Despite their influence and their position in the roots of true, progressive metal as one of the prime creators, Fates Warning have arguably moved into more cult territories nowadays, especially compared to other progressive metal behemoths like Dream Theater who have become one of metal’s biggest entities. Perhaps in part due to the nature of FW’s releases in the last few years, which have proven inconsistent and certainly not to the quality of their early releases. Thankfully their latest album Theories Of Flight (InsideOut) sees them on the right track with their strongest album in recent years.
FW’s take on progressive metal of course takes on both anthemic and memorable hooks and passages with more complex and technical elements; and whereas before at times they may falter on one side or the other, on Theories… they manage to set the balance perfectly. Take the album opener “From The Rooftops” which starts unassuming before it opens up around the 2 minute mark; revealing a huge chorus and some sheer technicality. Even the 10 minute plus songs like “The Light And Shade Of Things”; despite their ever-changing nature, have instantly memorable and easily digestible passages throughout to grab you.
Fates Warning may sometimes feel like the forgotten fathers of progressive metal, especially when you consider just how far some of their peers have transcended, and in all fairness such peers have offered such timeless classics and works that Theories still doesn’t quite live up to. However what it does show is that FW are still a very worthwhile and creative force that are once again worthy of attention, and that after a number of years in the wilderness of creativity, Theories sees them return to their best.
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