Since there has been a bit of discussion about this band in the forum lately, I thought I would take the opportunity to submit a review. I think some will feel slighted though, since many feel that this band is nothing close to prog, but that is why we all have opinions and why PE is such a wonderful place! I have decided to review their most recent release since I feel it is one of their better efforts along with a Pleasant Shade of Gray so here it goes.
Disconnected was released in July of 2000 and is the band's 9th studio release. The band consists of Ray Alder on vocals, Jim Matheos on Guitars and Mark Zonder on drums. On this album, Joey Vera is on Bass Guitar and Kevin Moore (Dream Theater) plays keyboards. It was produced by Fates Warning and Terry Brown of Rush fame.
The production and arrangement of the album are fantastic, the content is what lacks a little. Prog elements are thrown in here and there but it sounds as if the band are trying too hard to be prog and them fall back into their metal past. However this theme doesn't dominate the record, thankfully.
The album starts out with the title track (part one) which is pretty much just low slow guitar notes and background keys that almost sounds like something teens would experiment with in their garage. Thankfully this does not last long and the first real track of the album, "One", kicks in. This song has a great metal sound with a strange riff from Matheos thrown in. The lyrics are what makes the song and Alder's vocals are adequate if not close to excellent for the type of music. The next two songs, "So" and "Pieces of Me", are pretty much in the same vein as "One", with some twists and turns. Great metal, mediocre prog. The highlight here is the tune "Something For Nothing". The song has lots of changes and some great lyrics. Alder's vocals also seem made for this tune. If only the rest were as good. The last song worth listening to is "Still Remains", a fantastic lyrical piece about the losses in life and how we are able to move on. The last track, just skip it, it's a longer version of the first.
Fates Warning really does have a lot to offer, especially for metal fans. Their music is dark and foreboding but also lyrically inspiring. I like the lyrics almost better than the music and if the music were a bit more complex they would be at the top of the prog world. But I think they will have to settle for the middle ground. Overall, not a total waste of time but nothing mind blowing either just some good music to jam to and lyrics that will make you think, just a little.
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