Fates Warning



Fates Warning's new album "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" marks the ninth
and most powerful release to date. Armed with a new lineup that
includes Joey Vera (Ex-Helstar) on bass guitar and keyboard virtuoso
Kevin Moore (Ex-Dream Theater), the band produces some of the most
incredible progressive and introspective music ever released! This is
no surprise, given the productive genius of producer Terry Brown
(Rush). The overall production qualities of this album really shine as
a virtual progressive atmosphere is created encompassing the listener
in a world created by the musical genius of Jim Matheos.

This album carries many traditional Fates Warning tones mixed with
more than a little Dream Theater spice. Nobody will mistake Fates
Warning for Dream Theater, however, thanks to the searing and
unmistakable vocals of singer Ray Alder. Nobody else in the music
business has the ability to reach inside your soul like Ray. Die hard
Fates Warning fans are no stranger to this phenomenon. I must note,
however, that the vocals are much more restrained and disciplined on
this album. Don't expect to hear Ray shattering glass as in previous
Fates Warning releases, but don't think that his voice is any less
powerful on this release, either. The sound of this album is
constantly changing shape as it swings from raw to downright
industrial at parts. The fret-splitting guitar solos of past Fates
Warning efforts are all but gone on this release. (I must note that
guitarist Frank Aresti is also gone. Makes sense.) At first listen,
though, I didn't even notice that there weren't blazing guitar solos.
The few times where a guitar solo is implemented, it is in combination
with the rest of the band forming an "atmosphere" of sorts. This
albums is DEFINATELY a collaborative effort. There is not one spot on
this CD where one musician seems to be stealing the spotlight. Kevin
Moore is always right there with the right sound whenever the songs
call for him and one can only wonder what this album would have been
without him. Hats off to Kevin Moore for his EXCELLENT and welcome
contribution to the sound of Fates Warning.

This album starts off creating a rainy atmosphere and then falls into
a semi-industrial number. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised that many
parts of this album contain a semi-industrial feel. Every song seems
to take on a different shape without ever leaving the original feel
behind. Fates Warning never once deviates from the "gray" theme of the
album. They are an incredibly disciplined band and I must again note
that all the musicians show considerable restraint on this CD. This is
NOT a free-for-all progressive blowout album. All the songs are tight
and refined with excellent workmanship applied to every detail.

I think everyone should judge this for themselves. As with previous
Fates Warning albums, this one deals with examining what's "inside" a
person. Jim Matheos takes us on an introspective journey into our
souls. Some people "get it", some people don't. Either way, the lyrics
must be heard to be appreciated. Ray Alder has the unique ability to
send chills up one's spine with his searing voice. This is a rare
quality that very few singers posses.

As I said before, this album is Fates Warnings best release to day. If
you like it, tell a friend or five. This album won't get any airplay
because it is a concept album separated into twelve parts that aren't
even named. This re-affirms that Fates Warning has NEVER been, nor
will EVER be a sell-out. They produced this album knowing full well
that it would not be for mass consumption. These guys are true artists
in every sense of the word. This album is a masterpiece and should be
held up high for everyone to see.

REVIEW: Fates Warning - "Disconnected" (2000)

Review Date: July 6th, 2000
Reviewer: Marco van Leeuwen, overlord@caiw.nl

Purchased At: Plato, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Release Date: June 26th (Europe), July 25th (North America)

Note: the European version of this album is currently available in a
limited digipak edition.

Track Listing:

[1] disconnected part 1 (1:14)
[2] One (4:27)
[3] So (8:08)
[4] Pieces Of Me (4:24)
[5] Something From Nothing (10:59)
[6] Still Remains (16:08)
[7] disconnected part 2 (6:11)

Total Disc Time: (51:32)


Jim Matheos: guitars; additional keyboards and sound effects
Ray Alder: vocals
Mark Zonder: drums
Joey Vera: bass
Kevin Moore: keyboards
Steve Tushar: additional keyboards and sound effects


The hype is certainly not undeserved: increased energy and a more
varied atmosphere compared to 1997’s "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" ensure
that the latest release by one of the most talented, respected,
underappreciated and progressive bands in metal is (yet again) a thing
of beauty.

Album Theme:

Human beings are intensely and essentially communal creatures,
depending on the aid of others to compensate for their usually quite
considerable deficiencies. Considering the web of dependencies any new
citizens of the North Atlantic culture in particular are thrust into,
the connection with others is not merely a physical prerequisite for a
healthy and productive existence, but also a necessity for one’s
mental wellbeing. It’s in the interaction with others - like-minded
and with deviant opinions, with the same socio-cultural background or
with radically different roots - that our own thoughts, feelings and
world views can develop, having the characteristics of what we hold
true reflected back to us in the words of the other, thus having the
flaws and strengths of our belief systems through either the
discordance or resonance with the views of our discussion partners
revealed to us.

However, human beings are also creatures that unite within themselves
the most violently opposing forces: the Dionysian and the Appolonian,
evil and good, desire and restraint, earth and heaven. It’s this focal
point of counteractive influences that provides man with its superior
vantage point, the seeking of the the balance of opposing impulses
itself that he draws his strength from, is guided by and is ultimately
destined to fail at. With the social character of the human animal it
is no different, for as a counterbalance to the communal sense there
are the decidedly anti-social aspects of everyone’s actions and realms
of thought: egocentricity, self-importance, the drive to attain
autonomy, selfishness, the need for privacy - all of them agents that
force us to break free of the restraints living in a society forces
upon us, and we, in a sense, force upon ourselves.

As we grow older, we customarily get better at dealing with these
internal conflicts, but an important problem is that we don’t always
have full control over how these battles play out. The greatest pain
and most destructive sadness arise when we are faced with a
disconnection when we’re not ready to let go yet, or an enduring
connection when we’re passionately wishing for salvation - being left
by the love of your life, or, conversely, being trapped in a
destructive relationship. We have all lived through such event
sequences permeated by varying degrees of emotional impact, and all
know the pain that goes with feeling disconnected from the situation -
the incompatibility of your inner life with what is happening to you
on the outside.

The insightful lyrics of Jim Matheos and Ray Alder capture this theme
quite nicely, and the album package’s concept photography also
delivers several interesting explorations of this topic.

Album Atmosphere:

Once again Fates Warning has succeeded in reinventing themselves: they
started out as a metal band in the Iron Maiden style, developed a
totally unique sound characterised by intensely complex riffing and
John Arch’s phenomenal and uniquely melodic vocals on "Awaken The
Guardian" to the trailblazers of Dream Theater-style prog metal on "No
Exit" and "Perfect Symmetry", then to intelligent melodic prog rock on
"Parallels" and "Inside Out", after which they decided to redefine the
power ballad in the mood metal masterpiece "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray",
and now they’ve found yet another new direction.

The music on this album is still immediately recogniseable, vintage
Fates Warning, but incorporates both a shameless return to a time when
it was okay to be a virtuoso at one’s instrument, as well as decidely
modern, post-postmodern influences. Apart from exquisitely and
carefully developed musical themes and subtle, whimsical sounds, this
album also contains some intensely visceral material, undoubtably
capable of whipping concert halls full of fanatical fans into ecstacy.

The material is more energetic than on 1997’s "A Pleasant Shade Of
Gray", and trades in some of that album’s intense melancholy for
divine melodies and addictive rythms, but retains a definite
introspective aspect that will serve to drag the chronically
angst-ridden amongst us through many a rainy afternoon.

Jim Matheos sounds heavier than he has for a while, and sounds
completely confident as the only guitarist of the band, where for most
of its career Fates Warning has utilised a dual guitar approach. Ray
Alder’s vocals sound excellent as always, incorporating some of the
edge of last year’s "Engine" solo project. Mark Zonder supposedly
trimmed down his drum kit for this release, but he hasn’t lost any of
his power - one might even go so far as to state he sounds better now,
more organic and hands-on, less muddled by freaky triggered samples.
It’s blatantly obvious the man’s skill as a drummer and percussionist
is unparallelled. Joey Vera does an excellent job as always, but
appears to be a bit lower in the mix. Kevin Moore’s parts were
reportedly written by Jim Matheos, but all throughout the album some
of the atmosphere that made the early Dream Theater albums and the
Chroma Key material so special shines through - he really is turning
into an invaluable ‘permanent guest-member’ of the band. Finally, the
sound effects Jim and Steve Tushar came up with add a lot of wonderful
atmosphere to the songs, and are never excessive, as so often is the
case with such additions.

Individual Songs:

While doing this usually does justice to neither the new song nor the
song that’s being referenced to, I will give a possible connection of
each track to an older or more well-known piece or style of music, a
short description that might give you an idea of what the song in
question sounds like.

-disconnected part 1

Connection: "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray Part I"

A very atmospheric intro, characterised by a recurring guitar wail
that collects and magnifies many lifetimes worth of emotional pain and


Connection: A more energetic version of a song that might have been on
"Inside Out", with a strong keyboard presence and electronic effects.

It took me a while to get used to this song - at first it sounded too
much like something off of "Parallels" or "Inside Out", but repeated
listens revealed the wonderful energy and effective use of keyboards
during the verses. The chorus is terribly catchy.


Connection: Dream Theater meets Tool

A moody intro bleeds into a heavy riff we haven’t heard on a Fates
Warning album in a while. Once again Kevin Moore supplies his
trademark sound, complementing the mighty riffs and great vocal
melodies wonderfully. I think a radio edit of this song might do quite
well if properly marketed.

-Pieces Of Me

Connection: Rammstein on steroids

This was a surprise! An incredibly energetic and catchy song.
Initially this track sounded very uncharacteristic of Fates Warning,
but after a few listens it dawned on me how utterly obvious it is that
they would have mastered this particular substyle of metal as well. If
this song gets any measure of substantial airplay they could do very
well for themselves with this album.

-Something From Nothing

Connection: A more atmospheric "The Eleventh Hour" (from the band’s
own "Parallels")

Possibly the best track on the album. The intro is quite moody and
features epic keyboard sequences. After the song really gets going
we’re treated with a wonderfully lively bridge section, and an utterly
beautiful chorus.

-Still Remains

Connection: A more subtle "A Change Of Seasons" (Dream Theater)

Another contender for the number one spot. Very layered and ambitious,
with pretty sections followed by complex instrumental ones, but never
exceedingly self-indulgent. Epic in its diversity, but never losing
sight of the unifying musical themes, and therefore more coherent than
other megasongs such as "The Ivory Gate Of Dreams" or Dream Theater’s
"A Change Of Seasons".

-disconnected part 2

Connection: "Space Dye Vest" (Dream Theater)

A very spacey and moody instrumental outro. The wailing guitar from
"disconnected part 1" returns, like Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence of
the same or Walter Benjamin’s repetition of the undifferentiated,
non-auratic in modern society, the full force of the emotions behind
the music truly permeate the listener’s mind in this repetition.
Remarkably, despite the mood and theme of the album, the vocal sample
featured in this song is full of compassion and understanding.


For most people this will probably be an acquired taste, but if you
give it a chance the rewards are enormous - there is so much to
discover and enjoy on this album. It is probably safe to say Matheos
and friends have once again managed to enrich our world with a true
work of art, that will yield its secret beauty and wisdom to all who
are receptive to it.

Rating: [100/100]

Other Albums By Fates Warning (rating [x/100]):

1984: "Night On Bröcken" [85]
1985: "The Spectre Within" [92]
1986: "Awaken The Guardian" [94]
1988: "No Exit" [93]
1989: "Perfect Symmetry" [99]
1991: "Parallels" [93]
1994: "Inside Out" [90]
1995: "Chasing Time" (Best Of) [95]
1997: "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" [100]
1998: "Still Life" (Live) [100]

(Note: Reading these ratings, it might appear I’m biased - I probably
am. While it is true I’m a fan of Fates Warning, I tried to be fair in
my review, and refrained from uncontrollably spouting undeserved
praise. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion - dare to make up
your own mind without disparaging others.)
yeh..and i heard the Voice of the Lord telling me I am his one and true Son and must preach the Way of the Middle Finger to rumour spreaders and miserable motherfuckers everywhere.
and i heard the Voice of the Lord telling me I am his one and true Son and must preach the Way of the Middle Finger to rumour spreaders and miserable motherfuckers everywhere.

you too huh?
"yeh..and i heard the Voice of the Lord telling me I am his one and true Son and must preach the Way of the Middle Finger to rumour spreaders and miserable motherfuckers everywhere"

I couldn't have put that better myself!!!
Dragonlord...you rule!!

by the way did u decide on the band's name??

akomi psaxnoume bassista reeeeeeeeeeeeee.....
...you rule too man...

Fates is art...passion...feelings...spirit...
Originally posted by alexseretis
by the way did u decide on the band's name??

akomi psaxnoume bassista reeeeeeeeeeeeee.....
not yet...we've got a few months ahead till our first gig so we've got time to think.

mh me koitas emena,exw hdh APEIRH douleia me tous allous:p