Monday, July 28, 2008


With the recruitment of their new singer Ray Alder Fates Warning started moving towards a more accessible sound. At this point in their career every album had been significantly different from the last one and Parallels lives up to this legacy. The album trilogy of "No Exit", "Perfect Symmetry" and "Parallels" shows an evolution that really comes to its own here. Parallels is the perfect marriage of challenging, thoughtful and easily accessible music. It is catchy, yet long lasting, technical and detailed, yet not overwhelming because it keeps the melodic element in focus at all times. Pop-Prog-Metal anyone? Part of why the album is so easily accessible can be attributed to its warm production, which really is as close to perfection as I can imagine. Every instrument is given its own clear space to unfold. Bass, drums and guitars all have a wonderful sound. Guitarist Jim Matheos is responsible for writing all the music and I am guessing he wrote all the lyrics as well. Ray Alder sings these with a ton of emotion and his voice holds a certain sadness that really hits home. He is much more controlled than on the previous two records and it suits his voice.
Mark Zonder shows his incredible skill on the drums by constantly changing patterns and adding a ton of detail to the music. I cannot stress how amazing it is listening to him play.
Joe Dibiase on bass is another creative spirit roaming free. His bass lines often lead the way and bring both intensity and extra nuances to the melodies. From the gentle opening notes of Leave the past behind to the gentle closing notes of The road goes on forever the album mixes memorable choruses and vocal melodies with technical brilliance in a way that is compact, interesting and never boring.
This is one of those albums where you don't really notice the guitar solos until you start listening for them and discover that they are outstanding all around. The guitar sound has a lovely crunch to it throughout and this gives a song like Life on Still Water and extra edge.
The album doesn't take any detours into long instrumental passages or 20 minutes epics and in this case it is better for it.
--- Steen


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