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Fates Warning

Progressive Metal

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Fates Warning No Exit album cover
3.89 | 294 ratings | 17 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Exit (0:41)
2. Anarchy Divine (3:46)
3. Silent Cries (3:17)
4. In a Word (4:25)
5. Shades of Heavenly Death (5:56)
6. The Ivory Gate of Dreams (21:50) :
- a) Innocence (1:12)
- b) Cold Daze (2:15)
- c) Daylight Dreamers (3:06)
- d) Quietus (4:23)
- e) Ivory Tower (3:17)
- f) Whispers on the Wind (2:24)
- g) Aquiescence (4:23)
- h) Retrospect (1:00)

Total Time 39:55

Bonus tracks on 2007 remaster:
7. Quietus (demo) (3:59)
8. Ivory Gate of Dreams (outtake one) (2:04)
9. Ivory Gate of Dreams (outtake two) (3:14)

Bonus DVD from 2007 remaster:
1. No Exit Tour Documentary (54:17)
2. Valley of the Dolls (live Philadelphia 88) (6:01)
3. Silent Cries (video) (3:22)
4. Anarchy Divine (video) (3:52)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ray Alder / vocals
- Frank Aresti / guitars
- Jim Matheos / guitars
- Joe DiBiase / bass
- Steve Zimmerman / drums & percussion

- Mark Castiglione / keyboards

Releases information

Artwork: Mick Rock (photo)

LP Enigma Records ‎- D1-73330 (1988, US)

CD Metal Blade Records ‎- D2-73330 (1988, US)
CD+DVD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-14636-2 (2007, US) Remastered by Brad Vance with 3 bonus tracks (Demos & Live tracks ) plus DVD-Video

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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FATES WARNING No Exit ratings distribution

(294 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FATES WARNING No Exit reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Enter new vocalist Ray Adler but that's about the only major change from their previous release "Awaken The Guardian". Like it's predecessor "No Exit" is punishingly heavy and quite dark. The band thanks WATCHTOWER and QUEENSRYCHE in the liner notes, and it wouldn't be such a stretch to say this release is like a cross between these two bands.

I have to agree with heyitsthatguy that it seems strange that this record is named after this 41 second opening song, that is a slow paced vocal and guitar piece that is rather forgettable. The first two songs do not do anything to make fans forget about John Arch as the vocals in both are not his best by a long shot. I actually find them almost annoying in the second song "Anarchy Divine" but the guitar throughout is great as the drums and bass provide a good rhythm. "Silent Cries" is one of the best songs on the album and the faster paced sections sound similar to the previous song but it's the quieter, atmospheric passages that make this song so amazing ! "In A Word" is another incredible tune with passionate vocals and wild guitar moments. Great song ! "Shades Of Heavenly Death" opens with pounding drums and guitar that is on fire in this uptempo rocker.The vocals get better as the song goes along. Nice guitar solo 3 minutes in and at 4 minutes the song gets even heavier and darker.

"The Ivory Gate Of Dreams" is a side long track that consists of 8 sections beginning with "Innocence" an acoustic guitar track that is just over a minute long. In "Cold Daze" the power is turned up. Here we go ! This is a melodic, uptempo section with scorching guitars. In "Daylight Dreams" Ray's vocals are at their best even singing in the same style as Mr.Arch. The ending of this section is heavy duty. The "Quietus" section is one of my favourites on the album. Opening with piano this is pastoral until things start to pick up with some good guitar melodies and pounding drums.This all accellerates even more and it sounds awesome ! The section ends as it began with piano. "Ivory Tower" rocks out really good, with guitars galore. "Whispers In The Wind" opens with acoustic guitar as the vocals and drums are added to this slow paced tune. "Aquiescence" is hard, fast and heavy. The ending section "Retrospect" is a minute of acoustic guitar.

This may not be as good as "Awaken The Guardian" but if you liked that record i'm sure you'll like this one as well. I highly recommend this beast !

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "No Exit" is the 4th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in March 1988. Thereīs been one lineup change since "Awaken The Guardian (1986)", as lead vocalist John Arch has been replaced by Ray Alder. "No Exit" is also the last album to feature original drummer Steve Zimmerman.

The change on the lead vocalist spot has a major impact on the bandīs sound, which was more or less inevitable considering how distinct sounding and important John Arch was on the first three Fates Warning albums. When the change needed to happen, they couldnīt have found a better replacement than Ray Alder though. He is a significantly different sounding vocalist with a very different sounding voice and delivery to his predecessor, but still manage to fit in with Fates Warningīs music from day one.

Itīs not only on the lead vocalist spot, that the band have changed. The atmosphere of the music is now darker and the music is at times pretty hard edged, almost bordering thrash metal rawness. The fantasy lyrical themes of the past are now also toned down considerably in favour of lyrics dealing with more personal emotional issues. "No Exit" is in that respect a landmark release in the bandīs discography. Itīs also a pretty unique release in their discography because already on their next album ("Perfect Symmetry (1989)"), they made significant changes to their sound again.

"No Exit" features 6 tracks. The opening title track is a short intro and the next 4 tracks are regular length (between 3 and 5 minutes long) tracks. The album closes with the 21:58 minutes long "The Ivory Gate Of Dreams". A multi-suite epic divided into 8 parts, and by far the most progressive oriented track in the bandīs discography up until then. While there are reoccuring themes throughout the long track, itīs obvious that the 8 parts werenīt necessarily written to be played in succession, and some of the shifts between sections, are slightly awkward sounding. When that is said, itīs still a brilliant progressive metal track featuring memorable melodies, hard edged heavy/thrashy riffing, epic moments, and beautiful acoustic sections.

The sound production is more professional sounding and more powerful than the sound production on "Awaken The Guardian (1986)", so itīs definitely a step up in that department. There are still some production issues like the distorted guitar tone, which isnīt always that well sounding, and the reverb laden snare drum sound, but those are minor issues, and they donīt mean "No Exit" isnīt overall a well sounding album.

Upon conclusion "No Exit" is another high quality release in Fates Warningīs discography and a shiny example of 80s progressive metal (guitar/vocal driven progressive metal). The traditional heavy metal and thrash metal elements are still very dominant in the bandīs sound, but theyīve incorporated more progressive ideas to their music and "No Exit" is generally a very intriguing progressive metal album with a dark atmoshere. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'No Exit' - Fates Warning (8/10)

Save for the twenty one minute long 'Ivory Gate of Dreams,' there isn't too much of a progressive theme to be found on this album. There is certainly some progressiveness to the other songs, but that's the song that gives this release such a ground breaking element to it. Until then, there really wasn't too much of a progressive metal scene going on. Having a song cycle of such epic proportions thrown into a genre that was generally (at the time) about drinking, women and drugs was quite a shock to the system.

However, everything considered, I'm still not a big Fates Warning fan. I find Ray Alder is a technically accomplished vocalist, but I simply don't like his voice all too much. This might be however, a result of my other major problem with the band; their lack of attention to actual melody. The vocal melodies on this album (and alot of Fates Warning's other work) seem like they were just put in for the sake of having a singer. Some of the acoustic parts of 'The Ivory Gate of Dreams' however offer an exception to this, which is always a refreshing change to listen to.

The aforementioned epic is a real journey through many different emotions; melancholy through rage. It's very surreal and while I didn't really think it worked especially well altogether on my first few listens, months after buying, I realized that there are so many recurring themes that weave their way through the music that make it a sort of song cycle you have to listen to from start-to-finish to really get a kick out of it.

The other tracks on the album range from very good to mediocre. The epynomous intro to the album segues into the most memorable 'single' track on the album, 'Anarchy Divine,' with some absolutely amazing guitar solos. 'Silent Cries' doesn't do much for me, but the other two songs have some very cool moments, especially the fifth track before the epic begins, 'Shades Of Heavenly Death.'

This album would probably interest metal fans more than actual prog fans, but seeing as I am both, it's definately not a poor addition to my collection. While I would certainly not compare it to the stands of Dream Theaters 'Scenes From A Memory' or Symphony X's 'New Mythology Suite,' it's definately a good listen. Think an American, more progressive version of Iron Maiden.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "No Exit" is the title of a very important album in Fates Warning's history - first of all, it is the first album with Roy Alder on the lead singer's role; it is also the effort in which the FW sound that took a string of three albums to develop and endeavor finally achieved its definitive shape. Regarding the latter factor, this is where the band generated the capitalization of the epic metallic ambitions that the following two studio albums would epitomize in full splendor. The album opens up with a brief exposure of dark doom in the namesake prologue: the Gothic guitar textures and sinister singing properly elaborate a gloomy atmosphere with eerie undertones. Next is the first proper song, 'Anarchy Divine', which serves as the impressive presentation letter from the new kid in the band: Roy Alder shines right from the first sung lines, with the instrumentalists building a complex development of riffs and unusual time signatures. In fact, you can tell that the whole band as a unit shines more brightly than ever. 'Silent Cries' comes next, starting with a solid attack during the first thematic riff, but soon enough the track reveals itself as a more complex exhibition of prog-metal inventiveness. Just by listening to the sequence of these first 3 pieces you can hear the furious birth pains of the genre as a robust musical path, and let's consider that we are talking about material that doesn't even complete an 8 minute span altogether. By all means, it is quite clear that the progressive (and metallic) sub-genre was born as a mature being itself. 'In A Word' instills a more ceremonious mood in the album's framework. This piece is closely related to the band's earlier material, as well as Di'Anno-era Maiden and late 80s Queensryche: the final result bears a distinguished mood to it, although I can't help feel a bit frustrated at the premature arrival of the fade-out. This track surely deserved a more epic delivery? but what do I know anyway? The album's first half ends with 'Shades Of Heavenly Death', the longest piece comprised in it. Now? this is epic! With a sort of speed that equals anything done by Metallica or Megadeth at the time yet with a more polished approach and a more accomplished compositional drive, the FW guys move steadily and enthusiastically through various moods and motifs that merge passion and darkness in a most dynamic way. The dual acoustic guitar interventions some time after the 4 minute mark (plus a mysterious chorale) are spine chilling, not interrupting but complementing the overall explicit energy. Once again, a fade-out settles the score but this time I feel that the piece has been properly completed. The album's second half is occupied by the suite 'The Ivory Gate Of Dreams', which can be tentatively described as the "missing link" between Iron Maiden's 'Ryme Of The Ancient mariner' and Dream Theater's 'A Change Of Seasons'. The opening verses consist of a beautiful prelude on classical guitar. It doesn't take long before the full band stages a clever metallic attack (Zimmermann's finest hour, IMHO) divided in various series and featuring varying levels of rocking power. At the 6'30" mark, a slow section intrudes and states a reflective note for a brief moment before a new electric section gets in ? anyway, the reflective ambience remains intact. The suite's lyrics are also some of the best ever in FW's history: "Ivory towers appear beyond the gate / Invisible fortresses of escape / Traversed by ramparts made of hopes and fears / Impervious to reality" ? poetry!! Want some more poetry? Check this: "When reality obscures the dream / Makes the mind a grave of memories / That wander like the lonely breeze / Whose whispers echo through ruins rust / Of towers torn and dreams turned to dust". Lovely!! The magical introspection of the 'Whispers on the wind' section segued to the previous section's radically abrupt end beautifully signals the image of a person's awakening. There is also poetry in this sort of instrumental arrangements. In fact, at this point, the piece escalades toward an impressive climax that gives enough room to Alder's highlighted singing. The suite ends where it began, a classical guitar epilogue as serene as it is touching. It makes total sense: a lovely closure for a lovely groundbreaking album.
Review by jampa17
4 stars Prog metal at it's best

Fates Warning is one of those bands that stand tall after the change of orientation in prog during the middle 80's. I felt their music a lot more interesting and creative than Queensryche and they use to be overlooked by many people. Well, this album shows the quality of the musicians, the great concept of the merging in between metal and progressive rock. The result is a great album that deserves a better place here.

Well, the band kicked out the great singer John Arch, but even that was a bad choice, the new singer, Ray Alder, shows quite well why he took the role. More controlled but still aggressive and acrobatic, his vocals brought new life to the already creative and intricate music this band played at the time. It was 1988, the music world was changing, and they survived and evolved into a better band.

Jim Matheos is one of the most underrated guitar players in the history of rock. He is creative and his quality of songwriting is all there. The focus of the album is the epic song The Ivory Gates of Dreams, that last more than 21 minutes and it's an entertaining piece of wonderful music, full with energy, power, melody and time signature changes.

While the quality of sound is not the best, is quite good enough to enjoy. If you like metal or prog metal, you cannot pass this by. Give it a try. And for those who don't know yet this band, at least during this era, they were like a raw version of Dream Theater, a little less bussy in the technique department and more focus on the emotional-dramatic side of things. Music with energy and sense is what we need more often, and this kind of songwriting is not very common to find. Please, don't let this chance to pass you. This is an album to hear and enjoy. 4 stars is fair.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The start of the Prog-era

No Exit was the first Fates Warning album featuring singer Ray Alder and thus in many ways the start of a whole new era for the band - a more progressive era. Think Judas Priest circa Stained Class, but more progressive and without Priest's distinctive identity. Alder does indeed sound a bit like Rob Halford but again without Halford's distinctive identity. In addition to Judas Priest, one can also detect a Rush influence.

Like early Queensryche, the progressive ambitions of Fates Warning were not immediately apparent. The first half of this album consists of shorter songs that are quite conventional Metal songs not far away from the style of Queensryche. It is on the second side of the album that the progressive ambitions of the band become clear. The Ivory Gates Of Dreams is a 22 minute, eight-part epic with a nice acoustic guitar intro and a multitude of riffs. It toke many listens for me to sink in, but now I like it a lot. It is also featured on the very good live album Still Life.

A good start of Fates Warning as we know it, but it would get better on subsequent albums.

Review by Warthur
4 stars It was only to be expected that Fates Warning's first album after the departure of John Arch would be a rather transitional affair, but new frontman Ray Adler hits the ground running and the band do much better under the circumstances than many other groups would have. The first side of the album consists of a series of solid and entertaining enough songs which, despite being fun, have an air of "playing it safe" about them.

All doubts are dispelled, however, with the concluding side-long epic The Ivory Gate of Dreams, in which the band tackle the most complex and challenging progressive metal they'd concocted to date and come up with a true classic of the genre, a piece to rival Rush's 2112 in its importance to prog metal. The first side of the album is three and a half stars, the second is five, so let's say four and a half as a fair compromise.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 really

With No exit released in 1988 Fates Warning beggins a new era, here appear for the first time the excellent vocalist Ray Alder who gives a new dimention to Fates Warning pieces from now on. I can say that I'm a fan of this band , collected almost everything they have across the years and love them for 20 years now. This album to me is a mixed between Queensryce and Watchtower, both bands appear in the liner notes on tanks section. The music is powerful with lots of guitar breaks, Jim Matheos must be one of the most overlooked guitar player in the history. A legendary album for sure with many great moments, but I can't say is on par with their next one Perfect symmetry to me their best album from first era. Very good songs here with a plus on ending track The Ivory Gate of Dreams - a 22 min sheer beauty. This song is among the best Fates Warning ever done, has it all, great guitars, piano, fabulos vocal parts, top notch druming from Steve Zimmerman , the last FW album where apper. Lost of tempo changes, time signature all meted ina heavy progressive way. This album is solid but I can't say is in my top 3 from them, still great to be discovered by younger genration , Fates Warning were considered and are considered the fathers of prog metal since late '80's. So to me only 3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars While "Awaken the guardian" was still with one foot firmly rooted in heavy metal, on the simply titled "No exist", the music is elevated to another level, called accessible 80's progressive metal without excesses of the 90's prog-metal. Instrumental playing is robust, tight and heavy. Composition ... (read more)

Report this review (#2948101) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, August 30, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Enter young man! There is an exit. There is a way. A way for deliberate thoughts and unrestrained emotions. This record was among my first prog metal albums I got acquainted with, when I started my journey into the realms of progressive music. After two spins or even three, it seemed to me r ... (read more)

Report this review (#1543593) | Posted by ArtuomNechuev | Wednesday, March 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Until the moment this album was released, I knew about Fates Warning and even I had some interest for them, but they wasn't a band of special interest for me. It was with this album that they took a giant step the become a favorite band for me.The adding of Ray Adler as lead singer is an importat e ... (read more)

Report this review (#239265) | Posted by Tritone | Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is truly No Exit... The true tip of Fates Warning at their creative and progressive peak. This album is an onslaught of classic progressive metal, and by and far ahead of most their other releases in terms of pure aggression and bite. Soft atmospheric opener No Exit betrays your ears a ... (read more)

Report this review (#218615) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album marks a transitional period for Fates Warning. Singer John Arch had left the band after their Awaken The Guardian album and tour so this marks the first album the band released with Ray Alder. I consider Alder to be one of my favorite vocalists in the prog metal genre (as well as und ... (read more)

Report this review (#215162) | Posted by Stooge | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't know what was going on with Fates Warning at this point in their lives...but I sure like it! When I let friends listen to this CD, they are blown away. Well, until the vocals. "Enter Young Man...Welcome". Ray Alder's voice is enough to scare away most people, but lucky for me I had ... (read more)

Report this review (#125815) | Posted by metalmaniac67 | Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5 stars actually! Fates Warning, to me, is the first truly progressive metal band. Queensryche is a great band, but I only see them as progrelated, because on Mindcrime, the only thing that really makes it "prog" is the concept and the few overly long songs, and trust me, many bands have ... (read more)

Report this review (#87780) | Posted by heyitsthatguy | Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In my opinion this is among the best progressive metal albums ever recorded. It has a very rare combination of energy, hunger, originality, and masterful songwriting and arrangement. It roars like a powerful metal album yet is layered with unpredictable drumming and complex textures you just do ... (read more)

Report this review (#52000) | Posted by mdorovich | Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album was my exposure to progressive metal and something a bit more complex than 4/4 verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus hair metal I'd been previously exposed to. As the first track started (an almost a capella piece by Alder), I thought I had made a mistake. Once the album began, I f ... (read more)

Report this review (#36366) | Posted by | Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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