Produced by Jim Matheos
After a long nine-year gap progressive rockers Fates Warning are back with a new album called Darkness In A Different Light. This work features an old face and a new face within the band from their last outing in Frank Aresti returning to the band and current drummer Bobby Jarzombek making his first studio appearance for them after six years in the band.
The members of the band have been busy in the time away (or at least time away from recording and extensive touring as they have continued to do a few low key shows most years). Ray Alder (vocals) has worked with Redemption, Jim Matheos (guitarist and original member) with OSI and Arch/Matheos, and Joey Vera (bass) with Armored Saint, and Bobby Jarzombek with Riot, Halford and Sebastian Bach.
The album is not a concept piece but does have the theme of light, and the search for it in a physical, emotional or possibly spiritual way. Opening with One Thousand Fires with its heavy and frantic opening being pushed along by Jarzombek who's playing makes it a more metal opening than the last couple of albums. The chorus is excellent and sung beautifully. The words "one thousand fires, like stars they fill my eyes, one thousand fires, flames burning midnight skies" are easy to picture in the mind as a coastline late at night with fires burning away on each hill top warning ships in the ocean. The song certainly alludes to a sailing ship going on a journey.
In a similar vein the next track Firefly has some great riffs, fast paced energetic opening but with very melodic and catchy choruses, along with some great soloing. The very reflective and sombre Falling is a gem. With very emotional vocals and gentle acoustic guitar and lyrics that change from a positive vibe to a negative twist. What could be called a short bittersweet song. I Am is a great track. With a lovely build up heading into a crunching riff and an infectious chorus with hints of Tool and strangely Pearl Jam amongst others at certain points this is a real highlight and would be a great radio track. Lighthouse is once again a more gentle reflective track with the lyrics continuing the early theme about travel, boats, storms and light. The best of these being "you must open your eyes, then you'll know that the thunder only crashes a while, and the storm clouds will pass soon, then you'll see the lighthouse waits for you, the lighthouse waits".
The next three tracks are rockier with a grunge feel at times. The best of this group of songs is Into the Black which has a strong sense of melody as well as some fantastic drum work. The final track is the longest by some length on this album clocking in at just over 14 minutes. Fortunately it is one of the best tracks on here. Starting with a lovely classical guitar piece until the riffs kick in - and there are several good ones on this. About half way in there is a false ending which brings the track down to a more mellow section before the best guitar solo of the album comes in. There is good interplay of light and heavy throughout blending with the lyrics.
This is a good solid album with only a bit of a dip over half way through. Not their best work but better than the previous one nine years ago which is a step in the right direction.
“ the theme of light, and the search for it ”
Tracklist: One Thousand Fires / Firefly / Desire / Falling / I Am / Lighthouse / Into The Black / Kneel And Obey / O Chloroform / And Yet It Moves
Special Edition Bonus Disc: Firefly (Extended) / Falling Further / One (Live) / Life In Still Water (Live)
Photo(s): Axel Jusseit
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