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JOHN ARCH

Progressive Metal • United States


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John Arch biography
John ARCH was the first vocalist for FATES WARNING. He provided his unique voice to their first three albums, then retired from his music occupations. In 2002, after having neglected Jim Matheos' (FATES WARNING) offer to provide his vocals to the OSI project, John ARCH finally contacted Jim and Mike Portnoy (Dream THEATER) joined them after the OSI sessions were closed. The collaboration between John ARCH, Jim Matheos, Mike Portnoy and Joey Vera (another member of the earlier FATES WARNING line-up) resulted in the EP named 'A twist of fate', consisting of two epic tracks. After sixteen years of absence, John ARCH's voice sounds as fresh as in his debuts in FATES WARNING and even better, very high-pitched and the music is in the vein of the last albums produced by DREAM THEATER and FATES WARNING. One can notice that Jim Matheos plays not only the guitar but also the keyboard parts.

This is so far the only John ARCH album and maybe the last one (John ARCH is a father and works full-time) but we can hope that his incredible performance (he wondered if he could sing as high as in the past for the release of this album) will make him want to release other records in the future. As said previously, if you like bands like FATES WARNING or DREAM THEATER, this album is a must-have and is subsequently highly recommended, but people who like great vocals can also put an ear to this EP, they won't be disappointed.

: : : Lucas Biela, FRANCE : : :

See also:

- Fates Warning

John Arch official website

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A Twist of FateA Twist of Fate
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Metal Blade 2003
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4.31 | 63 ratings
A Twist Of Fate (EP)
2003

JOHN ARCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars John Arch first musical offer under his name is this EP issued in 2003 named a twist of fate. He is helped by his friend and ex band mate from Fates Warning the excellent guitarist Jim Matheos, on drums is the omni present Mike Portnoy and Joy Vera on bass who will become after this album a permanent Fates Warning bassist. A strong line up, almost a second incarnation of Fates Warning, even the musical arrangements and even John Arch voice are very same with FW musical style, the old FW manner. I'm not a particulary fan of JA voice, he is a good singer, but sometimes he is quite irritating here. Only two pieces grace this EP - Relentless and Cheyenne. I'm more fond of the first piece who is a good prog metal tune very much like what Fates Warning done with him behind the mic, around 1986. Jim Matheos is the man behind thsese two pieces, some good guitar chops, the rest are ok but hardly impressive. The second tune is ok, but really nothing special about, I can't see or hear the thrill many reviewers see in this record. Good prog metal and nothing more, keeping in mind that these 4 musicins are among the best in bussnes. 3 stars, the art work and overall package is more intresting then music itself.

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars A relentless twist on Fates Warning

Oh what a pleasant surprise this one is! John Arch was the original vocalist for the classic Prog Metal band Fates Warning. He provided the lead vocals on that band's first three albums (1984's Night On Bröcken, 1985's The Spectre Within and 1986's Awaken The Guardian) before leaving the position to Ray Alder. To be honest I am not a fan of these early Fates Warning albums and in my opinion they did not take things anywhere beyond what Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden had already done. I greatly prefer the Alder-era of Fates Warning (with such strong albums as Perfect Symmetry, Parallels and A Pleasant Shade Of Gray). The present John Arch solo EP is an entirely different beast though.

As far as I understand, after leaving Fates Warning in the 80's, John Arch retired from the music business altogether only to return with the present EP in 2003 - that's a twist of fate for you right there! For this recording he enlisted fellow Fates Warning alumni Jim Matheos on guitars and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater on drums and thus created a little Prog Metal super-group.

The EP consists of only two long tracks, but they are both excellent. There still is that Judas Priest/Iron Maiden influence that dominated early Fates Warning, but I also hear some Alder-era Fates Warning and (Images And Words-era) Dream Theater as well as traces of American Symphonic Prog like Neal Morse and Kansas. The latter is especially apparent in the symphonic, 15 minute plus Cheyenne that also features some violin and cello to great effect. There is overall a strong acoustic presence here with acoustic guitars and grand piano. I am also reminded of Ozzy Osbourne a few times (who made some really excellent music in the 80's).

I don't normally give EP's one of the higher ratings, but this one of definitely worth it! Highly recommended!

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by Valarius

4 stars When I first bought this EP, I was not generally a fan of John Arch. I'm a huge Fates Warning fan, and was familiar with his work on their first few albums, but I only snapped this up for no other reason than it was the former vocalist of one of Progressive Metals most beloved bands, and I felt justified in checking out what else he's been up to. Upon looking in the booklet to see the all-star ensemble acquired to bring this music to life, I realised business was about to pick up.

Featuring a 'who's who' of musicians, John Arch has released an essential EP which shows off his unique and powerful voice. Jim Matheos' guitars sound as awesome as you would expect from the Fates Warning mastermind, and the accompanying bass work from Joey Vera (also of Fates Warning and Armoured Saint) gives the music the thick sound it deserves. And of course, on drums is a man who needs no introduction, Mike Portnoy.

Despite featuring only two tracks, 'A Twist of Fate' is a true masterpiece that I recommend to all lovers of Prog music. Both songs are totally unique and full of incredibly tasteful riffs and beats by both Matheos and Portnoy respectively. And Arch's voice is an absolute thing of beauty. Dynamic, dramatic, powerful and emotional, words cannot describe his amazing voice. As I said before, I never paid too much attention to him in his early days with Fates Warning, but upon hearing this I can only wonder what he would have achieved had he stayed with music for all these years.

Fantastic music paired with intelligent lyrics told through one unmatched voice. Everyone should get this EP now! It doesn't matter if you don't like Fates Warning, Dream Theater or Progressive Metal, because this EP is so much more than that! I truly hope this isn't the last we've heard of Mr. Arch.

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

5 stars WARNING!!! this is the fate of prog metal...

How a singer could disappear for that many years and gives this perfect album and then disappear again...??? strange but unique, top of quality, great in between the greatest, this short EP is really what prog-metal is all about... a most have to anyone who enjoys prog metal...

John Arch was the first singer of Fates Warning but was kicked out in early 90's, and he disappear from the musical scene, and until 2003 he comeback with a great idea under his sleeve. He rejoined with the talented and underrated guitarrist Jim Matheos (Fates Warning/O.S.I.), who brings all his prog-metal knowledge in the perfect mood. Joey Vera, also from FW joined this production, so you get what it seems to be a FW 2.0, but the difference is the greatful Mike Portnoy in the drums, who proves once more he is one of the most significant figures in prog in the last 20 years, doing another collab. The mix is perfect. It's not just a FW kind of songs, this are different, much more modern and has a lot of sense, soul and technical abilities... this is what you can expect from the very best musicians of the sub-genre. Portnoy and Matheos rules the album with a lot of different moods and riffing... and the voice of Arch is better than in the earlier days... he is more focus and has not lost the power and range.

These is for those who love or enjoy Dream Theater and Fates Warning, but be aware, this is MUCH MORE than the average prog metal that has saturated the scene in the last years... brilliant music which deserves a better place... com'n... try it... it's just great...

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by pagan97

5 stars I don't care that John Arch fell off the face of the earth. I also don't care at all about early Fates Warning (not a fan). I can tell you, totally free of bias, that this is one of the best prog metal albums EVER made. But how can that be? It is only 2 songs and an EP? Just listen once, and I guarantee you will be hooked. Mike Portnoy has rarely sounded as good as he does here. Jim Matheos is astounding on guitar and keys, blowing away anything he recently has done (OSI/FW included). This has to be one of the proudest moments for both! The vocals are of a fully dynamic range, sometimes sounding very Geddy-like and other times sounding like LaBrie wishes he could. Too bad John went back into hiding after this...He would make a great lead singer for DT in the future. Do not hesitate, add this to your collection right away. Amazon has it for download for 1.98...No Regrets-Guaranteed!

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by Time Signature

5 stars Upon first listen, I was totally taken by this EP, which immediately earned a place up there as one of my favorite prog metal releases. And I'll tell you why: the voice! John Arch's voice is phenomenal, and it's much better on this EP than on the Fates Warning albums he fronted (who'd have though that possible?). Especially the vocals of the track Cheyenne are fantastic. The two tracks are epic and complex in structure making great use of dynamics, yet quite easy to listen to, which is always a challenge and thus somewhat of a feat. Another thing that I like is that, while the musicians performing on the EP are members of Fates Warning (Matheos and Vera) and Dream Theater (Portnoy), the EP sounds like neither Fates Warning nor Dream Theater, I think, but strikes me as being very original.

I hope John Arch will find the time to release more albums now and then! Please, John, please! ;-)

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by splyu

5 stars You've already read the story behind this release in the other reviews, so I'll get straight to what I have to say about this EP. Both of the tracks on this disc occasionally hint at the old Fates Warning sound, which is very welcome after all this time, but on the whole they sound much closer to Dream Theater. The funny thing is that I don't really like Dream Theater much at all, but Arch makes this sound completely work for me. It's like he managed to combine all the best elements of Dream Theater while leaving out all the annoying parts.

I really find it amazing that someone could return after seventeen years of complete absence from the music world and manage to come up with something so splendid and refined right away. Both songs go through many different moods and show a lot of variety; there's simply an abundance of great musical ideas on display here, and the performance just sounds so passionate. Musicianship is as excellent as is to be expected from the people involved, and the production is flawless.

All of this combined makes this the single most impressive piece of modern Prog Metal (in the narrower sense) that I've heard yet - a genre that I have a curious difficulty getting into given my overall tastes, but on this release it just all falls into place for me. If you love Dream Theater, you'll probably love this also; if, like me, you don't really like Dream Theater but think they have their moments, you might very well like it nonetheless.

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars This is another one I can thank my heavier music-loving kid for introducing me to. I remember Fates Warning from back in the eighties when they were pretty much considered just another metal band, and not a particularly prominent one at that. it seems the band didn’t really take off until after he left in 1987, although I don’t think the two incidents are necessarily related.

Not sure where the guy has been all these years, although I’m sure those familiar with Fates Warning have all the details. No matter, his reemergence on this EP shows the guy hasn’t lost anything in the vocals department. I went back and played a couple of my kid’s early Fates Warning albums just to confirm this, and it’s true. If anything he seems to have developed a bit more control over his voice in the ensuing years since his hiatus.

The lineup is an all-star cast featuring Mike Portney and Fates Warning alumni Jim Matheos and Joey Vera, as well as the very talented Andy Happel on violin and cello. Of the two tracks “Relentless” is the more aggressive and spectacular, although Happel really shines on “Cheyenne” and reminds me a bit of David Ragsdale (Kansas), especially his work guesting on Salem Hill’s ‘Mimi’s Magic Moment’.

Portney is also stunning, and even though I’m not a particularly big fan of either progressive metal or Dream Theater I have to admit the guy is at the top of his craft.

Too bad Arch hasn’t seemed inclined to do more since releasing this five years ago, but it is good to hear him in the studio again and good to know he still has the pipes to pull off a serious and first-rate production. Not essential as far as I’m concerned, but this is an excellent EP and a nice story to boot. Recommended for all metalheads as well as those who appreciate a guy with an incredible range and a strong natural voice.

peace

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I bought this EP because of the high rating so far combined with its progressive metal genre. Just 4 and 5 star ratings so far, then you expect something very special. To be honest, I don't think so. This is not bad, I don't want to exaggerate but to say that we are being treated with these two epical tracks, not really.

The music isn't bad, I have a problem with the vocals. They annoy me slightly and that destroys a lot of the fun. Instrumentally it's a lot better and also the compositions are ok but I expected more on that department as well.

So all in all not a bad effort by John Arch and I wonder what I would have concluded if I would have gone into this one without the foreknowledge. Maybe I just would have been a bit more enthusiastic but I doubt if it would have led to a 4 star rating, I give it three stars (3,3).

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 A Twist Of Fate (EP) by ARCH, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.31 | 63 ratings

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A Twist Of Fate (EP)
John Arch Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The former lead singer in Fates Warning John Arch return to music with this EP. Helped out by Jim Matheos ( Fates Warning, OSI) on Guitar and Keyboards, Mike Portnoy ( Dream Theater, Transatlantic..etc) on drums and Joey Vera ( Fates Warning, Engine and Armored Saint) on bass. All very prominent gentlemen and very skilled musicians.

John Arch was the frontman of Fates Warning on their first 3 albums. Fates Warning wasnīt a progressive metal band at that time, at least not to my modern ears. The three first albums were more traditional metal mixed with power metal. John Arch high pitched vocals were always very defining for early Fates Warning as Ray Alderīs voice it it for the second era of Fates Warning.

This EP is a great deal more progressive than the Fates Warning albums John Arch sang on. But the two epic songs this EP consists of are still very much driven by John Arch fabulous voice. That man has got a really impressive voice. The music is really good prog metal too, and it is easy to hear that such brilliant musicians have contributed. Does it sound like Fates Warning ? Not really, surprisingly enough, allthough with three members ( former and present) itīs hard to run away from your roots. And really why should you ?

This is highly recommendable to prog metal fans. Try this one out instead of the thousand mindless Dream Theater clones. If this is the last we will ever hear from John Arch, it will be a nice testimony. If this is not the last we will hear from him, please donīt let 16 years pass before we hear something new ( itīs already been almost 5).

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