Released: 2017, Self-released
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Now that the short original lineup reunion of Fates Warning – to mark the 30th anniversary of Awaken The Guardian – is over, drummer Steve Zimmerman is back to work with Enemy Remains, the band he formed a dozen years ago with guitarist Tommy Blardo. The pair cobbled together a whole new lineup and in short order, the sextet are self-releasing their second effort.
Anyone expecting a mere rehash of Fates-style prog-metal grandiosity will most likely be in for a bit of shock. No Faith In Humanity has a much more straight-up metal sound, with a tinge of metalcore in the clean/dirty vocal back and forth between frontman Frank Morin (the soaring wails) and Blardo (the gruff barks) that persists throughout. It’s certainly more punchy, direct and, at times, belligerent, notably on the title track with its “ready to break your face” vibe.
Indeed, the riffs are quite muscular here, with the closer “Empty Inside” delivering quite a crunch. And Zimmerman’s drumming is more assertive than agile, with plenty of double-bass thump, which is not the worst thing in the world.
That said, Enemy Remains certainly aren’t averse to showing a bit of Fates-like dynamism. There is plenty of melody in the lush guitar passages and occasionally outfront keyboard strains woven betwixt and between to contrast the rougher edges. And the snazzy guitar leads lend some sophistication here that might otherwise be missing, given the ‘core trappings.
With seven songs, two of them short instrumental interludes, and just 25 minutes of music, No Faith is rather chintzy – especially when one recalls that No Exit, the last Fates album Zimmerman appeared on, featured the magnum opus “The Ivory Gate Of Dreams” that was nearly that long by itself. It is really more of an EP than the full-length it is being billed as, so be advised of that. But given that Enemy Remains only recently regrouped, and two-thirds of the lineup is new, perhaps a more generous genuine full-length might be in the offing sooner than later.