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3.29 | 37 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2004


1. Left Here (6:59)
2. Simple Human (4:03)
3. River Wide Ocean Deep (6:09)
4. Another Perfect Day (4:43)
5. Heal Me (7:38)
6. Sequence # 7 (2:13)
7. Crawl (4:21)
8. A Handful Of Doubt (5:06)
9. Stranger (With A Familiar Face) (4:20)
10. Wish (6:38)

Total Time 52:15


- Ray Alder / vocals
- Jim Matheos / guitars, keyboards, programming
- Joey Vera / bass
- Mark Zonder / drums

About this release

October 5th, 2004
Metal Blade

Thanks to Stooge, Lynx33, UMUR, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Released in 2004, ‘FWX’ is the tenth studio album by progressive metal pioneers Fates Warning, and much like previous releases ‘A Pleasant Shade of Grey’ and ‘Disconnected’, it shows a band who are continuing to develop and experiment, with more focus on a heavier sound and more traditional song-structures.

Unlike its predecessors, there’s only a minimal use of keyboards and sequencing here, which is a shame as I felt on the last two albums that the band had a great and well-rounded sound, and I was hoping they’d continue in that vein. Especially as, instead of relying on tried and tested prog metal traits such as excessive flashy guitar solos, there was a heavy emphasis on atmosphere, and a fantastic interplay between guitars and keyboards, working together instead of trying to out-perform each other in shredding competitions.

However, this is still a good release, and Fates Warning’s “less is more” approach works well for them here. Sole guitarist Jim Matheos can write some incredible and compelling riffs, Ray Alder’s powerful vocals suit the heavier style of the album, and the simpler arrangements make the songs easier to digest. The polished production gives the music a loud and vibrant sound too.

Overall, ‘FWX’ is far from Fates Warning’s best album, but tracks like ‘Heal Me’, ‘Simple Human’, ‘Crawl’, ‘Stranger (With a Familiar Face)’ and the haunting and melancholic ‘A Handful of Doubt’ are all worth checking out, and given time, this album can grow on you, it just depends on whether you have the patience to let it or not.
"FWX" is the 10th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in October 2004. "FWX" was recorded by the same lineup who recorded the two predecessors "A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)" and "Disconnected (2000)". This time around Kevin Moore (Dream Theater, Chroma Key, OSI) doesn´t guest on keyboards though. The keyboards and the programming are instead handled by guitarist/main composer Jim Matheos.

While the music on the two predecessors is among the most progressive the band have yet released, "FWX", for the most part, follows a different route. The album is generally more vers/chorus oriented and there´s a slight alternative influence on the album too. To my ears Some tracks sound closer to Ray Alder´s and Joey Vera´s side-project Engine than they sound like Fates Warning tracks. A track like "Another Perfect Day" reminded me quite a bit of Enchant, so "FWX" is generally a bit of a different sounding Fates Warning album.

The album is well produced although I think Ray Alder´s voice features a somewhat unpleasant metallic production. But that´s been the case on the two precessors too. What´s more disturbing is the quality of the vocal melody lines, which are not very catchy. That worked alright on the more progressive predecessors because the quality of the music was so high, but here the instrumental part of the music too often falls into anonymous territory. The musicianship is as always on a very high level, but it´s not often the band´s great skills are put to their full use.

So overall "FWX" is a bit of a disappointing release by Fates Warning. It´s a bit hard to follow what the band were aiming at with the album but the bottom line is that it isn´t really working. "FWX" features glimpses of greatness and there are definitely both memorable and enjoyable parts on the album, but they are generally few and far between. Still a band like Fates Warning never fall flat on their face even on an album where they don´t deliver their most well written or interesting material, so a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.
"FWX" stands of course for FATES WARNING's tenth album. You can see the faint "X" in the field on the album cover as the old couple sits on their lawn chairs watching the tornado. A very cool album cover. Sadly this will be Zonder's last album with the band but he leaves on a high note as his playing is especially strong here. The band had just finished a tour with QUEENSRYCHE and DREAM THEATER so i think they went into the studio with a lot of confidence, even to the point of producing this themselves. The songs are more accessible than on the previous record "Disconnected" and for me this record is a step down from that one. Having said that i have to disagree with the majority as far as my rating and opinion goes. I love this album. It sounds incredible and rocks pretty hard. The quality might tail off late in this recording but man it's so amazing early on that i was considering 4.5 stars. I'll stick with 4 stars but would rate this as my fourth favourite FATES record.
Time Signature
A handful of doubt...

Genre: alternative metal / progressive metal

A headful of doubt - that's how I feel about this album. It is my least favorite Fates Warning album, as I prefer their older progressive metal and even older more traditional metal albums. I think that, like on "Disconnected", the guitar sound is a bit thin on this album, and musically its more in the vein of alternative metal or alternative rock than progressive metal or progressive rock.

Yet, I think that a lot of the tracks on the album are quite good, and I really like Ray Alder's vocals on the album - that's probably my favorite aspect of the album, since the emphasis has been removed from guitar harmonies and complex guitar riffs. There are some really cool guitar riffs on the album, such as the intro riff of "Simple human" or the chorus riff of "Heal Me".

It's a good album, but it does not do as much for me as their other releases do. I'd recommend this album to fans of alternative metal and alternative rock.

Members reviews

Possibly one of my (brother's) worst blind purchases of prog metal.

It seems that many fans are overall split pretty evenly on whether this is a quality release or an uninspired flop of an album. While I wouldn't say this is a complete disaster, I definitely belong more in the group of the latter. This was also, unfortunately, my first full fledged Fates Warning experience, which made me think I didn't like this pioneering prog-metal band for a bit of time until I discovered more of their discography.

Really, objectively, this is a pretty decent album in terms of how the instruments are together, music theory wise. Many of the instrumental passages are almost up their with that of their earlier work with Parallels and Perfect Symmetry. But there are two major things make this album fall flat on its face. Most prevalent are the fail-tastic vocal melodies, which are some of the worst I've heard so far in prog-metal. On many tracks we have an energetic riff from the guitar with long, slow moving vocal parts that seem completely out of place with everything else that's happening with the instruments. Just listen to the chorus of the second song, Simple Human; "yeah ah yeah" lasting almost a full two measures over energetic fast moving part. It just doesn't fit. I don't mind Alder's voice itself, but his singing style sounds more like that of those obnoxious alternative rock bands from the nineties, as do some of the guitar parts. The second big thing that I dislike is the overall predictability and repetitiousness of the music overall. On one hand, the band incorporates many great progressive nuances in this album, but the basic parts are overused at best, and are not very interesting to begin with. Usually a track starts with a nice intro, but once the verse and chorus set in, I feel like I've heard the whole rest of the track already, and usually I actually have.

When doing my recent objective listen before this review, I'd listened to the first three tracks and couldn't figure out what exactly about it made the music as weak as I had remembered it. Then upon hearing Another Perfect Day, the only track I'm really fond of on the album, it became abundantly clear; it really did have to do with the quite terrible vocal melodies. And other than the also decent Heal Me, this was how the rest of the album was. Had they been written differently, this could have been a quite powerful and enjoyable album, and it's too bad such a menial thing should bring down the quality of an entire work, as it does for me. I especially disliked Simple Human, River Wide Ocean Deep, and Crawl, which really did sound like simple alternative rock with slight progressive nuances.

Really this isn't a complete disaster of an album, particularly with some quite competent instrumental sections, but there was little I can say I really enjoyed from the album other than Another Perfect Day (especially that great chorus!). The vocal melodies and predictability just ruin it for me overall. Thus, I simply can't recommend this album to anyone but Fates Warning fans alone.

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