Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

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Inside Out Music
Produced by Jens Bogren

Theories of Flight is the twelfth studio album by American progressive metal band Fates Warning. It is also particularly good. Featuring the same musicians as the last album who hail from other bands like Armoured Saint, Halford and Redemption, along with original member Jim Matheos (guitar) and a couple of excellent contributions from sometime guitarist Frank Aresti, there is no question as to the quality of the people in the band.

Pleasingly the music is of the high quality that could be expected from the personnel involved. The highlights without doubt are the two long pieces The Light And Shade of Things and The Ghosts of Home. Not to say that some of the shorter pieces are not also good, but when given time to explore and create, they are better able to show off not only the technical skills, but to allow that “light and shade” suggested in the first of these to slowly unravel in time. With some beautiful melodies and haunting lyrics to emphasise the more dextrous and metal parts, these are both first class examples of progressive metal at its finest.

The first of the long tracks has a very empty desolate feel at times which matches the lyrical theme, but with a surprisingly catchy hook and chorus. It's a song that seems to address the feelings of someone alone after a long relationship; lots of light, but a lot of shade too. The latter is based on the early life of guitarist Jim Matheos who as a child kept having to move home. With lyrics about "dislocation", "another destination" and being a "stranger in a strange land," it's clear it wasn't easy as a child in a nomadic family, even the idea of childhood friendships being "fleeting blood brotherhoods". Some of the time changes are excellent and the chopping and changing captures the idea of a constant change of home. It's a powerful and emotional piece which many people who grew up with, for instance mums or dads in the military that move around a lot, will truly be able to identify with. Fabulous stuff.

The title track follows right on from this piece, with voiceovers from others who had been “ripped away from home” with some gorgeous gentle guitar leading into electric soloing and back again. Really intelligent and thoughtful. The shorter tracks are all of good standard with opener “From The Rooftops” being one of the better album openers of recent times setting the tone for what is to come. From the gentle opening into the thunderous main part, with all the instruments clear and playing their parts along with first class vocal performance (the vocals throughout are superb) and a hook line chorus that sticks in the mind, this sets the scene. White Flag is a power metal prog piece with some storming guitar work, but the huge anthemic style chorus loved by power metallers everywhere.

This is a very highly recommended album for those who love progressive music, metal and even songs that are still immediate within those frameworks.

“ Fabulous stuff ”

Tracklist: From The Rooftops / Seven Stars / SOS / The Light And Shade of Things / White Flag / Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen / The Ghosts of Home / Theories of Flight

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2016, Albums, Progressive,

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