Reviewed: December, 2020
Released: 2020, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Kat Knite
I don’t even know where to start with this one.
An impressive force in progressive metal for over 35 years, Fates Warning return to the scene with their longest and most epic album yet: Long Day Good Night. Compared to “something of a roller coaster ride”, this record is truly progressive in nature – not just each song individually, but as a whole and complete piece of musical genius. Genre-blending in beautifully effective and seamless ways that underline rather than distract from the band’s identity, the listener is unavoidably enchanted to take a trip through a continuum of musical bliss that ranges from the truly ethereal, to the groovy, jazzy, bluesy, grunge-reminiscent, and downright heavy. Versatile, ocean-deep, and utterly moving, Long Day Good Night just about has it all for me, which is why it scores close to perfect in my books.
Each song a certified hit in its own right, this record holds no skips. Full, soaring vocals, decadent guitars, deliciously fulfilling baselines, drums both highly focused and bewitching, and layered electronic elements come together in completion with ridiculously potent and high-caliber production. With every track I was impressed in new ways from the last. From the start of ‘The Destination Onward’, I knew I was hooked. Spacey, melancholy, beautiful… this song turned something in my chest as it yearned to pull the tears from my eyes. Like the best of 80’s metal mixed with the atmospheric moods of 70’s bands such as Pink Floyd, Fates Warning opened the emotional floodgates and followed up by rocking my world with stunning and deadly rhythm when the song switched gears. What a way to start an album…
Left in awe – particularly from the silkiness and balance of the production – I could hardly wait to hear what was next.
In ‘Shuttered World’, the instruments – though heavy and indulgent – allowed space for the vocals to shine. The chemistry here was obvious, and that’s something that simply cannot be faked. Naturals in songwriting, it seems to be an effortless motion for the band to create a world within a song (though their process is indeed both detailed and dedicated). Starting low and atmospheric, ‘Alone We Walk’ matched lyrics and mood perfectly, only to break through in cascades of opulent and sexy lead guitar soloing. Once the ride halted, the word “woah” seemed to escape my mouth without control of my own.
Something of a “radio hit” sound, ‘Now Comes the Rain” doesn’t betray the band in their authenticity, but manages to show that they are capable of making something for everyone to enjoy. ‘Under The Sun’, a rather pretty and meaningful song, incorporates a full string section – a first for the band. 90s grunge meets the blues in in ‘Begin Again’. A gorgeous, alternative prog rock ballad, ‘When Snow Falls’ – featuring drums from Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree/The Pineapple Thief) – throws me further down the well of infatuation with another sultry guitar solo that sways my very soul. However, the hard-rocker in me is not forgotten, because ‘Glass Houses’ is a fast-tempo banger, clad in Iron Maiden vibes. To my further pleasant surprise, Fates Warning introduce something I can only describe as jazz-rock from outer space in ‘The Longest Shadow of the Day’. Finally, in a deep breath of fresh air, ‘The Last Song’ completes the masterpiece as a dark romantic theme for all the pensive and longing souls of the Earth.
Brilliant and devastating in the best ways, Long Day Good Night is my new obsession. It takes a lot of talent and hard work to pull something like this off and make it as cohesive as it is, and it’s apparent each member went above and beyond to do so. Jim Matheos (guitars), who started writing the record in mid-2019 after touring with Queensrÿche, worked alongside Ray Alder (vocals) for a year to complete these 13 songs for their 13th full-length release. My Friday the 13th birth date and 13 tatted on my arm were a call for this album to find me this year. I believe things happen for a reason… let me be the voice of reason for you to add Long Day Good Night by Fates Warning to your library right. Now.