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Fates Warning
Darkness In A Different Light
September 2013
Released: 2013, InsideOut Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Prog-metal icons Fates Warning return with their first album in nine years and seem rather cranky after the long layoff – though they have toured sporadically and most of the participants here had a hand in founding guitarist Jim Matheos and founding vocalist John Arch’s Sympathetic Resonance album in 2011.



Darkness In A Different Light is almost startling in its comparatively harsher tone and heaviness, which is apparent from the get-go as opener “One Thousand Fires” reaches right out and grabs you by the throat. The typically sleek guitar lines from Matheos and Fates returnee Frank Aresti (making his first appearance since 1994’s Inside Out) have a decidedly rougher, crunchier edge and new drummer Bobby Jarzombek is more aggressive and hits a lot harder than the jazzier Mark Zonder, teaming with bassist Joey Vera to provide a sturdy backbone throughout. Vocalist Ray Alder, too, delivers a huskier performance that emphasizes mid-range and only soars to the upper register on the album’s more measured material, like “Firefly” or “Lighthouse.”



That’s not to say these guys are sounding like Testament or anything like that these days, but for a band long noted for their finesse and sometimes languid flair, songs like “I Am,” “O Chloroform” and, especially, “Kneel And Obey” are quite jarring. And I mean that as a compliment.



Fates have smartly re-established their presence quite emphatically here. Why merely dip your toes back in the water when the cannonball approach can make a much bigger splash? And while their more prog-minded fans may be a bit taken aback by the forcefulness of Different Light, there’s still plenty of the clever melodies, challenging arrangements and instrumental flare that have long been the band’s forte. It all just hits a bit harder as, like its nearly decade-old predecessor FWX, the songs are tight and streamlined, rarely drifting off on extended jams or tangents.



Matheos seems to have gotten much of those technical propensities out of his system on the sprawling Sympathetic Resonance album. Granted, the lone epic here is pretty friggin’ EPIC, with “And Yet It Moves” concluding the album over a 14-minute suite that boasts all the complexity and scale you could want. But it’s still a very heavy tune overall, and ends with the same sort of abrupt, catch-you-by-surprise wallop as the start of the album.



A bold, even brazen, return.
Track Listing

1. One Thousand Fires
2. Firefly
3. Desire
4. Falling
5. I Am
6. Lighthouse
7. Into The Black
8. Kneel And Obey
9. O Chloroform
10. And Yet It Moves

Lineup

Ray Alder - vocals
Jim Matheos - guitars
Joey Vera - bass
Bobby Jarzombek - drums
Frank Aresti - guitars

Other reviews

» Still Life
by David Lee

» X
by JP

» Awaken the Guardian
by MetalGeorge

» Live in Athens DVD
by Waspman

» Inside Out (Reissue)
by Erich

» Darkness In A Different Light
by Peter Atkinson

» Darkness In A Different Light
by Erich


Next review: » Fates Warning - Darkness In A Different Light
Previous review: » Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian

Fates Warning
Darkness In A Different Light
November 2013
Released: 2013, Inside Out Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Nine years in coming, DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT comes at the end of the longest period of time the band has ever taken between new album releases. Amidst the various side projects involving all members of the band, a gnawing suspicion took hold in many core fans that FWX would ultimately represent the band’s swan song. Guitarist Frank Aresti makes his return to the studio with the band, his first since INSIDE OUT. The new album finds band leader and chief composer, Jim Matheos, continuing the evolution of the band and embracing modern progressive metal tendencies while compositionally, 8 of the 10 songs are co-written by other members of the band compared to 0 on the last Fates album. These collaborative songs include down tuned guitars, staccato rhythms, and a greater reliance on a sequence of riffs rather than power chords in most of the songs. In essence, there is much here distilled from the recent OSI and Arch/Matheos albums, but with enough individual character present to separate this as a Fates Warning album.



Lead off track, “One Thousand Fires” is one of those connecting tracks to Arch/Matheos, a rhythmically tricky opening with down tuned guitars front and center before things slow down for the first verse. It is the chorus that seals the deal though, Alder delivering one of his patented and memorable vocal melodies. The template of this first song is revisited through much of the album, intros typically being the faster, heavier, and often more opaque passages, while the verses and choruses are where the band offers the more accessible and connecting elements. The melding of the modern with the vintage Fates Warning culminates with “I Am”, the perfect marriage on the album of past and current Fates Warning. “Lighthouse” serves as a moody ballad, recalling themes of A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY and PARALELLS. The Kevin Moore penned tune “O Chloroform” contains one of the best choruses on the album before things wind down with the most progressive and epic tune on the album, “And Yet It Moves”, a fourteen minute exposition of all the albums elements in one track.



One thing that is clear after a few listens is that this is more a of a cohesive band effort compositionally than FWX, with every member of the band other than bassist Vera contributing writing credits. Bobby Jarzombek continues the fine tradition of percussion in Fates Warning, worthy of the standards previously set by Mark Zonder while Vera remains solid and well-produced. Sure, Alder has lost some of that upper range, but he continues to be inventive with his vocals and lyrically, sharp as ever. Aresti and Matheos remain an underrated combination on guitars, Aresti no doubt helping to infuse this with some vintage Fates qualities to balance Matheos tendency to be ever more modern and evolving. The end result is not a perfect album, but a worthy addition to the catalog of one of the most influential and respected progressive metal bands in existence.
Track Listing

01. One Thousand Fires

02. Firefly

03. Desire

04. Falling

05. I Am

06. Lighthouse

07. Into The Black

08. Kneel And Obey

09. O Chloroform

10. And Yet It Moves

Lineup

Ray Alder – Vocals
Jim Matheos – Guitar
Frank Aresti – Guitar
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Joey Vera – Bass

Other reviews

» Still Life
by David Lee

» X
by JP

» Awaken the Guardian
by MetalGeorge

» Live in Athens DVD
by Waspman

» Inside Out (Reissue)
by Erich

» Darkness In A Different Light
by Peter Atkinson

» Darkness In A Different Light
by Erich


Next review: » Fates Warning - Inside Out (Reissue)
Previous review: » Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian





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