After the success of ‘A Pleasant Shade of Grey’, it appears Fates Warning chose to further develop their sound with more ambience and more attention to riffs based around one guitar and a keyboard. As you would expect when most bands change their sound, some people love it, some people hate it.
I personally think this is a great sound, and helps Fates Warning sound a lot more 'modern'. The group sound a lot tighter and the production is great, making everything sound so powerful and beefy.
As for the music? Ok, I admit this isn't quite as essential as APSOG or ‘Parallels’, and total shred-heads will not be impressed by the lack of guitar solos. But musically there are some really good ideas here. The first few songs like 'One', 'So' and 'Pieces of Me' sound very mainstream and modern, and the following songs, in particular 'Still Remains' are great epic pieces, at fifteen minutes long, it shows the song doesn't need plenty of instrumental solos to make it interesting.
The musicianship (as you would expect) is great as ever. Jim Matheos unique guitar riffs are always fun to listen to, and Mark Zonder's drums have never sounded so great. Kevin Moore (best known for being Dream Theater's first keyboard player) makes his presence known for the third time on a Fates Warning album, and his ambience and unique keyboard playing skills are felt throughout the record.
As said before, this is by no means Fates Warning's best album, and if you're new to the band then it's probably best to start elsewhere. But this is still a great album worth checking out if you like your Progressive music, and if you're not totally into Metal, then the ambient elements might just appeal to the more old-school Prog Rock fan.