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Fates Warning: Darkness In A Different Light

Although they have remained active in a touring capacity, an amazing nine years have passed since Prog Metal pioneers Fates Warning graced us with a new album, the excellently titled Darkness In A Different Light announcing their return. Back in place are original guitarist Jim Matheos alongside long termers Ray Alder on vocals and bassist Joey Vera as well as returned guitarist Frank Aresti who left FW back in 1995 only to rejoin eight years later. Leaving drummer Bobby Jarzombeck as the only debuting Fates Warning member on Darkness...

Unusually for a band having suffered such a long studio lay off there's been little or no drama behind that fact, the truthful reason for the recording sabbatical being just how busy the main players have been with other bands and projects. Leaving it as no surprise that DIADL finds Fates Warning sounding pretty much like, well... Fates Warning. Bristling riffs, bombastic solos and surging drums the order of the day, while Alder still captivates through a powerful, controlled howl that packs as mighty a punch as the guitar attack. Never a band to rely on keys for their brand of Prog Metal, FW always had and still possess more fire and gut bursting power than most of their Progressive contemporaries, one foot far more firmly in Metal than say Dream Theater or Vanden Plas. Something that has always made this band stand out and appeal to a different set of Proggers than might at first be suspected. It is a true strength and one repeated in fine style on the atmospheric build of "I Am", which fits and starts between power rushing riffs and battering drums, as Alder keeps everything in check while toms rolls and plaintive guitars alter the focus.

"Kneel And Obey" again finds the toms of Jarzombeck firmly in play, creating an unsettling tribal vibe, as a snaking riff broods menacingly. "O Chloroform" deciding to up the ante through blistering lead work, while remaining firmly in mid-paced territory, which is certainly a theme often to be found here. If indeed different lights (sorry...) is what you yearn for, then the more restrained, almost Queensryche like "Into The Black" offers up a classy change of approach, while the haunting voice and guitar of "Lighthouse" takes that ethos a step further, the results being strangely captivating. A step in the other direction is offered up through the immediate swipe of riffage that is "One Thousand Fires", while the steamrollering "Firefly" sits neatly between full force and considered, illustrating the fine, varied mix on offer. Crucially however it all comes together beautifully to make for an album which holds the attention from first note to last.

Darkness In A Different Light isn't an album to make Fates Warning move into uncharted territory, or test new ground. Instead it confirms that they still are one of the prime players in hard hitting Prog and after nine years away, that in itself is something to be very proud of.

Track Listing
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

Added: October 7th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Fates Warning Online
Hits: 2375
Language: english

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Fates Warning: Darkness In A Different Light
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-10-07 17:39:00
My Score:

I mostly agree with Steve Reid's assessment on Fate's new album, although I do find it to be a less diverse and a less progressive oriented album than some of their past productions.

A Pleasant Shade of Gray was my introduction to Fates Warning. That album is full of a diverse amount of sounds and innovative playing. It was a powerful progressive concept album that I still listen to often. Darkness In A Different Light sticks pretty close to a Rush script. After all, the band has had a close relationship with the Canadian rockers. On Gray Fates Warning used more keyboards and a dynamic/progressive sound. For example, "Part VIII", is full of some of the richest piano in their discography. On Different Light there are fewer if any keyboards. The power is immense, and there are few places for a breath of fresh air within this soundscape for any piano or acoustic guitar. "Falling" and the opening to the epic closer "And Yet it Moves" are the rare exceptions. "Falling" uses a slower cadence, and Alder delivers a much more sincere and original vocal performance. The acoustic guitar opening on "And Yet it Moves" is almost enough of a reason to purchase the CD in itself. However, it only lasts a minute before we are back of the banging and clanging. The acoustic guitar and keys return around the 9 minute mark in an attempt to save the track, but it was too late to undo the damage for me.

Maybe it was all the rumors of a return to recording for Ozzy Osbourne this year, with the re-formation of Black Sabbath. But this album sounds like Ray Alder's attempt to out - Ozzy the Black Sabbath front man. That may sound great if you are a fan of Ozzy's, but if you were going to buy this album to hear Fates Warning, well, you may have to wait until the next one.

If the thought of Ozzy fronting Rush sounds like an epic album to you, then Darkness In A Different Light will definitely delight. If you, like me were looking forward to some great progressive rock going in a new direction, maybe the next one will take you there. Only time will tell.

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