MetalBlade Records
Release date: October 5, 2004

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Fates Warning has always suffered from the so called “little brother syndrome” when it comes to their better known big brothers Dream Theater and Queensrÿche as far as public awareness goes. For some reason, when talk of Progressive Metal starts, Fates Warning gets easily left out. Fates Warning’s music seems to be known only among the privileged few. With an album as strong as this, that tendency will hopefully change. Any fan of Progressive Metal is only doing themselves disservice by ignoring this band.

The album starts with the sound of crickets with an approaching storm in the background, which is a perfect metaphor for what’s to come: peace and rage. One end of the spectrum associated with clear summer days and the other with powerful forces.

The first track, “Left Here,” sets the tone for the acoustic feel that runs through the whole album. The single “Simple Human” stops suddenly as the eerie intro to “River Wide Ocean Deep” takes over, and introduces female background vocals, which remotely remind of the crying sort of Egyptian-style singing. Singer Ray Adler’s vocals move in softly… whispering at first, and slowly gaining power and raising in volume and strength. Mid-song, machine gun drumming and a drilling guitar step in until Ray’s vocals reappear. The song eventually slows down, ending with a strong bassline.

“Another Perfect Day” brings back the acoustical vibe. Despite the dark lyrics, this song has the lightest atmosphere of all of the songs.

“Heal Me” is a perfect example of how the songs on this album sound simple, but on closer look, are anything but simple. A true master of ones craft can make things seem simple even when they are difficult, as the saying goes. “Heal Me” is also custom-made for all hi-fi-freaks out there, with all of its clear sounds and sound effects. There’s over 7 minutes of this pleasure ride to enjoy. Aptly titled, “Sequence #7” has a bass lead intro with sound effects into the next song.

On the whole, this entire album has a soothing and calming effect on the listener. It’s like the sounds keep hammering away at all the pressures of the listener, little by little making room for calmness to take over. Although this cannot be called relaxing music, since the constant changes in the songs are more unnerving than relaxing when put under closer inspection, the end result is still soothing.

“Stranger (with a familiar face)” is the most straightforward song on the album, and on the whole, the fastest song. The CD ends in an emotionally touching, yet dark song called “Wish,” in which Ray Adler hopes that “may you always know peace that I could never seem to find.”

The cover art deserves special mention too. The artistic picture on the cover has so many little things going on that it takes a while to notice them all. This brings back a longing for the old album (LP) covers and the eye for detail they at their best had, along with the joy that just studying and holding them brought. It’s good to see that cover art is not just a thing of the past, and it’s a pleasure to see a band taking such care with their cover art.

All in all this is a beautiful package all around.


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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