FATES WARNING — Disconnected

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FATES WARNING - Disconnected cover
4.12 | 43 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2000


1. Disconnected (Part 1) (1:13)
2. One (4:27)
3. So (8:07)
4. Pieces Of Me (4:24)
5. Something From Nothing (10:58)
6. Still Remains (16:08)
7. Disconnected (Part 2) (6:11)

Total Time 51:30


- Ray Alder / Vocals
- Jim Matheos / Guitars, Keyboards (additional), Vocals (additional), Sequencing
- Mark Zonder / Drums

- Joey Vera / Bass, Vocals (additional)
- Kevin Moore / Keyboards
- Steve Tushar / Keyboards (additional)

About this release

Release date: July 25th, 2000
Label: Metal Blade Records (US), Massacre Records (Europe).

Expanded Edition as well as the combo edition with the album Inside Out has the following bonus tracks:

8. Someone - Everything (One demo)
9. It's Over (Shutdown demo)
10. Under The Milky Way (outtake)

Thanks to Stooge, Time Signature, Lynx33, UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Well, 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray' appears to have been a hit with fans, so why not continue in that direction? With the single guitar/keyboard approach that incorporates more ambience, as well as a beefier production that gives the band a heavier sound, 'Disconnected' picks up right where its predecessor left off.

It seems odd for a progressive metal album to be considered "stripped down", but that's exactly what we have here. With the songwriting being the main focus, and not the performances of individuals, there is some solid music that lacks a lot of the shredding musical virtuosity associated with the genre. And it's a refreshing change.

That's not to say these guys are slouches! Guitarist Jim Matheos can write some very interesting guitar riffs, and drummer Mark Zonder is an absolute beast. Neither man afraid to stray away from standard 4/4 time signatures and go completely bonkers in some places, yet with riffs that don't come anywhere near to being too flashy or overbearing. When you include eerily compelling keyboard work by Kevin Moore (yes, THE Kevin Moore), it makes for an all-round solid package by one of prog metals pioneers.

Songs like 'One', 'So', 'Pieces of Me' and the absolute gem of the album, the 16-minute 'Still Remains', make this an essential progressive metal release, especially for fans who are growing weary of excessive soloing and musical indulgence.
As with A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Disconnected had Fates Warning working as a core creative trio of Alder, Matheos and Zonder, with Joey Vera and Kevin Moore working on a guest musician basis. Whilst some prefer the preceding album, I admit that I quite like this release.

On the surface, it comes across as one of those millennial "Oooh, the Internet is scary, will it truly offer us a closer connection to each other or will it all leave us more disconnected and isolated?" concepts that proliferated back in that slice of time after the Internet had become ubiquitous but before Facebook and other social media platforms had definitively answered the question. ("Yes, the Internet will connect you to other people and their innermost thoughts and feelings. You will quickly get sick of them.")

The genius of the album is that rather than approaching the subject like they have an axe to grind, or limiting themselves to that narrow concept, Fates Warning instead take it as a jumping-off point to explore all sorts of different types of interpersonal connection and disconnection, being wise enough to realise that actually, interpersonal connection tends to pan out differently for different people. Some songs, such as One, outright celebrate the emotional bonds between people - others note how they can be mentally draining and sometimes you *need* your alone time to recharge your batteries, whilst others are sung from the point of views struggling to reach out.

It's kind of like its Rorscharch blot of a cover. Some might see it as capturing two people seeking intimacy but being blocked from it by the very devices they have chosen to apply to themselves (or have been forced to by circumstance); I see it as a happy scene of two gasmask fetishists finding each other in a world where it's never been easier to find someone who shares your kinks.

Musically, we're dealing with a nicely matured version of the 1990s Fates Warning sound, the band entering the new millennium with the confidence to simply sound like themselves and not worrying about then-current trends in metal. (Then again, given the rise of nu-metal between Pleasant Shade and this, deciding not to go down that route may have been a no-brainer - I've got nothing against nu-metal, but I can think of few styles less compatible with Fates Warning's approach). The combination of all these features makes Disconnected, for me, the best Fates Warning album since No Exit.
"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.
This is my favourite FATES WARNING album with "Perfect Symmetry" and "Awaken The Guardian" the runnerups. These three albums are so different from one another it isn't funny. This one deals with the topic of being disconnected. And that can be in society or relationships. So with loneliness being the thread that runs through this record we do get a lot of atmosphere and melancholy. It's fairly dark and at times quite heavy. Kevin Moore is back helping out on keyboards and the final track "Disconnected (Part 2)" reminds me of his song "Space Dye Vest" with his former band DREAM THEATER. Terry Brown co-produced this recording with the band. This is one of my all-time favourite Prog-Metal albums and for me it's a masterpiece.
Time Signature
Something from nothing...

Genre: progressive metal with alt. influences

"Disconnected" is groovy yet progressive effort from Fates Warning which contains both melody and high energy hardrocking metal - although a lot of the tracks are actually quite dark and gloomy.

There are lots of tricky and energetic one-string riffs here as well as some strong power chord-based riffs. Some riffs are slightly reminiscent of "Perfect Symmetry" while others remind the listener of "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" - now, that's not a problem, because those are great albums. And, "Disconnected" goes beyond just being a clone of those albums, and it goes beyond just being a mixture of them. It is, in my opinion, like most other Fates Warning albums, quite original.

That being said, I think that the guitar sounds a bit thin, and, compared to previous releases, I must admit that I find "Disconnected" less inspiring - this may have something to do with its quasi-industrial sound and other use of electronic effects which, for some reason, does not work well for me on this album.

Anyhow, I think that fans of alternative metal may like this album, and more open-minded progressive metal fans may also like it, and perhaps those who are interested in industrial light (very light) may also appreciate it.

Members reviews

I don’t know why, but the gloomy and mostly slow tempo of Fates Warning music always amuses me. It seems that whatever my mood there is for the day, I always find it enjoyable when listening to Fates Warning. The same case stands for 2000’s effort, Disconnected. Not that I loved it the first time I started listening to the album. This is not their best effort –well, to be honest…which one is their best? Each of their effort stands on its own in terms of uniqueness and style, and of course there is a red line where you can find the connection among those albums.

The album starts with 1 minute plus of long guitar sound which sounds like a crying whale. Then kicking off with “One”, a mixture of progressive metal with techno-elements. It surprised me as they never did anything like that before. Track number 3, “So” is a typical Fates Warning song, with a mid-tempo which lasts about 8 minutes or so. It is so Fates Warning. Another exploration is found in “Pieces of Me” with another so-called techno-thing. But I think it is more intense than “One”. Well, please try no to sleep when “Something From Nothing” starts off. The first few minutes were slow and dark then kicking off with a mixture of progressive rhythm section beat from bassist Joey Vera and drummer Mark Zonder. Watch out for another 16 minutes dark song of “Still Remains”. Is that all? No. Wait until approximately 2:44th when the music starts to get so intense and tight, without losing its dark sense feeling with the acrobatic voices of Ray Alder. The album is closed with the instrumental “Disconnected Part II”, similar as what they have started in the beginning of the album except that it’s much darker. My conclusion is, this is an album that will please many Fates Warning fans but they will find it hard to win new fans with this album.

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