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Choice Of The Month November 2004



FATES WARNING: FWX 2004-10-18 prog metal
MetalBlade Records
Playing Time Cat. N°
52:15 SPV CD 085-104602
Review by Rating
Marcel 10/10
nederlands Review

Twenty years ago, Fates Warning laid the foundation for the genre what we know now as progressive metal. After a silence of 4 years, Fates Warning is back, stronger than ever. In 2003 they toured with fellow prog metal icons Queensrÿche and Dream Theater and this gave Jim Matheos new energy to write songs, with as result they now celebrate their twenthieth anniversary with their tenth studio album, aptly names ‘FWX’ and, how else could it be, contains ten rocksolid songs.

Immediately with opener ‘Left Here’ it is clear FWX is one of the best Fates Warning albums. It is definitely not a repeating of their earlier work, although certain elements doe come back. That they have moved on with their time, is evident in the nu-metal influences, such as vocal effects and the short, heavy riffs. But I don’t find it disturbing and will not label them in the same category as Limp Bizkit or Linkin’ Park, as FWX is absolutely on a higher level than those bands. Another influence I encountered, was a touch of Porcupine Tree, especially in ‘River Wide Ocean Deep’, with some Ayreon-like synthesizer sounds and lot’;s of melancholy, both in the guitars as in the vocals.

The whole atmosphere on the album is a bit comparable to OSI or Porcupine Tree, also due to the production of Jim Matheos and Ray Alder (which is excellent, by the way). The drums by Mark Zonder are superb! Especially his ply together with Joey Vera in ‘Heal Me’ is very good. The guitar parts by Jim Matheos are raw, with heavy riffs, but few solo’s. Fine by itself, but personally I think a well placed solo does add something extra.

‘Sequence #7’ shows a different face of FW, more in the vein of OSI, with computer sounds and a great bass by Vera. Here the experiment with different sounds, maybe not appealing to everyone, but fortunately it lasts only two minutes. The might have left that out, as the next song, ‘Crawl’, takes us back to what we were listening to: top notch prog metal!

I have not said much about vocalist Alder. The reason is, I haven’t decided yet. Technically he is a fine singer and his vocals fit the music of FW well, but deep down inside me a tiny voice cries out for John Arch…a personal opinion of course. Fact is, Alders voice does not do much for me.

Closing song ‘Wish’ for me, is the highlight of the album. Filled with emotion and the first time I can really appreciate the vocals. A songs that is built up nicely, with some piano, for the sensitive touch, great combination of Zonder and Vera. And then at last something resembling a guitar solo! Fantastic.

In the end I mus confes I think FWX is an amazing album! A good production and played with heart and soul. And commendable they stayed true to themselves. As far as I’m concerned every prog metal lover should have this album in his/her collection.


Ray Alder: vocals
Jim Matheos: guitars, keys and programming
Joey Vera: bass guitar
Mark Zonder: drums


Left Here
Simple Human
River Wide Ocean Deep
Another Perfect Day
Heal Me
Sequence #7
A Handful of Doubt
Stranger (With a Familiar Face)


FXW (2004)
Disconnected (2000)
Still Life (1998 – Live)
A Pleasant Shade of Grey (1997)
Chasing Time (1995)
Inside Out (1994)
Parallels (1991)
Perfect Symmetry (1989)
No Exit (1988)
Awaken the Guardian (1986)
The Spectre Within (1985)
Night on Brocken (1984)

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Last updated: 01/05/2005 .
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