Darkness In A Different Light

Fates Warning

How does one critique a band that started and pioneered a genre? Is one even […]
By Daniel Fox
October 7, 2013
Fates Warning - Darkness In A Different Light album cover

How does one critique a band that started and pioneered a genre? Is one even worthy? Progressive metal giants FATES WARNING have been around since the early 80's, starting out as a traditional Heavy Metal act, but together with QUEENSRŸCHE and DREAM THEATER kicked off the progressive metal genre in full force. Today, the band wields a different form of Prog to the former (is that not the whole point), and their latest release, "Darkness In A Different Light" is in a significantly different light from their early Heavy Metal releases. It certainly feels like the band is at a peak, and I personally hope this peak lasts for a long time, for this album is a true work of art.

The opening track, "One Thousand Fires" is for one thousand reasons a classic Prog track. The opening riff sounds like something typical of early QUEENSRŸCHE and is the dominant feature, and overall is rife with complicated rhythms upon rhythms, and is never once repetitive. "Firefly" is another highlight of mine, and apparently begins much closer to an atypical Hard Rock track, with a surprisingly heavy intro riff. However, about halfway through one is reminded that Fates Warning are masters of Prog, and the track takes on a completely different mood, set in stone by a blistering solo section. "Desire" is a slower, much more relaxed track, which features some ambient atmospherics as a distant, discorded guitar wah that is almost hypnotising. Yet again, as unexpectedly as before, the track takes a dramatic turn halfway through, and is almost sounding like something from early TOOL. "Falling" is a short tender, acoustic track; not too many unexpected surprising here, but features impressive, heartfelt vocals from Ray. "I Am" is easily my favourite on the album, beginning with a tribal drum and bass passage, yet again highly reminiscent of TOOL. The song speeds into a heavy (and trippy) riff battery that transcends time signatures that dominates most of the song, with incredibly powerful chorus vocals.

"Lighthouse" brings us back down to Earth for a moment, and builds on the tender mood established by "Falling"; nothing screaming special and revolutionary, but nonetheless a solid, easy-listening breeze. "Into The Black" is another extremely strong track, and delivers yet more progressive metal that I know and love, with heavy and catchy riffs that unpredictably flow in and out of each other. "Kneel And Obey" is even heavier still; slower-paced, and yet featuring even more crunching riff work, yet still complicated enough to engage the listener into observing truly intelligent songwriting. "O Chloroform" does absolutely nothing to put one to sleep with a highly memorable intro riff that exudes progressive musicianship, intelligent lyrics, and extremely catchy vocal melodies. Now for the big one: "And Yet It Moves" is every Prog album's archetypal movie-length track. Does this diminish the song's excellence? Not at all; the way it is written, it feels like many songs meshed together, with many dynamics, timbres, moods, heavy and slow riffs, acoustic and overdriven passages spliced into one progressive masterpiece.

I went into this album with an honest and open mind, but I was actively looking for points of criticism when their weren't any. FATES WARNING have been doing this for a long time, and they're not about to forget how to create perfect music, because that is what this album is.

10 / 10


"Darkness In A Different Light" Track-listing:

1. One Thousand Fires
2. Firefly
3. Desire
4. Falling
5. I Am
6. Lighthouse
7. Into The Black
8. Kneel And Obey
9. O Chloroform
10. And Yet It Moves

Fates Warning Lineup:

Ray Alder - Vocals
Jim Matheos - Guitar
Frank Aresti - Guitar
Bobby Jarzombek - Drums
Joey Vera - Bass

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