FATES WARNING — Darkness In A Different Light

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FATES WARNING - Darkness In A Different Light cover
4.11 | 28 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2013


1. One Thousand Fires (7:19)
2. Firefly (4:58)
3. Desire (3:58)
4. Falling (1:34)
5. I Am (5:02)
6. Lighthouse (5:22)
7. Into The Black (5:07)
8. Kneel And Obey (5:05)
9. O Chloroform (4:13)
10. And Yet It Moves (14:03)

Total Time 56:41


- Ray Alder / vocals
- Jim Matheos / guitars
- Frank Aresti / guitars
- Joey Vera / bass
- Bobby Jarzombek / drums

About this release

September 30th, 2013

Limited Edition has a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Firefly (extended version) (7:20)
2. Falling Further (non album track) (4:43)
3. One (live) (4:41)
4. Life In Still Water (live) (5:21)

Total Time 22:05

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and adg211288, Lynx33, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Darkness In A Different Light" is the 11th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through InsideOut Music in September 2013. There have been quite a few years between this album and "FWX" from 2004. A lot has happened in those years though. Drummer Mark Zonder left Fates Warning in 2005 and the remaining members of the band busied themselves with various other projects like OSI, Arch/Matheos and Redemption. Mark Zonder hasn´t returned on "Darkness In A Different Light" and has been replaced by Bobby Jarzombek. Lead guitarist Frank Aresti, who left Fates Warning after "Inside Out (1994)", is the other "new" member of the lineup as he makes a return on "Darkness In A Different Light". The "usual" suspects are bassist Joey Vera, guitarist Jim Matheos and lead vocalist Ray Alder. Except for Alder this is exactly the same lineup that recorded the "Sympathetic Resonance (2011)" album by Arch/Matheos.

"Darkness In A Different Light" is quite different from "Sympathetic Resonance (2011)" though. Most of the tracks on the 10 track, 56:41 minutes long album are "regular" length and most feature clear vers/chorus structures even though Fates Warning as usual twist and turn that concept and end up with an adventuours result. The 14:03 minutes long album closer "And Yet It Moves" is the only really long track on the album and even that track is divided into parts, that make it sound like several tracks put together to form one longer track. I´m actually slightly disappointed by that track. I think it´s clumsily put together, and the song structure lack the elegance that is usually a Fates Warning trademark. It´s too bad because taken section by section there are some brilliant moments in that track. The rest of the album is thankfully of the usual high quality that Fates Warning are known for. With Frank Aresti returning, the clean guitar/distorted guitar sound of the late eighties/early nineties and the melodic guitar solos are back in the band´s sound and while the albums that didn´t feature those elements had their own charm, I must admit, that I´ve missed them. The subtle use of dissonances that the band have experimented with on the last couple of albums are also a part of the sound on "Darkness In A Different Light", but it is generally the most melodic album by the band since "Inside Out (1994)".

To my ears highlights on the album include the opening trio of tracks "One Thousand Fires", "Firefly" and "Desire" and the dark ballad type track "Lighthouse". The latter is pretty strong even though it is strangely non-melodic. The aforementioned subtle dissonances are on full display here though and work really well within the context of this particular track. Despite my reservations "And Yet It Moves" should also be counted among the standout tracks on "Darkness In A Different Light".

The limited edition of the album features a bonus disc containing four tracks. An extended version of "Firefly" (almost 3 minutes longer than the version on the album), "Falling Further", which sounds like an outtake from the recording sessions and live versions of "One" and "Life in Still Water", which are both tracks from previous releases. The extended version of "Firefly" is a bit more progressive in nature than the version that ended up on the album, but I´m a bit indifferent towards it and the two live tracks don´t feature a very good sound quality and what to my ears sound like out of tune singing, so it´s actually only "Falling Further" that´s really interesting in my opinion. It´s a very catchy and mainstream oriented track. Somewhat in the same vein as tracks like "Eye to Eye" and "Through Different Eyes".

Fates Warning are an exceptionally well playing act and lead vocalist Ray Alder is as skilled and powerful sounding as ever. Bobby Jarzombek is a skilled replacement for Mark Zonder, even though the latter´s unique drumming style can never be fully matched. At times Jarzombek´s drumming seems to imitate Zonder´s playing style and while the drumming style suits the music well, I could have wished for a more personal touch from him.

"Darkness In A Different Light" features a professional and well sounding production and while it doesn´t exactly blow me away like some of the band´s earlier albums have done, it´s still a step up from the rather mediocre "FWX (2004)" and a pretty great welcome back to one of the most important progressive metal acts on the scene. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Kev Rowland
Sometimes it is hard to remember just how long this band has been around, but they were formed in 1982 with their first album out in ’84. Some 20 years on from that they decided to take a break, although they all stayed active in different groups (and sometimes working together). Now, some nine years after ‘FWX’, they are back. This is the first FW release by this line-up, but there has only been one change with Bobby Jarzombek (drums) taking over from Mark Zonder, but the rest of the gang are here, with the line-up completed by Ray Alder (vocals), Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti (guitars) and Joey Vera (bass). Yes that’s right, no keyboards or samplers, these guys have gone back to their roots and have created a complex metal album that is full of riffs and interplay.

One of the things that has always marked these guys out as being a little different to many in their field is that they have always concentrated on the songs and refused to let their own musical prowess take them away from that. The result in this case is an album packed full of songs, with only one being long, with plenty of room for everyone to shine as long as it doesn’t detract from the overall feel of the piece. Ray has been fronting this band for some 25 years now but he doesn’t show any sign at all of slowing down, and still hits the notes with ease and displays great breath control. It is an infectious album that is full of punch and vigour, and something that can be enjoyed from the very first time it hits the player. For fans of the band, and for fans of all types of infectious metal with a commercial prog element to the approach.
Time Signature
And yet it moves...

Genre: progressive metal

The first proper Fates Warning album in nearly ten years, “Darkness in a Different Light” has obviously been greatly anticipated. Of course, we Fates Warning fans godt a massive treat when Arch/Matheos’ masterpiece debut album “Sympathetic Resonance” was released in 2011 featuring Fates Warning’s current line-up in its entirety and former Fates Warning vocalist Jon Arch in front. While many people consider “Sympathetic Resonance” the lost Fates Warning album or the Fates Warning album that never was, “Darkness in a Different Light” is the real comeback from these pioneers of progressive metal.

Stylistically, this album falls somewhere between “Disconnected” and “FWX”, which are probably my least favorite Fates Warning albums, but in combining these albums, “Darkness in a Different Light” rises above these two albums, taking the best of both and moving it in a direction of its own. The songs on the album are, for progressive metal standards, pretty short and relatively straightforward at first listen. But after a couple of listens, the listener will discover little details that are more reminiscent of the bands legendary early 90s output. This is largely due to the return to the two-guitarists set-up, which Fates Warning exploit in a number of interesting ways on this album.

The opening track opens with a frantic wasp-like guitar figure on top of a groovy guitar riff and takes the listener – in true Rush-style – through a couple of different passages before the verse kicks in. The verse is a heavy and groovy affair with an acoustic guitar overlaid on top. Already here, the listener is reminded of some of the aesthetics of “Parallels” and “Inside Out” which made efficient use of the combination of distorted and clean guitars. But, still, what we hear here is not quite identical to those two albums, as Fates Warning pursue a much heavier and groovier sound on this album. ‘Firefly’ is dark and heavy, drawing on some simple and groovy guitar figures. ‘Desire’ has a considerably dark almost Twin Peaks-like atmosphere to its verse due to the use of clean-ish guitars with a retro flanger effect. The chorus, however, is more groovy with a sing-a-long-friendly vocal melody – which is actually characteristic of the entire album. Both of these tracks focus more on atmosphere than on technical finesse, but still they feature that band’s trademark odd time signatures, and the former in particular treats the listener to some rhythmically mindboggeling passages. ‘Falling’ is a wee acoustic piece featuring emotional lyrics and vocals by Ray Adler – I do not know if it is intended as a mere filler, but it definitely suits the dark feel of the album and is, at least, not out of place. ‘I Am’ has some groovy alternative metal elements and is slightly reminiscent of some of the most characteristic tracks of “Disconnect”, except that ‘I Am’ is slightly slower and does not feature any of the industrial elements of that album. ‘Lighthouse’ is the most atmoshperic track on the album, while ‘Into the Black’ takes the listener through various shades of black, and ‘Kneel and Obey’ and ‘O Chloroform’ revisit the heavy grooves and progressive rhythms of the first handful of tracks on the album. My absolute favorite of the album is the mammothian ‘And Yet It Moves’, which opens with a medieval-sounding acoustic intro and takes us through a number of groovy odd-metered instrumental sections with slightly different guitar figures overlaid on top each other. In the verse, Adler’s melancholic voice fits the overall atmosphere very well, and the rhythm section delivers some nice ostinatos that contrast with the guitar rhythms upon which – true to their 90s sound – Fates Warning have overlaid clean guitars. Drummers are bound to adore this track, as it is the one that showcases Jarzombek’s magnificent skills behind the drumkit. Combining heavy riffs, challenging rhythms, odd time signatures and captivating vocal melodies, this is the magnum opus of the album, and personally I hope that future output from Fates Warning will be more in the vein of this awesome, driving progressive metal tune.

The characterizing features of the album are, not surprisingly, darkness and melancholy in atmosphere (imagine the depressive atmosphere of “A Pleasant Shade of Grey” but more intence and much heavier) – and this is of course a mood that Ray Adler’s voice and vocal melodies excellently convey. Another characteristic of the album is groove and heaviness. Many of the songs on the album evolve around groovy riffs, some of which are straightforward while others are accompanied by challenging odd time signatures and frighteningly tight drumming by Jarzombek – definitely a more than worthy successor to Mark Zonder. Finally, with the return of Frank Aresti in the studio, Fates Warning have re-embraced the twin guitar sound, but not quite in the same way as on their early 90s classics. As on “Parallels” and “Inside Out”, they make use of clean guitars on top of distorted ones, but, unlike these two albums and “Perfect Symmetry”, there are no twin guitar leads. Instead, Matheos and Aresti experiment with ways of rhymically utilizing two guitars by having them play different grooves on top of eact other; this also appears on previous Fates Warning albums as well as “Sympathetic Resonance”, but this approach is much more developed on “Darkness in a Different Light” than on any previous Fates Warning related album.

We are definitely dealing with a successful comeback, and I particularly enjoy the combination of simple grooves and technical rhythms. Not all tracks on the album appeal to me equally much, but overall we are dealing with, for my money at least, the best Fates Warning release since “A Pleasant Shade of Grey”. This is a promising album, and it makes me hopeful. I hope to see Fates Warning further explore the twin-guitar sound in the future, and, of course, I also hope for a more regular stream of releases from the progressive metal giants that are Fates Warning.
Though fans of Fates Warning have had some killer side projects to keep them occupied during the nine year gap between 2004's FWX and 2013's Darkness in a Different Light, it's great to finally hear a new album from these American prog metal legends. Vocalists aside, this album features the exact same lineup that crafted the masterpiece of a debut from Arch/Matheos, and it also marks the first time that guitarist Frank Aresti has appeared on a Fates Warning album since Inside Out released back in 1994. Subsequently, Darkness in a Different Light feels like a throwback to the band's catchy, twin-guitar sound of the early nineties', and, as expected from Fates Warning, the result is nothing short of excellent.

Between the technical workouts in "And Yet It Moves", the heavily melodic touch in "Firefly", and the haunting atmospheres in "Lighthouse", Darkness in a Different Light explores all of the band's trademark qualities with some unforgettable compositions to boot. Fates Warning's comeback album may not be the most groundbreaking thing they've ever released, but from a listening perspective, it doesn't get much better than this! An essential pickup for any progressive metal fan.

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