Founded way back in 1982, I first noticed Fates Warning (FW) with their second singer Ray Alder on their fourth album No Exit (1988). Since then I've been a true-blue fan of their enchanted prog rock. A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997) is still my favourite album, but I found their latest studio release FWX (2004) slightly disappointing since it didn't meet the usual musical standards of the band. Now, after a nine year gap, FW have recorded a new album called Darkness In A Different Light.
In the meantime the line-up of the band has changed considerably, seeing that drummer Mark Zonder has left and two old members returned to the fold. So currently FW consist of Ray Alder (vocals), Jim Matheos (guitars), Joey Vera (bass guitar), Frank Aresti (guitars) and Bobby Jarzombeck (drums). Fortunately the sound of the band hasn't changed. The beautiful, melodic vocals of Alder are still clearly present and the album still contains a sense of darkness and melancholy like on the previous records. However, the new album is definitely a step away from their previous one FWX, as it is a so-called back-to-the-roots album. This means that this CD is much more guitar orientated, which is obvious as there are now two guitarists in the band. Furthermore there are no keyboards to be heard which makes this album slightly heavier and darker.
One Thousand Fires is an excellent opening song; this is FW's music as it should be: dramatic, filled with Matheos's breathtaking guitar parts and more than excellent singing by Alder, one of the best singers in the genre. Lighthouse and Falling are two rather quiet songs which bring out the excellent vocals of Alder even better. Into The Black is another highlight again filled with inventive guitar riffs and great dreamy melodies. But the masterpiece of the album is the final piece called And Yet It Moves . This epic track with a running time of more than fourteen minutes is an FW classic. This piece will become a great track live on stage; this is progressive metal as it should be played!
Darkness In A Different Light is an excellent album by Fates Warning, seeing the band at the top of their game. It showcases a group that has become better over the years. If you like true progressive metal this album should be in your top ten of 2013! If that's not the case than you either don't like prog metal or you need to get your ears checked. The album will be available as a CD, a two-CD media book, a double LP and as a digital download. The two-CD media book will contain four bonus tracks being an extended version of Firefly, the previously unreleased track Falling Further, and live versions of One and Life In Still Water.
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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