ARCH / MATHEOS — Sympathetic Resonance

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ARCH / MATHEOS - Sympathetic Resonance cover
4.20 | 50 ratings | 12 reviews
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Album · 2011

Tracklist

1. Neurotically Wired (11:12)
2. Midnight Serenade (5:27)
3. Stained Glass Sky (13:56)
4. On the Fence (8:11)
5. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me) (10:27)
6. Incense and Myrrh (5:22)

Total Time 54:35

Line-up/Musicians

- John Arch / vocals
- Jim Matheos / guitars
- Joey Vera / bass
- Bobby Jarzombek / drums
- Frank Aresti / additional lead guitar

About this release

Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: September 13, 2011

Cover art by Dennis Calvert.

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and bonnek for the updates

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ARCH / MATHEOS SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Progressive metal had its origins in the early 80s when heavy metal was a fairly homogenous genre that featured operatic, high pitched vocals with aggressive guitar driven riffs accompanied by a solid bass and drum rhythm section, However certain bands were a bit more adventurous than the status quo and coupled these attributes with the more complex and layered arrangements that were established in the progressive rock that came before. Early on bands like Watchtower and Aslan soon to be Psychotic Waltz were crafting some amazingly brilliant mixes of the best of what the 70s prog and 80s metal scenes had to offer. Amongst these early pioneers included Fates Warning whose earliest albums didn’t quite muster up the technical workouts styles that the prog metal of Watchtower was conjuring up, yet it was still a few steps ahead of the rest of the pack.

Existing on the melodic side of the progressive metal nascency, Fates Warning was considered one of the big three of the genre along with Queensryche and Dream Theater in terms of popularity. The band was formed in 1982 by vocalist John Arch, guitarists Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini, bassist Joe DiBiase and drummer Steve Zimmerman in Hartford, Connecticut. While the debut “ Night on Brücken” displayed blatant unbridled Iron Maiden worship, the band quickly jumped into gear and evolved exponentially on the following “The Spectre Within” where the band developed not only its own distinct sound but found more progressive elements that culminated on the epic length “Epitaph.” Followed by “Awaken The Guardian” Fates Warning only continued to ratchet up the intensity and was poised to break into the mainstream much as Dream Theater would in the early 90s however just as the band was reaching a new apex of the progressive metal paradigm, John Arch left the band.

While Fates Warning would continue, the band jumped into ever greater complexities and as the metal universe splintered into the thrash, death, black and power metal worlds, some of the most adventurous bands incorporated the progressive metal elements that had emerged in the 80s. By the 90s however progressively infused metal albums were all over the placed with bands like Tool existing in the alternative side of the genre whereas bands like Atheist, Gorguts and Ved Buens Ende taking things in the more extreme depths of darkness laid out by Bathory and Morbid Angel. The traditional sounds laid out by Fates Warning and Dream Theater were giving way to more experimental approaches and the more extreme reaches of the metal universe. Fast forward nearly 30 years after Fates Warning was founded, JIM MATHEOS successfully convinced JOHN ARCH out of his musical hibernation and the two began work on a new project together mostly due to the fact that a new Fates Warning album had been put on hold.

The new project simply called ARCH / MATHEOS actually began on ARCH’s 2003 EP “A Twist of Fate” where the chemistry was reignited and the duo knew that a full-length album just had to happen. The result was the 2011 release SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE which inserted itself into the 21st century and brought and with it brought the classic progressive metal styles of the past back into the limelight. The duo accompanied by drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Riot, Halford), Joey Vera (Armoured Saint, Fates Warning) and guitar soloist Frank Aresti crafted an excellent display of retro prog metal delivered with all the fiery passion that accompanied some of the early examples of the genre. Despite three tracks which included "Neurotically Wired", "Midnight Serenade" and "Stained Glass Sky" initially intended to appear on the next Fates Warning album, they were redesigned to fit in with this new project and all the better for it since they fit the style presented here perfectly.

SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE consists of six well-constructed tracks that display the classic operatic vocal style of ARCH who hadn’t missed a beat in his multi-decade absence from the music scene. His lyrical delivery resonates in divine splendor while the music artfully mixes the expected technical workouts with a well balanced emotional performance. The classic prog metal melodic approach infuses the ambitious compositional workouts with all the softer and heavier dynamics falling into place. While the album consists of fairly standard length tracks, the mid-section that consists of “Stained Glass Sky,” “On The Fence” and “Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me),” all exceeding eight minutes in length, takes things full force into the prog-o-sphere with not only extremely heavy guitar riffage but highly demanding compositional approaches that wend and wind through many movements.

No one was expecting this one but when it emerged it took the metal world by storm and reminded a much more diverse metal universe what the classics sounded like and with SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE both ARCH and MATHEOS simply nailed the perfect flow of progressive metal excellence on par with the parent band Fates Warning who had long moved on from this stylistic approach as well as putting some of the young whippersnappers to shame. While rooted in the past, ARCH / MATHEOS were paying attention to the new reality of metal music in the 21st century and in the process eschewed a tinny high pitched production job that plagued many 80s releases. Instead the music sounds dark and downtuned and exists in a murkier world than that of the earliest Fates Warning albums. The music is just perfect as it delivers the perfect mix of excellent musicianship that serves the greater good of a strong emotional connection. Sometimes it takes the masters of the past to remind the world how to make a consistently brilliant flow of music that doesn’t believe in filler tracks and with SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE they did just that.
AtomicCrimsonRush
Arch/ Matheos is the project that was to be the next Fates Warning album but never came to be. Instead Fates Warning’s vocalist John Arch and guitarist Jim Matheos came together to create something as special that would please Fates Warning fans and beyond.

The album “Sympathetic Resonance” opens with 'Neurotically Wired', and immediately the high powered high register vocals of Arch resonates beautifully. The vocals are as clear and exceptional as in the Fates Warning days. The guitars hammer on with pounding riffs as one would expect from the legendary guitarist Matheos. There are some stunning time sig changes and overall a strong prog metal vibe.

The melodic chorus on 'Midnight Serenade' is infectious, and this is followed by the longest song,'Stained Glass Sky'. This features amazing dextrous lead guitar work and a killer riff. 'On the Fence' is more emotional, a power ballad of sorts, and particularly shines with Matheos’ lead breaks and guitar tones. 'Any Given Day (Strangers like me)' begins with wonderful instrumentation, and acoustic vibrations. It builds with a great percussion meter from Bobby Jarzombek, and switches tempo at will with some pummeling riffs and the omnipresent bassline of Joey Vera.

The closer is 'Incense and Myrrh', a short track with enough power to make it worthwhile. The distorted riffs resound nicely in the ears, and has an outstanding melody.

Overall this album is a real crowd pleaser, a definitive prog metal album, and hopefully not the last time Arch and Matheos will collaborate, as they are obviously capable of greatness even without the Fates Warning moniker.
Sinkadotentree
I was so happy to see this named the album of the year for 2011 on this site. This was my favourite Metal album of that year and without question the most anticipated record for me as well for 2011. And no it did not disappoint. Unoficially this is a FATES WARNING album with the rest of the FATES band here helping Arch and Matheos out.I have to mention that Arch's solo record "Twist Of Fate" is still one of my favourite Prog-Metal albums ever and that's why i was so anxious to hear this when the news about this broke. Arch is my favourite vocalist ever and he really puts on a show here. "Neurotically Wired" is dark to start as reserved vocals join in.When it kicks in heavily i can't stop smiling. I'm just blown away by Arch. Incredible track ! "Midnight Serenade" is atmospheric to start as riffs and vocals follow. Another song i can't get enough of. "Stained Glass Sky" is the longest tune and they contrast the heavy and mellow sections well. "On The Fence" is another favourite. A dark and heavy ride just the way i like it. "Any Given Day(Strangers Like Me)" is another rip your face off intense track. "Incense And Myrrh" is my least favourite but it does sound great once it kicks in after a couple of minutes. A must have for Prog-Metal fans, no doubt about it. I can't praise this one enough.
Stephen
Another album that's highly praised but didn't do much for me. Not sure because I don't really dig FATES WARNING or this record is just simply lack of great tracks, felt too flat without any significant melodies, and a bit too modern for me. 'Neurotically Wired' starts slow before the heavy rhythm kicks in, however after the first 4-5 minutes, I just don't get the essence and I think it lack of powerful melodies, even though I admire the great harmonic vocals and the thundering solos here. 'Midnight Serenade' is better than the opening tune even though I still think it's quite decent modern metal tune.

'Stained Glass Sky' steals the show for me. A long and complex intro gradually build the song's momentum, I can feel a thick middle-eastern scent here, and the song itself is very dynamic, I love the slowtempo acoustic insertion in the middle, and overall perhaps the best track of the album. Although 'On The Fence' is the real stain here, a very average and kinda bored me to death, easily the weakest track and a big mistake.

'Any Given Day' is explosive, a good prog/metal track but I believe I've heard many better tunes to be honest. 'Incense and Myrrh' is interesting but doesn't really live up my expectation that this is gonna be an awesome closer. A short acoustical-driven track, quite slow, probably to lower the tension, I don't really mind this at all. For fans of both members, 'Sympathetic Resonance' is a must, but to me, overall a good album, bordering on average, and could have been much better. 65-70%
dtguitarfan
Sympathetic Resonance is an album that was rumored to be the next Fates Warning album. I'm actually quite pleased it was not, though I do happen to be a Fates Warning fan. Featuring the vocals of former Fates Warning vocalist John Arch and Fates Warning’s guitarist Jim Matheos, there were of course many high expectations for this album. What I find unique about this album is the complete absence of keyboards, a common piece of a Progressive Metal band. Despite this absence, the band has a HUGE sound. And while it is most definitely a Progressive Metal album, it would be very accessible to fans of other Metal sub-genres. Sounding like a cross between Queensryche and Rush at times, with bombastic heavy guitar riffs and Led Zeppelin-esque vocals, this album will rock your socks off!
UMUR
"Sympathetic Resonance" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Arch / Matheos. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in September 2011. Arch / Matheos is a project formed by former Fates Warning frontman John Arch and Fates Warning guitarist and main composer Jim Matheos. Since John Arch left Fates Warning in 1987, little has been heard from the singer. The 2003 "A Twist of Fate" EP, which was released under his own name, and which was also created in collaboration with Jim Matheos, didn´t result in a comeback to the scene. It did however signal that John Arch wasn´t completely through with music and when he was approached by Jim Matheos, who had written material for a new project, his interest was aroused and the two of them started sending music files to each other. Matheos would send his compositions to Arch, and Arch would write melody lines and lyrics to go along with the compositions. When it came to recording the album they enlisted a couple of prolific and greatly skilled musicians to record the bass, drum and lead guitar parts in bassist Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Engine, Armored Saint), drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Fates Warning, Halford, Iced Earth) and lead guitarist Frank Aresti (Fates Warning).

The music on the album is guitar driven progressive metal rooted in the eighties progressive metal movement (before keyboards became an integrated part of most progressive metal music). With all musicians involved being related to Fates Warning, it´s impossible not to think of this album in relation to that band and especially the early John Arch-led Fates Warning releases, but ultimately "Sympathetic Resonance" doesn´t sound like neither that era nor later Fates Warning eras. Arch / Matheos have succeeded in striking a good balance between recognisable elements from their Fates Warning past (and for some present) and an original progressive metal sound.

The riffs are dark and heavy, the rythm section provide complex and powerful playing and John Arch signature high pitched and nasal vocal delivery is the icing on the cake. The latter´s vocal melody lines are amazing to say the least. Not only is he one of the most powerful and distinct sounding vocalist in metal, his way of writing melody lines is brilliant too. Lots of twists and turns delivered with great passion and conviction.

The 6 tracks on the album are for the most part structurally complex. Especially the three longest tracks on the album, "Neurotically Wired", "Stained Glass Sky" and "Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me)", are really complex, going through multible sections and atmospheres. That´s why it´s also great for the dynamics of the album that the band include more direct and relatively more "simple" tracks like "Midnight Serenade" and "Incense and Myrrh". While the former is a powerful progressive metal track the latter is a beautiful ballad, that closes the album in great style. The dark and heavy "On the Fence" is probably the least remarkable track on the album, but it says a lot about the quality of the rest of the material, when a fantastic track like "On the Fence" is pulled out as an example of a slight decline in quality. And mind you I say a SLIGHT decline in quality.

"Sympathetic Resonance" is simply through and through a fantastic progressive metal release to fans of guitar and vocal driven progressive metal. We´re talking top notch musicianship, a warm and powerful sound production and outstanding songwriting. To my ears progressive metal doesn´t come better than this. "Sympathetic Resonance" is a born classic in the genre and fully deserves a 5 star (100%) rating.
Conor Fynes
'Sympathetic Resonance' - Arch/Matheos (8/10)

Rewind back a pair of decades, back to the time around the release of US progressive metal act Fate's Warning's third album, 'Awaken The Guardian'. Unable to pay his bills with the band income alone, singer John Arch was working hard with a dayjob to make ends meet. On top of that, he had a band pressuring him to choose one or the other. At that, he was forced to leave the band, and Fate's Warning then found a new vocalist in the form of Ray Alder. After that, Arch stayed out of the music scene for the better part of two decades, until a two song bout of musical inspiration gave in the form of a solo EP, 'A Twist Of Fate'. If that was any indicator, it was true that the man who led Fate's Warning through their early work still had the pipes to hold his own quite brilliantly. With this and better conditions for making music, John Arch and Fate's Warning guitarist Jim Matheos have teamed up together once again to make music. The outcome of this collaboration is the album 'Sympathetic Resonance'.

Despite more or less having the Fate's Warning lineup intact (with the obvious exception of the replaced vocalist), the name Arch/Matheos has been used in order to keep away any assumptions that John Arch is replacing the replacer; Ray Alder is still the vocalist of Fate's Warning, and scheduled to record with the rest of the band on an upcoming 2012 release. These technicalities aside, 'Sympathetic Resonance' may as well be considered a Fate's Warning album, and perhaps the best one to come along in some time. With Matheos' aggressive style of playing and signature sound of Fate's Warning once again paired with the haunting acrobatic vocals of Arch, this sounds quite familiar. Musically, this is virtually everything I might expect from a Fate's Warning album; dark atmosphere, and some of the best musicianship that the genre of progressive metal has to offer. In particular, Bobby Jarzombek's skills at the drums are immense, and there are plenty of flourishes that each band member gives to the performance to make things sound all the more intense. The songwriting contrasts dark acoustics with thrashy technical displays; things sometimes feel chaotic, but it is controlled. Of special note are the melodies employed here, which are pleasantly challenging to decipher at first.

Perhaps of greatest interest is the performance of John Arch himself, the reason why this cannot be considered a Fate's Warning album. Without beating around the semantic bush, his performance is pretty incredible. Despite now creeping into the depths of middle-age, the man's voice has not aged a year, hitting even the high notes with beautiful precision. He is also able to pull off fairly complex passages with relative ease, and dare I say; I really prefer John Arch's performance here to anything Ray Alder has done. That is not to offend the excellent work of Alder, but I do get the impression that this will surely spark up debates around who is the better vocalist. I really get an impression here of a married man leaving for a high school reunion and hooking back up with his high school sweetheart. The wife may be very good for him, but there may also be reason to be jealous.

With the exception of the lyrics- which seem to tug at any cliche they can grab at- Arch/Matheos is a very exciting project that has made an excellent album here with 'Sympathetic Resonance'. It is none too different from Fate's Warning, but perhaps that is a good thing. In any case, while I do hope that Fate's Warning stays the way it already is, I would love to hear more of this partnership. For one, it's helped re-ignite my love of progressive metal.
Phonebook Eater
8/10

"Sympathetic Resonance" is an orgasmic fix for Prog Metal enthusiasts.

John Arch, Prog Metal veteran, formal singer of Fates Warning, gave to the world early in the millennium a precious EP called "A Twist Of Fate", and until now nothing was heard of him. But in 2011, with guitarist Jim Matheos, another Fates Warning member came out under the name Arch/Matheos "Sympathetic Resonance", one of the great Prog Metal albums of recent years. This project, in the near future, could very easily be the Fates Warning of the new decade, not only because they share half of the members, but because they play the same role, in different eras, in the progressive metal realm.

Like the former band, Arch/Matheos is a prog metal that does not feature keyboards. They are used very rarely, maybe to give a bit of atmosphere. I love keyboards, so when I knew about this feature I wasn't so sure I was going to love it as I do actually. The musicianship of this project is amazing, the musicians are extremely well educated, obviously influenced by Jazz, Prog Rock , and Metal, everyone gets the job done so well: John Arch gives us his unique beautiful voice that I wish more Progressive Metal singers had, Jim Matheos is a great guitarist and proves it once again with beastly riffs and solos, Bobby Jarzombek has been a genuine inspiration to me(being myself a drummer), his technicality is outstanding, his fills mind-blowing. Joey Vera, finally, proves that he can play bass, playing his instrument so that we can actually hear it, for once. Together, they have fun putting all in one song constant time changes, dozen riffs, solos, acoustic moments and what not. Arch/Matheos at this point come from the more complex side of metal.

"Sympathetic Resonance" is maybe a perfect summary of what Fates Warning is, but it sounds to me a much more modern effort. The album is extremely solid, produced extremely well, the sounds are crystal clear and no instrument is overlapping all the others, something I find very rare and something I always enjoy hearing. "Neurotically Wired" and "Stained Glass Sky" are basically perfect songs, that sound so complete, like nothing was missing: you got nice acoustic moments, you got insane bridges with crazier drumming and guitar performances, and tons of beauty, surprisingly. Every riff in these two songs is spectacular and memorable, especially the heavier ones. The softer songs are good too, like "Midnight Serenade" and "Incense And Myrrh", but there's just no comparison in my opinion. "Any Given Day" has a similar song structure to the first two songs I mentioned, and it is possibly just as good, but I sense a little more straightforwardness, however in the end, that's exactly what the album needs, after a while, to make it sound like something that has moments for every kind of metal fan.

A great album I loved listening to and enjoyed a whole lot. I'm not a big Fates Warning expert, but this album just might do it for me, to start listening to them. "Sympathetic Resonance" no doubt has become one of the great releases of this year, possibly one of the very prog metal albums of the last few years. An orgasmic fix for Prog Metal enthusiasts.
adg211288
Sympathetic Resonance is the debut studio album from progressive metal act Arch/Matheos. The band is essentially a getting together of Fates Warning’s guitarist Jim Matheos and former Fates Warning vocalist John Arch, and also features guitarist Frank Aresti, bassist Joey Vera and drummer Bobby Jarzombek, all of whom feature in the current Fates Warning line-up as of the release of Sympathetic Resonance, which means it’s only Arch’s Fates Warning replacement Ray Alder who is not present on Sympathetic Resonance out of the current Fates Warning lineup. I guess in a way this album could be seen as a Fates Warning for 2011 if John Arch had never left.

There are only six tracks on Sympathetic Resonance, so long track times are to be expected. All are over five minutes and half of them pass the ten minute mark, so epic progressive compositions are generally the flavour of the day here. The musicianship is of a high quality all the way, and I’d expect nothing less from a group made up of such seasoned musicians such as this. This is classic progressive metal with a nice focus on the fact that it is heavy metal, you won’t find any symphonic keyboard layers in this music, which is something that is becoming quite common in modern progressive metal albums. I expect the style will not only appeal to the prog crowd but also to traditional and power metal fans.

Vocal wise John Arch puts on a great performance, but I must say I think his vocals will be a required taste (in much the same way Dream Theater’s James LaBrie is), will may alienate some listeners from fully enjoying Sympathetic Resonance. To be honest his tone is not exactly my cup of tea so the album took a lot of listens to really click with me, but I can definitely appreciate Arch’s vocals all the same, although I do still sometimes find myself thinking that, did this album have a different singer, I’d enjoy it a whole lot more, as blasphemous as that statement probably is.

Of course, if that were the case it wouldn’t be Arch/Matheos would it? And of course this is the thing for people who find John Arch’s vocals more to their taste; John Arch hasn’t exactly been active musically since his Fates Warning exit. There was an EP in 2003, but Sympathetic Resonance is the first full-length album Arch has graced since Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian in 1986. I can certainly understand the hype surrounding Sympathetic Resonance because of this, and in line with the previous paragraph about the music, if Arch’s style of singing appeals to you then you’ll find Sympathetic Resonance a very rewarding listen. It’s nice to get a high quality progressive metal album that still favours the guitars over a keyboard.

However although a really great album from a collaboration that there is much cause to celebrate that’s all Sympathetic Resonance ultimately is – great but not quite a masterpiece (though it does just about creep into my ‘very exceptional’ scoring range). I feel that it’s the longer songs that really deliver the goods in the most spectacular fashion, those being Neurotically Wired, Stained Glass Sky and Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me). Stained Glass Sky, the longest track, is easily the gem of the album, although Any Given Day gives it a good run for its money. Of the shorter tracks (defining shorter as under ten minutes) Midnight Serenade is the one that I feel is the strongest while if the album has a weak point it’s the eight minute On The Fence, while still pretty good did seem to drag a little for me despite the fact that there are longer songs on the album that the band doesn’t waste a second in.

Sympathetic Resonance is a great release from Arch/Matheos, but it’s probably very true that there is one particular crowd this is going to please first and foremost and that’s Fates Warning’s fanbase. Having never really got into that band I haven’t been caught up in the hype for this album, although after the ultimately positive experience that Sympathetic Resonance is I may have to see about changing that. For the existing Fate’s Warning fan this could very easily be your album of the year but for the rest of us, well, there have been better prog metal albums this year, although bringing us back around to the fact that this is a guitar driven album, I do note the general lack of such prog metal releases once again (in fact looking through the albums I’ve reviewed so from 2011 this may be the only one!) so if the idea of a prog metal album that doesn’t rely on the keyboards appeals to you, then Arch/Matheos’ debut is an album you need to be investigating.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 8.5/10, "Very Exceptional Album")
J-Man
Sympathetic Resonance from Arch / Matheos is an album that will undoubtedly be every Fates Warning fan's wet dream. The lineup consists of all current or former Fates Warning band members, the vocals are performed by none other than the legendary John Arch (this is his first performance behind the mic since 2003), and the songwriting is just as technical, progressive, and memorable - if not even more so - than what we'd expect from a classic Fates Warning album. The musicianship is some of the best you're bound to hear in your lifetime, and John Arch delivers an absolutely stunning performance on Sympathetic Resonance. Even though this album may be overshadowed by some of the bigger prog metal releases in latter 2011, please do not let this masterpiece slip under your radar. This is one of the genre's most impressive albums over the past decade, and an absolutely essential purchase for those who enjoy their prog metal on the heavier and more technical side.

Even though the obvious stylistic comparison to make here would be Fates Warning, there are some noticeable differences that assure that Jon Arch and Jim Matheos are not focused on creating a clone of their other band (or, in Arch's case, his former band). The music here is extremely heavy (not in an extreme sense, but more in terms of the sheer heaviness of the riffs), complex, and technical progressive metal, somewhat in the same vein of Perfect Symmetry-era Fates Warning. The power metal-influenced sound of Jon Arch-era Fates Warning is seldom found here, and the lengthy and complex compositions also don't bear a whole lot of resemblance to the Ray Alder period of the band either. The complete lack of keyboards also shows that Arch / Matheos are entirely dedicated to creating progressive metal as it was originally intended in the late eighties - complex and technical indeed, but first and foremost, metal!

As far as I'm concerned, Sympathetic Resonance's biggest similarity to Fates Warning is in terms of quality. The sheer standard of the compositions and musicianship here is impeccable, and in that sense, I'm frequently reminded of Fates Warning's multiple top-notch masterpieces. Make no mistakes - Sympathetic Resonance is some of the finest progressive metal music in existence played by some of the most impressive musicians in the scene. I don't think it gets much better than that! Songs like "Neurotically Wired" (this one is especially excellent), "Stained Glass Sky", and "On the Fence" are all bound to be regarded as prog metal classics in ten or twenty years, but I'd hope that the entire album is recognized as one of the most impressive efforts from this decade.

The songwriting is excellent across the board, but it's the convincing execution, powerful delivery, and outstanding production that ultimately make Sympathetic Resonance an utter masterpiece. John Arch delivers one of the most impressive vocal performances of his career here (which is saying quite a lot), and his ability to hit high falsettos and still sound pitch-perfect and melodic is admirable. For a man in his fifties, the performance on Sympathetic Resonance is almost unheard of - surely the perfect testament to his abilities as one of prog metal's finest vocalists. Of course, the guitar playing from Jim Matheos is always polished and distinct; he's one of the most unique (yet somehow underrated) guitarists in all of metal. Bobby Jarbozmek's jazzy and technically insane drum patterns always keep the listener on their toes, and the expressive bass playing from Joey Vera sets a strong foundation for all of the compositions. Frank Aresti (of Fates Warning) also contributes a few additional lead guitar parts. A lineup to be remembered for ages to come? You bet!

It's also worth noting (at least briefly) what an excellent production that Sympathetic Resonance has. The sound is extremely sleek and clean, and entirely void of modern gimmicks and trivial effects. Everything sounds very authentic and "real", and the mix is absolutely spot-on. There are times where it feels like you are sitting in the rehearsal room when listening to this album with a nice pair of headphones.

It may seem like I have endless praises for Sympathetic Resonance, and I guess that really is the case. The lengthy and technical compositions may demand a few initial spins to "sink in", but they eventually reveal themselves as some of the best progressive heavy metal in recent memory. Arch / Matheos have crafted a legendary soon-to-be classic with Sympathetic Resonance, and I can only hope for even more masterpieces from this project in the approaching years. There may be tons of other prog metal albums out there this year, but this one is mandatory listening for any fan of the genre. 5 stars and the "essential masterpiece" stamp are very well earned. Mark up yet another masterpiece with John Arch and Jim Matheos in the lineup!

Members reviews

Coffin Joe
..A sympathetic resonance of Fates Warning

The band is a mix of current and ex-members of renowned progressive metal band Fates Warning - so you know the bands pedigree should guaranty solid musicianship but also super high expectations. Luckily Arch/Matheos more than delivers on every front. A sympathetic resonance does have a strong Fates Warning sound, but still manages to stand on its own legs, and does not sound as a side project. Original intended as an EP, the project grew into a 55 minute progressive joyride. The record is very technical, and really showcases what we all love about progressive metal. It deserves to be played on a good stereo, to hear and appriciate the craftsmanship & complexity. The record is very guitar driven, and with Jim Matheos fingers on the fret-board, you're treated with both powerful riffs and beautiful melodic guitar-pieces. What I love about this album, is that even though complex & super proggy, it's never a record just for musicians. It's easy to pick up, even for non-progheads, with really strong melodies and hooks - I would go so far as to say, this could be a great introduction for most metal & rocks-heads into progressive metal.

It's impossible to review Arch/Matheos without giving a standing applause to the vocals delivered by Jon Arch. He has a very distinct way of singing, and takes the record to a whole new level. He sings in a very high pitched fashion, that suits the music perfectly, making it truly unique.

I am overly pleased with the record and would recommend it to all rock & metal-fans!

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