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
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!
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.