Original link – http://www.metalstorm.net/pub/review.php?review_id=13952
Fates Warning’s brand of progressive metal is quite unique. Instead of trying to impress the listener with their instrumental prowess in every song (you know which band I have in mind), they focus on creating an interesting and engaging musical experience. Their incredible skill clearly shows, but it’s not so in-your-face, nor does it ever become the goal in itself.
After the long awaited and very solid Darkness in A Different Light, the sky was the limit for Fates Warning, and man, did they soar right up there. Every song on the album is spot on. From the impressive opener adorned with fantastic guitar solos, through more concise, riffy and melody-driven numbers, to the long 10-minute compositions; all songs shine with inspired variety driven by memorable hooks, catchy choruses, intriguing passages and stellar performances from every member of the band. Musicianship on a progressive album doesn’t get any better.
The shorter songs rank among the most melodic and memorable in Fates Warning’s discography. “Seven Stars”, “SOS”, “White Flag”, to name just a few – they grab the listener’s attention and refuse to let go. But it’s the long ones that elevate this album to masterpiece status. “The Light And Shade Of Things” has some of the best vocals Ray Alder has ever done. His extraordinary vocals are interspersed with enough memorable moments to fill at least 3 more songs. The haunting “The Ghosts Of Home” spends some time building up to an explosion of progressive madness, and then moves between atmosphere and emotions. All ingredients merge smoothly into one hell of a track, forming probably the most impressive gem in this resplendent collection of great songs. An in-depth description of these two long songs alone would be enough to fill another review, so let me just stop here.
Fates Warning, like no one else, manage to meld seamlessly the progressive with the accessible. It seems to me that over 30 years since their full-length debut, they might’ve just released one of their best albums. Or perhaps the best? You be the judge.