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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$15.33
Darkness in a Different LightDarkness in a Different Light
Inside Out Music 2013
Audio CD$7.89
$7.74 (used)
ParallelsParallels
Warner/Reprise/Maverick 1991
Audio CD$6.49
$1.95 (used)
DisconnectedDisconnected
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$6.89
$2.72 (used)
A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded EditionA Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$12.61
$8.54 (used)
Chasing TimeChasing Time
Metal Blade 1995
Audio CD$29.99
$3.15 (used)
FWXFWX
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$5.98
$3.77 (used)
Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$10.43
$10.42 (used)
Spectre WithinSpectre Within
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$7.45
$7.07 (used)
Inside Out - Expanded EditionInside Out - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$11.53
$9.99 (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)

2.66 | 120 ratings
Night On Bröcken
1984
3.47 | 151 ratings
The Spectre Within
1985
3.98 | 229 ratings
Awaken The Guardian
1986
3.92 | 210 ratings
No Exit
1988
4.15 | 343 ratings
Perfect Symmetry
1989
4.13 | 314 ratings
Parallels
1991
3.59 | 176 ratings
Inside Out
1994
4.14 | 324 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
1997
4.09 | 305 ratings
Disconnected
2000
3.36 | 190 ratings
FWX
2004
3.92 | 251 ratings
Darkness in a Different Light
2013
4.55 | 11 ratings
Theories of Flight
2016

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

4.37 | 74 ratings
Still Life
1998

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

4.36 | 11 ratings
Live at the Dynamo
1998
4.80 | 26 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray - Live (VHS)
1998
4.19 | 16 ratings
The View From Here
2003
3.74 | 34 ratings
Live In Athens
2005

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

4.29 | 34 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
4.55 | 11 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 carrier. 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 | 229 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!

 Disconnected by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.09 | 305 ratings

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Disconnected
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator 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.

 A Pleasant Shade Of Gray by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.14 | 324 ratings

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A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is the 8th 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 April 1997. There have been two lineup changes since "Inside Out (1994)" as longtime bassist Joe Dibiase and lead guitarist Frank Aresti have jumped ship. The three remaining members (vocalist Ray Alder, guitarist/main composer Jim Matheos, and drummer Mark Zonder) opted to continue as a three piece but they are joined here by session musicians Joey Vera (Armored Saint) on bass and Kevin Moore (Dream Theater) on keyboards/piano.

"A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is a concept album where all tracks seque into each other to form a 58:38 minutes long piece. The tracks are titled "Part I", "Part II"...and so forth. The atmosphere is bleak and reeks melancholy. Often delivered in a sort of monotone fashion which further emphasize the gloomy atmosphere. Monotone in this case doesn't mean non-melodic or anything like that, but the music on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is still a far cry from the very melodic and to some degree sing along friendly last couple of albums.

There are actually quite a few differences between the music on this album an the music featured on "Parallels (1991)" and "Inside Out (1994)". On those two albums Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti explored and perfected their distorted/clean guitar style, where they would compliment each other playing clean and distorted guitars in layers. It's a rather distinct sounding guitar style, which is abruptly ended on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" as Fates Warning opted to continue with only one guitarist. The loss of Frank Aresti also means that "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" features very few guitar solos, which has otherwise been a trademark of Fates Warning's sound on all seven previous studio albums. Another feature which has changed significantly compared to the last couple of albums, is the sparse use of backing and harmony vocals. On "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray", we're predominantly exposed to Ray Alder's naked voice.

What the listener gets instead is a more riff heavy sound (the bass is generally also more heavy than in the past), with a lot of keyboard contributions from Kevin Moore. The keyboards generally play a big role on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray", with both electronic sounds, mellow piano parts, lead keyboard parts, and atmosphere enhancing floating chords. While there are several heavy riffs featured on the album, it's generally a very dynamic release, which shifts between distorted and clean guitar parts and heavy and softer atmospheres. There's also an ambient element which at times reminds me of "The Wall (1979)"-era Pink Floyd.

Fates Warning has opted for a pretty cold and clinical sounding production, which also sets "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" apart from it's predecessors (especially the voice production sounds vastly different). It's a very well sounding production though. Powerful, detailed, and professional.

Upon conclusion the material on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is of a high quality. It's memorable, intriguing, and adventurous. The overall concept and the way the tracks seque into each other doesn't always work as well as it could have, and to my ears there is a greater compositional coherence on the first part of the album compared to the last part, which sounds a bit more disjointed. Had the piece ended after the thrilling and emotional finale climax of "Part VI", it would have been an almost perfect progressive metal epic, but instead Fates Warning decided to continue the track for another 25 minutes or so. And don't misunderstand me here, because those last 25 minutes are absolutely stunning in their own right (the 9:18 minutes long closing "Part XII" is for example quite a brilliant mini epic on it's own), I would just have prefered that those last parts of the long concept piece had been broken down into individual tracks instead. I think it would have worked better. When that is said "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is still an incredibly unique sounding release filled to the brim with high quality material, high level musicianship, and a well sounding production. A 4.5 star (90%) is fully deserved.

 Night On Bröcken by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.66 | 120 ratings

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Night On Bröcken
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Back in the early 80's when the metal world was going crazy for the rise of thrash metal and the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), a new, Connecticut-based band quietly unleashed this gem upon the world, to little or no mainstream recognition; Fates Warning were laying down the blueprint for what would become progressive metal.

Sounding almost identical to early Iron Maiden, 'Night on Bröcken' takes most of its influence from the NWOBHM, with melodic, galloping guitar riffs, choc-full of harmonies and duel-guitar leads. Vocalist John Arch even sounds like Maiden's Bruce Dickinson at times. But with some interesting song arrangements and a few odd time-signatures thrown in, Fates Warning were laying down the foundations that bands like Dream Theater and Queensr˙che would build upon to make prog metal what it is today.

Fates Warning would certainly go on to release better albums than this, but this is a good, solid debut, with some memorable songs and some catchy hooks. Sadly, this record hasn't really stood the test of time, as it's mostly forgotten about today. But if you like NWOBHM or you're interested to hear the roots of progressive metal, then it's worth keeping an eye out for.

 A Pleasant Shade Of Gray by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.14 | 324 ratings

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A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars There comes a time in every bands career when they decide it's time to make changes to their sound. Some bands do it flawlessly, gaining new fans and keeping old ones. Other bands fail miserably, alienating everyone. 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray' by Fates Warning, is an example of a band doing it properly.

The bands previous albums were seeing a steady incline in quality and success, and there was no question that 'Parallels' and 'Inside Out' would be hard to top without sounding repetitive, but with 'A Pleasant Shade of Grey' the band really hit their stride as a "prog" band, with what I consider to be some of their greatest work.

Having lost one guitar, but gaining a keyboard in its place (in the form of ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore), Fates Warning take on a more progressive feel with their music. Gone are the metal songs of their previous releases, and in their place stands atmospheric, beautifully eerie pieces of music. There's still plenty of heavy riffs to keep faithful fans happy, but the album as a whole seems to have more focus on mood and ambience.

As always with this band, the musicianship is remarkable. Drummer Mark Zonder really takes the spotlight here, and Jim Matheos has written some of his most thoughtful guitar riffs, maintaining the complexity associated with this style of music, without having to rely on an endless barrage of notes jammed into every bar.

It's hard to point out any specific highlights, as the album works so much better as a single piece, rather than by its individual components. It's a concept album, you know how it is, right? It's not the sort of record which grows on you after one listen, but then, isn't that the sort of thing prog fans love about the genre?

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 Darkness in a Different Light by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 251 ratings

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Darkness in a Different Light
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars FATES WARNING are my favourite metal band and so it's great that they are back after a nine year absence. Mind you having that Arch/Matheos album to enjoy did more to scatch that itch than this particular album. Still this is another very good album from the boys and i'm really impressed with new drummer Bobby Jarzombek, and even more impressed that guitarist Frank Aresti is back. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this album is hearing Matheos and Aresti playing their different parts as they compliment each other so well. I did pick up the special edition with bonus tracks and the two live songs("One" and "Life In Still Water") are what I appreciate the most.

"One Thousand Fires" is such a good choice for the opener as they really bring a lot of energy with this one. I like how the soundscape swirls and check out the massive bass a minute in as the guitars grind away. A calm quickly follows then vocals. Some nice guitar after 3 minutes but my favourite section is that beautiful soundscape after 4 minutes followed by a ripping guitar solo. "Firefly" has a really good heavy sound to it as the vocals join in. Some powerful riffs before 3 minutes as the second guitar comes in. Vocals and that previous sound are back before 4 minutes. "Desire" and the next track don't do much for me. This one starts off well with the atmospheric guitar before it kicks in then settles right back with vocals. Each time it turns fuller I just don't like it. "Falling" is a short(thankfully) ballad with fragile vocals and acoustic guitars. Why? Sorry I just don't get why we get a ballad on a metal album. "I Am" makes up for it though. This is a top three for me. It's almost TOOL-like with the dark atmosphere and powerful under-current. It's building until it breaks out hard. Love the drumming. Vocals join in as well. Great track!

"Lighthouse" opens with a relaxed sound with reserved vocals but there's this tension that continues and I keep thinking it will break out. A cool tune. "Into The Black" features guitar that cries out over top as the drums pound away. I like when it settles in before a minute then it picks back up with vocals. A ripping guitar solo before 3 minutes then it settles back again before building. A top three for me. "Kneel And Obey" has this heavy base to it which I really enjoy. Vocals come in and check out the guitar before 3 minutes as he lights it up. "O Chloroform" opens with the atmosphere then the guitar comes out of that followed by drums and a heavy sound. Vocals too then it settles back before 2 1/2 minutes but not for long. I like this one especially that background sound. Atmosphere ends it. "And Yet It Moves" is the over 14 minute closer and my final top three. It opens with what sounds like a classical guitar as a second one joins in. Bass joins in then it kicks in beautifully just after a minute. Some cool sounding guitar licks arrive then vocals 4 minutes in. They are kicking ass 6 minutes in. A calm with strummed guitar after 9 minutes. Some atmosphere too as laid back vocals join in. The guitar comes and goes grinding away. It kicks in heavily after 12 1/2 minutes then back to that earlier sound.

Man I have enjoyed this a lot but for me it doesn't measure up to that Arch/Matheos release or earlier albums like "Disconneted", "Perfect Symmetry" or "Awaken The Guardian".

 Night On Bröcken by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.66 | 120 ratings

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Night On Bröcken
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars FATES WARNING was formed all the way back in 1982 in Hartford, CT in the midst of the NWOBHM really taking the world by storm. In the beginning the band consisted of the twin guitar assault of Jim Matheos (the only constant member since the beginning) and Victor Arduini, drums handled by Stever Zimmerman, bass by Joe DiBiase and the trenchant vocal duties of John Arch whose well developed tenor head voice earned him comparisons to Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Midnight of Crimson Glory, but as the majority of reviewers of this album have already pointed out, it's Iron Maiden who gets most of the credit for pretty much all of the influences on board on this debut release NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN. The title comes from a mountain in Germany associated with witches in Goethe's "Faust."

It's hard to believe this band would go on to become one of the most innovative progressive metal bands of the ages on this release. First of all there is nothing progressive here at all and it is debatable if there is really anything original at all to be heard. To me this sounds like an Iron Maiden demo in a parallel universe where Bruce Dickinson was in the band at the beginning and recorded a demo or two. I have a highly sensitive ear to plagiarism and it doesn't get any stronger than on this first album. Not only does Arch nail Dickinson's vocals in tone, register and intensity but the guitars and bass perfectly mirror Maiden's thundering galloping and chord progressions. The three albums "Number Of The Beast," "Piece Of Mind" and "Powerslave" are the fertile grounds of choice to copy here and it sounds to me like they simply rearranged riffs, leads, drum rolls etc to create newly assembled songs with new titles.

Just a few examples: "Kiss Of Death" uses a "2 Minutes 2 Midnight" riff and "Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariners" gallop. "Night On Bröcken" employs a "Quest For Fire" drum roll which is followed by the band almost exactly like the original. "Shadowfax" copies "Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)." I could go on and on about which track rips off which riffs, lead, drum roll etc but.... yawn! The acoustic "S.E.K." may be the most original piece on here sounding like something different but unfortunately it only lasts over a minute. This one is an extreme disappointment. Not progressive. Not original. Not even a decent copycat job. I can stand it from time to time when a band simply nails every aspect of the band they are ripping off but in the case of NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN i find it hard to even sit through it without cringing. If you want a really good Iron Maiden clone band then go straight to Russia's АРИЯ (Aria) who not only matches Maiden's intensity and skill sets but also adds some original touches to the mix. This, i'm sorry to say, does none of that. For completists only.

 Darkness in a Different Light by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 251 ratings

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Darkness in a Different Light
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Having been vacuum for about nine years since its FWX album in 2004, finally Fates Warning released its eleventh studio album last year (October 2013). Actually my emotional relationship with the band started long time ago when I found a bunch of CDs of their albums at second hand market at Jalan Surabaya, Jakarta. I was actually at a big surprise with the band as the music was quite different then typically labelled progressive metal sub-genre. For sure, this is not the kind of Dream Theater or Symphony X or Threshold and the like. The key attraction of the music to me was the accentuated vocal line of Ray Adler combined with stunning guitar work of Jim matheos, known as the band leader, and of course with its drummer. But now the drummer has been changed in this album. The album itself took so long from its first creative work of composing since 2009 until it hit the store in 2013 - so it's about four years.

But, the result is something worth waiting for as the music is really carefully composed using the norms of what have been the characteristics of the band's music. I personally enjoy the music from start to end. It kicks off with a blast of One Thousand Fires (7:20) in fasst tempo with heavy but thin guitar riffs and powerful drumming. The Ray Adler vocal is still powerful and fit very well with the music. The second track Firefly (4:57( is even heavier in riffs but slower ini tempo with much groove than the opening track. The riffs sometimes remind me to the classic rock typical riffs. The third track Desire (3:58) starts in an ambient mode through soft guitar fills. The music is now slower with clearer vocal line. On the fourth track you would be surprised with a very nice musical break Falling (1:34) with only guitar and vocal, serving its role as a bridge to the next track I Am (5:05) which is a kind of psychedelic in style at the intro part. But then it moves to a heavy riffs music to welcome Adler's vocal work. It sounds really good after the tracks that start with something heavy and then moves slowly until musical break and returns back to heavy riffs. Until this I am really excited with the music.

What follows is then a mellow music with nice guitar fills combined with vocal in under Lighthouse (5:22). Right here I feel like not under the progressive metal mode as it sounds like a symphonic prog. It's really beautiful this break at 6th track and then it moves to Into the Black (5:07) in medium tempo at the beginning, it then moves in crescendo. I really love the 8th track Kneel and Obey (5:05) because it combines the heavy part of progressive metal through the guitar riffs but also it has guitar fills in the vein of psychedelic. The music is very enjoyable with medium to slow tempo music. To me this sounds like the first time Fates Warning has ever made this kind of style. I really enjoy from start to end of this track even though it sounds quite simple. I would say this is a radio-friendly track. The chorus is heavier especially when it features stunning guitar solo ( I guess it's played by Matheos). I always replay this track when the album reaches this. It's cool. The concluding two tracks are also excellent: O Chloroform (4:13), and And Yet It Moves (14:03).

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. If you want something different from progressive metal sub-genre, this is the best choice, I believe. I salute the band for making this well-crafted album after a very long vacuum period. It's a four star rating album, for sure. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 FWX by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.36 | 190 ratings

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FWX
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "FWX" is the 10th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 2004. "FWX" was recorded by the same lineup who recorded the two predecessors "A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)" and "Disconnected (2000)". This time around Kevin Moore (Dream Theater, Chroma Key, OSI) doesn´t guest on keyboards though. The keyboards and the programming are instead handled by guitarist/main composer Jim Matheos.

While the music on the two predecessors is among the most progressive the band have yet released, "FWX", for the most part, follows a different route. The album is generally more vers/chorus oriented and there´s a slight alternative influence on the album too. To my ears Some tracks sound closer to Ray Alder´s and Joey Vera´s side-project Engine than they sound like Fates Warning tracks. A track like "Another Perfect Day" reminded me quite a bit of Enchant, so "FWX" is generally a bit of a different sounding Fates Warning album.

The album is well produced although I think Ray Alder´s voice features a somewhat unpleasant metallic production. But that´s been the case on the two precessors too. What´s more disturbing is the quality of the vocal melody lines, which are not very catchy. That worked alright on the more progressive predecessors because the quality of the music was so high, but here the instrumental part of the music too often falls into anonymous territory. The musicianship is as always on a very high level, but it´s not often the band´s great skills are put to their full use.

So overall "FWX" is a bit of a disappointing release by Fates Warning. It´s a bit hard to follow what the band were aiming at with the album but the bottom line is that it isn´t really working. "FWX" features glimpses of greatness and there are definitely both memorable and enjoyable parts on the album, but they are generally few and far between. Still a band like Fates Warning never fall flat on their face even on an album where they don´t deliver their most well written or interesting material, so a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.

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