By Rob Kachluba
Hard to believe it has been almost ten yrs since Fates Warning released their last album FWX but here we are in 2013 with a new album about to be released. Darkness in A Different Light is almost a return to form for this revered powerhouse prog metal band. Classic trifecta lineup of Jim Matheos, Ray Alder and Frank Aresti, joined by long time touring bassist Joey Vera and monster drummer Bobby Jarzombek, have put together a modern prog metal album that I am sure most fans and will enjoy.
Fates Warning has definitely carried the energy of the recent Arch/Matheos album over to Darkness, which has a modern heavy aggressive edge. Vocalist Ray Alder sounds awesome here singing primarily in his midrange where he is most comfortable. The first two opening tracks are great aggressive prog metal tunes with strong choruses: the songs are layered with two guitars playing almost completely different riffs and loaded with great soloing, thanks to Frank Aresti. Long time fans will be very happy about this. A lot of the songwriting contains both guitarists playing different parts and riffs but it dosent detract from the songs by making it seem to technical. A great feat for sure that does not detract from a great song/hook.
This is warm, melodic progressive metal done in upbeat way. I found the last few albums to be very moody and dark with a lot of emphasis on creating long, atmospheric passages, but in contrast this new one combines all the classic Fates stages rolled into one. I would have to say Bobby J really shines here on drums, just like he did on the Arch/Matheos album. This guy is an incredible player with deadly fills and chops and really gaves them that aggressive edge. Track 5 on the album “I Am” shows Ray Alder really shining vocally. He is the master of the warm midrange and really proves why he is one of the premier singers in prog metal.
There are a couple of slower, moodier songs that really didn’t do much for me but album closer “And Yet It Moves” clocks in at fourteen minutes and reminds me of “Still Remains” from Disconnected -an epic of a song that brings memories of “11th Hours” and “Monument” to mind. I’m not saying Fates has released an all time classic but with this album they can stand proud and show all the doubters that they are indeed back and can still be a force in progressive metal. Catch them live this fall on a rare North American tour.
Darkness in A Different Light will be released on October 1st in North America through Inside Out