Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

Fates Warning Theories of Flight cover
Fates Warning
Theories of Flight
InsideOut Music
This is what big bands are for: to release albums like this one, with balls of gigantic size! Fates Warning have redefined themselves, found a clear aim and approach, and they are back for good and deliver their best album since 1997’s “A Pleasant Shade of Gray”. That simple! Being easily placed among the monuments of their catalogue (“Awaken”, “Perfect Symmetry”, “Parallels”, “APSOG”) the new album puts Fates ahead of the progressive genre pack once more and together with Redemption’s fine release (“The Art of Loss”) we have the two best prog albums of the year.
Yes, the approach has changed here. Many have argued that the new album is a mix of “Parallels” and “Darkness in a Different Light”, however, I would say that “Theories of Flight” is the epitome of what Fates have been in the past thirty years. Indeed, there are catchy refrains (“Parallels”), but these are mainly hidden under tones of heavy riffing, while the haunting atmosphere and twisted turns of “APSOG” are evident all over the place (listen to the magnificent “The Ghosts of Home” and you will understand).
Yes, the previous album and the heavy sound it re-entered for the band is the beacon and the basis for this effort, but it would be misleading to stay only to that, as “Theories of Flight” is so much more. Melodies, riffs, riffs, harmonies, again riffs!
I need to emphasize three points: First, the album is once more flooded with magnificent solos. Aresti’s guest appearance is evident, while Matheos seems to have radically returned to introducing solos to his music. Second, Jarzombek has created a wall of drums – without the need to prove anything (he has large shoes to fill) which carried him a bit away in the previous record and delivered some extremes – his drumming this time sticks to the songs and builds through them. Third, Alder has returned to shape and form. Many have criticized him over the years for not maintaining his voice (particularly due to smoking), however this time Ray proves them all wrong with the heartfelt deliveries, the warmth of his approach and range of his voice.
All in all, Fates Warning return to their prog throne and lead the pack. A modern progressive orgy! A contemporary monument…