Fates Warning - 2013 Darkness In A Different Light

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ARTIST: Fates Warning
ALBUM: Darkness In A Different Light
LABEL: Inside Out Music
SERIAL: IOMSECD 385
YEAR: 2013

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

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

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

RATING: image

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Fates Warning is one of the bands that originated progressive metal. In an era where progressive metal has increased in popularity due to an influx of the young fans and players of the sound, they haven't been active in the studio for about nine years.

A recipe for disaster? Maybe. While primary writers Jim Matheos and Ray Alder have both kept themselves busy with side projects (most famous of which being Matheos' OSI.

He co-wrote all songs with the elusive ex-keyboardist of Dream Theater, Kevin Moore), they haven't worked together in a long while and the effects of that are visible on the album.

The Songs

The album is kicked off with a trademark Jim Matheos fast heavy riff and a dark atmosphere is immediately introduced in 'One Thousand Fires'. Clean guitar parts before Ray Alder comes in remind me a bit of some of Fates' most famous hits on 'Parallels' and 'Inside Out', but the song then immediately starts drawling, or, more precisely, the vocal melodies do.

The single 'Firefly' does better - more hooks, more variety.

'Desire' is one weird tune that sounds like a leftover from ambient-heavy OSI albums, and I can't help but wonder how it would sound like if it got the Kevin Moore treatment.

The fourth track spot, usually reserved for a hard-hitting tune, is instead home to a short 'intro' track under two minutes - a nice ballad called 'Falling'.

And indeed, it leads into a hard hitting tune, 'I Am', featuring Jim's most frantic riffing of the past several years which supports truly strong and catchy vocal melodies courtesy of Alder, but not without a couple of ambient spots, where the famed vocalist is left almost alone, as if he were pondering human destiny on a mountain top.

Another dragged out track called 'Lighthouse' follows, and I am wondering whether to award the title of the worst modern Fates tune to it. I am usually a fan of dark and moody songs with a healthy dose of suspense in them, but yet can't connect with it at all.

The classic Fates Warning attack featuring in 'Into The Black' would have done better in the first half of the album, as well as the tension-laden 'Kneel And Obey'.

The second to last track 'O Chloroform' cheers me up greatly, because it is as balanced, melodic and catchy as 'Firefly', but due to my mood growing and shrinking so many times I always have the impression that 'Firefly' was a million years ago by the time I get to it. Still, give me a driving rhythm and Kevin Moore's lyrics (Moore/Matheos collaborations are always superb) and I'm a happy gal.

The 14-minute-epic 'And Yet It Moves' is rather interesting with its tug-of-war between acoustic and purely metal guitar parts, but it remains on the level of 'interesting' - it doesn't impress.

In Summary

I'm seriously wondering whether Jim Matheos arranged the track order as meticulously as he is wont to do, because the track order doesn't do justice to many of these songs.

It seems that after nine years, between Ray Alder's voice range diminishing and Matheos using up all his creative juices for other projects, there isn't as much fire left for Fates Warning as I hoped there would be. I hope time will prove me wrong.


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