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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Fates Warning

Darkness In A Different Light

Review by Greg Olma

It has been almost a decade since we have gotten a Fates Warning release.  The guys have been busy with side projects like Arch/Matheos and Redemption but no matter how good those albums were, I (along with countless fans) have been waiting for a Fates Warning record.  Well, I have to say, Darkness in a Different Light has been worth the wait.  The album is a mix of sounds that incorporates many elements of FWX and Disconnected leaning more towards the metal side of things.  But don’t worry; they still put in a good amount of progressive moments to keep this disc firmly in the prog-metal category.  If you don’t believe me, just grab a listen to the 14 minute closing track “And Yet It Moves.”  This release also marks the debut of new drummer Bobby Jarzombek whose drumming style gives Darkness in a Different Light a slightly more metallic vibe.  Also, coming back to the fold after 1994’s Inside Out is Frank Aresti.  Based on this record, I hope we don’t have to wait another decade before we get more music from Fates Warning because Darkness in a Different Light proves that they have plenty more to say.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
One Thousand Fires
Things start off nicely with this heavy prog-metal track.  Even though it is heavy, it still manages to contain that unmistakable Fates Warning sense of melody.  Anyone who is a fan of this band will already be pleased with this album based solely on this cut.
Firefly

This is the single off the disc (if there is such a thing anymore).  It is a heavy, melodic slice of metal that is more straightforward and less proggy than “One Thousand Fires.”  Ray Alder’s voice has a really nice warmth to it on this record and it really shows on this track.

Desire
Even though the beginning reminds me a little of “Pull Me Under” by Dream Theater, once the track kicks in it becomes a great moody piece that slows things down after two fairly heavy tunes.
Falling

Things get even slower for this short piece which consists of only vocals and guitars.  I would say that this is the ballad on the record and it is over before you know it.

I Am
After a slow bass-driven intro, we go right back to more heavy metal with this track.  This is one of those cuts that really gets you pumped with its rhythm.  There is a cool bridge before the chorus that really keeps things interesting.
Lighthouse

The only way I can describe this piece is “haunting.”  It starts off really slow but builds to where you think it is going to finally break into something heavy, but instead it just stops.  I have listened to this disc a number of times and this one grows on you after repeated plays.

Into The Black
Along with “Firefly,” this one has “hit single” written all over it, albeit in a prog-metal sort of way.  There is some great guitar work on this track and it has a number of twists and turns that really showcase that Fates Warning sound.
Kneel and Obey

This cut is slower and a bit more plodding sounding.  Some Layne Staley style vocals are utilized for this Sabbath inspired heavy tune.

O Chloroform
I read somewhere that this was initially supposed to be part of the Arch/Matheos album but was left off.  Kevin Moore of Dream Theater fame wrote the lyrics which are “out there.”  Although this cut starts off in that same kind of haunting manner as “Lighthouse” it quickly develops into a pretty straightforward metal tune.  Alder shines again with a great melodic vocal performance.
And Yet It Moves

Last, but certainly not least, we get the epic tune that Fates Warning is so good at.  This fourteen minute song starts off with some medieval acoustic guitar.  After about a minute, things get very prog-metal with many twists and turns in the remaining minutes.  I like this song best because it highlights everything that is great about Fates Warning: great vocals, riffs, and strong songwriting.

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