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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Awaken the Guardian LIVE [Blu-ray]Awaken the Guardian LIVE [Blu-ray]
Widescreen
Metal Blade 2017
Blu-ray$13.39
Awaken the Guardian LIVE - 2CD/1DVDAwaken the Guardian LIVE - 2CD/1DVD
Import
Metal Blade 2017
Audio CD$15.69
Theories Of FlightTheories Of Flight
Limited Edition
Inside Out Music 2016
Audio CD$11.88
$11.87 (used)
Parallels - Expanded EditionParallels - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2010
Audio CD$13.01
$7.79 (used)
Darkness in a Different LightDarkness in a Different Light
Inside Out Music 2013
Audio CD$11.57
$8.93 (used)
A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded EditionA Pleasant Shade of Gray - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$12.93
$11.97 (used)
Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)Perfect Symmetry (Expanded Edition)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$8.99
$7.99 (used)
DisconnectedDisconnected
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$3.12
$2.03 (used)
Awaken The Guardian - ReissueAwaken The Guardian - Reissue
CD+DVD · Remastered · Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2005
Audio CD$11.20
$10.20 (used)
Inside Out - Expanded EditionInside Out - Expanded Edition
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$9.13
$12.76 (used)
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6h
DREAM THEATER-AWAKE*ORIGINAL 2 LP 1994*FATES WARNING,WATCHTOWER,SKYCLAD,KAMELOT DREAM THEATER-AWAKE*ORIGINAL 2 LP 1994*FATES WARNING,WATCHTOWER,SKYCLAD,KAMELOT USD $182.90 (0 bids)
6h
Fates Warning Night On Brocken LP Vinyl Record new Fates Warning Night On Brocken LP Vinyl Record new USD $22.99 Buy It Now 10h
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FATES WARNING  -  STILL LIFE.  /  2 CD SET. ( TRANSATLANTIC , MARILLION , KAIPA) FATES WARNING - STILL LIFE. / 2 CD SET. ( TRANSATLANTIC , MARILLION , KAIPA) USD $10.52 Buy It Now 16h
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17h
FATES WARNING PARALLELS REPRISE/METAL BLADE  COLUMBIA HOUSE ISSUE CD (ORIG 1991) FATES WARNING PARALLELS REPRISE/METAL BLADE COLUMBIA HOUSE ISSUE CD (ORIG 1991) USD $6.00 Buy It Now 17h
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Working Man: A Tribute to Rush 1996 VA CD Fates Warning, Steve Morse, Jake E Lee Working Man: A Tribute to Rush 1996 VA CD Fates Warning, Steve Morse, Jake E Lee USD $2.49 (1 bids)
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FATES WARNING-A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY LIVE VHS  1998 PROMO ONLY IN GREEK MARKET FATES WARNING-A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY LIVE VHS 1998 PROMO ONLY IN GREEK MARKET USD $1.47 (0 bids)
1 day
The Spectre Within by Fates Warning (CD, May-1994, Metal Blade) The Spectre Within by Fates Warning (CD, May-1994, Metal Blade) USD $12.50 Buy It Now 1 day
FATES WARNING - Night On Brocken - LIGHT BROWN VINYL LP (Metal Blade 2012) FATES WARNING - Night On Brocken - LIGHT BROWN VINYL LP (Metal Blade 2012) USD $26.09 Buy It Now 1 day
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FATES WARNING Awaken the Guardian LP New Sealed FATES WARNING Awaken the Guardian LP New Sealed USD $18.65 Buy It Now 1 day
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FATES WARNING No Exit CD ORG Enigma Records D2-73330 Heavy Metal FATES WARNING No Exit CD ORG Enigma Records D2-73330 Heavy Metal USD $7.00 (0 bids)
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Fates Warning - Parallels (cassette) Fates Warning - Parallels (cassette) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Theories of Flight [Digipak] by Fates Warning (CD, Jul-2016, 2 Discs Theories of Flight [Digipak] by Fates Warning (CD, Jul-2016, 2 Discs USD $16.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Fates Warning Awaken The Guardian 1986 Metal Blade Enigma 1st Press CD Fates Warning Awaken The Guardian 1986 Metal Blade Enigma 1st Press CD USD $14.97 (1 bids)
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GUITAR'S PRACTICING MUSICIANS VOL 2 BECKER GILLIS FATES WARNING NUNO KULICK NEW! GUITAR'S PRACTICING MUSICIANS VOL 2 BECKER GILLIS FATES WARNING NUNO KULICK NEW! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Theories of Flight [LP+CD] by Fates Warning. Theories of Flight [LP+CD] by Fates Warning. USD $39.69 Buy It Now 2 days
Awaken the Guardian by Fates Warning (Vinyl, Aug-2012, Metal Blade) Awaken the Guardian by Fates Warning (Vinyl, Aug-2012, Metal Blade) USD $16.06 Buy It Now 2 days
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FATES WARNING Night on Bro”cken [Bonus Tracks] [Remaster]  (CD, Sep-2002, Metal FATES WARNING Night on Bro”cken [Bonus Tracks] [Remaster] (CD, Sep-2002, Metal USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Night On Bröcken (Re) [VINYL] Fates Warning Vinyl Night On Bröcken (Re) [VINYL] Fates Warning Vinyl USD $26.81 Buy It Now 2 days
Parallels - Expanded Edition Fates Warning Audio CD Parallels - Expanded Edition Fates Warning Audio CD USD $26.78 Buy It Now 2 days
Awaken The Guardian [VINYL] Fates Warning Vinyl Awaken The Guardian [VINYL] Fates Warning Vinyl USD $26.81 Buy It Now 2 days
Awaken the Guardian by Fates Warning (CD, Apr-1994, Metal Blade) Awaken the Guardian by Fates Warning (CD, Apr-1994, Metal Blade) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
FATES WARNING.  NO EXIT. CD. LIKE NEW FATES WARNING. NO EXIT. CD. LIKE NEW USD $11.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Fates Warning -Inside Out[1994](Remastered CD,1998)Progressive Metal Fates Warning -Inside Out[1994](Remastered CD,1998)Progressive Metal USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Fates Warning -Awaken the Guardian[1986](Remastered CD,1994)Progressive Metal Fates Warning -Awaken the Guardian[1986](Remastered CD,1994)Progressive Metal USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Fates Warning Darkness In A Different Light (Uk) vinyl LP NEW sealed Fates Warning Darkness In A Different Light (Uk) vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $42.87 Buy It Now 2 days
FATES WARNING original CD FATES WARNING original CD "No exit" 1988 on Roadrunner USD $43.28 Buy It Now 2 days
Darkness In A Different Light  [2 Discs] by Fates Warning. Darkness In A Different Light [2 Discs] by Fates Warning. USD $19.13 Buy It Now 3 days
Tug of War by Enchant (CD 2003 Inside Out) SPECIAL ED NM PROG TOOL FATES WARNING Tug of War by Enchant (CD 2003 Inside Out) SPECIAL ED NM PROG TOOL FATES WARNING USD $11.95 Buy It Now 3 days
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Fates Warning - Theories Of Flight: Deluxe Edition [New CD] UK - Import Fates Warning - Theories Of Flight: Deluxe Edition [New CD] UK - Import USD $16.53 Buy It Now 3 days
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Fates Warning Parallels USA Cassette Tape Fates Warning Parallels USA Cassette Tape USD $4.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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FATES WARNING - Parallels - Expanded Edition - CD FATES WARNING - Parallels - Expanded Edition - CD USD $19.95 Buy It Now 3 days
FATES WARNING - No Exit: 25th Anniversary Edition - CD ** Brand New ** FATES WARNING - No Exit: 25th Anniversary Edition - CD ** Brand New ** USD $25.95 Buy It Now 3 days
FATES WARNING - No Exit: 25th Anniversary Edition - CD FATES WARNING - No Exit: 25th Anniversary Edition - CD USD $20.95 Buy It Now 3 days
JUGGERNAUT TROUBLE WITHIN LP 1987 STILL SEALED METAL BLADE FATES WARNING JUGGERNAUT TROUBLE WITHIN LP 1987 STILL SEALED METAL BLADE FATES WARNING USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Fates Warning Night On (CASSETTE) 1988 Metal Blade Fates Warning Night On (CASSETTE) 1988 Metal Blade USD $7.95 Buy It Now 3 days
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ZERO ILLUSIONS Enter Eternity CD Progressive Metal 2009 Fates Warning NEW ZERO ILLUSIONS Enter Eternity CD Progressive Metal 2009 Fates Warning NEW USD $5.53 Buy It Now 3 days
OSI - Office of Strategic Influence / TH Cassette (Dream Theater, Fates Warning) OSI - Office of Strategic Influence / TH Cassette (Dream Theater, Fates Warning) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
FATES WARNING. CHASING TIME CD. LIKE NEW FATES WARNING. CHASING TIME CD. LIKE NEW USD $16.50 Buy It Now 3 days
Awaken The Guardian - Reissue Fates Warning Audio CD Awaken The Guardian - Reissue Fates Warning Audio CD USD $14.91 Buy It Now 3 days
FATES WARNING PERFECT SYMMETRY LP BRAZIL 1989 MANOWAR IRON MAIDEN METALLICA FATES WARNING PERFECT SYMMETRY LP BRAZIL 1989 MANOWAR IRON MAIDEN METALLICA USD $34.56 Buy It Now 4 days
FATES WARNING.PARALLELS.CD.LIKE NEW FATES WARNING.PARALLELS.CD.LIKE NEW USD $12.50 Buy It Now 4 days
FATES WARNING A Pleasant Shade Of Gray VICP-60051 CD JAPAN NEW FATES WARNING A Pleasant Shade Of Gray VICP-60051 CD JAPAN NEW USD $119.86 Buy It Now 4 days
PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Bleeding Vintage POSTER !!! Deadsoul Tribe/Realm/Fates Warning ! PSYCHOTIC WALTZ Bleeding Vintage POSTER !!! Deadsoul Tribe/Realm/Fates Warning ! USD $16.66 Buy It Now 4 days
Fates Warning No Exit 25th Anniversary Edition CD + DVD new German press Fates Warning No Exit 25th Anniversary Edition CD + DVD new German press USD $22.49 Buy It Now 4 days
FATES WARNING PERFECT SYMMETRY LP MADE IN BRAZIL 1989 DREAM THEATER WARLORD FATES WARNING PERFECT SYMMETRY LP MADE IN BRAZIL 1989 DREAM THEATER WARLORD USD $34.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Perfect Symmetry by Fates Warning (CD, Aug-1989, Metal Blade) Perfect Symmetry by Fates Warning (CD, Aug-1989, Metal Blade) USD $13.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Perfect Symmetry - Fates Warning 039841404821 (CD Used Very Good) Perfect Symmetry - Fates Warning 039841404821 (CD Used Very Good) USD $8.59 Buy It Now 4 days
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FATES WARNING Discography

FATES WARNING albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 2.97 | 29 ratings
Night On Bröcken
Traditional heavy metal 1984
.. Album Cover 4.03 | 34 ratings
The Spectre Within
US Power Metal 1985
.. Album Cover 4.29 | 42 ratings
Awaken The Guardian
US Power Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 4.23 | 45 ratings
No Exit
Progressive Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 62 ratings
Perfect Symmetry
Progressive Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.17 | 69 ratings
Parallels
Progressive Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.21 | 32 ratings
Inside Out
Progressive Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.19 | 43 ratings
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.84 | 37 ratings
Disconnected
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 35 ratings
FWX
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.09 | 24 ratings
Darkness In A Different Light
Progressive Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 4.29 | 12 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 re-issues & 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 Theories Of Flight

Album · 2016 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Theories Of Flight" is the 12th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Fates Warning. The album was released through InsideOut Records in July 2016. It´s the successor to "Darkness In A Different Light" from 2013 and the second album after their 9 year long recording break since "FWX (2004)". "Theories Of Flight" features the exact same lineup who recorded "Darkness In A Different Light (2013)": Ray Alder (vocals), Jim Matheos (guitars), Frank Aresti (guitars, although only a couple of leads), Joey Vera (bass), and Bobby Jarzombek (drums).

Stylistically "Theories Of Flight" is pretty much a continuation of the progressive metal style on "Darkness In A Different Light (2013)". It´s generally a bit more melodic and to my ears also slightly more memorable, but the overall concept is similar to the predecessor. Heavy intriguing guitar riffs and rhythms, melodic solos, beautiful acoustic/clean guitar work, and Ray Alder´s strong emotive vocals in front (often featuring harmony and choir vocals).

The album feautures 8 tracks and a full playing time of 52:17 minutes. Both "The Light and Shade of Things" and "The Ghosts of Home" are around 10 minutes long, but the remaining tracks feature more regular lengths (from 4 to 6 minutes). The material is very well written and the combination of relatively straight forward and catchy tracks like "Seven Stars", "SOS", and "Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen", and the longer more complex tracks like the two above mentioned, and album opener "From the Rooftops", works really well. Now that I´ve mentioned almost every track featured on the album, I can just as well mention the remaining two. "White Flag" is a powerful track with a commanding vocal delivery by Alder and the title track, which is the album closer, is an atmospheric instrumental, which ends the album in great style.

It´s overall a very dynamic and adventurous album. One moment it´s melodic and beatiful and the next a bit darker and heavy. The trademark sophisticated Fates Warning groove, which features a lot of off-beat rhythm patterns and chord strokes, is also present and accounted for. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. Alder is as mentioned an incredibly skilled and distinct sounding vocals, who can sing both emotive mellow parts and louder more aggressive ones (for the style), with equal passion and conviction, the rhythm section play varied and powerful, and the guitars both play melodic and heavy. The guitar solos deserve a special mention. They are played with a lot of attention to tone and feeling, and they are also pretty varied.

"Theories Of Flight" features a warm, clear, and powerful sounding production, which suits the material perfectly, and I actually have a very hard time coming up with any issues regarding the album. To my ears it´s their best release in years, which is especially due to the increased focus on melody and accessibility that Fates Warning have here. A focal point which has not affected how heavy and powerful the music is, and that´s usually a hard balance to strike. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Note: There´s a limited edition 2CD/2LP version available, which features 6 bonus tracks. Acoustic versions of the band´s own compositions "Firefly", "Seven Stars", and "Another Perfect Day", and acoustic covers of "Pray Your Gods" by Toad The Wet Sprocket, "Adela" by Joaquin Rodrigo (with Alder singing Spanish language lyrics), and "Rain" by Uriah Heep. While acoustic renditions of existing non-acoustic material aren´t always the greatest idea, Fates Warning pull if off with ease. Beautiful acoustic guitar arrangements and a Ray Alder in vocal top form, ensure that these bonus tracks are well worth purchasing the limited edition for. I especially enjoyed "Firefly", "Another Perfect Day", and "Rain", but the remaining tracks are also of high quality.

FATES WARNING The Spectre Within

Album · 1985 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Modrigue
An underrated album. The second record from FATES WARNING and their first to incorporate progressive elements. Seeds of 80's progressive metal can be found here. With "The Spectre Within", the band complexifies the structure of their songs. The style is always fast heavy/trash metal with high-pitched vocals, but, since the first opus, compositions have increased in quality and energy. The album features seven mid-length powerful mini-epic tracks in the vein of MAIDEN's "Powerslave" and QUEENSRYCHE's first offerings. Yet, the ambiance distilled by FATES WARNING is darker and more tortured.

The opening, "Traveler In Time", directly sets the scene for a gloomy nightmare. The atmosphere is maintained in "Orphan Gypsy". Whereas "Without A Trace" sounds like typical 80's heavy metal, the next song, "Pirates Of The Underground", is more complex and really epic. Then comes the highlight of the record, "The Apparition", with its changing rhythms and its you-know-who's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" feel. On the other hand, "Kyrie Eleison" is the weak point of the disc and don't really manage to lift off. Fortunately, the ending track, "Epitaph", is one of the best. Lasting more than 10 minutes, it features doom, epic, fantasy and epic moments. John Arch deploys all his talents here.

Although a bit hard to get in at first listen," The Spectre Within" should please early 80's heavy/trash metal fans and is a must have for those in IRON MAIDEN, early QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING's "Awaken The Guardian". A compulsory stop in your journey to prog metal origins.

FATES WARNING Awaken The Guardian

Album · 1986 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Modrigue
Awaken the dark prog metal

Undoubtedly my favorite FATES WARNING album. Last opus with vocalist John Arch, "Awaken The Guardian" also marks the end of an era for the band. Musically, the style is the same as its predecessor's, "The Spectre Within", however even more inspired and lyrical. 80's fantasy / sci-fi heavy metal featuring tortured melodies and unexpected breaks at its best, alternating with softer acoustic passages. The presence of duelling guitars like IRON MAIDEN increases the sound depth. However, this time the band goes a step further than their initial British influences in terms of complexity and darkness, while staying relatively accessible.

The first half of the record is simply flawless. "The Sorceress" is an efficient dark metal opener with many melodic variations. The guitars weave a web sometimes reminiscent of CELTIC FROST. "Valley Of The Dolls" is a heavy metal song, with dark aggressive passages. The heroic "Fata Morgana" is really great. A bombastic tune with a catchy lyrical melody. To let the listener breathe, the mid-tempo "Guardian" features an acoustic introduction and displays a melancholic softer ambiance.

The second half is more about atmospheres and less punchy. The trashy "Prelude To Ruin" is a weaker track, sometimes difficult to follow, whereas the dark mid-tempo "Giants Lore" possesses an haunting atmosphere. "Time Long Past" is mainly a short pretty acoustic piece. The ending song, "Exodus", is the longest of the record. Pure progressive metal, featuring numerous rhythm changes and alternating fast aggressive passages and slow moments. A very good conclusion for this somber journey.

Despite weaker moments in its second part, "Awaken The Guardian" is a very good album, dark and complex. Surprisingly, this opus is also suitable for FATES WARNING newcomers, or just for MAIDEN fans who don't know this underrated band. An tortured nightmarish trip into distant unexplored planets, and an essential listen for progressive metal lovers!

FATES WARNING Disconnected

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
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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
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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 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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