"Darkness In A Different Light"

By Colonel Angus

Fates Warning has been absent for a while.  Sure, we did get the Arch/Matheos disk which was awesome but I have been craving some Ray Alder fronted Fates Warning for some time.  When I heard that they were going to finally put out a disk, I can honestly say that I was a little more than excited.  I thought their last album "FWX" was great so I knew this one would be great as well.  As usual, the guys did not let me down and Darkness In A Different Light is one of my top 10 disks of the year.  From the opening chords of “One Thousand Fires” to the 14 minute epic “And Yet It Moves”, Fates Warning have created a prog metal album that will go down as one of their best.

 This record is one that you will want to listen to as a whole because somehow the whole is greater than the parts.  But if you are one of the people who want to only listen to a song here and there, "Darkness In A Different Light" has some excellent moments; namely “Firefly”, “Lighthouse” and “And Yet It Moves”.  My suggestion is still to make the time to listen this disk all at once.

A few things have changed since FWX.  Aside from changing labels from Metal Blade to Inside Out, Frank Aresti has come back to being a recording member (he has toured with them for a while now) and he really brings an extra element to the album.  I always liked his playing and how it complimented Jim Matheos’ playing.  Also, Bobby Jarzombek has taken over the drums from Mark Zonder.  I think both drummers are excellent and fit Fates Warning in different ways.  Zonder is more of a prog drummer and Jarzombek is more of a metal drummer.  The rest of the band has been pretty consistent.  Obviously, Jim Matheos is handling most of the writing and guitar work and Joey Vera is back on bass.  Ray Alder needs a special mention because he puts in a great vocal performance that is a little different from previous records.   His voice has matured and he doesn’t hit those high notes like before but it has developed a more warm sound and less clinical.  That’s not to say that I don’t love his performances on those earlier records, I’m just saying that I think his voice is aging gracefully (not like some of the other singers from the same timeframe – (not gonna mention any names).

In a year with so many great albums, Fates Warning has created a disk that (I think) will stand the test of time.  The took the prog elements of their earlier works and mixed with the heavier moments from "Disconnected" to create "Darkness In A Different Light".  I hate to call this a comeback album because Fates Warning has never really broken up but since they haven’t put out any records for almost a decade, I’ll have to say that this is my comeback for the year (along with the self-titled Queensryche record and 13 by Black Sabbath).