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FATES WARNING

Progressive Metal • United States


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Fates Warning biography
FATES WARNING was founded as a heavy metal band, but after a few albums, their progressive tendencies started to emerge. While retaining elements of their metal heritage, their music grew increasingly complex, with much longer tracks and interesting interwoven melodic elements added. They merged their love of YES and RUSH, by combining elements of pure metal, classically inspired crescendos and interludes with jazz fusion like chops. FW has been largely responsible for the infusion of progressive thinking into heavy metal music, unlike its co-founding compatriots of progressive metal, DREAM THEATER. So give yourself the chance to live an emotive experience unlike anything else.

Like KING CRIMSON, the evolution of FATES WARNING can be split into many different period. "Awaken The Guardian" (1986) showed the band's music to be more progressive and complex that first impressions had suggested. "No Exit" (1988) was a ground breaking album for the band as they further explore the realms of progressive metal with the 21 minute long "The Ivory Gate of Dreams". This was followed by "Perfect Symmetry" (1989), considered by many to be the band's most Progressive rock-driven release. The compilation, "Chasing Time", is a great place to start. However, 1998's "A Pleasant Shade Of Grey", which consists of a single 40-minute song, is clearly the best place for a Progressive rock fan. The album start off slowly and needs several careful listenings to be fully appreciated; but then, since part. "Still Life" appeared the next year, and "Disconnected" followed two years later. And now let's wait for their 2003 release.

See also:

- John Arch
- Chinese Firedrill
- OSI

Fates Warning official website

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Theories Of FlightTheories Of Flight
Limited Edition
Inside Out Music 2016
Audio CD$10.51
$8.25 (used)
Awaken The Guardian - ReissueAwaken The Guardian - Reissue
CD+DVD · Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2005
Audio CD$10.58
$9.00 (used)
Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$10.30
$8.99 (used)
Darkness in a Different LightDarkness in a Different Light
Inside Out Music 2013
Audio CD$8.67
$5.76 (used)
Spectre WithinSpectre Within
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$8.25
$30.00 (used)
Pleasant Shade Of GrayPleasant Shade Of Gray
Metal Blade 1997
Audio CD$5.99
$1.74 (used)
Night on BröckenNight on Bröcken
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$7.12
$4.77 (used)
Perfect SymmetryPerfect Symmetry
Metal Blade 1994
Audio CD$7.10
$4.74 (used)
No Exit: 25th Anniversary EditionNo Exit: 25th Anniversary Edition
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$10.62
$10.99 (used)
Chasing TimeChasing Time
Metal Blade 1995
Audio CD$29.99
$2.64 (used)
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FATES WARNING discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FATES WARNING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.68 | 128 ratings
Night On Bröcken
1984
3.47 | 159 ratings
The Spectre Within
1985
3.98 | 242 ratings
Awaken The Guardian
1986
3.93 | 221 ratings
No Exit
1988
4.14 | 360 ratings
Perfect Symmetry
1989
4.11 | 330 ratings
Parallels
1991
3.57 | 184 ratings
Inside Out
1994
4.14 | 337 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
1997
4.08 | 315 ratings
Disconnected
2000
3.34 | 201 ratings
FWX
2004
3.90 | 265 ratings
Darkness In A Different Light
2013
4.07 | 182 ratings
Theories Of Flight
2016

FATES WARNING Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.36 | 77 ratings
Still Life
1998

FATES WARNING Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.36 | 11 ratings
Live at the Dynamo
1998
4.81 | 28 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray - Live (VHS)
1998
4.26 | 19 ratings
The View From Here
2003
3.76 | 36 ratings
Live In Athens
2005

FATES WARNING Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 36 ratings
Chasing Time
1995

FATES WARNING Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 6 ratings
Misfit (Demo)
1984
3.14 | 7 ratings
1984 Demo
1984
3.50 | 6 ratings
Dickie (Demo)
1985
3.78 | 9 ratings
Pale Fire
1994
3.90 | 10 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray: Part II
1997

FATES WARNING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This is the second album in a row that FATES WARNING has had the same lineup of Matheos, Aresti, Vera, Adler and Jarzombek. And this album also follows the same path as the previous album "Darkness In A Different Light" from 3 years earlier only I feel this one tops it. We get plenty of heaviness and I even thought of IRON MAIDEN a few times. The rating wasn't easy as I feel this album reaches highs that I haven't heard from them since their "Disconnected" record although unlike that album there are some not so great moments although they are few. Also I think it's a step below that ARCH/ MATHEOS album. Still I'm really impressed with this album and the performances of each member as a 4.5 star rating would suggest.

"From The Rooftops" opens with drums and atmosphere as soaring guitar leads join the relaxed sound. Ray's reserved vocals arrive before 1 minute then some more of that melancholic soaring guitar. A change after 2 minutes as we get crushed with heaviness as Ray spits out the lyrics. I like the section starting 3 1/2 minutes in as we get an IRON MAIDEN-like sound including the vocals. Ripping guitar after 5 1/2 minutes as they kick more ass. "Seven Stars" starts off sounding pretty amazing instrumentally, it's heavy with guitar over top. The vocals join in as it settles back some. A classic FATES WARNING chorus here as I'm singing along with Adler. There's a nice guitar solo 3 minutes in.

"SOS" opens with guitar grinding away as emotional vocals join in then it kicks in hard. Riffs galore at times and this would sound awesome live, a barn-burner. An atmospheric calm arrives 2 minutes in as Ray returns with those emotional vocals. "The Light And Shade Of Things" is dark and laid back with atmosphere as soft vocals arrive. It's building some 1 1/2 minutes in but not much until we get hit with a wall of sound 3 minutes in. Oh my! The chorus before 4 minutes is heavy and catchy with vocals. It's pretty intense after the chorus as Ray sings with anger. The chorus returns then we get a heavy bass/ drum section then it settles with relaxed guitar expressions. The chorus is back then they kick it hard again 8 1/2 minutes in before it settles to end it.

"White Flag" is a top three for me. A heavy intro as passionate vocals join in. What a kick-ass tune! How uplifting is this after 2 minutes as it settles back a little. So much emotion for me. A killer instrumental section arrives after 3 minutes. "Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen" is another top three. An all out assault from Jarzombek on his kit as Adler joins in with attitude. It doesn't change much on the chorus other than Ray's vocals aren't as mean sounding. It's not nearly as heavy 2 1/2 minutes in but that doesn't last for long. Intense is the word 3 1/2 minutes in.

"The Ghost Of Home" is my favourite song on here. Samples of different spoken words and sounds last for about a minute then it all stops as vocals and intricate guitar take over. it kicks in hard bringing MAIDEN to mind before 2 1/2 minutes. Vocals before 4 1/2 minutes as it lightens. Love Vera's bass lines here, so upfront. I also like when Adler cries "Home again! Home again!" then it settles some after 6 minutes. It's so uplifting after 7 1/2 minutes then it ends with a heavy duty section. "Theories Of Flight" is the interesting closer bringing to mind the "Disconnected" album with all the atmosphere. Samples to start in that atmosphere before some guest female spoken words arrive and she will come and go with them as she tells the story. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes in this instrumental section then a calm follows. More spoken female words then the intricate guitar returns. The guitar cries out 3 minutes in then more spoken female words and intricate guitar. This is just outside of my top three.

Just an excellent Prog-Metal album and I think I'd rank it fourth or so when it comes to their studio albums, not counting that ARCH/ MATHEOS recording of course even if that seems like a legit FATES WARNING album.

 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "Theories Of Flight" is the 12th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through InsideOut Records in July 2016. It´s the successor to "Darkness In A Different Light" from 2013 and the second album after their 9 year long recording break since "FWX (2004)". "Theories Of Flight" features the exact same lineup who recorded "Darkness In A Different Light (2013)": Ray Alder (vocals), Jim Matheos (guitars), Frank Aresti (guitars, although only a couple of leads), Joey Vera (bass), and Bobby Jarzombek (drums).

Stylistically "Theories Of Flight" is pretty much a continuation of the progressive metal style on "Darkness In A Different Light (2013)". It´s generally a bit more melodic and to my ears also slightly more memorable, but the overall concept is similar to the predecessor. Heavy intriguing guitar riffs and rhythms, melodic solos, beautiful acoustic/clean guitar work, and Ray Alder´s strong emotive vocals in front (often featuring harmony and choir vocals).

The album feautures 8 tracks and a full playing time of 52:17 minutes. Both "The Light and Shade of Things" and "The Ghosts of Home" are around 10 minutes long, but the remaining tracks feature more regular lengths (from 4 to 6 minutes). The material is very well written and the combination of relatively straight forward and catchy tracks like "Seven Stars", "SOS", and "Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen", and the longer more complex tracks like the two above mentioned, and album opener "From the Rooftops", works really well. Now that I´ve mentioned almost every track featured on the album, I can just as well mention the remaining two. "White Flag" is a powerful track with a commanding vocal delivery by Alder and the title track, which is the album closer, is an atmospheric instrumental, which ends the album in great style.

It´s overall a very dynamic and adventurous album. One moment it´s melodic and beatiful and the next a bit darker and heavy. The trademark sophisticated Fates Warning groove, which features a lot of off-beat rhythm patterns and chord strokes, is also present and accounted for. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Alder is as mentioned an incredibly skilled and distinct sounding vocals, who can sing both emotive mellow parts and louder more aggressive ones (for the style), with equal passion and conviction, the rhythm section play varied and powerful, and the guitars both play melodic and heavy. The guitar solos deserve a special mention. They are played with a lot of attention to tone and feeling, and they are also pretty varied.

"Theories Of Flight" features a warm, clear, and powerful sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, and I actually have a very hard time coming up with any issues regarding the album. To my ears it´s their best release in years, which is especially due to the increased focus on melody and accessibility that Fates Warning have here. A focal point which has not affected how heavy and powerful the music is, and that´s usually a hard balance to strike. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Note: There´s a limited edition 2CD/2LP version available, which features 6 bonus tracks. Acoustic versions of the band´s own compositions "Firefly", "Seven Stars", and "Another Perfect Day", and acoustic covers of "Pray Your Gods" by Toad The Wet Sprocket, "Adela" by Joaquin Rodrigo (with Alder singing Spanish language lyrics), and "Rain" by Uriah Heep. While acoustic renditions of existing non-acoustic material aren´t always the greatest idea, Fates Warning pull if off with ease. Beautiful acoustic guitar arrangements and a Ray Alder in vocal top form, ensure that these bonus tracks are well worth purchasing the limited edition for. I especially enjoyed "Firefly", "Another Perfect Day", and "Rain", but the remaining tracks are also of high quality.

 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Timdano

5 stars This stunning of an entry, this far into their career? (and never mind that each member is close to 50-years-old or older)

I'm shocked and more than pleasantly surprised.

Ray Alder's vocal work here is impeccable- just slightly more mature than albums 20+ years ago but trust me, he brings home the goods here.

And that doesn't mean that every other band member here is not coming to the plate in full form - they are.

Above all, like I've found with this year's output from favorite prog-metallers - Haken - the songwriting here is flawless. No filler, no cheese-ball nonsense; just stunningly listenable, memorable melodies and song structures (thank you, Jim Matheos!). I'm picking up a slight OSI strain to some of the songs, too; e.g. check out the closing 30 seconds or so of "Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen."

And as opposed 2016's silly, Sound of Music-esque inane, painful, unlistenable drivel album (which prog metal band am I referring to?) what you'll find here is simply good music.

Five unabashed stars.

 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Einwahn

4 stars All those of us who love Prog Metal owe so much to this pioneering band, and to see them (a) playing with such power after so many years, and (b) topping the Prog Archives charts is just great. 'Theories of Flight' continues in the same relatively conservative style as the previous 'Darkness in a Different Light'. Both albums are straightforward guitar burns, ToF I think having an even faster average tempo. These are superb musicians and it is hard to see how any metal fan would not enjoy ToF. For myself, Fates Warning peaked artistically in the millennium-period albums with the extra dimension of Kevin Moore's keyboard contributions (i.e. 'Gray' and 'Disconnected'). There isn't quite enough flair in ToF for the fifth star, but this is an album that is going to get a lot of time in my audio systems.

Verdict: a superb band and a superb album.

 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Fates Warning is a rare prog metal band without the musical cheese. The word to describe their music is... certainly not harsh. Bleak? No, serious would be the word. Even the albums have such scientifically-inclined names as Theories of Flight or Darkness in a Different Light. Fates are famous for incorporating complex riffing and drumming patterns in a concise pop song length. Theories continue with the thick guitar sound of Darkness, but there's an effort to make the music sound more commercial, with the prog power metal-like shifts between softer and harder parts, hooks galore and guitar solos, bringing the band closer to the sound of such more commercially successful outfits as Dream Theater, Symphony X and even Iron Maiden.
 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by DeepPurplePL

5 stars Music tablet slowly dissolving in my ears and Dream Theater's nightmare.

That is a very good album and it seems that FW have musically still 'something to say'. I was not impressed by the album teaser available on tube and I think I will avoid listening to 30 seconds excerpts taken out of context in future. I was not impressed after listening to the album once. But I took time and "Theories of Flight" are growing every day. The real Killer is "The Light and Shade of Things" the best over 10 minute long piece since "Child in Time". The main strength of FW (apart from obvious technical skills) is ability to compose music. These guys are nor in their 20's anymore but they are musically young at heart and this album is the best source of evidence. They are not 'speeding', no showing off, every element has its place in this beautiful musical puzzle. I also adore last track that reminds me Kevin Moore's Chroma Key. What an atmosphere, what a climate. I wish there was 40 minutes of music like that even if it would not be classic FW. All other tracks are very good, but 'Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen' and 'The Ghosts of Home' excel. That is a pity this band is a little bit underrated. I said that many times before that Fates Warning is King Crimson of prog metal genre and I sustain that opinion. Why Dream Theater nightmare? Because DT are speeding last 15 years but create little music. Thank you FW and see you (again) on tour. Bless ya.

 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars With 12 studio albums, what do you expect from a band often described as pioneers of Progressive Metal? Jim Matheos can do no wrong as he continues to innovate while keeping the core Fates Warning sound. These guys are great musicians, and Theories of Flight sounds like seasoned veterans at work. Ray Alder's vocals sounds terrific, and he performs with a tremendous amount of emotion. I thought he sounded great on the Redemption album The Art of Loss earlier this year as well. The rhythm section of Joey Vera on bass and Bobby Jarzombek on drums deserve kudos since they sound perfect. The sound quality is excellent, and this release just flat out rocks! Like all Fates Warning albums, this one is so addicting it just begs to be listened to. I enjoy every track, and it flows like something I have listened to for a decade. If you are a fan of Fates Warning, Progressive Rock, or Progressive metal then this is an excellent addition to your collection.
 Theories Of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 182 ratings

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Theories Of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by ArtuomNechuev

5 stars Another Outrageous Album.

Although I've been listening to Fates Warning just a bit less than a year, great adoration and respect have appeared in my mind and soul. Obviously, the band led by it's eternal mastermind Jim Matheos shows the real progress in their music and attitude to its composition and performance. And the situation has carried on through the whole career. None of their albums I can name weak (even Night On Brocken and FWX). So Theories of Flight is no exception. It is a mystery to me how Jim Matheos manages incorporate contemporary elements, develop musically and lyrically, but preserve his own style and old spirit. The songs on the album (written mostly by Jim Matheos) are elaborated even more thoroughly than on the previous album and include interesting structures and multiple tempo and time changes. There a lot of heavy and intricate riffs with the use of counterpoint like in White Flag, beautiful flying melodies like in the title song, enough mellow places with clean and acoustic guitars like in The Light and Shape of Things, catchy choruses like in Seven Stars, clever and sincere lyrics in every song. Vocal delivery by Ray Alder is both highly emotional and powerful as always. Solos by guest guitarist Mike Abdow and long-time previous Fates Warning member Frank Aresti represent a great blend of melody and technical skills and fit perfectly in the songs. Boby Jarzombek weaves an incredible wave with his quite professional and sophisticated drumming which expands songs significantly. And of course Joey Vera delivers some prominent and well-fitting bass lines. The general expression from the album - excellent. Four and a half stars.

 Awaken The Guardian by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.98 | 242 ratings

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Awaken The Guardian
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Awaken the dark prog metal

4.5 stars

Undoubtedly my favorite FATES WARNING album. Last opus with vocalist John Arch, "Awaken The Guardian" also marks the end of an era for the band. Musically, the style is the same as its predecessor's, "The Spectre Within", however even more inspired and lyrical. 80's fantasy / sci-fi heavy metal featuring tortured melodies and unexpected breaks at its best, alternating with softer acoustic passages. The presence of duelling guitars like IRON MAIDEN increases the sound depth. However, this time the band goes a step further than their initial British influences in terms of complexity and darkness, while staying relatively accessible.

The first half of the record is simply flawless. "The Sorceress" is an efficient dark metal opener with many melodic variations. The guitars weave a web sometimes reminiscent of CELTIC FROST. "Valley Of The Dolls" is a heavy metal song, with dark aggressive passages. The heroic "Fata Morgana" is really great. A bombastic tune with a catchy lyrical melody. To let the listener breathe, the mid-tempo "Guardian" features an acoustic introduction and displays a melancholic softer ambiance.

The second half is more about atmospheres and less punchy. The trashy "Prelude To Ruin" is a weaker track, sometimes difficult to follow, whereas the dark mid-tempo "Giants Lore" possesses an haunting atmosphere. "Time Long Past" is mainly a short pretty acoustic piece. The ending song, "Exodus", is the longest of the record. Pure progressive metal, featuring numerous rhythm changes and alternating fast aggressive passages and slow moments. A very good conclusion for this somber journey.

Despite weaker moments in its second part, "Awaken The Guardian" is a very good album, dark and complex. Surprisingly, this opus is also suitable for FATES WARNING newcomers, or just for MAIDEN fans who don't know this underrated band. An tortured nightmarish trip into distant unexplored planets, and an essential listen for progressive metal lovers!

 Perfect Symmetry by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.14 | 360 ratings

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Perfect Symmetry
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by ArtuomNechuev

5 stars Simply a cornerstone of Progressive Metal.

Sincerity, intelligence, creativity and hard work create a superb blend that results in such masterpieces. That time Fates Warning finally completed their classic line-up, consisting of Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti on guitars, Ray Alder on vocals, Joe DiBiase on bass and of course the new comer and real drum-wizard - Mark Zonder. This bunch of highly talented musicians composed and recorded the album which is a very important part of world's heavy and/or progressive music and which I consider the first pure Prog Metal record. It's hard to convey emotions that I experience while I'm listen to this album. All that that sincerity I've meant deeply touches and penetrates my soul along with unique and haunting atmosphere, so that this music completely fits my inner world and my musical ideals and opinions. Perfect Symmetry is a brilliant example of how heavy and punchy music based on riffs interlaces with atmosphere, melodies and emotional load. Moreover, some kind of cold atmosphere dominates the most album. Therefore, the music on this record just splendid and it's totally devoid of pomp, pretence and instrumental self-admiration being rather complicated and catchy simultaneously. Technical and compositional abilities of band members are obvious, however the musicians don't exaggerate at all playing all the parts coherently in appropriate places and not striking the listener with endless fast passages like some prog bands which are tend to do it occasionally. In addition not only the music is excellent, it's about lyrics too. They are quite intelligent, sincere and touch upon the most acute problems of human world - internal personal issues (like reality perception, self-awareness and so on). In other words, they are directed to incite listener to think. Production is also excellent with all instruments being heard distinctively and cohesively at the same time. And the rhythm section isn't suppressed at all, which can't but make glad such a bass-and-drums fancy as me.

But it's enough describing in general, so let's move on to the compositions. 1). The very first composition is called A Part Of A Machine. It starts with sounds of moving parts of great machine with guitar riff accompanied by drums on backgrounds. Than the band fully join with riff in 7/8. Outstanding drumming skills of Mark Zonder strike the ear immediately. The song features a signature harmonized solo in the beginning (the same in the end) and then proceeds with several tempo, time signature and tonality changes which emphasizes progress in songwriting of Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti. Joe DiBiase delivers absolutely stunning bass line in 2nd verse. Concerning the vocals - Ray Alder at his best absolutely with all that screams and emotional mellow singing. The song bears very dark mood and in some parts is even aggressive. The lyrics deal with the problem of being blended with mediocre and dull ruck, and being too weak and shallow to think and see the truth. Perfect onset. 2). The second song is the album's single and a kind of radio hit, if it can be said. Another beautiful creation of Jim Matheos. Through the different eyes is not very long and complex in structure and music (however chorus in 3, 3, 3 and unexpectedly 4 - very creative), but utterly melodic and possess very catchy chorus. It is lighter than the rest of the album with some melancholic and a bit soothing mood and marks the band's transition to their future style expanded on Parallels. Mark Zonder and Joe DiBiase create interesting polyrhythm in verses. Also song features rather memorable solos, the first one by Jim Matheos and especially the one by Frank Aresti with all his tapping and legato stuff. Again very sincere vocal delivery by Ray Alder with some intricate melodies on verses and touching yet quite complicated lyrics by Jim Matheos. To my mind lyrics concern the issue of memories of something light and true buried in the past. People again in grow, start to think in different ways and try to find things (relations, feelings etc.) they have lost, but It's impossible to go back. Clearly a highlight of the album. 3). Third one is Static Acts. Lead by taut yet dynamic dual harmony on guitar again in 7/8. The most memorable harmonized part on the album. Mr. Zonder again shines implementing double strokes and syncopes. Frank Aresti performs a very beautiful and technical solo laid upon Jim Matheos flying clean sound. The song is notable for it's heartrending and strained atmosphere and seems to be the most aggressive on the album. Ray Alder emits awe-inspiring yells and punch up the choruses which go in contrast with his gloomy flows on verses. The song is about faceless crowd which suppress any display of individuality and diversity. 4). A World Apart is the album's fourth composition unfairly unheeded. To me it's mood is the darkest and most sombre on the whole album which partly courtesy of Jim Matheos utilizing the tritone in heading arpegio in 9/8. It can sound funny, but first of all I remember it's unusual and absolutely incredible drum patterns. So it's probably the best display of Mark Zonder's abilities and skills among the other songs. In vocals there are over and over tons of sincerity and melody by Mr.Alder. In other words all musical components are out of discussion. Lyrics are turning around people's approach to the world they live. Leaving for today and caring for futile and frivolous things leads to domination of "malignant minds" and downfall of the world. 5). The fifth piece of the album At Fates Hands deserves to be named masterpiece by right. It's introductory part bears nearly classical music feel. Very calm, unhurried and a bit intricate melody is produced by fascinating interweaving of violin, piano and two guitars and creates somnolent soundscapes of hope and something bright. Kevin Moore's contribution is absolutely an integral part of this song as Faith Fraeoli's one with violin. Without these musicians it would be impossible to transmit completely that emotional load that resides in beautiful passages of At Fates Hands. After quasiclassical beginning, the song flows into more melancholic mood which is deepened with Ray Alder's musical narration. The sense load of lyrics consists in feeling of inevitability of fate and vain efforts of resisting it (and once lyrics mention the blindness of ruck). This part goes through a couple of tonality changes and then tempo changes and enters gloomy arpeggio of Jim Matheos. And then begins the musical insanity. Tons of riffs and melodies with lashings of time signature changes and several changes of tonality is accompanied by incredulous drumming, punchy keyboards and clever bass lines. There you have it all including harmonic dual leads and riffs and even harmonized solo on guitar and synthesizer. This part as though shows turbulent flows of fate (or destiny if you like) which direct our lives as it thinks fit. Doubtlessly the highest point of the album. 6). The song number six is called The Arena. Although being in general more straightforward metal track with harmonizing guitars it's not deprived of some curious riffs with shifted accents, nice bass lines and signature acoustic guitar of Jim Matheos on the backgrounds. Also the song features one of the highest and most powerful performances by Ray Alder. Lyrics tell us that people are too shallow and easy blinded by superficial aspects of life. They can't control their thoughts properly so they are "led and fooled". 7). Chasing Time is the seventh track with quite haunting atmosphere first and foremost created by calm sound of acoustic guitars. Ray Alder completely succeeds in conveying sadness and melancholy singing so emotionally that I nearly shed a tear. Then a violin creeps into quietly and sadly. It intensifies the emotional flow of the song and after raise in song's tempo and mellow guitar solo based on flageolets which interweaves with heart-stirring bass solo by Joe DiBiase it assumes the leading role and flows accompanied by acoustic harmonized guitars. The lyrics deal with the problem of being deep in vain dreams, especially of a future. It's hard to cope with the reality, but dreams of the future are continued despite the fleeing years of life. 8). The concluding track is epic 8-minute Nothing left To Say which obviously is another irrefutable prog masterpiece on the album. It starts with stunning guitar leads layed upon heavy and complicated riff with shifted accents and changing time signatures. Then the song slows down and transits in melancholic clean-sound passages while Jim Matheos shows all the subtleness of his playing in the slightly overdriven melody. Bass and drums manage to play quite sophisticated yet rhythmically congruous lines. I even can say that Mark Zonder really helps to create the atmosphere of the song. Ray Alder is absolutely sincere and dynamical as always. Vocal performance in the more intense and fast middle part reach the climax with Ray's high-pitched screams. Musically the main riff in the middle section resembles Iron Maiden style but with more different guitar parts, with additional quarters and darker mood. After a couple of verses and breaks Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti combine their efforts into wonderful harmonized solo - one of the best twin harmonic leads I've ever heard (really!). At the end the song slows down and melancholic mood returns and Ray Alder gives a final touch almost whispering final words. About lyrics: this time Jim Matheos slightly another theme, however with similar overall mood. To my opinion they are about trying to find one's own way through life, losing the true reason for all the actions and efforts and final disillusioning with the achieved goals 'cause they turn out to be superficial.

And in conclusion there's nothing left to say for me but praise and recommend this record again and again.

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