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Fates Warning - Disconnected CD (album) cover


Fates Warning


Progressive Metal

4.10 | 352 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 331

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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