FATES WARNING — Parallels (review)

FATES WARNING — Parallels album cover Album · 1991 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Blows my mind that Ray Alder isn’t considered one of the canon greats of metal vocalists. The music here is technical and complex Prog Metal, but the vocals are total AOR a la Queensryche. Ray’s range is very impressive, he can hit incredibly high registers without getting pitchy or strained, and carry a passionate weight all the while. The way he harmonizes with himself are flawless, and again making comparisons to Queensryche, the choruses on this thing are catchier than the vast majority of Pop music. The lyrics aren’t shallow by a longshot, but pretty clearly revolve around feelings of lost human connection, letting go, and moving on. Or in Pop terms, breakup songs.

Probably an odd way to praise a Prog Metal album by immediately comparing it to Pop music and focusing on the vocals, but whatever. The songwriting is quite similar to the prior Perfect Symmetry, but it’s a bit simpler in structure and with better production. There was an obvious emphasis on melody and catchiness when writing this one. Fates Warning certainly tread the softer side of the genre, but unlike Queensryche, the musicianship is very technical indeed, and simple choruses where the vocals can shine often give way to incredibly intricate verses and instrumental segments. Though most of the album is the simple Rock ensemble of instruments, layering and production effects ensure a depth to the sound that reveals more with each listen.

While every song here is fantastic, I will admit the ending tracks are weaker, except for “We Only Say Goodbye” which is a Pop Prog masterpiece. Probably my favorite song by the band by this point, the lyricism and emotion in Alder’s voice play over simple yet evocative guitar lines that pull every heart string. Such a beautifully passionate song that is sad yet strong. Like much of this album, really. Despite how catchy and melodic it is, “Parallels” is a truly somber package, best enjoyed when you are reeling from loss but still want to sing along to some good music.
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UMUR wrote:
42 days ago
I love this album too. It´s such a subtle way of playing progressive metal, that you nearly don´t realize that it is progressive metal. Sometimes it touches AOR territory, but still in a tasteful and clever way.


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