Fates Warning

FATES WARNING – Darkness In A Different Light

Fates warning - Darkness in a Different LightThe name Fates Warning has popped up a little now and then in my life since the mid eighties. But for some reason they never caught my interest at all. But things changed a bit back in 1991 when the band had just released their album Parallels and Headbanger’s Ball showed their video for “Eye To Eye”. That’s when I realised I might had been missing out on something. Said and done, album bought and it was a great album, to my ears it sounded like a more progressive Queensrÿche or maybe a less progressive Dream Theater. It also made me buy its predecessor, Perfect Symmetry (1989), and even though I think it’s a good album, I found it a bit disappointing and I didn’t go back further in the band’s discography. What I did learn though, was that the band had released four albums prior to that and that the three first of those wasn’t with current vocalist Ray Alder, but some guy named John Arch. I still haven’t heard those albums, but there are some early fans that believe that Fates Warning died when Arch left the band. However, I did buy the band’s follow ups Inside Out (1994) and A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997), both good albums, but somehow I lost interest and didn’t hear anything about the band until 2010 when they reunited the Parallels line up and played Sweden Rock Festival – a gig that didn’t make a lasting impression on me. The albums Disconnected (2000) and FWX (2004), I didn’t even know existed. But what I did hear was that that the reunion was a success and that it gave the band a taste of wanting more so they dived right into a writing and recording process that has now spun off into a reunion studio album.

Now I can’t say that my expectations were high for this one. Not low either, I simply didn’t have any expectations at all as it was such a long time since I heard anything new by the band. After one listen it’s clear that this does sound like a Fates Warning album and that the band hasn’t changed their brand at all. Well almost not at all, anyway. The opening with “One Thousand Fires” is brilliant – a seven minute long progressive class act that brings in some Dream Theater influences into the classic Fates Warning sound. “Firefly” follows and the song gives us an indication on how good the modern version of Queensrÿche (the version with Tate, Wilton, Rockenfield & Jackson) could have sounded had they (he?) played their (his?) cards right, because that’s what this song sounds like. I’m thinking that Fates Warning might just will come up with the goods this time when “Falling” starts. It’s a ballad and nothing wrong with that, but the song is only one and a half minute long which means that it ends before it has gone anywhere. I don’t get it. Make it a real song instead. This way it’s only pointless and these things annoys me. “I Am” brings us back on track – a very good and progressive song that is also very heavy, “Lighthouse” finally gives us a real ballad, although this one is in the progressive vein and it’s a really good one and “Into The Black” sounds heavy and progressive and is classic Fates Warning. But then stuff like “Kneel And Obey” and “O Chloroform”comes along, the first with its big Alice In Chains influence and the latter mixes prog-metal with alternative – neither works at all and both falls flat. “O Chloroform” has lyrics by ex-Dream Theater keyboardsman Kevin Moore. But the band saved the best for last. “And Yet It Moves” is a mammoth epic 14 minute prog-metal track that mixes a lot of different styles which keeps the listener at peak all the while. This is how I like my prog.

Still, this album leaves me a bit confused. Because while listening to it, many songs sound very good, but afterwards I really can’t remember one melody. Also, it doesn’t really grow on me either – not yet anyway. I really want to love this album, but unfortunately, I don’t. Yes, I do like it, but it feels a bit too uneven for comfort. Besides the production is weak – too light weight – this kind of music needs a heavier production. I know that my rating here might look contradicting to what I have written here, with use of adjectives as “brilliant”, “great” and “very good”, but individually many of the songs work very well, but as a whole this album leaves me a bit cold. A good album, yes, but as a reunion album from one of prog metal’s main acts, I had hoped for more even without any expectations.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)


01. One Thousand
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

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