FATES WARNING
Progressive Metal / US Power Metal / Traditional heavy metal • United States

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Fates Warning is an American progressive metal band, formed in 1982 by vocalist John Arch, guitarists Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini, bassist Joe DiBiase, and drummer Steve Zimmerman in Hartford, Connecticut. Fates Warning has experienced numerous line-up changes. From 1982 to 1996, and temporarily in 2010, Matheos and DiBiase were the only original members of the band, with Matheos being the only constant member. Their current lineup consists of guitarists Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti, vocalist Ray Alder and bassist Joey Vera. Drummer Bobby Jarzombek has been part of Fates Warning since 2007 but is only a live member. As a pioneer of the American progressive metal movement, Fates Warning rose to international fame in the 1980s and was ranked as one of the early flagship bands of progressive metal along with Queensrÿche and Dream Theater, who were responsible for creating, developing and popularizing that genre. Fates Warning has released read more...
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Parallels - Expanded EditionParallels - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2010
Audio CD$12.27
$7.99 (used)
Inside Out - Expanded EditionInside Out - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$11.53
$9.98 (used)
Darkness in a Different LightDarkness in a Different Light
Inside Out Music 2013
Audio CD$10.46
$7.75 (used)
DisconnectedDisconnected
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$7.24
$0.70 (used)
Awaken The Guardian - ReissueAwaken The Guardian - Reissue
CD+DVD · Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2005
Audio CD$11.73
$20.57 (used)
Spectre WithinSpectre Within
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$7.89
$6.10 (used)
Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$10.54
$9.85 (used)
Night on BröckenNight on Bröcken
Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$5.99
$4.77 (used)
FWXFWX
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$5.99
$0.99 (used)
A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded EditionA Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$12.78
$10.88 (used)
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FATES WARNING Discography

FATES WARNING albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 2.93 | 28 ratings
Night On Bröcken
Traditional heavy metal 1984
.. Album Cover 3.96 | 31 ratings
The Spectre Within
US Power Metal 1985
.. Album Cover 4.19 | 38 ratings
Awaken The Guardian
US Power Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 4.24 | 44 ratings
No Exit
Progressive Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 4.25 | 61 ratings
Perfect Symmetry
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.35 | 66 ratings
Parallels
Progressive Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 32 ratings
Inside Out
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.16 | 43 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 37 ratings
Disconnected
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 34 ratings
FWX
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.16 | 23 ratings
Darkness In A Different Light
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Theories Of Flight
Progressive Metal 2016

FATES WARNING EPs & splits

FATES WARNING live albums

.. Album Cover 4.23 | 11 ratings
Still Life
Progressive Metal 1998

FATES WARNING demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Demo
Traditional heavy metal 1984
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Dickie
US Power Metal 1985

FATES WARNING boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.13 | 6 ratings
Chasing Time
Progressive Metal 1995

FATES WARNING singles (4)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Silent Cries
Progressive Metal 1988
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Through Different Eyes
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Pale Fire
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray: Part II
Progressive Metal 1997

FATES WARNING movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.03 | 4 ratings
The View From Here
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
3.51 | 3 ratings
Live In Athens
Progressive Metal 2005

FATES WARNING Reviews

FATES WARNING Disconnected

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Disconnected" is the 9th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in the US and through Massacre Records in Europe in July 2000. The band was down to a three-piece on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)" and continues with the same constellation here. Ray Alder on vocals, Jim Matheos on guitars, keyboards (additional), vocals (additional), and sequencing, and Mark Zonder drums. Session bass is again handled by Joey Vera (Armored Saint), and Kevin Moore (Dream Theater, OSI) also delivers keyboards on "Disconnected" like he did on the predecessor.

Fates Warning has made it a habit changing their sound between albums, and very few of their albums sound alike, although they all sound unmistakably like Fates Warning. "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)" was yet another intriguing new stylistic change and an almost hour long concept album to boot. Not surprisingly though "Disconnected" sees Fates Warning change direction again, altough the shift isn´t as dramatic as it was between the last two albums.

The music on the album is progressive metal with an occasional alternative rock/metal edge. There is a strong ambient element on the album too, and Kevin Moore´s keyboard contributions are considerable throughout the album. While he also played an integral role on the sound on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)", I´d say this is the first Fates Warning release where the material couldn´t stand alone without keyboards/sequencing/sound effects.

"Disconnected" features 7 tracks and a full playing time of 51:30 minutes. The opening track is a short intro, but the remaining tracks are regular songs. "Something From Nothing" and "Still Remains" both exceed the 10 minutes mark, and the latter is actually quite the lengthy piece clocking in at 16:08 minutes. The remaining tracks are between 4 and 8 minutes long. The tracks are as mentioned drenched in keyboards, but meaty guitar riffs, heavy bass, and groove laden and technically intriguing drumming, are also part of the sound. Ray Alder´s vocals are as distinct sounding as ever, and his delivery is strong and passionate. The vocal melodies aren´t as instantly catchy as they were a couple of albums back, but that´s not a surprise, as monotony in that department was also a part of the vocal style on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)". Backing and harmony vocals are again only used sparsely as are guitar solos.

The album features a heavy, clear, and powerful sound production, which suits the music well (there´s even what I´d call a futuristic sound to it), and upon conclusion "Disconnected" is quite an interesting album. It´s pretty unique within the band´s discography but also in progressive metal in general. To my ears it´s more interesting than enjoyable though, and going through the tracklist there are actually only a few tracks where I find the melodies to be particularly strong. It´s like Ray Alder insists on singing non-melodic and at times close to dissonant vocal melodies, and it takes it´s toll on the catchiness of the music. "One" is a pretty great powerful track and "Still Remains" also has it´s moments (although it does feel a bit disjointed) and so do "Something From Nothing" and "So". The aggressive "Pieces of Me" doesn´t work that well and the ambient atmospheric instrumental "Disconnected (Part 2)", which closes the album, sounds like something off an OSI album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

FATES WARNING A Pleasant Shade Of Gray

Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is the 8th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in the US and through Massacre Records in Europe in April 1997. There have been two lineup changes since "Inside Out (1994)" as longtime bassist Joe Dibiase and lead guitarist Frank Aresti have jumped ship. The three remaining members (vocalist Ray Alder, guitarist/main composer Jim Matheos, and drummer Mark Zonder) opted to continue as a three piece but they are joined here by session musicians Joey Vera (Armored Saint) on bass and Kevin Moore (Dream Theater) on keyboards/piano.

"A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is a concept album where all tracks seque into each other to form a 58:38 minutes long piece. The tracks are titled "Part I", "Part II"...and so forth. The atmosphere is bleak and reeks melancholy. Often delivered in a sort of monotone fashion which further emphasize the gloomy atmosphere. Monotone in this case doesn´t mean non-melodic or anything like that, but the music on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is still a far cry from the very melodic and to some degree sing along friendly last couple of albums.

There are actually quite a few differences between the music on this album an the music featured on "Parallels (1991)" and "Inside Out (1994)". On those two albums Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti explored and perfected their distorted/clean guitar style, where they would compliment each other playing clean and distorted guitars in layers. It´s a rather distinct sounding guitar style, which is abruptly ended on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" as Fates Warning opted to continue with only one guitarist. The loss of Frank Aresti also means that "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" features very few guitar solos, which has otherwise been a trademark of Fates Warning´s sound on all seven previous studio albums. Another feature which has changed significantly compared to the last couple of albums, is the sparse use of backing and harmony vocals. On "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray", we´re predominantly exposed to Ray Alder´s naked voice.

What the listener gets instead is a more riff heavy sound (the bass is generally also more heavy than in the past), with a lot of keyboard contributions from Kevin Moore. The keyboards generally play a big role on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray", with both electronic sounds, mellow piano parts, lead keyboard parts, and atmosphere enhancing floating chords. While there are several heavy riffs featured on the album, it´s generally a very dynamic release, which shifts between distorted and clean guitar parts and heavy and softer atmospheres. There´s also an ambient element which at times reminds me of "The Wall (1979)"-era Pink Floyd.

Fates Warning has opted for a pretty cold and clinical sounding production, which also sets "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" apart from it´s predecessors (especially the voice production sounds vastly different). It´s a very well sounding production though. Powerful, detailed, and professional.

Upon conclusion the material on "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is of a high quality. It´s memorable, intriguing, and adventurous. The overall concept and the way the tracks seque into each other doesn´t always work as well as it could have, and to my ears there is a greater compositional coherence on the first part of the album compared to the last part, which sounds a bit more disjointed. Had the piece ended after the thrilling and emotional finale climax of "Part VI", it would have been an almost perfect progressive metal epic, but instead Fates Warning decided to continue the track for another 25 minutes or so. And don´t misunderstand me here, because those last 25 minutes are absolutely stunning in their own right (the 9:18 minutes long closing "Part XII" is for example quite a brilliant mini epic on it´s own), I would just have prefered that those last parts of the long concept piece had been broken down into individual tracks instead. I think it would have worked better. When that is said "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is still an incredibly unique sounding release filled to the brim with high quality material, high level musicianship, and a well sounding production. A 4.5 star (90%) is fully deserved.

FATES WARNING Perfect Symmetry

Album · 1989 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Perfect Symmetry" is the 5th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in August 1989. Fates Warning was formed in 1982 under the Misfit monicker but changed to their current name in 1984. They underwent quite a musical development on the first four albums, starting out a traditional heavy metal act on "Night on Bröcken (1984)", to a US power/progressive inclined metal act on "The Spectre Within (1985)" and "Awaken the Guardian (1986)", to a hybrid US power/thrash/progressive metal act on "No Exit (1988)". Between the release of the latter two, there was a change on the lead vocalist spot as original singer John Arch was replaced by Ray Alder. A lineup change that brought a significant change to their sound. On "Perfect Symmetry" a new drummer was introduced as original drummer Steve Zimmerman was replaced by Mark Zonder (Warlord). A lineup change that would also have great impact on Fates Warning´s sound.

Stylistically the music on "Perfect Symmetry" is melodic and technically well played progressive metal. It´s in many ways a very different sounding album to "No Exit (1988)", and it´s safe to say that Fates Warning had again developed their sound greatly between album releases. First off the addition of Mark Zonder brings an off-beat fusion influenced and very original sounding drumming style to the band´s sound. His playing is subtle, clever, and very technical. Zimmerman was a rather "stiff" and standard type 80s metal drummer, and he didn´t bring anything out of the ordinary to the table, while Mark Zonder on the other hand revolutionized not only Fates Warning´s sound, but progressive metal drumming in general. Of course along with other influential drummers like Neil Peart (Rush), Rick Colaluca (Watchtower), and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)...among others. Secondly Fates Warning had shed almost any traditional heavy metal and US power metal leaning at this point and "Perfect Symmetry" is to my ears their first "straight" progressive metal release.

The material on the 8 track, 42:05 minutes long album are all very well written and intriguing examples of progressive metal. The tracks are varied both between tracks and within tracks. It´s heavy, melodic, technical, subtle, mellow, hard edged, beautiful, and melancholic. The melancholic atmosphere actually often turns bleak, and tracks like "Part Of The Machine", "Static Acts", "A World Apart", and "Nothing Left To Say" are pretty gloomy. In the other end of the spectrum you have a track like "Through Different Eyes", which features a chorus that touches mainstream territory (a promotional video was released for this track), and the beautiful melodic "Chasing Time", which features violin parts played by Faith Fraeoli. The violin is also in use on "At Fates Hand", which also features a keyboard guest appearance by Kevin Moore (who at the time played in Dream Theater). I´d like to point out how fantastic that particular track is, but that can be said about each and every track on the album. All of them are high quality compositions and there is not a single drop in quality throughout the album. It could be argued though that "Through Different Eyes" doesn´t quite fit in with the rest of the material (it´s closer in style to the tracks featured on the next couple of album) and that it disturbs the flow of the album, but personally I think it´s great for the overall diversity of "Perfect Symmetry".

The musicianship is absolutely brilliant, with standout performances by each member of the band. I´ve already praised new drummer Mark Zonder for his skills and inventive playing ideas, but the rest of the members of the lineup also deserve a mention. Ray Alder has developed his singing style since "No Exit (1988)" and now spices up his high pitched screaming vocals with the occasional vocal part in deeper registers and more mellow singing too. His performance is relatively varied here and the diversity of the material also gives him the opportunity to show different aspects of his vocal capabilities. Main composer Jim Matheos is as always subtle guitarist number one, while Frank Aresti delivers one great lead and solo after another. The clean guitar/distorted guitar dynamic which the two of them would develop upon and perfect over the course of the next two albums, is initiated here. Bassist Joe DiBiase shines several times during the albums playing time. As an example the second time the vers is played in "Part Of The Machine", DiBiase changes his bassline and plays what sounds like a lead melody under the rest of the instruments and vocals. Still very rhythmic and relatively subtle, but important in the bigger picture.

The sound production is raw and a bit cold, which suits the melancholic and bleak material well. It´s slightly thin sounding and could have prospered from a more bass heavy mix, but overall it´s a high quality production. So upon conclusion it´s hard not to be impressed and intrigued by "Perfect Symmetry". Everything from the compositions, the production, and the musicianship, scream high quality and originality. It truly is a unique and influential release and a 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

FATES WARNING No Exit

Album · 1988 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"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.

FATES WARNING Awaken The Guardian

Album · 1986 · US Power Metal
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UMUR
"Awaken the Guardian" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US heavy/power/progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 1986. A lineup change has taken place as guitarist Victor Arduini has been replaced by Frank Aresti. "Awaken the Guardian" would be lead vocalist John Arch last album with the band before he too would depart.

Listening to "Awaken the Guardian" it very much feels like the natural successor to "The Spectre Within (1985)", just featuring a more sophisticated songwriting approach and an even more skillful performance of the music. Stylistically the music is on the border between traditional heavy/power metal and guitar/vocal oriented progressive metal (even bordering thrash at it´s hardest moments). In other words a very early example of progressive metal. A music style Fates Warning would further explore and develop upon on subsequent releases. The band are generally very well playing even though I´ve never found Steve Zimmerman´s drumming particularly tasteful. Instead it´s the melodic guitar leads and harmonies, the hard heavy metal riffing, and of course the high pitched and ornamented singing by John Arch, which elevate the band´s music to exceptional heights, along with the clever and intriguing songwriting.

Arch deserves a special mention and all the praise in the world for his performance here. He is gifted with one of the most unique and powerful voices on the scene but it´s how he uses his voice that makes him so special. Every note is sung to it´s limits and twisted and turned in every possible direction. Sometimes it sounds like he is improvising and if that´s true, it´s madness in this type of music. It speaks volumes of how great he is, that he has the energy to put on a performance like that in music this demanding. His performance is brilliant throughout but the highlight is his delivery on "Guardian".

All 8 tracks on the 48:04 minutes long album are very well written and performed though and it´s actually only the sound production that holds "Awaken the Guardian" back a slight bit. The guitars feature a thin sound, and the drums and bass aren´t that well sounding either. It´s not really a surprise considering the date of release, but on the other hand I´ve listened to quite a few better produced releases from the same year, so this one has always left me unimpressed. Thankfully the material and the instrumental and vocal performances are of such high quality (although the drumming doesn´t add much positive to the music), that the quality of the sound production doesn´t overshadow the fact that "Awaken the Guardian" is an excellent release on other parameters. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

FATES WARNING Movies Reviews

FATES WARNING The View From Here

Movie · 2003 · Progressive Metal
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Stooge
After owning this DVD for around 4 years, I can say one thing for sure. It serves as a healthy crash course in the Ray Alder era of Fates Warning. It was actually my first Fates Warning purchase, and I now consider them one of my favorite prog metal bands. All of the footage included features the band fronted by Ray Alder, but they do touch briefly on the John Arch-era material (“Prelude To Ruin” but done with Alder). A large portion of the concert footage can be described loosely as bootleg quality (at least when it comes to production and editing), but definitely above average in terms of overall visual quality.

As great as this is as an introductory piece to Fates Warning fan, it may also find it’s place in your collection to be a temporary one. In recent years, Metal Blade Records has done an outstanding job in re-issuing a large portion of Fates Warning’s back catalog. As many of their re-released albums have included a great amount of footage on bonus DVDs, much of what exist on The View From Here has become available in other ways. Additionally, I believe the band’s complete performance of A Pleasant Shade of Gray is available on DVD in some markets.

I also wonder why, on a DVD that runs roughly an hour long, they chose to include two examples of song repetition. You get both the music video for “Point of View” and their performance of the song at the Dynamo festival. The same Dynamo concert features a performance of “The Eleventh Hour”, which is also included as a bonus performance from another venue in rough bootleg quality. There were surely plenty other performances in the Fates Warning archives that could have added some more variety to this compilation.

As a big fan of this group, I was pleased to see some of the behind the scenes footage from the making of their Disconnected album. Though I’ll admit, it doesn’t go into too much depth. There is also a small trailer for the promotion of the Parallels album. To see the creation of Parallels in more detail, check out their 2CD/1DVD re-issue of that album.

This is a good DVD to pick up for more die-hard Fates Warning fans and those who are just getting into the band. Merely an appetizer.

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