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Fates Warning

Progressive Metal

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5 stars This is not Fates Warning, This is a masterpiece. Make no mistake (how I hate this sentence!) about this album. This is pure symphony of technicism and high feelings against lack of production... You can find here many ways of experimentation with the band's instruments. Still remains remains as one of my top 10 of all time prog- metalwise.
Report this review (#23472)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't know why, but the gloomy and mostly slow tempo of Fates Warning music always amuses me. It seems that whatever my mood there is for the day, I always find it enjoyable when listening to Fates Warning. The same case stands for 2000's effort, Disconnected. Not that I loved it the first time I started listening to the album. This is not their best effort -well, to be honest.which one is their best? Each of their effort stands on its own in terms of uniqueness and style, and of course there is a red line where you can find the connection among those albums.

The album starts with 1 minute plus of long guitar sound which sounds like a crying whale. Then kicking off with "One", a mixture of progressive metal with techno-elements. It surprised me as they never did anything like that before. Track number 3, "So" is a typical Fates Warning song, with a mid-tempo which lasts about 8 minutes or so. It is so Fates Warning. Another exploration is found in "Pieces of Me" with another so-called techno- thing. But I think it is more intense than "One". Well, please try no to sleep when "Something From Nothing" starts off. The first few minutes were slow and dark then kicking off with a mixture of progressive rhythm section beat from bassist Joey Vera and drummer Mark Zonder. Watch out for another 16 minutes dark song of "Still Remains". Is that all? No. Wait until approximately 2:44th when the music starts to get so intense and tight, without losing its dark sense feeling with the acrobatic voices of Ray Alder. The album is closed with the instrumental "Disconnected Part II", similar as what they have started in the beginning of the album except that it's much darker. My conclusion is, this is an album that will please many Fates Warning fans but they will find it hard to win new fans with this album. [4/5] **David Dewata, Indonesia**

Report this review (#23480)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having listened to this album for more than 8 spins through various kinds of mode: headphone, home stereo set and car CD changer that I've just done it while driving this morning, I'm now in a position to give some words of appreciation and views about this album. Overall, I think this album is on par excellent with the band's new album "FWX" that I have reviewed last week. . This album falls under Category B [my view] of prog music : it was hard for me to accept at first listen but it grew with number of spins and by (typically) spin number 8 (eight) it became my favorite. My view about this album has stabilized now and that's why this review is due. [Note: I only review albums, especially prog, where I have given a chance to listen the music in its entirety for a minimum of 8 spins to give you, THE readers, a fair opinion. I hope it works fine with you].

It kicks off with "Disconnected (Part 1)" in ambient style with Matheos' repeated howling guitar sound backed with a soft keyboard touch. It flows seamlessly to second track "One" with a simple guitar riffs that remind me to the opening riffs of Porcupine Tree's "Bornlivedie - Signify" tune. The tiny but powerful voice of Ray Alder enters the music backed with excellent riffs. My progmate, David, once mentioned that Mark Zonder has an acrobatic style in his drumming. Yes, I completely agree with him. I can taste it even from this opening track. Even though this track has a minimum variation on its tagline melody but it does not cause me get bored with the track. I think the band has put excellent sound ingredients that create different nuance for each musical passage.

"So" starts off with a soft and spacey keyboard solo before the riffs enter the music. Tempo-wise, this track is the same vein with previous one. Kevin Moore's keyboard plays have shown greater intensity to accompany guitar riffs and fills. This track has some tempo changes and some breaks into quieter passages. One of these quiet passage happens at halfway through the track where the bass line of Joey Vera and cymbals provide rhythm for the vocal line. Keyboard at the end of track plays background role and provides excellent musical nuance.

"Pieces Of Me"'s intro part begins with soft riffs followed by high register note voice line. Kevin Moore's keyboard sometimes add the track with effects like in typical Ozric Tentacles music. These effects have accentuated the music.

"Something From Nothing" is like an epic if we loot at the duration of 10 minutes plus. It's one of my favorites. It starts with bass line and some guitar effects that provide an excellent platform for voice to enter the music in mellow style. When the music enters, the band uses a sampling / sequencer with keyboard effects and amazing bass line. It returns back to mellow vocal. If vocal is ignored, this part reminds me to Ozric Tentacles music. Approaching middle of track the music turns into a faster tempo with, again, great guitar riffs played in unique style. It slowly grows to higher register with noisier music with some distorted sounds. This has made the music much more powerful and has created enjoyable listening journey.

"Still Remains" is another epic with longer duration (16:11). The opening part with some keyboard effects and guitar fills have in a way created an image of Ozric Tentacles performed in mellow manner. At approx min 2:40 the music turns into a faster tempo style with all players contribute and participate There are wonderful transitions performed with piano as the lead instrument player. I personally like the bass line that sometimes play a dominating role in quieter passage. The keyboard played with symphonic style at background. The guitar riffs are getting louder throughout the song accompanied with keyboard solo. Well, this track has a lot of catchy melodies with some tempo changes. At approx minute 10 the music turns quieter with excellent vocal line followed with a short electric guitar solo. Sometimes guitar sound reminds me to Camel's Andy Latimer's style. It's a wonderfully composed music with a very tight structure.

"Disconnected (Part 2)" brings the music back to original textures with the same repeated howling guitar with soft keyboard touch. This time the piano accentuates the music in a classical style augmented with distorted and distanced human voices. The nuance of this concluding track reminds me to Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire".

It's a highly recommended album in "another kind" of progressive metal vein. Another kind? Yeah, I'm sure about it as when the music flows throughout this album, the band has successfully projected other nuances of prog metal even though there are riffs (sometime repeated) that describe the prog met nature. This album has been wonderfully crafted considering many musical nuances produced through sound effects and/or styles. Overall, the album has a tight structure with clear head and tail, each track is well positioned in such a way that creates an ultimate mind satisfaction and listening pleasures. The songwriting is powerful, the delivery and musicianship are top notch. If I was not aware that the band have launched another follow-up album "FWX", I would have wondered whether the band can still maintain its quality as this album has earned. The fair rating is 4.5 out of 5. Keep on progging!! - GW, Indonesia ---

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

Report this review (#23481)
Posted Saturday, January 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album continues where Queenryche's 'Operation Mindcrime' stopped (now that's a statement) and Dream Theater went on. Yes, I owe you an explanation. Operation mindcrime has absolutely been an inspiration. Disconnected starts and ends with a spoken sentence. Not 'I rememeber now' but "I think we're disconnected". And has the same effect . ONce the record started, you enter the ride. Not as energetic or aggressive as queensryche, but with similar melodic lines and vocals. Allthough it takes a while before the record hits you. Actually the beginning also reminds of Jeff Wayne's war of the world. It must be the melodramatic sound in the beginning. But then the records really takes off teh song 'one'. The first 4 songs are short, but nr 5 and 6 are real progressive songs, more than 10 minutes. The songs have strong melodic lines, patiently it builds to a climax. For me this climax is the sixth song ('still remains'), with an excellent guitar solo. Not to show how skilfull Jim Matheos is (and he is), but to give you the shiver (to get chickin skin is a dutch expression). It is the effect we know from Steven Rothery and Gary Moore; something Yngwie Malmsteen doesn't understand. And then it stops where it ends, we seem to have been disconnected. And you want to play this record again. All and all, a very nice album. So why only 4 stars? First of all, there is no 4,5 stars, because this should be the rating. And because the album is relatively short (approx 51 minutes). It could easily be stretched with one or two songs. And no, it is no Operation Mindcrimes (there can only be one) and does not reach the Dream Theater perfection of the lost DT albums. But I can certainly recommend this one if you are into heavy progressive music.
Report this review (#23482)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was first interested in FW after buying and loving the OSI Limited Edition album. My brother had this album on his computer and so I had a listen, and was not very impressed. it was good, but nothing about it really stood out in any way, even after having listened to it about 4 times. If you liked the album, that's great, but it just doesn't do it for me. I may still try one of their other albums to see if it's better, but I don't think that I'm a FW fan.
Report this review (#36791)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best album by far from this prolific band.No fillers on an album which at just under one hour represents great value for money.They have progressed in 20 odd years from looking like dodgy Iron Maiden look alikes (check first album back cover-ha ha).The classic Something From Nothing is a good enough reason on its own for checking out this album.You may have heard this before but my previous submission on this essential album vanished.Similarities with Dream Theater exist but the Fates emerge victorious.
Report this review (#47935)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars So here is it, Fates Warning's 9th studio release, Disconnected published in 2000 after their stunning masterpiece A Pleasant Shade of Grey that finally restored Fates Warning's position in the progressive world. After Kevin Moore became a member of Fates Warning and worked with them on A Pleasant Shade of Grey, he stayed and helped them here once again. Unfortunately he left after Disconnected. But he left his mark, for example the unusual track lengths, So with 8 minutes, Something from Nothing with 11 minutes and Still Remains with 16 minutes.

The album starts with the first part of the title track Disconnected. A nice expressive guitar bend and finally a voice that tells you that you are disconnected! Track 2, One, is a typical Fates Warning song, as well as the next 3 tracks, starting with a heavy guitar riff, getting louder and with a bass and a great drum work by Mark Zonder, joining and Ray Alder's typical ascending and descending vocals. Here you first notice some of the effects used on the whole album, e.g. in the first verse. They continue in the next songs as well, giving them a spacey character. Still Remains is on the one hand the longest and on the other hand the best song of this album. It starts with some effects and 2 echoing guitar tones, one sounds like a water drop falling down in a cave. The two tones develop to 4 notes at all, sounding much more like a guitar and louder now. The first verse begins with some added synthesizer and some screams of a man. The next part begins now with every instrument and harder now. Sounds like typical Fates Warning now again, except the synthesizer-melody besides. A guitar solo follows. This is the first time Jim Matheos is playing a solo - a nice addition to the otherwise, monotone guitar work on this album. There are some riffs, powerchords and arpeggios but nothing really stunning! A piano is added and a nice bass interlude follows. Soon afterwards the next verse begins. The song continues almost the same, always varied of course. At the end a guitar solo follows. This is the first time Jim Matheos is playing a solo - a nice addition to the otherwise, monotone guitar work on this album. There are some riffs, powerchords and arpeggios but nothing really stunning! The second part of the title track, Disconnected is much longer than the first one (6 minutes). It starts with the same guitar bend, but there is a lot more going on in this song. There are additional synthesizer and a further piano. All in all a really, really sad and touching instrumental.

So this is a nice album, I think every Fates Warning fan will like it and some who like Dream Theater or other progressive metal bands could try this album. While songs like Still Remains and Disconnected II are great songs and definitely worth a listening, the whole album cannot really is nothing special, but still a quite good album!

Report this review (#65269)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't know why, but the gloomy and mostly slow tempo of Fates Warning music always amuses me. It seems that whatever my mood there is for the day, I always find it enjoyable when listening to Fates Warning. The same case stands for 2000's effort, Disconnected. Not that I loved it the first time I started listening to the album. This is not their best effort -well, to be honest.which one is their best? Each of their effort stands on its own in terms of uniqueness and style, and of course there is a red line where you can find the connection among those albums.

The album starts with 1 minute plus of long guitar sound which sounds like a crying whale. Then kicking off with "One", a mixture of progressive metal with techno-elements. It surprised me as they never did anything like that before. Track number 3, "So" is a typical Fates Warning song, with a mid-tempo which lasts about 8 minutes or so. It is so Fates Warning. Another exploration is found in "Pieces of Me" with another so-called techno- thing. But I think it is more intense than "One". Well, please try no to sleep when "Something From Nothing" starts off. The first few minutes were slow and dark then kicking off with a mixture of progressive rhythm section beat from bassist Joey Vera and drummer Mark Zonder. Watch out for another 16 minutes dark song of "Still Remains". Is that all? No. Wait until approximately 2:44th when the music starts to get so intense and tight, without losing its dark sense feeling with the acrobatic voices of Ray Alder. The album is closed with the instrumental "Disconnected Part II", similar as what they have started in the beginning of the album except that it's much darker. My conclusion is, this is an album that will please many Fates Warning fans but they will find it hard to win new fans with this album. (4/5)

Report this review (#79928)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Disconnected from what?

That's Prog Metal I really like - heavy but also very melodic with a lot of sense and feeling. The song writing is excellent, beside metal there are also spacy and psychedelic moments produced by guitar and keyboard. Mark Zonder's drum playing is impressing, the same with Ray Alder's vocals.

A guitar siren is opening for the rocking uptempo One and then the album is growing from song to song. The two long tracks are my favourites. Something from nothing is melancholic, similar to Porcupine Tree on Coma Divine with a beautiful melody. Still remains is excellently composed and shines because it is of great variety. With both songs (but also the others like Pieces of me f.e.) they manage to create memorable refrains which you won't forget for a long time! Disconnected Part 2 closes the album picking up the opening siren and developing to a very nice keyboard dominated ambient song.

This album is great and deserves 4 stars without a problem - recommended.

Report this review (#81589)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars This record's theme is about being disconnected from people and society and so the feeling of being lonely and abandoned runs throughout this album. Therefore you shouldn't expect a lot of joy and happiness either lyrically or musically when you listen to this recording. Jim Matheos has sort of put doing guitar solos in the past for now as he concentrates on playing dense riffs and a heavy rhythmic guitar (grinding away). There is a lot of atmosphere on this disc as well as heaviness. Of course having Kevin Moore on board is great when you need to create atmosphere. Zonder and Vera sure know how to bring lots of bottom end. Good to see Terry Brown co-producing this record along with the band. They thank former member Bernie Versailles and his and Ray's present band mate with REDEMPTION Nick Van Dyk.

"Disconnected (Part 1)" features Matheos playing a single bended note on his guitar several times that recalls the PINK FLOYD song "Welcome To the Machine".The synths answer the machine in this short gloomy opener. The machine comes back at the end of the album. "One" has an uptempo intro. Zonder ! The guy is incredible. Tempo changes throughout this song. Adler can sure hold a note as witnessed 3 minutes in. Some intricate guitar work as well. Adler wrote this song. The next song "So" has been described as DREAM THEATER meets TOOL. Eerie synths to open as heavy drums and bass come in. The synths sound fantastic and Adler is in fine form. The chorus is heavy and aggressive. It's the Zonder and Matheos show 4 minutes in. An atmospheric passage 5 minutes in contrasts well with the heaviness before and after. "Pieces Of Me" really rocks out. Blistering guitar to open as Zonder does his thing. Adler comes in as drums pound steadily and Matheos grinds away on his guitar. Matheos tears it up 4 minutes in. "Something From Nothing" was also written by Adler and it opens with acoustic guitar and bass. There is a lot of atmosphere as Ray sings slowly. An industrial sound comes and goes. It becomes FLOYD-like 4 minutes in as the sound becomes eerie and dark. There is actually a sinister feeling that raises it's head once in a while throughout this tune. 5 minutes in Matheos turns it up a notch and so does everybody else. Adler is really impressive right now. This is my second favourite song on this album.

"Still Remains" is not only my favourite on this record but it may just be the best song they have ever done, it's that good. A 16 minute journey that starts with a slow pace with lots of atmosphere for 2 1/2 minutes. Then it starts to rise out of it's slumber,synths are prominant and we can hear some odd metered drumming and piano. Vera shines on this song especially after 11 minutes,but earlier too. This is a must hear song for all metal fans. The final song "Disconnected (Part 2)" recalls Kevin's song with DREAM THEATER "Space Dye Vest". The FATES WARNING machine is back ! That bended note with atmospheric keys answering back to the machine's wail.

This album is pure heaven for me. It blends all the elements that I love about music. I am a huge Jim Matheos fan, he wrote all the music for this record and shared with Adler in the lyrics.

Report this review (#128375)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In ''Disconnected'' FATES WARNING comtinue the direction they took with the ''Pleasant shade of grey'' album.Very good work on guitars,a tight rhythm sectionand lots of keyboards effects the way only FATES WARNING teached to play.And of course Ray Alder gives another great performance behind the microphone...Very atmospheric...
Report this review (#146417)
Posted Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Reading this, bear in mind, that I ain’t a Prog-Metal fan…

Now guess what I’m describing. Top-notch Progressive Metal with Alternative Rock echoes plus some ambient and even electronics. TOOL’s “Lateralus” from 2001? DREAM THEATER’s “Train of Thought” from 2003? RIVERSIDE’s “Second Life Syndrome” from 2005? PORCUPINE TREE’s “Fear of a Blank Planet”? No, this is FATES WARNING circa 2000 with their masterpiece entitled “Disconnected”. Every album among ones listed above has driven all progfans mad with its unique and fresh approach, but FW were the first to walk this path, and unfortunately they haven’t got what they’ve deserved with this record.

I remember getting most FW albums on CD-Rs from a friend 4-5 years ago, and my reaction was something like “good Lord, this is not DREAM THEATER, hence very bad”. Then it mutilated into “okay, at least they have “Still Remains”. All this summer I was coming back in my thoughts to this album, and last week I’ve chanced to come across it in my favourite Lugansk store (Russian CD-Maximum license with booklet and everything). Need I say I bought it?

So, I went back home and refreshed my impressions. Boy, this is something. Probably, the most refreshing and captivating and still metal album. Flooded with electronic noises and ethereal hisses, with crunchy alternative-like riffs, provoking lyrics, excellent melodic gift and mind-blowing maturity, it’s definitely my favourite CD from 2000. As for traditional Prog-Metal – from the whole new millennium so far! Look here, DTs, there’s some genius music written, learn how to do it!

Beginning from two-notes based industrial intro, album crashes into “One”, 5/4+7/8-signatured fast, short and utterly heavy track, perfect for single or something. “So” is a TOOL-like slow alternative metal, with awesome mid-part. “Pieces of Me” may have frightened lots of traditional Prog-Metal fans, it sounds almost like LINKIN PART in the beginning! But again a mid-part here simply blows my mind…another perfect choice as a single. “Something from Nothing” is the first BIG thing here, 11 minutes long, with psychedelic groove in the first half and wonderful ballad-like “I though I never needed” part closer to the end. “Still Remains”…good Lord, I can’t take over my emotions speaking of this one! This is possibly the best Prog-Metal epic I ever heard, from calm intro, through powerful verses and till closing “Deep in the night” part. 16 minutes of flawless bliss; top-notch musicianship, awesomely catchy melodies, strong lyrics and that epic feeling not every band can achieve and/or recreate. And “Disconnected” again, experimental instrumental track with dreamy piano from Kevin “Yes-That-Kevin-Moore-From-That-Band” Moore and those two desolate guitar notes from intro…What are you waiting for? Highly recommended, extremely recommended, wholeheartedly recommended!!!

PS: One of the reviewers states that he has listened 4 times to this album and it failed to impress him. 4 freaking times, you see? An eternity!!!

Report this review (#146790)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Music albums are art expressions that somehow manage to assume a definite personality after they are released, and this is certainly a hard thingto achieve when the ears of fans and collectors are still impressed by an amazing concept-album that had been released previously - this was the status of Fates Warning's "Disconnected", to become acknowledged as a musica lwork with its own worth after the paragon incarnated in "A Pleasant Shade of Gray", the defining concept-album that signalled a rebirth for the band. "Disconnected" managed to get a warm reception from fans since it was easy to find the traces of connection (no pun intended) with the preceding master opus, while allowing the band to explore its progressive side a bit further simultaneously with a refurbishment of their most notably metallic side. "Disconnected" bears a more patent sonic power in general (still comparing it with "Pleasant"), but by now let us remember that this is a new FW that is forging its own individual phase. Zonder's impeccable class shines as always, making this album a re-confirmation of hispercussive genius. It is no surprise either that Ray Alder exhibits his energetic emotion through each syllable he sings in tracks 2-6. The album starts with the namesake prologue, eerie and minimalistic, leaving no room to suspect that a whirlwind of architectonic metal is on the brink - I'm referring to 'One', a precise manifesto of anguish and dissatisfaction wrapped in a dynamic musical development. Later on, 'So' will be in charge of reiterating this rocking explosion: this sort of punch works effectively in terms of capturing the listener's attention and securing it for a while. Of course, it is in the longest pieces that the band has the chance to create and ordain more sophisticated ideas, but also we must remember that FW's compositions were never about excessive flashing. 'So', 'Something from Nothing' and 'Still Remains' are the album's tour-de-forces. The former is largely based on a somewhat simplistic chord progression that goes on expanded on a languid rhythmic structure, in this way allowing Alder to describe mental exhaustion with his singing. The second one bears a bigger dose of pomposity, including some industrial-friendly resources that bear family airs with Chroma Key (the presence of Kevin Moore as guest keyboardist should be regarded as relevant here), seasoned with Floydian atmospheres. Even though you won't find your usual metallic frenzy here, this piece manages to be quite splendorous. The latter of the aformentioned three pieces is the album's definitive monster track, which might as well be one of the band's pinnacles in their entire recording career. This piece captures a momentum from itsvery initial passages, developing an amalgam that recapitulates the beats features of the album's integral repertoire, in this way stating a powerful building of pure progressive rock. The melancholic languidity of its last passages makes it easy to connect with the namesake epilogue, which is a solemn instrumental sustained on a monotone reflectiveness expressed by teh guitar-synth's phrases. The background narration issupposed to come from the recording of a dead priest's ghost who was offering his philosophical views about the afterlife. Scary, yes, but also profund and intellectually intriguing - a proper ending for this very special prog metal album by this very special band Fates Warning.
Report this review (#239687)
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars They've come a long way since their early days

Looking at the whole output of Fates Warning it becomes obvious that there has been a lot of change. Not only are the John Arch-era albums are very different from the Ray Alder-era album, but even within the latter group of albums we find rather big differences in sound and approach. While Parallels and Inside Out were very similar to each other but different both from what came before and after, the present album is similar to A Pleasant Shade Of Gray. This is especially true of the two longer songs here, the 11 minute Something For Nothing and the 16 minute Still Remains which has the same tone and feel as the A Pleasant Shade Of Gray material. These are also by far the best tracks here and they hold the same high quality as A Pleasant Shade Of Gray. Disconnected as a whole though is not up to par with that previous album.

The two title tracks that bookend the album are not very interesting and the relatively shorter songs One, So and Pieces Of Me are the least interesting material the band has produced at least since the first side of No Exit released in 1988. Don't get me wrong, these songs are not bad as such. But they are not very memorable and they have a slightly different and more contemporary mainstream sound compared to the rest of the album. There is an almost Grunge/Alternative Rock feel in these songs.

The two longer tracks are very good indeed and make this album worth while. As a whole though, this album is only good and falls behind albums such as A Pleasant Shade Of Gray, Parallels and Perfect Symmetry.

Report this review (#547483)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is more of what I was hoping to hear. When I made my first Fates Warning album purchase, I wanted to get "Perfect Symmetry" but "Parallels" was cheaper. I also sampled "Disconnected" and I liked what I heard. But as "Parallels" was the follow up album to their highest rated album, I bought that one. And I was not impressed. Recalling my feelings about "Disconnected" I ordered it and breathed a sigh of relief. It sounded good!

This album is a far cry from the "watered down Queensryche" (my impression of "Parallels") I heard on my previous purchase. This album is heavy. It rocks. And it sounds progressive in a way that is different from both Queensryche and Dream Theater. The guitar sound kicks posterior, the drums have some wicked odd time signatures, the bass shows up nice and heavy, the keyboards add atmosphere, and Ray Alder has really come into his own here, offering a great example of the kind of metal voice I like with the ability to sing smoothly and subtly or gruffly and powerfully.

The opening track "Disconnected (Part 1)" isn't much to talk about. It's one of those puzzling pieces that some bands will use to open their albums. It's a short instrumental that is basically a strained guitar effect and that goes nowhere. It pops up again later on Part 2 as an intro to the song. I find it annoying actually, though in the context of a song intro it is tolerable and perhaps even a bit interesting. On its own it brings to mind the image of a statue repeating the same slow swipe across its face with a straight-edged razor.

But forget that. The good stuff begins on track two with a heavy metal tune played to a beat that will make you trip if you try to dance. One thing I didn't like was that, as I mentioned about many songs on "Parallels", "One" starts out heavy but immediately goes light for the first verse. Fates Warning repeat this so often it sounds formulaic for the band. But if I forget about that other album, then it works fine on this song. The song has guts and energy and ends up on my playlists fairly often.

"So" follows in the same rock-out heavy vein but there's more room time-wise to be a little more experimental. Though Ray Alder no longer sounds like a cousin of Geoff Tate, I kind of think he sounds a bit like Gary Cherone of Extreme when he sings the chorus.

"Pieces of Me" is another metal rocker and sounds awesome, but I really like "Something from Nothing". It's eerie, haunting, making use of keyboard atmospherics and spoken voices from speakers (voices isolated from the listener as they come from a speaker and not directly from a human mouth to the ear). The song uses mood to build atmosphere and releases heavy energetic moments and lighter more positive-feeling moments. It's likely my favourite Fates Warning song so far, though "One" sure makes a good impression on me, too.

"Still Remains" should be the stand out track from this album, clocking in at over 16 minutes. However, I find it wanders about looking to establish some kind of mood and ends up doing too much wandering before it gets going anywhere. The lyrics aren't interesting as it seems this song is about a guy who has only photos in an album left after the end of a relationship with a woman he can't let go off. Pretty mundane. There are interesting moments but I don't find the song as cohesive as "Pieces of Me".

The razor scratch begins again for "Disconnected (Part 2)" and then the music calms down with some piano as a recorded voice of an old man speaks with sadness and lament about something in the past. The rest of the song is pretty good but that annoying guitar (not so bad at the end) finishes the track before a voice on a telephone says, "I guess we got disconnected".

Overall an impressive album for me. I like the heaviness and the more progressive aspects that are appreciatively different from Dream Theater and Threshold. It's nice to hear variety within a genre. I have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone with an interest in metal that's not too abrasive and harsh but more melodic and still heavy, and also those who like progressive metal as a whole. Four stars!

Report this review (#860813)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is a killer album from ther masters Fates Warning, issued in 2000 and named Disconnected. I'm af an and have a soft spot for them since 1994, I like their consistency on each album, they don't have weak albums, each one brings something to offer and offer big time in prog metal zone. This is amazing music, I can describe it as intelligent prog metal, each note is where it belongs, inventive musical sections and a very solid vocal passages coming from one of the most under rated vocalists ever Ray Alder. I have this album since it came out april 2000, listning couple of times back then, few more after that and few more not long ago, I said I must listen this time very carefully to see what is going one, and man this is a freacking awesome abum, is a near masterpieces of the genre not else. The voice, the perfect druming of this teacher drumer Mark Zonder, impecabil song writting from Jim Matheos and very inteligent and inventive guitar passages, and very beautiful and full of sens keyboards arrangements from Kevin Moore, make from this album atreasure of the genre, really solid. All pieces stands as captivating with a lot to offer, opening with Disconnected part 1 with a guitar sounding like a siren showing that something gonna to happen on this album, excellent. The highlights for me are So and Still Remains, the best piece of the album and probably one of the best pieces Fates Warning ever created. This track is brilliant , no words to discrabe it, you must have to listen, 16 min of beauty and intelligent song wrtting. So, all in all a very recommended release for any serious prog metal or rock listner. One of a kind band that needs a far more recognition, they are among the best this scene ever had and probably will have. 4 stars easy, great and inventive.
Report this review (#921890)
Posted Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 3 years after the concept "A pleasant shade of gray" and after the live album " Still live" the Fates Warning create what can be considered the most mature and complete work, hard to do after a work of undeniable splendor such as the suite of '97 .

The persuasive and refined melodies of "Inside out" and the charming simplicity of " Pleasant shade" follows a suggestive work, apparently more affordable.

Matheos is guitarist and author intelligent and measured, the rhythm section of the master Mark Zonder, and the ex-Armored Saint Joey Vera is practically perfect, a rhythmic engine precise and imaginative!!! Kevin Moore with keyboards and hypnotic electronic loops, Ray Alder as usual expressive interpreter and crystalline voice like few .

7 tracks of prog metal is not self-indulgent, or circus ( as you listen for a while ' time even from the most renowned bands ... ), a strong presence of inserts and electronic trance, the usual attention to melodic class, living with daring and tortuous rhythmic, a general atmosphere post-apocalyptic and melancholy. Finally a wealth of experience and a technical executive placed at the service of very specific ideas, not virtuosity for its own sake, not the attitude of a rockstar fat and satisfied unable to renew.

The production of the legendary Terry Brown gives extra charm to a job really catchy one of the best prog metal album of all time.

five stars!!!

Report this review (#1076442)
Posted Thursday, November 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Disconnected" is the 9th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in the US and through Massacre Records in Europe in July 2000. The band was down to a three-piece on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)" and continues with the same constellation here. Ray Alder on vocals, Jim Matheos on guitars, keyboards (additional), vocals (additional), and sequencing, and Mark Zonder drums. Session bass is again handled by Joey Vera (Armored Saint), and Kevin Moore (Dream Theater, OSI) also delivers keyboards on "Disconnected" like he did on the predecessor.

Fates Warning has made it a habit changing their sound between albums, and very few of their albums sound alike, although they all sound unmistakably like Fates Warning. "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)" was yet another intriguing new stylistic change and an almost hour long concept album to boot. Not surprisingly though "Disconnected" sees Fates Warning change direction again, altough the shift isn't as dramatic as it was between the last two albums.

The music on the album is progressive metal with an occasional alternative rock/metal edge. There is a strong ambient element on the album too, and Kevin Moore's keyboard contributions are considerable throughout the album. While he also played an integral role on the sound on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)", I'd say this is the first Fates Warning release where the material couldn't stand alone without keyboards/sequencing/sound effects.

"Disconnected" features 7 tracks and a full playing time of 51:30 minutes. The opening track is a short intro, but the remaining tracks are regular songs. "Something From Nothing" and "Still Remains" both exceed the 10 minutes mark, and the latter is actually quite the lengthy piece clocking in at 16:08 minutes. The remaining tracks are between 4 and 8 minutes long. The tracks are as mentioned drenched in keyboards, but meaty guitar riffs, heavy bass, and groove laden and technically intriguing drumming, are also part of the sound. Ray Alder's vocals are as distinct sounding as ever, and his delivery is strong and passionate. The vocal melodies aren't as instantly catchy as they were a couple of albums back, but that's not a surprise, as monotony in that department was also a part of the vocal style on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)". Backing and harmony vocals are again only used sparsely as are guitar solos.

The album features a heavy, clear, and powerful sound production, which suits the music well (there's even what I'd call a futuristic sound to it), and upon conclusion "Disconnected" is quite an interesting album. It's pretty unique within the band's discography but also in progressive metal in general. To my ears it's more interesting than enjoyable though, and going through the tracklist there are actually only a few tracks where I find the melodies to be particularly strong. It's like Ray Alder insists on singing non-melodic and at times close to dissonant vocal melodies, and it takes it's toll on the catchiness of the music. "One" is a pretty great powerful track and "Still Remains" also has it's moments (although it does feel a bit disjointed) and so do "Something From Nothing" and "So". The aggressive "Pieces of Me" doesn't work that well and the ambient atmospheric instrumental "Disconnected (Part 2)", which closes the album, sounds like something off an OSI album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1535169)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars As with A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Disconnected had Fates Warning working as a core creative trio of Alder, Matheos and Zonder, with Joey Vera and Kevin Moore working on a guest musician basis. Whilst some prefer the preceding album, I admit that I quite like this release.

On the surface, it comes across as one of those millennial "Oooh, the Internet is scary, will it truly offer us a closer connection to each other or will it all leave us more disconnected and isolated?" concepts that proliferated back in that slice of time after the Internet had become ubiquitous but before Facebook and other social media platforms had definitively answered the question. ("Yes, the Internet will connect you to other people and their innermost thoughts and feelings. You will quickly get sick of them.")

The genius of the album is that rather than approaching the subject like they have an axe to grind, or limiting themselves to that narrow concept, Fates Warning instead take it as a jumping-off point to explore all sorts of different types of interpersonal connection and disconnection, being wise enough to realise that actually, interpersonal connection tends to pan out differently for different people. Some songs, such as One, outright celebrate the emotional bonds between people - others note how they can be mentally draining and sometimes you *need* your alone time to recharge your batteries, whilst others are sung from the point of views struggling to reach out.

It's kind of like its Rorscharch blot of a cover. Some might see it as capturing two people seeking intimacy but being blocked from it by the very devices they have chosen to apply to themselves (or have been forced to by circumstance); I see it as a happy scene of two gasmask fetishists finding each other in a world where it's never been easier to find someone who shares your kinks.

Musically, we're dealing with a nicely matured version of the 1990s Fates Warning sound, the band entering the new millennium with the confidence to simply sound like themselves and not worrying about then-current trends in metal. (Then again, given the rise of nu-metal between Pleasant Shade and this, deciding not to go down that route may have been a no-brainer - I've got nothing against nu-metal, but I can think of few styles less compatible with Fates Warning's approach). The combination of all these features makes Disconnected, for me, the best Fates Warning album since No Exit.

Report this review (#1744952)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray' appears to have been a hit with fans, so why not continue in that direction? With the single guitar/keyboard approach that incorporates more ambience, as well as a beefier production that gives the band a heavier sound, 'Disconnected' picks up right where its predecessor left off.

It seems odd for a progressive metal album to be considered "stripped down", but that's exactly what we have here. With the songwriting being the main focus, and not the performances of individuals, there is some solid music that lacks a lot of the shredding musical virtuosity associated with the genre. And it's a refreshing change.

That's not to say these guys are slouches! Guitarist Jim Matheos can write some very interesting guitar riffs, and drummer Mark Zonder is an absolute beast. Neither man afraid to stray away from standard 4/4 time signatures and go completely bonkers in some places, yet with riffs that don't come anywhere near to being too flashy or overbearing. When you include eerily compelling keyboard work by Kevin Moore (yes, THE Kevin Moore), it makes for an all-round solid package by one of prog metals pioneers.

Songs like 'One', 'So', 'Pieces of Me' and the absolute gem of the album, the 16-minute 'Still Remains', make this an essential progressive metal release, especially for fans who are growing weary of excessive soloing and musical indulgence.

Report this review (#1790135)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 331

'Disconnected' is the ninth studio album of Fates Warning and was released in 2000. The line up on the album is Ray Alder, Jim Matheos, Kevin Moore, Joey Vera and Mark Zonder.

Fates Warning was founded in 1983 and is seen by some as the band that started the progressive metal sub-genre. They're one of the quietest progressive metal bands around. They have a very good and strong following of fans, but they aren't very well known and popular by listeners of metal, like Dream Theater is. Fates Warning is a true progressive metal band that values the music first. These guys are into making solid songs and albums, effectively using their individual talents without however, showing off in the process. This is a special and original prog metal band, indeed.

Fates Warning has made it a habit changing their sound between albums, and very few of their albums sound alike. Still, they all sound unmistakably like Fates Warning. Their previous album 'A Pleasant Shade Of Gray' was yet another intriguing new stylistic change and an almost hour long conceptual album. So, not surprisingly, 'Disconnected' sees Fates Warning change their direction again, although the shift isn't as dramatic as it happened in some other cases.

Like its predecessor, 'Disconnected' is a conceptual piece. It's not some head-trip, just another album about life and society. So, most should be able to relate to it. What is interesting is that the band refrains some of the material on the album, almost as if it were once cycle that begins and ends in largely the same, dull pallor. This is manifested by the two parts of 'Disconnected'. The album's theme is about being disconnected from people and society, and so, the feeling of being lonely and abandoned runs throughout the entire album. Therefore you shouldn't expect a lot of joy and happiness, either lyrically or musically, when you are listening to the album. There is a lot of atmosphere on this album as well as heaviness. It's amazing music that can be described as intelligent and where each note is where it belongs.

As far as music is concerned Fates Warning writes progressive rock songs full of melodies, emotion, attitude and groove on this album. Interestingly, 'Disconnected' has its share of heavy moments, which of course are always welcome, in a band like this. The music on 'Disconnected' is truly progressive in nature as it connects with the listener well. The mood effectively changes from one song to the next. 'One' and 'Pieces Of Me' are the up-tempo tunes of the album, thus being in a way the two potential hits. 'So', 'Something For Nothing' and 'Still Remains' are much closer to the standards set by the prog metal sub-genre both in feel and length. Personally, I find both, lengthy and shorter songs, to work well together, allowing 'Disconnected' to have a wonderful flow, when listened from beginning to end.

'Disconnected' has only seven tracks. It contains some of the lengthiest and most complex tracks that Matheos has ever penned, with 'Disconnected', Pt.1 and Pt.2, being album opener and closer. As always, his compositions are intelligent and the band behind him is equally competent. Vocalist Alder once again proves to be a key element in the unique sound of the band. It's quite hard to describe each piece on the album individually but it seems 'Disconnected' made a unified statement with lyric heavy songs and emotionally charged instrumentation. The band's solid rhythm section, consisting of Zonder and Vera, investing a different level of credibility to the song craft of Matheos and the trio successfully create the musical tapestry surrounding Alder's vocals. Zonder's odd-metered drumming once again relying heavily on intricate cymbal work is further developed by Vera's throbbing bass lines. Matheos seems to experiment with Fripp's influence adding more riff-based textures to his songwriting. He doesn't play any extended guitar solos, but his work is dense and blends nicely with other instruments. Once again, Moore plays keyboards, as well as piano and computer synthesizers, and his atmospheric touch creeps into each track, and gradually all this, add a blurry grey colour to the album. I always was a great fan of his keyboard working. Again he shines within this band.

Conclusion: 'Disconnected' has excellent compositions and where 'Something From Nothing' and 'Still Remains' are the absolute highlights. There's a sad note to most of the songs, but never to the point of becoming depressive. Production and sound quality sometimes have a bit of a mechanical quality to them, but I think this is in keeping with the line of the album and thus is probably intentional. I can admit 'Disconnected' it's a hard album to get into, but it's dangerously perfect and contains millions of variations and textures as major ingredients which other bands could only dream of let alone incorporate in their own songs. This album blends all the elements that I love about progressive rock music. Obviously, this is a band very concerned with songwriting and arrangements, unlike so many of today's prog metal bands, who take guitar riffs, double bass, drums, speed and so-called complexity as starting points and worry about the quality and originality of their songwriting, only later. So, overall, it still remains an impressive album for me.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2375181)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Heavy prog, almost on the 1970s/1980s metal and/or "classic rock" vein.

1. "Disconnected (Part 1)" (1:16) ominous, portentous opening. (4.25/5)

2. "One" (4:23) the opening sounds like 1970s/80s metal--Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Blue Öyster Cult. When the vocals enter it becomes even more SABBATH-like. Solid performances but very little ground-breaking in the sound or music structures. (8/10)

3. "So" (8:07) cool Blade Runner-like opening turns LOVERBOY-like at 1:10. At 1:37 things stop for vocal entry. Now the song gets interesting--especially with the excellent chorus. Where it feels deficient is in the choice for pacing: it's just a little too slow. (I know: he's tired.) (13/15)

4. "Pieces Of Me" (4:24) A little more energy in this one but, again, there really is nothing new or refreshing here besides a little sonic play with the guitar in the quiet of the third minute. (8/10)

5. "Something From Nothing" (10:58) fairly simple and straightforward--nicely melodic--but hits all the right buttons to be awesome. (17.75/20)

6. "Still Remains" (16:11) firing on all cylinders, this one rocks like a RUSH classic. (27/30)

7. "Disconnected" (Part 2) (6:07) finishes like an end, bookending the album in a perfect way. Classic Kevin Moore keys beneath the recorded voice passage in the second and third minutes. Great subtle transition in the fourth minute with some techno-support. I have to admit that, with this length, I was rather surprised that there are no vocals. But, still, it's great. (9/10)

Total Time: 51:26

The album has nice clean sound production and enough space to hear everything--which is nice, but I'm not a big fan of the lead vocals--Ray Alder's competent and confident but there's really nothing special here. The highlights for me are the two epics: the spacious, atmospheric "Something from Nothing" and the more melodic though more neo-oriented, "Still Remains," on which I can really hear the Kevin Moore contributions.

B/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Report this review (#2535587)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars Shrinking down to 3 full-fledged band members, Fates Warning continue with what they designed with their previous album and they still succeed. The band could update its sound to absorb alternative metal, even with an industrial metal keyboard texture (in the second track, "One"). The band also got heavier, a lot of riffing is present. Keyboards are more present, act as a normal band instrument. Untypical to the band, there are several laid-back keyboard driven instrumental moments, someone would call them dull, the other one an important atmospheric element.

After the first instrumental into, the second track offers a waving rhythm that sticks with you and suits the melody. It is well developed and kudos to the ornate drumming style. "So" is a slow heavy ballad and quite dramatic thanks to the synth texture. The long tracks belong to the better half of long FW output mainly thanks to good playing. Another solid FW progressive metal album.

Report this review (#2948814)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2023 | Review Permalink

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