Arch, John - A Twist Of Fate

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Metal Blade Records
Catalog Number: 14440 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 27:59:00

Music can be excellent without being groundbreaking ? and that is what we find with A Twist of Fate. Standard progressive metal executed extremely well. No new ground broken here, but it is nonetheless an excellent listen, which I included in my list of the best-of-2003. The only real complaint: Why is it just an EP? A full-length album of this quality would have been at the top of every best-of-2003 list!

John Arch was the original vocalist for the elder statesmen of progressive metal, Fates Warning. He featured on their first four albums until Ray Alder took over circa 1986. And in over a decade and a half, John has worked on ? precisely nothing! We all know that the vocal chords and the creative musical mind are like muscles and must be exercised regularly. So John's return was anticipated with a certain apprehension.

Well, during his absence, John must have been practicing almost daily because his power and fluid delivery are intact and his songwriting abilities are as strong as ever. His style is in the mould of a Bruce Dickinson or an early-day Geoff Tate ? high register, pure metal, very strong in the high notes, but a bit lost in the low ranges. In the context of these songs you will be impressed by his range, control, power, tone, and most important, by the emotion in his vocals.

Track 1 is ?Relentless," a straight-ahead progressive metal piece with frequent changes in direction and tempo. It was co-written with Fates Warning's Jim Matheos, Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy keeps it on track with unpredictable time signatures, and several themes are developed early and revisited through the 12-? minute piece. At first listen this song seems to revolve around Arch's vocals, and it took me repeated listens to fully appreciate the contribution of the instrumentation.

Track 2 ?Cheyenne? was written exclusively by Arch and is a much more diverse piece about the plight of Native Americans. Besides the standard complement of instruments it features acoustic guitar, piano, keys, violin and cello, as well as a vocal overlay of a bitter old Native American lamenting the broken promises endured by his people. The 16-minute song takes you through a wide musical spectrum ? from acoustic ballads through angry progressive metal, now quietly acoustic, now bombastic. Listen for the loose interpretations of Native American chant-style of singing. This epic piece highlights Arch's vocal capabilities, and his vocal overdubs create some interesting melodies.

Recording this album was a revelation for Arch, who last worked in the era of bands coming together in the studio and recording as a unit. With A Twist of Fate Jim Matheos recorded the guitars and sent it to Arch to lay down the vocal tracks, who forwarded it to Mike Portnoy for the percussion, who in turn sent it to Joey Vera for the bass tracks. The detailed liner notes take you through the completion of the project.

John Arch was originally invited to work on Kevin Moore's OSI project. He declined, preferring to release A Twist of Fate instead. Which begs the question: What next, John? We'll look forward to anything except another 15 year hiatus.

Relentless (12:23) / Cheyenne (15:36)

John Arch ? vocals
Jim Matheos - guitars; keyboards
Joey Vera ? basses
Mike Portnoy - drums & percussion


Andy Happel - violin & cello (2)

Twist Of Fate (ep) (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: February 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1185
Language: english


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