Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fates Warning at the Avalon

Before Queensryche and Dream Theater brought the spotlight to progressive metal, there was Fates Warning leading the way on Metal Blade records circa 1983. One little known fact about Fates Warning is that their guitarist Jim Matheos once gave guitar lessons to Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.

My heavy metal loving brother is a huge fan of the band and was stoked when he heard that they would be playing their album, Parallels in its entirety at the Avalon. He files his review of the show below.


The year was 1986 and I was entranced in the fantasy progressive metal sounds of Awaken the Guardian by Fates Warning. There was something unique about this band, as both this album and The Spectre Within found regular rotation on my turntable. Today, those albums are in my top 10 albums of all time. A bold statement indeed, along with Metallica's Master of Puppets and Slayer's Reign in Blood.

I appreciated John Arch’s vocal ability and when word spread of his split from the band, their future seemed to be in jeopardy. I soon got word of a Judas Priest like situation where a huge fan of the band, Ray Alder was selected as the new lead singer. Their No Exit album would prove to be a step in the right direction for the band as they achieved Billboard top 200 status, and were in regular rotation on MTV Headbangers ball for their video "Silent Cries".

Fast forward 20 years and 6 albums later, Fates Warning continues to make an impact and produce high quality albums. When I read on Blabbermouth that Fates Warning was reuniting with the original lineup from the Parallels album, I was floored. This show was celebrating the recent re-release of the album which includes additional tracks and content. Of all their prior tours, I only managed to catch their Perfect Symmetry tour when I was residing in Boston.

Fates opened up with “Leave the Past Behind”, a symbolic track to open with as the devoted crowd went crazy. "Life in Still Water" was next, and it was clear they were playing the album in sequential order. Mark Zonder (Drums) nailed the opening drum line and showed no signs of rust. "Eye to Eye" was one of the more popular songs that was boosted by its video. One of my personal favorite songs "Eleventh Hour" featured great crowd participation, along with a crushing bass triplet during the chorus. "Point of View" was followed by the more poppy "We Only Say Goodbye". The chorus on "Don’t Follow Me" was awesome live, and “Road Goes on Forever” finished the CD’s last track. Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti were as sharp as ever with their dualing solos and intertwining riffs flowing flawlessly.

The band proceeded to the Inside Out album with "Pale Fire", "Island in the Stream", "Face the Fear" and "Monument". This was the last album recorded with the lineup. "Monument", another personal favorite of mine, had Joe DiBiase showcasing the explosive bass riff which is the staple throughout the song. The double bass drum roared with Zonder emphasizing the beat to help get the band back in sync. Former Fates Warning and Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera was in attendance snapping photos and helping the band with towels backstage.

"Through Different Eyes" and "Nothing Left to Say" from Perfect Symmetry closed out the set. I stood in awe having just witnessed a classic trip back through time. Just like wine, some albums get better with time, and Parallels is one such album.

The crowd was great, the sound (especially the bass) was heart pounding, and the band smiled throughout the show with the exception of Jim Matheos who effortlessly played his guitar. Thanks to Fates Warning for this great treat, as I hope to see them again when they tour for their next album.

Fates Warning Setlist at the Avalon (3/19/10)
"Leave the Past Behind"
"Life in Still Water"
"Eye to Eye"
"The Eleventh Hour"
"Point of View"
"We Only Say Goodbye"
"Don’t Follow Me"
"Road Goes on Forever"
"Pale Fire"
"Island in the Stream"
"Face the Fear"
"Through Different Eyes"
"Nothing Left to Say"


jimbo said...

Great review of a great band. Im jealous!

Anonymous said...

Wish I was there and going to Greece

skunkface said...