Fates Warning "Parallels" 2xCD/DVDPosted on Friday, March 19th, 2010 @ 5:56am » permalink
For some reason, Fates Warning is one of those bands that I've always wanted to like, but I never really got into 'em. I've checked out a number of their albums over the years (I still have "No Exit", I just never really listen to it), but nothing ever hooked me in. Well, just a few days ago, Metal Blade Records released this expanded reissue of "Parallels", the band's sixth full-length (originally released in 1991), and I decided I'd give 'em another shot. Maybe I'm a little more open-minded about certain facets of progressive metal these days, or maybe the relaxed nature of this material is a nice breather, I don't know. Whatever the case, I'm finally starting to get into this band!
They're pretty "different", too, forgoing many of the typical characteristics of this genre. For example, this material's definitely not as overtly technical and involved as the term "progressive metal" would suggest, nor does it boast the particularly energetic flourishes of power metal that often play a role for comparable artists. I wouldn't really call it "arty" either (and that's probably a good thing). The compositions aren't overly long, so the whole album clocks in at eight tracks in 45 minutes, etc. All that being said, it is pristinely recorded/mixed, which helps to highlight loads of sleek clean passages and generally cool riffs. There's a lot of really fluid instrumentation overall, and the songwriting is fairly memorable through just barely starting to scratch the surface of what could be considered occasional "catchiness". I know the band's approach has shifted in phases over the years, so this isn't representative of their entire body of work, but… I'm finally wanting to start exploring the rest of their back catalog to see how it all compares to this.
For longtime fans of the band, the second disc contains an eight-track live set recorded in 1992 with five demo recordings of songs from the album tacked on as an added bonus. To be honest with you, I've never been into live recordings, and since all of the demo songs appear on the album in re-recorded form, I haven't bothered to check out this portion of the material. On a similar note, I don't have a physical copy of the set, so I haven't seen the DVD, but it looks to include another full live set from 1992; two music videos; and a "making of" documentary that's said to contain current interviews with all of the band members, the album's producer, and Brian Slagel from Metal Blade. That's a hell of a lot of content, and unlike many "bonus" DVD's, it sounds like this one actually makes a difference!
As with the last few Metal Blade releases I've covered, they don't seem to be putting any complete tracks out there for download, so here's an excerpt to demonstrate a bit of what the album offers (you can check out more via the MySpace link above, of course):
This one's available digitally as well, but considering you can get the physical set with the bonus DVD for just a few bucks more, I can't really fathom why anyone would go the mp3 route here. Hell, you can get the CD's/DVD for just $13 at Amazon.com right now!? That's a bargain. There's a good chance I'll pick one up myself!