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   FATES WARNING
FWX
2004
Metal Blade
http://www.fateswarning.com


rating: 5/5

1. Left Here
2. Simple Human
3. River Wide Ocean Deep
4. Another Perfect Day
5. Heal Me
6. Sequence #7
7. Crawl
8. A handful Of Doubt
9. Stranger (With A Familiar Face)
10. Wish
Twenty years after their debut "Night On Brocken", Fates Warning is still able to write amazingly brilliant songs, as we can hear on their Xth studio release "FWX". I love it how Fates Warning can take you on long fascinating journeys into fantasy landscapes with brilliant sounds. And it happens to me a lot on this new album :) Not in a "Shades Of Grey" fashion - this album consists of X separate songs. X gems!

The CD starts with an acoustic bit, the intro to a pretty heavy song, "Left Here", that also has one of those choruses that you just have to sing along to and won't leave your head. Damn catchy without sounding "commercial" at all, it's just the cheer beauty of the melodies, completed by some more technical touches like distorted vocals. "Simple Human" then heavily kicks your ass before we go back to acoustic sounds in "River Wide Ocean Deep". Oriental vocals and synthesizer sounds make this song stand out as the most atmospheric one on the album, really beautiful. Then later on it bursts out in a passionate, heavy second part with again some samples and weird sounds... a very distorted bass maybe? Or maybe it's all synthesizer - sorry I'm no musician so I'll shut up ;) "Another Perfect Day" is a slower melodic song with acoustic guitars again, most of the time - the chorus is heavy and Jim Matheos' solos are simply gorgeous! "Heal Me" is again a beauty, but hey, there are no "uglies" on this album! Ray Alder is great here as he is all over the album, "I'm haunted by your voice".... yes sir! And Mark Zonder's pounding drums take the spotlight in the second half of the song. "Sequence #7" is short, with helicopter-like sounds and radio-contact type of spoken samples, slowly building up to a very haunting instrumental intermezzo. The actual #7 on the album, "Crawl" starts with a "normal" riff again and a solo, and the vocallines in the chorus funny enough remind me of John Bush's (Armored Saint, Anthrax) style. "A Handful Of Doubt" is again an oasis of peace and quiet, of course only until about halfway into the song where it bursts out into a much heavier part - man, how I love it when songs build up to so much heaviness and passion :) We do get half a minute to cool down again before distorted guitars introduce us to an uptempo (almost punky) start of "Stranger (With A Familiar Face)". A diverse, mostly uptempo song. "FWX" leaves us with a melancholic "Wish" for the Xth song. Again it builds up a bit, to an awesome solo of mastermind and brilliant songwriter Jim Matheos.

In short: no fillers, all killers! With this CD (unfortunately the last one with Mark Zonder) and it's musicianship, songwriting, beauty, passion and drive, Fates Warning continue to be a standard, or maybe rather a trendsetter in progressive rock and metal!

submitted by Marlies 26.02.2005

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