blowing up and Fate's Warning also had there first taste of mainstream success with Eye to Eye. I have to say that the allure of actually mainstream success caused FW to water down their material for a more accessible sound with Parallels and Inside Out, and they were rejected. The mainstream audience, the record label and Mtv all turned there back's on Fate's. All this time and energy wasted trying to change for others, its exactly what Through Different Eyes was all about. The had seen the mountaintop and failed to scale the summit. Pleasant shade of gray is the backlash, from a band on the verge of collapse. No more compromise, or sacrifice, From now on it would be pure and genuine music, focused like a sharp knife. There is nothing mainstream or "commercial" about this album. There's no hit single and better yet, there isn't even any song names. Its all one song, flowing seamlessly. Its what they wanted to do, and its absolutely beautiful. This is my favorite Fate's Warning album, and they came back revitalized and stronger than ever.

On side note, DT can learn a lot from this move. They waste time with songs like "constant motion" and "a rite of passage" designed to be hits which will never be and they sound ridiculous, but with growlsy Magee out of the band hopefully they can rise from the ashes.

"Play from your heart" -Bill Hicks

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Phoenix87x (BETA) | Report this review (#327633)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars A little bit gray perhaps, but very pleasant indeed

A Pleasant Shade Of Gray was another step in the evolution of Fates Warning. While the previous album, Inside Out, was a continuation of Parallels, the present album constituted a significant step forward for the band. It is arguable that A Pleasant Shade Of Gray is Fates Warning's most progressive album, only rivaled by Perfect Symmetry. The whole album is one continuous piece of music divided into 12 parts running for over 50 minutes. It took several listens to get into and at first I did indeed find it a bit "gray". But with time new layers revealed themselves and it grew on me.

Kevin Moore of Dream Theater fame once again provides piano and keyboards to great effect and there are some superb but subtle acoustic passages. The whole album was performed live and the whole first disc of the live album Still Life is occupied by a very good performance of the album in its entirety.

Highly recommended!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#543895)
Posted Thursday, October 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Fates Warning's A Pleasant Shade of Gray earns points for ambition, presenting as it does a single multi-part song, but it fails to make that song compelling enough to hold my attention. In particular, I find the repetitive and tedious Part VIII so irritating that it ends up as a roadblock to my enjoyment of the piece as a whole. It's good that the band were trying to do something different - in particular, for a lot of the time the album is more sedate and sombre and less traditionally "metal" than most preceding Fates Warning work - but it isn't quite my cup of tea.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1086746)
Posted Saturday, December 07, 2013 | Review Permalink

FATES WARNING A Pleasant Shade Of Gray ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of FATES WARNING A Pleasant Shade Of Gray


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.45 seconds