Fates Warning – Darkness In A Different Light

Fates WarningAt the dawn of progressive metal Hartford, Connecticut’s Fates Warning were among the first guard. Along with Dream Theater and Queensrÿche they forged ahead with a new style of progressive music that made superstars out of John Petrucci and Geoff Tate. But when it came to back-slapping and, importantly, record sales, Fates Warning were often left wanting. Eleven albums in and on the basis of latest work Darkness In A Different Light (Inside Out Music) it is perhaps evidence of why they have been left behind.

That is not to say FW are forgotten. They have still sold enough albums to make lesser bands weep and remarkably talented guys like Mark Zonder and Joe DiBiase have passed through the FW door. But now the warning light seems to have dimmed. There are beautiful textures to be found and the opening duo of ‘One Thousand Fires’ and ‘Firefly’ are easy going metal tunes built around a winding, snarling guitar riff. ‘I Am’ knocks some of the true FW power into shape pulled by Ray Alder’s powerful voice, found in fine fettle. ‘Into The Black’ is the finest hour with bouncing guitar riffs and inventive soloing.

Nine years on from last album FWX (nine years!) Fates Warning have finally got drummer Bobby Jarzombeck seated in a studio. There is no question that the man who beats Sebastian Bach’s drums has huge talent and more than enough is displayed here. It’s a shame, though, that the tricky rhythms of yore are being replaced by straight-forward heavy metal pounding. Sometimes things are best left as they are and maybe this time casting light into this darkness was not a great idea.


Dan Bond

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