Fates Warning

The latest Fates Warning album to be given the reissue/deluxe treatment is 1991’s Parallels. At the time, it was lauded as Fates‘ “commercial” release and certainly cuts like “Eye To Eye” and “Point Of View” (which both received extensive MTV airplay) were examples of more streamlined material from this prog metal band. Listening now, 19 years later, calling it “commercial” may be a bit of an over-statement. Mark Zonder’s drumming alone is anything but conventional and the arrangements still lean toward the longer, more technical side of things. It’s certainly not as heavy as No Exit nor as technically intense as Perfect Symmetry, but I don’t think “commercial” is the right word…I think “melodic” fits the bill a little more…moving more in the direction hinted at on Perfect Symmetry‘s “Through Different Eyes”. Tracks like “The Eleventh Hour” and the aforementioned “Point of View” rank among some of the best material the band has ever done. The remastering here is stellar and to this day, Parallels remains a solid, rich listen from start to finish.

But we buy these things for the added bonus material, right? Disc 2 showcases a live show recorded in 1992 in Hollywood, CA as well as 6 pre-production demos of Parallels material. The biggest difference in the demos and the final product is, obviously, the rawness of the recording and some of the songs have Ray using different phrasing in the vocals…words coming out different maybe a different melody here and there. But overall, they’re pretty true to how the ended up. The live show, honestly, is a bit rough. The band sounds decent enough…tight and energetic. Ray, on the other hand, seems to be struggling. I know live shows are not perfect and that’s part of the whole “rock and roll” experience. But the vocals at times make it hard to listen to. He’s flat quite a bit and tries to compensate by changing the melody here and there. But, in all honesty, it doesn’t sound like it’s his fault so much as his monitor mix is probably lousy. His voice is there, but it sounds as if he’s singing like he can’t hear himself. So, I’ll cut him a break.

The bonus DVD makes this package worth the price. I think I would have even bought just the DVD alone if it was for sale. There’s the requisite music videos (“Eye To Eye” and “Point Of View”) of course. The live show included here is also from 1992, but this time in New Haven, CT. Ray is in much better form at this show and it’s cool to see a couple times…kinda like a time capsule piece. The jewel of the DVD’s crown though is the 1 hour and 13 minute “Making Of Parallels” documentary. New interviews with the band members (all of them) as well as producer Terry Brown & Metal Blade chief Brian Slagel…loads of candid photos, studio footage, etc. They go through every song in great detail. It’s very well put together and an enjoyable viewing.

Fates Warning fans, take note…you need this package.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
June 10th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Ryan

    great band, great album

  2. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    I agree, Ryan…this DVD is just great, too.

  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Shawn: You’re a singer yourself, right? A guitarist, bassist or drummer wouldn’t think of the monitor problem in a live setting. Nice review, man. I prefer them with John Arch but Ray Alder’s no slouch in the vocal department.

  4. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    CynicGods: Yes, I’m a singer…I can kind of “hear it” in his delivery that he’s having trouble hearing…he’s singing too hard…like he’s trying to get over the stage volume to hear himself…

  5. Commented by: JACINTO


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