Original link – http://powerofprog.com/m/blogpost?id=4136212%3ABlogPost%3A193019
By Robert Brady
For well over 30+ years Fates Warning have time and again proven why they are one of progressive metal’s staples. Not only are they pioneers of progressive metal, they are the apostles of the genre. There influence is undeniable. Many would agree that withoutFates Warning there may not of been a Dream Theater and Symphony X from the USA, Vanden Plas from Germany, Threshold from the United Kingdom, Circus Maximus from Norway and Evergrey from Sweden.
Throughout its history Fates Warning has certainly endured with many line up changes. At the center of the various changes has always been two constants, that being Jim Matheos and Ray Alder. It is almost very certain that Jim Matheos and Ray Alder have not lost any vision for Fates Warning. Even before Dream Theater’s Change of Seasons, Symphony X’s The Odyssey and even Green Carnation’s Light of Day, Day Of Darkness, Fates Warning would yield progressive metal’s first true epic in Ivory Gate Of Dreams from 1988’s No Exit album.
In 2016 Fates Warning still have a hand on the banner of progressive metal. This is very apparent with their brand new album and second on the Inside Out Music label called Theories Of Flight. With Theories Of Flight, Fates Warning continue to influence and grow as a band and prove why they are still a standard in the progressive metal community. Theories Of Flight has a little bit of everything Fates Warning has done as a band collective and its various side projects such as OSI, Redemption, Engine, etc ..
Theories Of Flight has a vast collection of elements from straight away progressive metal to avant garde and even ambient elements. The band seems much more rested than they did with their 2013 offering Darkness In A Different Light. The band appears to get right to the point and still allow for the individual compositions to breathe and stand on their own merit. Nothing seems compressed nor hurried in anyway whatsoever.
From The Rooftops opens the album with a very deep ambient tone between the rhythm section and the guitar effects along with the warmth of the vocals of Ray Alder. The intro is definitely filled with emotion before breaking and taking off with a very fierce yet brutal in your face progressive passage. The track definitely has a Jekele and Hyde personality about it. Bobby Jarzombek has added a vicious rhythm intensity at the drums as well.
Seven Stars continues where From The Rooftops left off with a blistering intro before going into a more melodic and harmonic balanced track. The harmony between the vocals and the instrumental portions is as tight as it gets. This track reminds me very much of Fates Warning past with Silent Cries from 1988’s No Exit album. This track is very heavy in its conviction on the vocal harmonies as well.
SOS starts with a crunchy distorted guitar intro before once again going with a all out assault to the audio senses. It also contains some very light thrash elements to it before going into various time progression passages. The bass/drum rhythm section is insanity.
The Light And The Shade Of Things is a more traditional progressive metal track both for its 10+ minutes and its extended intro. The vocals start out very warm to hook the listener into a mini journey throughout the composition. The guitars are very ethereal and ambient in their deliberate nature. The Light And The Shade Of Things is like two tracks going on at once. It is a song of both self reflection and just a straight up kick ass progressive metal track. This is also a ‘gateway track’ for a newer generation of listener and potential fan. It has a tender side and a very aggressive side.
White Flag begins with a very heavy intro before going into a blistering progressive passage. This track is a truly tradition Fates Warning track and a song that can easily translate to visual form for a video if the band chooses. White Flag is very essential to whoFates Warning have grown into song wise. The guitar solo’s are very aggressive.
Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen continues the deliberate assault on the senses. The bands aggressive vision continues for Theories Of Flight. Among all the aggression the band allows for the song to breathe and beautiful melodies to be on display. The band also ventures towards newer time signatures and various effects as well.
The Ghost Of Home opens up with a very non traditional spoken word intro. It is as if a person is changing stations on a television or radio. The vocals draw you in with ease. The Ghost Of Home is the second 10+ minute track on the album. This one certainly has a very heavy OSI influenced progression on it. It reminds me a lot of The Thing That Never Was from OSI’s 2003 deluxe 2 CD edition Office Of Strategic Influence meets a earlier Fates Warning album Disconnected married together. There are areas where their is a ambient element running with perfection with the vocal harmonies.
Theories Of Flight the self titled namesake track begins with some special interstellar space effects. The intro opens in a almost Pink Floydian nature. It also has a deep underlying spoken word effect again. Theories Of Flight is the more eclectic track in tone and nature on the album. It contains very heavy experimental and ambient elements before coming to an sudden end.
In a year where a lot of bands are making ambitious conceptual pieces to remain relevant, or Astonishing, Fates Warning have chosen to make a direct more to the point progressive metal album. This is to satisfy both long time fans and even newer ones.Theories Of Flight is another reminder of who Fates Warning truly are and embody as a band. This album gets a 5/5 for excellence. It also proves why Fates Warning have been fixtures in the progressive metal community over the last 35 years.