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

A Twist Of Fate is the result of the awakening after a 16 year hibernation of the original voice of Fates Warning, John Arch. After the release of the album Awaken The Guardian, John and the band parted ways and, although Arch did a live guest appearance with Fates Warning in 1994, he has remained a self-imposed musical exile ever since. A change in this situation came when Jim Matheos (Fates Warning guitarist) asked Arch in 2002 to participate in the OSI project he was working on with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). Arch declined, but he admits that "In the end, my conscience got the better of me. After not doing anything musically for so long, I was overwhelmed with guilt, so I asked Jim if we could squeeze something in before the next Fates album," as stated in the accompanied biography. Although Arch is a father, husband and has a full time job and he was completely out of [his] element, he and Jim started working on two songs.

After the OSI recordings, Portnoy offered his services and "permanent temporary" bass player Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) was asked to complete the line-up. The EP they recorded, A Twist Of Fate, can be called Arch's postscript to his impressive legacy. The EP offers only two songs, but then two outstanding progressive metal songs, with really haunting vocals by Arch and a massive guitar wall by Matheos. "Relentless" opens with a dark bass riff, followed by a powerful guitar riff and captivating vocals that show, despite his departure from singing, after 16 years Arch is still one of the best metal voices around! It is noteworthy that Arch puts a lot of lyrics in the song, so there are hardly any instrumental passages. "Relentless" has some spacey keyboards that in a way reminded me of Ayreon, and at the end of the song, finally a guitar solo, supported by powerful drums. "Cheyenne" has some more keyboards in it, as well as violin and cello, with some more room for the music to come out. This song was inspired by a picture of an Indian girl sitting on the side of a hill. Arch explains. "I'm part Indian myself, and I've always been fascinated by Indian culture. She was just sitting in a field, daydreaming and looking off into the sunset. Watching her, you wonder what she was thinking. I thought it was such a marvellous picture, and that's how the first verse starts off - this image of the Cheyenne girl in my mind." This song is a bit less heavy than the first one and has some nice acoustic guitar parts in it. Also it has more changes in the melody than "Relentless," making it a more compelling song to listen to.

Despite the fact that the EP holds only two songs, I think we can be very thankful Arch recorded these songs, thereby giving the fans the opportunity to enjoy his vocal qualities one more time. And let's hope and pray this will get a continuation in the future, as it would be a real shame to let this voice and writing skills in a closet, rather than share it with the world. Don't hesitate, get this EP, as it is a true masterpiece.

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
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: December 8th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1006
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]