Album Review: Fates Warning – Darkness in a Different Light
New England-based Fates Warning is back with another album after a 9-year absence from the studio…the longest gap between albums. Darkness in a Different Light is their 11th studio album…and we aren’t counting the Arch/Matheos album from 2011 although that was pretty much a classic Fates Warning reunion under a different moniker. Setting that aside, it’s been a while since we have been graced with fresh Fates Warning progressive sounds. My initial response to the new work was favorable, but not in the sense that the long wait was worth it and I am exceedingly excited, but favorable in the sense that the new music is okay and a welcome addition to my music library.
Ten songs chime in at almost an hour which is great for any band that leans on the progressive side of metal. It takes time for good progressive music to sink in, so Fates Warning did right with the time allowing songs to build and grow. Most of the songs are exactly where I would want them to be with one of them concluding just after 14-minutes (And Yet it Moves), which epitomizes what the band is capable of. The only issue I have is that after several (numerous) listens, I still have a hard time differentiating the songs from each other (except for the long one)…they don’t standout other than the actual song length.
One thing I do appreciate though is the harder edge. Songs like Kneel and Obey lean heavy where as O Chloroform perfectly emanates the progressive elements Fates Warning perfected over such a long career. Incidentally, that song is written by Kevin Moore who was Dream Theater’s keyboardist during their first three albums. I wonder if he regrets leaving Dream Theater.
Anyway, Darkness in a Different Light is nothing short of a standard Fates Warning album…nothing to do cartwheels over, but nothing to turn your back on either. If you never heard Fates Warning until now, I recommend checking them out…they may remind you of some classic Queensrÿche and Dream Theater. Having said that, I saw Fates Warning open for a Dream Theater/Queensrÿche co-headlining show and Fates Warning was the perfect opening act for that tour. Darkness in a Different Light lives up to the stature of Fates Warning music, but falls just shy of being a refreshing experience, especially after having been out of the studio for so long.