I must admit, it’s hard to believe this group has been around since 1984! In the ‘80s Fates Warning enjoyed a hot streak that cannot be denied, churning out classic releases like: Night on Brocken (1984), The Specter Within (1985) and Awaken the Guardian (1986). Climaxing with their pinnacle achievement, No Exit (1987). Although, a lot of people would argue it’s Parallels (1991) or even Perfect Symmetry (1989) the time Fates decided to change their sound and entered a progressive rock/metal phase from which they’ve never returned.
I once considered Fates Warning a progressive version of Iron Maiden but I lost touch with the band when the thrash/death movement became prominent. I gazed at this current track list and openly wondered what this pioneering act still had left to offer…
I spun the record and found this ‘classy band’ still has some bite! The production quality of Theories of Flight holds some exceptional clarity. The drums of Bobby Jarzombek have a distinct sound and feature some oddly timed patterns but the bass work of Joey Vera is the real standout of this record, the rhythms are so fluid you can follow the entire recording just listening to this individual performance. That’s not to take anything away from the top notch guitar work of Jim Matheos or Frank Aresti but the wall of sound produced on this album is worthy of individual praise.
The vocals of Ray Adler are what makes this a Fates Warning record. I’ll admit I haven’t thought about Fates Warning in years but Ray’s vocals brought me back. His distinctive voice is a viable commodity and it was refreshing to hear he still had the chops. Highlight tracks for me are: “From The Rooftops”, “Seven Stars”, ”SOS” and “Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen”.
To a certain degree Theories of Flight is like Parallels with a splash of No Exit thrown in for good measure. It’s a decent release but if it were a bit heavier it could have been so much more. Either way I’m glad to hear Fates Warning embracing some of their heftier roots. \m/
Fates Warning are:
- Jim Matheos – Guitars
- Frank Aresti – Guitars
- Ray Alder – Vocals
- Joey Vera – Bass
- Bobby Jarzombek