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FATES WARNING - No Exit cover
4.16 | 59 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1988


1. No Exit (0:41)
2. Anarchy Divine (3:46)
3. Silent Cries (3:17)
4. In A Word (4:25)
5. Shades Of Heavenly Death (5:57)
6. The Ivory Gate Of Dreams (21:58)

Total Time 40:06


- Ray Alder / Vocals
- Frank Aresti / Guitar
- Joe DiBiase / Bass
- Jim Matheos / Guitar
- Steve Zimmerman / Drums, Percussion

About this release

March 23rd, 1988
Metal Blade

Track 6 the Ivory Gate of Dreams is split up into different parts:

6. I. Innocence (01:12)
7. II. Cold Daze (02:15)
8. III. Daylight Dreamers (03:06)
9. IV. Quietus (04:24)
10. V. Ivory Tower (03:17)
11. VI. Whispers on the Wind (02:24)
12. VII. Acquiescence (04:23)
13. VIII. Retrospect (0:53)

Reissued in 2007 with the following bonus tracks:

7. Quietus (Demo) (3:59)
8. Ivory Gate Of Dreams (Outtake 1) (2:04)
9. Ivory Gate Of Dreams (Outtake 2) (3:14)

The 2007 reissue also has a bonus dvd with the following content:

1. No Exit (tour documentary)
2. Silent Cries (video)
3. Anarchy Divine (video)
4. Valley Of The Dolls (live in Philadelphia, 1988)

Thanks to Stooge, Lynx33, UMUR for the updates


More places to buy metal & FATES WARNING music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

"No Exit" is the 4th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in March 1988. There´s been one lineup change since "Awaken The Guardian (1986)", as lead vocalist John Arch has been replaced by Ray Alder. "No Exit" is also the last album to feature original drummer Steve Zimmerman.

The change on the lead vocalist spot has a major impact on the band´s sound, which was more or less inevitable considering how distinct sounding and important John Arch was on the first three Fates Warning albums. When the change needed to happen, they couldn´t have found a better replacement than Ray Alder though. He is a significantly different sounding vocalist with a very different sounding voice and delivery to his predecessor, but still manage to fit in with Fates Warning´s music from day one.

It´s not only on the lead vocalist spot, that the band have changed. The atmosphere of the music is now darker and the music is at times pretty hard edged, almost bordering thrash metal rawness. The fantasy lyrical themes of the past are now also toned down considerably in favour of lyrics dealing with more personal emotional issues. "No Exit" is in that respect a landmark release in the band´s discography. It´s also a pretty unique release in their discography because already on their next album ("Perfect Symmetry (1989)"), they made significant changes to their sound again.

"No Exit" features 6 tracks. The opening title track is a short intro and the next 4 tracks are regular length (between 3 and 5 minutes long) tracks. The album closes with the 21:58 minutes long "The Ivory Gate Of Dreams". A multi-suite epic divided into 8 parts, and by far the most progressive oriented track in the band´s discography up until then. While there are reoccuring themes throughout the long track, it´s obvious that the 8 parts weren´t necessarily written to be played in succession, and some of the shifts between sections, are slightly awkward sounding. When that is said, it´s still a brilliant progressive metal track featuring memorable melodies, hard edged heavy/thrashy riffing, epic moments, and beautiful acoustic sections.

The sound production is more professional sounding and more powerful than the sound production on "Awaken The Guardian (1986)", so it´s definitely a step up in that department. There are still some production issues like the distorted guitar tone, which isn´t always that well sounding, and the reverb laden snare drum sound, but those are minor issues, and they don´t mean "No Exit" isn´t overall a well sounding album.

Upon conclusion "No Exit" is another high quality release in Fates Warning´s discography and a shiny example of 80s progressive metal (guitar/vocal driven progressive metal). The traditional heavy metal and thrash metal elements are still very dominant in the band´s sound, but they´ve incorporated more progressive ideas to their music and "No Exit" is generally a very intriguing progressive metal album with a dark atmoshere. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
John Arch left after "Awaken The Guardian" so enter new vocalist Ray Adler. The music here is still heavy like the previous record but that dirty and grungy sound has been cleaned up. Without question the highlights for me are first of all the track "Silent Cries" a FATES WARNING classic. I especially like the more laid back sections that these guys do so well. The other highlight is the epic 22 minute "The Ivory Gate Of Dreams" which is divided into eight parts. To be more specific it's the "Quietus" section that i love where they once again calm things down. We even get piano on this track. A solid 4 stars and a great start to the Ray Adler era.
It was only to be expected that Fates Warning's first album after the departure of John Arch would be a rather transitional affair, but new frontman Ray Adler hits the ground running and the band do much better under the circumstances than many other groups would have. The first side of the album consists of a series of solid and entertaining enough songs which, despite being fun, have an air of "playing it safe" about them.

All doubts are dispelled, however, with the concluding side-long epic The Ivory Gate of Dreams, in which the band tackle the most complex and challenging progressive metal they'd concocted to date and come up with a true classic of the genre, a piece to rival Rush's 2112 in its importance to prog metal. The first side of the album is three and a half stars, the second is five, so let's say four and a half as a fair compromise.
Time Signature
Sounds of heavenly metal...

Genre: progressive metal / technical thrash metal

Perhaps my application of the thrash metal tag to this album may strike some as controversial, but this certainly is Fates Warning's heaviest and most aggressive album to date, and I do think that several of the tracks on this album contain numerous thrash metal elements. "Anarchy Divine", "Silent Cries" and "Shades of Heavenly Death" are very thrashy (I'd consider them thrash metal songs - but with a progressive and technical twist). Then there is the 21 minute epic "The Ivory Gate of Dreams", which is really more like a cycle of traditional 80s metal and power metal songs (but with odd time signatures and the like) - it's not as smooth and fluid as other Fates Warning epics, but I must admit that I really enjoy listening to a lot of the individual parts.

While there is nothing wrong with the music, the production suffers from the same problem as most metal releases from the 80s - namely, the whole thing is almost drowned in reverb. Also, while impressive, I do think that Ray Alder's vocal acrobatics tend to be a bit too much over the top at times.

This is a must-have prog metal release which is original while at the same time blending in several elements from different types of metal which were relevant in 1988. I would recommend it to fans of progressive metal (because it is a very important release in the history of progressive metal), to fans of technical thrash metal, power metal, and adventurous fans of traditional metal.
Conor Fynes
'No Exit' - Fates Warning (9/10)

Save for the twenty one minute long 'Ivory Gate of Dreams,' there isn't too much of a progressive theme to be found on this album. There is certainly some progressiveness to the other songs, but that's the song that gives this release such a ground breaking element to it. Until then, there really wasn't too much of a progressive metal scene going on. Having a song cycle of such epic proportions thrown into a genre that was generally (at the time) about drinking, women and drugs was quite a shock to the system.

However, everything considered, I'm still not a big Fates Warning fan. I find Ray Alder is a technically accomplished vocalist, but I simply don't like his voice all too much. This might be however, a result of my other major problem with the band; their lack of attention to actual melody. The vocal melodies on this album (and alot of Fates Warning's other work) seem like they were just put in for the sake of having a singer. Some of the acoustic parts of 'The Ivory Gate of Dreams' however offer an exception to this, which is always a refreshing change to listen to.

The aforementioned epic is a real journey through many different emotions; melancholy through rage. It's very surreal and while I didn't really think it worked especially well altogether on my first few listens, months after buying, I realized that there are so many recurring themes that weave their way through the music that make it a sort of song cycle you have to listen to from start-to-finish to really get a kick out of it.

The other tracks on the album range from very good to mediocre. The epynomous intro to the album segues into the most memorable 'single' track on the album, 'Anarchy Divine,' with some absolutely amazing guitar solos. 'Silent Cries' doesn't do much for me, but the other two songs have some very cool moments, especially the fifth track before the epic begins, 'Shades Of Heavenly Death.'

This album would probably interest metal fans more than actual prog fans, but seeing as I am both, it's definately not a poor addition to my collection. While I would certainly not compare it to the stands of Dream Theaters 'Scenes From A Memory' or Symphony X's 'New Mythology Suite,' it's definately a good listen. Think an American, more progressive version of Iron Maiden.
This album marks a transitional period for Fates Warning. Singer John Arch had left the band after their Awaken The Guardian album and tour so this marks the first album the band released with Ray Alder. I consider Alder to be one of my favorite vocalists in the prog metal genre (as well as underrated), but this album he seems to be singing in a higher range than his voice is suited for. Most likely this is due to the fact the bulk of the material (perhaps the entire album) was written prior to Alder's joining the band.

Musically, it doesn't differ terribly from Awaken The Guardian. The first two tracks (album intro "No Exit" track aside), "Anarchy Divine" and "Silent Cries", are very thrash-metal inspired tunes, as is "Shades of Heavenly Dreams". Though in typical Fates fashion, with "Shades of Heavenly Dreams" in particular, the band break off into extended instrument passages that leave you wondering what direction the song will next take. "In a Word" is quite a memorable ballad that is a welcome break from the frantic riffing of the other tracks, probably one of my favorite songs off the album along with "Anarchy Divine".

The remaining tracks of the album form the "Ivory Gate of Dreams", probably the most ambitious piece the band has recorded at the time. While the individual parts are interesting, together they do not flow as well as some of their other longer pieces found on later albums. My favorite pieces of this "suite" are "Quietus", "Whisper on The Wind" and "Acquiescence", all of which lie in the second half of "Ivory Gate of Dreams".

Overall, this album is not essential Fates Warning, but it is still an interesting listen. In later albums, both Ray Alder would find his voice and as the band writes with Alder's voice in mind, the material gets much stronger.

Members reviews

Until the moment this album was released, I knew about Fates Warning and even I had some interest for them, but they wasn't a band of special interest for me. It was with this album that they took a giant step the become a favorite band for me.The adding of Ray Adler as lead singer is an importat element in that evolution, since he exceed widely John Arch, not only range of his voice, but in personality and sensibility too, opening for the band huge new territory. But it's not only the change of the voice, because the musical concept of the band got widened to limits unsuspected in previos records. Was it the Adler adding the definitive fact in the inspiration of the band to exceed themselves? I can't tell, but for sure this is one of my favorites prog metal albums ever. Despite the obvious influence of Iron Maiden and the main thrash metal bands of the moment, like Metallica, Testament and even Flotsam And Jetsam in same moments, Fates Warning turned into a first-rate band. I can't emphasize any track, all of them are wonderful and the full album is a masterwork perfectly balanced, not only the long and epic The Ivory Gates Of Dreams, that took up the full B side in the original vynyl release.

Essential for a full understanding of prog metal evolution.
Prog metal at it's best

Fates Warning is one of those bands that stands tall after the change of orientation in prog during the middle 80's. I felt their music a lot more interesting and creative than Queensryche and they use to be overlooked by many people.

Well, this album shows the quality of the musicians, the great concept of the merging between metal and progressive rock. The result is a great album that deserves a careful listening.

Well, the band kicked out the great singer John Arch, but even that was a bad choice, the new singer, Ray Alder, shows quite well why he took the role. More controlled but still aggressive and acrobatic, his vocals brought new life to the already creative and intricate music this band played at the time. It was 1988, the music world was changing, and they survived and evolved into a better band.

Jim Matheos is one of the most underrated guitar players in the history of rock. He is creative and his quality of songwriting is all there. The focus of the album is the epic song The Ivory Gates of Dreams, that lasts more than 21 minutes and it's an entertaining piece of wonderful music, full with energy, power, melody and time signature changes.

While the quality of sound is not the best, is quite good enough to enjoy. If you like metal or prog metal, you cannot pass this by. Give it a try. And for those who don't know this band yet, at least during this era, they were like a raw version of Dream Theater, a little less bussy in the technique department and more focus on the emotional-dramatic side of things. Music with energy and sense is what we need more often, and this kind of songwriting is not very common to find. Please, don't let this album go, try it. This is an album to hear and enjoy. 4 stars is fair

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