Fates Warning - Disconnected

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14324-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:28:00

Cover artwork for European version from Massacre RecordsMy previous experience with Fates Warning is limited to A Pleasant Shade Of Grey, and so like with my review of that album, I cannot put their recent Disconnected into any kind of perspective as relates to their catalog. What I kept thinking of whilst listening to "So" was how much this made me think of Soundgarden. Not that vocalist Ray Alder sounds like Chris Cornell in any way, but this is metal that has hints of that Seattle sound. Or maybe it's just that Soundgarden had that metal sound in their grunge. Oh, but I don't think it's fair to call Soundgarden (the defunct Soundgarden, sadly) grunge, as they only got branded that based on where they were based. Of course, the other band that comes to mind also hails from Seattle - Queensryche.

Produced by the skilled Terry Brown, the production values on Disconnected are quite good. There are effects used to enhance the mood and tenor of the tracks that would probably be lost or mixed too high by a lesser producer. That the sounds have a sort of alien feel contributes to the underlying there here - of being disconnected. The arrangements here all serve to create the perfect atmosphere for the dark theme, especially in the very, very atmospheric "Something From Nothing." While many prog metal fans won't make this connection, what I thought of was Marillion's Brave. Where this differs is that is does often have a hard edge that Brave lacked (or rather would as a metal album). In contrasted to the dark atmospherics of "Something," we also get a lilting and soaring chorus played over dirty, grinding guitars and sparse percussion. The former is a combination of Jim Matheos (guitar) and Joey Vera (bass), the latter courtesy Mark Zonder. Rounding out the band is Kevin Moore on keyboards, who gets a strong solo spot in the intro to "Still Remains" the melodic progressive rocker that edges close to Dream Theater - yes, I know Fates Warning predates Dream Theater. The guitar solo here reminded me so of Rothery in style and tone it was kinda weird?in fact, much of this track makes me think of Marillion (the Marillion I miss so much).

"So" stands out, having a catchy refrain that is almost anthemic. So could be about so many things, as it's specific and yet open to interpretation. Though maybe I've latched onto this track because I share some of its sentiment - "I could move the world/if I weren't so tired." Apathy, of a sort.

Not to beat you over the head with my Marillionisms, but the guitar cries that begin and end the album remind me of the fog horn sounds that began Brave. Each also use vocal and other sound effects. Fates Warning create entire tracks out of the effect though, adding keys that both bubble and sing. Very interesting and moody instrumental pieces that create a very lonely and desolate atmosphere.

Fates Warning are, based on this and Pleasant Shade, a band that will appeal to most segments of the prog metal audience as well as those who think of themselves as more a prog rock fan, but leans towards the meatier stuff. There is power and melodicism together in a very potent and approachable mix. The more I listen to this album, the more I pick it apart, the more I'm liking it. This is the kinda thing I like music to do - become something more, something deeper with each listen. Bravo fellas.

Released in Europe by Massacre Records (MAS CD0242); artwork shown above left

Disconnected Part 1 (1:13) / One (4:27) / So (8:07) / Pieces Of Me (4:24) / Something From Nothing (10:58) / Still Remains (16:08) / Disconnected 2 (6:11)

Ray Alder - vocals
Jim Matheos - guitars, additional keys, sequencing and noise
Mark Zonder - drums
Joey Vera - bass
Kevin Moore - keyboards
Steve Tushar - additional keys, sequencing, and noise

Night On Brocken (1984)
The Spectre Within (1985)
Awaken The Guardian (1986)
No Exit (1988)
Perfect Symmetry (1989)
Parallels (1991)
Inside Out (1994)
Chasing Time (1995)
A Pleasant Shade Of Gray (1997)
Still Life (1998)
Disconnected (2000)
FW:X (2004)
Darkness In A Different Light (2013)
Theories Of Flight (2016)
Awaken The Guardian Live (2017)

Live At The Dynamo (DVD) (2000)
The View From Here (DVD) (2003)
Live In Athens (DVD) (2005)
Awaken The Guardian Live (BR) (2017)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: March 6th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.fateswarning.com
Hits: 1392
Language: english


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