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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:11 am 
 

Ok, so The Spectre Within. Greatest metal album of all time. Just getting that out of the way right quick since that's not what we're here to discuss. Also, Spectre > Awaken the Guardian.

To start things off, I will record here the "message" in 'Pirates of the Underground', thusly "What I want you to see is, these album jackets are not just thrown together - there is a message that they intend to preach to you in these religious albums. I say 'religious albums' because you can serve the devil or you can serve the lord. And these are not albums that serve the lord. They are albums that serve the devil and are religious in nature". So, Satanic hijinks or just plain old tomfoolery? You'd think tomfoolery, but I'm not so convinced.

One thing I've always found odd about Spectre is the red logo. Not only is it a different colour (more on the significance of that later), it is a different shape to preceding and proceeding logos. It is less angled, more 'sloppy' - written more like a signature, if you will. And, curiously, there is an extra line between the first 'n' and 'i' of Warning and 'g' has a little dot-tail. I've always wondered why that 'i' is lowercase, but that's neither here nor there (or is it?).

Ok, so why the colour is important. I'm not sure about the CD version as I do not have it, but on the back of the LP jacket there are dots that separate the song titles. All are white with the exception of the dot preceding 'Pirates of the Underground', which is (dun dun DUN!) red. Coincidence? I hardly think so!

So, off on a little tangent here, I'm not sure if this is the case with all LP versions - mine is second hand, so it is possible that what I am about to tell you is merely damage from a previous owner. But on side one of my LP, scratched into the 'no man's land' section of the wax, aside from the CAT#, are a few words and symbols. They are 'ZPAWKEY', 'ZBIGNU', 'SLM *triangle* 10693', 'S - 15164' (which is not as deep as other impressions) and a symbol that looks very much like the 'G' in the logo followed by a '1'. Oh, and a circle with a cross through it followed by '755'.

Now on side 2 it is a bit different. There is the message 'What are we dealing with?" (!!!), 'S - 15165', the same 'G' followed by a 1, a circle with an 'A' followed by 773 and of course 'SLM *triangle* 10693 - X'.

Now of course this could mean absolutely nothing, but I'm not so convinced. The band has stated that Night on Brocken was basically just a demo upgraded to album status (which is what it says on its page here and is corroborated in interviews), so I think Spectre was supposed to be the band's first release. I think it no coincidence that the logo changed once with the departure of Victor Arduini and once again with the departure of John Arch (albeit at first only in colour).

The reason I think it no coincidence is thusly; Spectre has a much different musical character to Awaken. It is more foreboding, more portentous. Almost...prophetic, if you will. Not only that, but Arch himself sounds like he's channeling some otherworldly spirit through his voice, something arcane, moreso than Awaken. It's like the music itself is an extension of the soul - a profound, undefiled wisdom that few understand.

Do you think it coincidence that they wanted to change their name after Arch left? Without him they were no longer Fate's Warning (and I don't mean the band...). Maybe they really do serve the devil - but not the devil you think.

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fetalfeast
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:32 am 
 

Probably a good idea to name the band whose album you're referring to, because I'm clueless.
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blitzinator
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:40 am 
 

fetalfeast wrote:
Probably a good idea to name the band whose album you're referring to, because I'm clueless.
you don't know Spectre? o_O
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AcidWorm
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:43 am 
 

fetalfeast wrote:
Probably a good idea to name the band whose album you're referring to, because I'm clueless.


Fates Warning

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:08 am 
 

fetalfeast wrote:
Probably a good idea to name the band whose album you're referring to, because I'm clueless.


You've never heard The Spectre Within? Really? It's one of the most highly regarded metal albums of all time by the band that pioneered progressive metal.

"In the four corners of life
Are the golden mirrors
Reflecting what you are
And what you are to be

In the first is a young boy
White dove in his hand
In the second is a warrior in armor
In the third is an old man
Gold watch in his hand
Fourth and last, no reflection at all
No reflection at all
No reflection at all..."




As for the message in Pirates of the Underground, I'm pretty sure it's intended almost as a mockery of a lot of the nonsense religious people spew about heavy metal being satanic - especially in the context of the lyrical content of the song, which is basically a big "fuck you!" to mainstream music and culture. Fates Warning weren't satanic, and I'm very sure you're reading too deeply into this. To quote Arch himself (interview can be found on the FW homepage), "I guess my religious beliefs lean pretty close to what the Native American Indians believe in. Just being in tune with nature and god's name is nature and the powerful force...and there's a higher force that created it and, to me, just being kind to people. Just being a good person." Doesn't sound like satanism to me.

Spectre is a very dark album, both thematically and musically, yes. Guardian is much brighter, even in its production. It's always seemed to me that as much as Spectre is an album about death, Guardian is seemingly an album about life. Whether this is intentional or just a byproduct of the albums being well-crafted and atmospherically consistent, I honestly couldn't say. I do think Arch was always mindful of the music when writing his lyrics, though - the two are almost inextricable in both albums, and it really lends to the atmosphere. You can hear the steady march towards death in Traveler in Time, just as much as you can hear the steady march through life's trials in search of enlightenment in Exodus.

I used to believe Spectre was the unequivocally better of the two, but as of now I don't think I could really pick between them. Spectre is certainly better produced, but musically they're just about equally excellent.
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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:49 am 
 

Well, I did say it wasn't the devil you think. I realise now that I left an important part out of the OP. I'm not really accusing them of Satanism, that was just tongue-in-cheek.

If you look at the back of the jacket you'll see the scene from 'The Apparition' that you just quoted. So, the Spectre within is the dude (or is it a girl? seems very androgynous) on the front cover. And the one on the back...but hang on, that's supposed to be you! Also, the young boy is obviously a young John Arch. So, we see that the young boy is entranced by the 'Warrior in Armour' (Young Warrior!) outstretched hand. And we also see that this is the very warrior reflected in the second mirror, so I'm guessing the dark shroud is the armour. And of course the old man is wearing the head-dress but not the shroud.

So it would seem that the Spectre within is in fact you. And I'm guessing that this is the devil of which the Prophet (haha) speaks - ever wondered why it is so sinful to be proud, when that is what it is to be a man? That pride is your armour. Wear it with pride!

I also consider 'Pirates...' to have a metaphorical meaning on top of the literal one - no matter how pure your heart and soul, there are those that would stand in your way for none other but themselves and their tarnished hearts! Prophesying his own demise, perhaps? Who knows. He only tells it through a medium he knows best.

But I still stand by Spectre > Awaken.

@fetalfeast: there is a search function.

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The_Erlking
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:21 am 
 

Spectre Within is a darker record indeed and talks a lot about death and fear but also of selfdiscovery (even the title hints at this) which leads neatly to the third FW album. One has to learn about himself in order to become a better person, to awaken the guardian inside. Thematic shift is there but it comes naturally as if both albums were a part of the same process.
Personally I prefer AtG. I find it a tad more consistent and I guess the way it goes on about hope and marvel moves me and really speaks to me and well.. it's my favourite album. Anyway both records I highly recommend to anyone new to the band.

About the messages.. I think the op is looking into it too much and even if it's more than simple "messing with religious fundamentalists" thing I don't think the band was worshiping devil. Not even a symbolic one.
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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:33 am 
 

Why don't you read? I said that was tongue in cheek, I even explained that it's not worship! I'm going to break it down for you.

The 'message' that the album intends to preach to you is indeed one of self-betterment. Something that is very important to John Arch. Hence why the young boy on the back is him. All of the songs can be tied to the Spectre within (which is you!)

So onto 'Pirates...'. It has a duality; yes, it is poking fun at the fundies but it is deeper than that. Notice the language; he does not say God, he says 'Lord' because obeisance and servitude are bred into you when you are raised Catholic. This is intended to neuter men, oppress women and basically enslave mankind. Hence 'Lord' - because you are only worth as much as your usefulness to your 'Lord'.

And so we come to the devil, who was cast out of Heaven and named devil for his pride. Pride is the cornerstone of man, because when you examine what the heart of man is you see it is pride in oneself, in one's beliefs, and in one's life. Hence the devil you serve is in fact yourself because you were given your life to live and the Abrahamic religions would see that you do not. Hence the religious slant.

I hate to make this a Crusade, but you left me no choice.

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BlastManStanding
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:30 am 
 

Wow..... First let me say I have never owned the LP so much of this is news to me. Second, based on the examples you've provided I have to echo the sentiments of the previous posters that you might be doing a bit of senseless digging. The album is in fact dark and mysterious but there could be a number of hidden messages that may not bear any actual meaning. Not saying you're right or wrong, just possibly over-analyzing.

And I agree that this is Fates Warning's best album, though AtG is also a marvel that doesn't trail far behind.
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Orange_Gem
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:19 am 
 

I've been listening to my Fates Warning albums for about two years now and I still find another piece of the puzzle every time. I can't contribute to this thread; you guys are way ahead of me, but reading this helped.

Mysterious band with an odd effect on me. Can't listen to them too much in one sitting, though. Not really the kind of thing I want to hear on a regular basis at this point in my life, to be honest.

What I do hate is how much of the prog community refuses to accept early Fates Warning as truly progressive. I guess they need everything to conform to the simpler, generic prog sound and structure that makes the genre practically a misnomer. Yeah, these albums are very progressive in the true definition of the term; I don't know how deaf some people can be.

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Abominatrix
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:30 am 
 

I don't think its' possible to over-analyse The Spectre Within.

Interesting topic. Took me a while to figure out what you were getting at, but I think I see now. I should spend more time examining the lyrics. I like how this album clearly affects so many in such a profound way.
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The_Erlking
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:01 am 
 

Funsize999 wrote:
Notice the language; he does not say God, he says 'Lord' because obeisance and servitude are bred into you when you are raised Catholic. This is intended to neuter men, oppress women and basically enslave mankind. Hence 'Lord' - because you are only worth as much as your usefulness to your 'Lord'.


But whos words are they really? On Fates Warnings 'dickie' demo after the song Epitaph fades away the same message appears only that it's not backwards and you can hear it's taken from some kind of speech. Possibly from a TV or radio talk show. That and the lyrics to Pirates of the underground makes me suspect it was supposed to be a some kind of tease.

Preacher man spins backward secret messages
What are you looking for? Something your
Subconscience can devise
Such a sin to disappoint your suspicion
Your force is ours there are no hidden lies


Of course we are all free to interpret the message, the lyrics and everything else we know about the band the way we like (the thing about symbolicism is that a symbol isn't merely a metaphor but something that reflects many things at the same time) and I find yours interesting sure. To appreciate and take pride of yourself is a healthy thing and a vital step to to become a better person in the sense Arch believes (I think) but I have the feeling it's not the whole truth behind A Spectre Within.
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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:23 pm 
 

It's not backwards on 'Pirates...' either, listen carefully. If you listen even more carefully, you'll notice they have a musical quality to them despite being spoken word. And I'm fairly certain it's John Arch saying those words, compare that voice to his voice here. Sure, his voice is a little higher in the video, but that was after he went crazy on Spectre, which I think changed his voice.

So, you know, those lyrics actually tie in pretty nicely to what I'm getting at.

And I know it's not the whole truth. That's why we're here to unravel it.

And, fore a little more explanation, I believe very much that Fate's Warning is John Arch's band, and 'Fate's Warning' is his message - he's warning you, ya know? It's why Jim hates the first three and wanted to change the name. What a douche. "Mutiny is in the air" indeed!

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:33 pm 
 

Funsize999 wrote:
It's not backwards on 'Pirates...' either, listen carefully. If you listen even more carefully, you'll notice they have a musical quality to them despite being spoken word. And I'm fairly certain it's John Arch saying those words, compare that voice to his voice here. Sure, his voice is a little higher in the video, but that was after he went crazy on Spectre, which I think changed his voice.

So, you know, those lyrics actually tie in pretty nicely to what I'm getting at.

And I know it's not the whole truth. That's why we're here to unravel it.

And, fore a little more explanation, I believe very much that Fate's Warning is John Arch's band, and 'Fate's Warning' is his message - he's warning you, ya know? It's why Jim hates the first three and wanted to change the name. What a douche. "Mutiny is in the air" indeed!


It doesn't sound like Arch much at all, especially in the original audio on the Dickie demos. It's higher-pitched because it's been sped up on the actual song.

You're reading waaaaaaaaaay too deeply into this. Matheos doesn't "hate" the first three albums - quite the contrary, he recently stated that he'd be up for doing a tour of that material if Arch himself were up for it. In fact, Jim Matheos did most of the songwriting on the first three albums. You're seeing this because you want to see it, not because it's actually there.
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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:41 pm 
 

Yo what?

Brocken
"Buried Alive" (Matheos/Arch) – 4:40
"The Calling" (Matheos/Arch) – 5:04
"Kiss Of Death" (Matheos/Arch) – 4:38
"Night On Bröcken" (Matheos/Arduini/Arch) – 5:30
"S.E.K." (Matheos) – 1:20
"Misfit" (Arduini/Arch) – 5:06
"Shadowfax" (Matheos) – 3:16
"Damnation" (Matheos/Arch) – 6:27
"Soldier Boy" (Arduini/Arch) – 6:25

Spectre
"Traveler in Time" (Matheos/Arduini/Arch) - 7:12
"Orphan Gypsy" (Arduini/Arch) - 5:59
"Without a Trace" (Arduini/Arch) - 4:49
"Pirates of the Underground" (Matheos/Arduini/Arch) - 7:05
"The Apparition" (Matheos/Arch) - 5:51
"Kyrie Eleison" (Matheos/Arch) - 5:24
"Epitaph" (Matheos/Arch) - 11:58

Awaken
"The Sorceress" (Arch, Matheos) – 5:43
"Valley of the Dolls" (Arch, Matheos) – 5:22
"Fata Morgana" (Arch, Matheos) – 5:25
"Guardian" (Arch, Matheos) – 7:33
"Prelude to Ruin" (Arch, Matheos) – 7:23
"Giant's Lore (Heart of Winter)" (Arch, Aresti) – 6:00
"Time Long Past" (Matheos) – 1:50
"Exodus" (Arch, Matheos) – 8:31

If anything Arch and Matheos had an equal share. And it's no coincidence they went to shit without Arch. So yeah....

And what the hell? Compare Arch's vocals on Brocken to Spectre to Awaken. They get steadily higher pitched the more he strains his voice. The accent is the same, the tone is the same...it's just the pitch is different, which has been accounted for.

Matheos only speaks ill of the first three, citing "unprofessionalism" etc etc. The same problems are present on No Exit but that doesn't have Arch on it now does it?

Perhaps my apparent insanity discourages you, but the message is there in the lyrics. Await my analyses of the lyrics. They are incomplete, but they will come. Not for a few days though, since it's Christmas. Await with bated breath!

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:26 am 
 

Arch wrote the lyrics and most (if not all) of the vocal lines, but Matheos wrote most of the instrumental parts.

Anyway Funsize999 I'm kind of struggling to see your point here. The Spectre Within is indeed darker than Awaken the Guardian. So?
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fetalfeast
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:40 am 
 

Oblarg wrote:
fetalfeast wrote:
Probably a good idea to name the band whose album you're referring to, because I'm clueless.


You've never heard The Spectre Within? Really? It's one of the most highly regarded metal albums of all time by the band that pioneered progressive metal.

"In the four corners of life
Are the golden mirrors
Reflecting what you are
And what you are to be

In the first is a young boy
White dove in his hand
In the second is a warrior in armor
In the third is an old man
Gold watch in his hand
Fourth and last, no reflection at all
No reflection at all
No reflection at all..."




As for the message in Pirates of the Underground, I'm pretty sure it's intended almost as a mockery of a lot of the nonsense religious people spew about heavy metal being satanic - especially in the context of the lyrical content of the song, which is basically a big "fuck you!" to mainstream music and culture. Fates Warning weren't satanic, and I'm very sure you're reading too deeply into this. To quote Arch himself (interview can be found on the FW homepage), "I guess my religious beliefs lean pretty close to what the Native American Indians believe in. Just being in tune with nature and god's name is nature and the powerful force...and there's a higher force that created it and, to me, just being kind to people. Just being a good person." Doesn't sound like satanism to me.

Spectre is a very dark album, both thematically and musically, yes. Guardian is much brighter, even in its production. It's always seemed to me that as much as Spectre is an album about death, Guardian is seemingly an album about life. Whether this is intentional or just a byproduct of the albums being well-crafted and atmospherically consistent, I honestly couldn't say. I do think Arch was always mindful of the music when writing his lyrics, though - the two are almost inextricable in both albums, and it really lends to the atmosphere. You can hear the steady march towards death in Traveler in Time, just as much as you can hear the steady march through life's trials in search of enlightenment in Exodus.

I used to believe Spectre was the unequivocally better of the two, but as of now I don't think I could really pick between them. Spectre is certainly better produced, but musically they're just about equally excellent.


That sort of metal is not really my thing (as I have not heard much) but I will check it out!
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:46 am 
 

Funsize999 wrote:
If anything Arch and Matheos had an equal share. And it's no coincidence they went to shit without Arch. So yeah....


I'd have to take issue with your contention that they "went to shit" without Arch - they put out some fantastic albums later in their career, albeit in a different style.

Arch wrote lyrics and vocal lines. Matheos wrote most of the rest of the songs. It was hardly "John Arch's band," and I believe Joe DiBiase stated that most of the band's artistic vision came from Jim. Not to discount Arch - he was essential to the band's sound in their early albums - but you're crediting him with way too much.

Many fans of the band's early era claim that Jim has disdain for those albums, but from what I've read and heard this simply isn't true - he doesn't perform those songs live anymore because the band does not have John Arch anymore, and those songs do indeed *need* Arch to work. Have you heard Alder attempt the old material? He certainly tries hard, but he simply can't do it. I believe Matheos realized that the band had to go in a different direction after the departure of Arch - not because he held any disdain for Arch (after all, they worked together on Arch's own solo EP!), but because Arch was such a unique singer that they simply couldn't successfully pursue the same type of sound without him.

You can analyze the lyrics all you want, but it is very easy to see things that simply are not there if you want to see them and expect to see them. Arch was not attempting to preach with his lyrics - in fact, according to Arch himself he'd write the lyrics for each song individually, and only after listening to the song repeatedly and envisioning theme that fit the music, which explains why the two are so expertly intertwined on both Spectre and Guardian.

The fact is, all I see here is a rabid John Arch fan with a loathing for Jim Matheos attempting to further glorify Arch by claiming that, in addition to simply being a fantastic vocalist, he had some sort of secret message that he wanted to preach through "his band," which somehow is the ultimate reason he was kicked out. This is utter nonsense, almost to the point of being childish - Matheos was just as big a part of early Fates as Arch was, and trying to discredit his songwriting prowess is just silly.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:24 am 
 

Oblarg wrote:
The fact is, all I see here is a rabid John Arch fan with a loathing for Jim Matheos attempting to further glorify Arch by claiming that, in addition to simply being a fantastic vocalist, he had some sort of secret message that he wanted to preach through "his band," which somehow is the ultimate reason he was kicked out. This is utter nonsense, almost to the point of being childish - Matheos was just as big a part of early Fates as Arch was, and trying to discredit his songwriting prowess is just silly.


Well, I definitely wouldn't go as far as stating that it was Arch's band - it's pretty hard to downplay the work of anyone in that band for those two albums everything is dead-on all the time. The interplay between the band and Arch isn't the sort of chemistry you come across ever day, that's for sure. Still, I do understand a degree of anger towards Matheos - he fired Arch and he let the band go to boring prog shit. If anything he's equally responsible for their greatest and their downfall, much like many band leaders. Is that childish? Yeah, I guess it is. But that's how people are with their favourite bands.

Actually, unlike Funsize, I'm of the view that Arch's vocals are more esoteric and out-there on Awaken the Guardian. He does some really weird things on both albums, sure. But I in general his voice is higher and just a bit more "mystical" sounding on Awaken.... That said, the differences in style suit their respective albums perfectly.
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:41 am 
 

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
Oblarg wrote:
The fact is, all I see here is a rabid John Arch fan with a loathing for Jim Matheos attempting to further glorify Arch by claiming that, in addition to simply being a fantastic vocalist, he had some sort of secret message that he wanted to preach through "his band," which somehow is the ultimate reason he was kicked out. This is utter nonsense, almost to the point of being childish - Matheos was just as big a part of early Fates as Arch was, and trying to discredit his songwriting prowess is just silly.


Well, I definitely wouldn't go as far as stating that it was Arch's band - it's pretty hard to downplay the work of anyone in that band for those two albums everything is dead-on all the time. The interplay between the band and Arch isn't the sort of chemistry you come across ever day, that's for sure. Still, I do understand a degree of anger towards Matheos - he fired Arch and he let the band go to boring prog shit. If anything he's equally responsible for their greatest and their downfall, much like many band leaders. Is that childish? Yeah, I guess it is. But that's how people are with their favourite bands.

Actually, unlike Funsize, I'm of the view that Arch's vocals are more esoteric and out-there on Awaken the Guardian. He does some really weird things on both albums, sure. But I in general his voice is higher and just a bit more "mystical" sounding on Awaken.... That said, the differences in style suit their respective albums perfectly.


You see, the difference between us is that I actually find a good bit of that "boring prog shit" to be excellent music - inaccessible, perhaps, and a far cry from their early material both in style and ultimately in quality (but then again, nothing at all really comes close to Spectre and Guardian so I can't really fault them for that), but superb nonetheless. APSoG took me ages to get into, but it's really a fantastic album.
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The_Erlking
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:48 am 
 

I agree with Oblarg. Some of the post-Arch stuff is excellent also. Perfect Symmetry is the third best FW album for me right after Awaken The Guardian and A Spectre Within.
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colin040
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:36 pm 
 

The_Erlking wrote:
I agree with Oblarg. Some of the post-Arch stuff is excellent also. Perfect Symmetry is the third best FW album for me right after Awaken The Guardian and A Spectre Within.


Yeah, ''Perfect Symmetry'' is a cool album. The thing is, you shouldn't expect hearing John Arch esque material if you're listening to it. On it's own, it's still quite cool. Really varied and great in mood.

And ''The Spectre Within'' is a great album, too. That one, ''Awaken the Guardian'' and ''Perfect Symmetry'' all have their good and bad sides though, so I really don't know which my favourite is.

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iAmDisturbed
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:45 pm 
 

BlastManStanding wrote:
Wow..... First let me say I have never owned the LP so much of this is news to me. Second, based on the examples you've provided I have to echo the sentiments of the previous posters that you might be doing a bit of senseless digging. The album is in fact dark and mysterious but there could be a number of hidden messages that may not bear any actual meaning. Not saying you're right or wrong, just possibly over-analyzing.

And I agree that this is Fates Warning's best album, though AtG is also a marvel that doesn't trail far behind.


Best Fates Warning record without a doubt.
And yes you are "over-analyzing".
The intentional obscurity of much of the material isn't singular to FW alone. I have failed to totally decipher much of Dream Theater's "Awake".

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Funsize999
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:57 pm 
 

Matheos kicked him out because he wanted to make something more accessible. John Arch didn't fit, because it would be simply impossible with a voice like that. Mutiny! It had nothing to do with the message, where did I ever say that? If you had some reading comprehension you'd have seen that.

I'm going to leave you with this. Maybe now you will see what I'm getting at. 'The Apparition' is particularly important to understanding the albums message - why else is it feature on the back?

So John Arch loves 'The Apparition'. Says it's the best (or one the best, can't remember) song on Spectre. We know his lyrics are deeply personal to him. We know the lyrics are an extension of the music - just listen to 'Traveler...' - where he sings "Now he realise!", and you hear that cool little drum thing and the guitars spiraling upwards, etc etc. You actually feel the realisation. The album is replete with this.

Now let us examine the back cover. We have you - who is also the Spectre within - in the scene from 'The Apparition'. So the young boy is obviously a young John Arch because he has really long red hair (I'm not crazy!). More on the importance of this later. We see the "Warrior in armour" (once again, Young Warrior! More on the importance of that later. Fun fact: John Arch's son is named Evan, which means Young Warrior!). We also see that the Warrior's reflection is no different to the Spectre, so you are the Warrior as you are.

Now onto the Old Man - in the lyrics he is not "an Old Man", he is "the Old Man", the very same Old Man Time! This much is obvious from the gold watch and the blue moon shining down on him. This is important as it gives you a clue - the lyrics to all songs are related (Young Warrior!). Thematic, yes. Concept? Maybe. And of course no reflection at all.

Ok, so what do we know about John Arch? He was given an ultimatum to quit his job or leave the band. He chose not to dignify it with a response because "anyone with some measure of pride would have done the same" (don't take that as verbatim, but it is the gist of it). Cast out of Heaven, I mean Fate's Warning, for his pride.

Now getting back to what I was saying earlier, the message is one of self-betterment. Will have to make a necessary aside here.

Once again I am sorry to make this a Crusade, but you leave me no choice. The Abrahamic religions are designed to enslave humanity. They teach you to be servile to an omnipotent intangible being (which is pretty stupid - I mean, if you were God, would you waste your time creating something just so it could suck your dick?) who you could never hope to understand. But lucky for you, God has a voice and a house in this world, which is the Church, Mosque, Temple and what have you.

You cannot be servile to an intangible being - but the Church is very tangible, and it "speaks for God" (arrogant bastards!). They teach you "original sin" so that you think your life is one big mistake you have to correct - by being servile. They make Man the devil with their bullshit about Satan being cast out of Heaven for not being servile.

Ok, so with that out the way let us continue. The Church is the 'Lord'. You are the 'devil'. The message here is have pride in yourself, and not be a servant. And all of the lyrics tie into this concept. 'Traveler...' is a warning - "Now he realise", "Sacrifice living for life, his perpetual vice", "Nothing's forever and time will tell". The message here is to live your life for yourself. 'Orphan Gypsy' is about rejecting what you "must" do and not caring about what others think - "Young warrior to the drunken galley slave" means people do not understand you and "running with the wind, running wayward knave" means they misjudge you as a knave, both of which are tied together nicely with the proclamation "I'm a vagabond with a maelstrom mind". Also, the Young Warrior has pride in himself. That pride is the armour mentioned in 'The Apparition'. Pride despite what he "must" do and pride despite others.

I can't be bothered to write up the rest of it right now. But maybe now you will see that I'm not simply a "rabid John Arch fan". You know what they say, genius is often misunderstood. Don't worry, I forgive you.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:02 pm 
 

Funsize999 wrote:
Matheos kicked him out because he wanted to make something more accessible. John Arch didn't fit, because it would be simply impossible with a voice like that. Mutiny! It had nothing to do with the message, where did I ever say that? If you had some reading comprehension you'd have seen that.


Well, insulting my reading comprehension is sure to convince me! Perhaps if you weren't writing such complete nonsense people wouldn't be having a hard time understanding you.

Do you have any source for Matheos having this reason to fire John Arch? Because, like it or not, it certainly does seem like you're spewing a lot of baseless hate for Matheos. Arch himself has said he was kicked because he was unwilling to quit his job, not because he didn't sing in an "accessible" fashion - hell, Alder's vocals early on really weren't "accessible" at all.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:31 pm 
 

Yes, Arch was unable to quit his job because he had certain unavoidable financial responsibilities, and Matheos fired him over the phone. It was a pretty shitty thing to do. It had nothing to do with accessibility, though.

What I got out of the "four mirrors" was pretty simple, really, though told using a lot of symbolism; the protagonist in the story goes looking for answers to life's questions ("I wanna know what's deep within"). He finds the mirrors that reflect the "four corners of life", i.e. "what you are and what you are to be". You get a boy, a young man, and an old man, all with traditional symbols of their ages. The kicker though is the fourth and last reflection, which is of course nothing at all; no afterlife, no rebirth, just oblivion. This of course is not a pleasant revelation.
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:05 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Yes, Arch was unable to quit his job because he had certain unavoidable financial responsibilities, and Matheos fired him over the phone. It was a pretty shitty thing to do. It had nothing to do with accessibility, though.

What I got out of the "four mirrors" was pretty simple, really, though told using a lot of symbolism; the protagonist in the story goes looking for answers to life's questions ("I wanna know what's deep within"). He finds the mirrors that reflect the "four corners of life", i.e. "what you are and what you are to be". You get a boy, a young man, and an old man, all with traditional symbols of their ages. The kicker though is the fourth and last reflection, which is of course nothing at all; no afterlife, no rebirth, just oblivion. This of course is not a pleasant revelation.


Kruel has a rather great analysis of the mirrors in his review - namely, that it could either be an unpleasant revelation, as you describe it, or a liberating one. My personal favorite bit of metaphor from Fates' early albums would have to be from Exodus, though:

Distant vision, tempting waters
Fall to my knees, I'm going to drink it dry
Blazing desert sun reflection
On the water, he caught my eye
Up in a tree, laughing at me
Vulture of fear, why don't you go away?
"You're mine one day
Spit out the sand, be on your way"


It's just a really superb, artfully written verse, especially when taken in the context of the song - the long march through the desert is the long search for spiritual enlightenment and peace of mind, and the mirage is a belief with a false promise of them.

Matheos firing Arch over the phone was indeed a shitty thing to do, but hey - everyone does really stupid things from time to time. Fates were rapidly gaining in popularity, and several of the members thought they had a decent chance of making an actual career out of the band - in fact, Joe DiBiase mentioned in an interview that he departed partly due to disappointment that they didn't get as big as he thought they would - and Arch being fired was probably just a naive lapse of judgment resulting from this. A real pity and a stupid thing to do, yes, but not malicious, as the OP seems to be implying.
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The_Erlking
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:59 am 
 

I don't have any sources to back this up but I've heard Matheos thought Arch's lyrics were juvenile. Arch's lyrics were usually some kind of allegories
but the language itself was ridden with mythical romanticism and fantasy. After John left the band started to deal more and more directly with existentialist angst and other complex emotions which I think was an intentional move.
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iAmDisturbed
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:10 am 
 

Ah hah!

There was a significant change in the way they wrote after Arch left.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:06 am 
 

iAmDisturbed wrote:
Ah hah!

There was a significant change in the way they wrote after Arch left.


This doesn't even imply that the reason for Arch's being fired was his lyrical style - that's almost as absurd as him being fired for being "inaccessible." It makes sense that their lyrical style would change with their musical style - Matheos always knew that lyrics and music should be closely linked.
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LordofLiege
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:47 am
Posts: 104
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:46 am 
 

Arch did certainly get the shaft when he got kicked out. He was dedicated to the band, but they were worried that they might have had to make a drastic change in order to go full-time and needed to know if Arch was on board. Here's a neat interview. It's about 16 years old though.
Quote:
JW: What were the circumstances that led to your departure from the band?

JA: Okay, um, let me see...where do I begin? It's actually real simple. What it came down to was, as far as our schedules about being busy, we all worked, and I worked a full-time job and everybody else had part-time jobs, but the one difference was I've always been older than these guys, but unfortunately it always stays that way, I'm always older! Um, so I guess I had a different standard of living, I had a rent. The rest of the guys, not all of them, I think Jim lived on his own, but the other guys were younger and they lived at home and you kinda have the luxury of going where you want and money's no problem. But I was older and I had more responsibility so of course I had a job, which I thought was important to keep. And my boss was great, he'd let me come and go as I pleased. Whenever I had a tour or album, it was great, he always wanted to see me better myself, it was absolutely no problem. So it was kinda the best job in the world. It was the best of both worlds, so I definitely wanted to hold on to that as long as I could. So I guess where that led me--I was given an ultimatum by the band. Apparently, they felt that when it came down to the point--wherever the hell that is--where we would have to do it full-time, say we had to relocate to Germany or whatever I had to do with the band, if it was going to be a full-time thing, they were afraid that I was gonna let 'em down. Okay? They were wrong. I wasn't gonna do that because the band was my first commitment. I would've done whatever I had to do to make it work, and they gave me an ultimatum to quit my job or else. So I said, Wow, that's really weird, and I told 'em, well, I really feel that by being with the band and doing a lot of the writing, I wrote all the lyrics, all the melody lines, and I really was, I think, instrumental in writing the songs, too. I never missed a practice, I was always there--I felt that I had to show my commitment to the band 100%, and I was being kinda like second-guessed. I guess my pride got the best of me and I said, "Well, listen, y'know, I don't think it's necessary, you guys do what you think you have to do," and that was just Jim, and I got off the phone and he talked to the rest of the guys in the band and he called me back and he said, "Well, I guess it's unanimous, the band feels that they're going to start lookin' for another singer," and I was blown off my rocker.


Arch leaving wasn't the cause for the stylsitic change though. No Exit was heavier, but still had a fair amount in common with the 3 preceding albums. Matheos seems more influenced by the Genesis' of the world more so than the Iron Maidens. Later on, he apparently got into electronica hence the more atmospheric FW albums which were heavily Chroma Key influenced. Hell, look at his recent output: one Fates Warning album since 2000 and three OSI albums with a 4th being fairly imminent. There's supposedly another FW album coming, but that's been said for years now.

On topic, while I do think the TC is looking a bit too much into the album artwork, the Spectre Within is definitely the album that made me a large fan of the band. Awaken the Guardian is good and Night on Brocken is too, for what it is at least. The Spectre Within blends both albums perfectly. AtG tends to drag here and there and NoB is a bit too derivative at times. Their later stuff is great too. Arch is missed and Alder doesn't really hit his stride until about two albums in, but I love all of the Fates albums.

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Orange_Gem
Eats fæces for YOUR freedom

Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:52 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:00 pm 
 

Funsize999 wrote:
Matheos kicked him out because he wanted to make something more accessible. John Arch didn't fit, because it would be simply impossible with a voice like that.


What's up with all the comments about Arch's voice being weird? Exactly how is he different from your typical heavy metal singer? The first time I heard Fates Warning nothing struck me as inaccessible about those highly melodic, ear-candy vocals. They remind me of Saxon's Biff Byford.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:45 pm 
 

LordofLiege wrote:
Arch is missed and Alder doesn't really hit his stride until about two albums in, but I love all of the Fates albums.


Pretty much my exact views on the band. Alder really came into his own on Parallels, but every album of theirs is good in some way, and most of them are nothing short of superb.
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mjaeltbrand
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:48 pm 
 

Even though I am sort of a John Arch fanboy, I still think No Exit was a damn fine album. Every single song, except the stupid intro, are really fucking good even though they lack the atmosphere and mystique of the two albums before. I have just heard some random songs off their other albums, and I will try to get into the prog albums but it almost seems like a lost cause because I usually hate that sort of music.
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Acrobat
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:30 pm 
 

Orange_Gem wrote:
They remind me of Saxon's Biff Byford.


Down's Syndrome's an interesting thing, though.
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Agga40
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:35 pm 
 

Ive only recently gotten into Fates Warning (Awaken the Guardian and No Exit) and totally dig them to alot. Reading thru this thread has made me love them even more and go out and find more of their material. Indeed Spectre is amazing. Im looking forward to getting deeper into this awesome band that I made an error to gloss over back in the day (so many bands coming out at the same time, you end up missing bands, good thing I can go back and find those forgotten gems and its like discovering brand new bands).

I gotta say, initially I was annoyed with John Arch's vocals, but that subsided fast once I realized how they augmented the guitars perfectly. When you hear his vocals as another instrument instead of just some wanker singer it truly brings the magic of his voice to life.

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Agga40
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:41 pm 
 

mjaeltbrand wrote:
Even though I am sort of a John Arch fanboy, I still think No Exit was a damn fine album. Every single song, except the stupid intro, are really fucking good even though they lack the atmosphere and mystique of the two albums before. I have just heard some random songs off their other albums, and I will try to get into the prog albums but it almost seems like a lost cause because I usually hate that sort of music.
Ya, Im trying the albums after No Exit and I gotta say Im not too into them. They seem boring, typical of prog bands. Some love that style, I happen not to. Seems Fates Warning were truly a special entity up until John Arch left and some of that magic was left over for the No Exit album. After that, well so far Im not too impressed. Ill keep trying though, sometimes good music takes time to fully be appreciated.

Even John Arch fanboy's gotta love Anarchy Divine, that song just kills!

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Orange_Gem
Eats fæces for YOUR freedom

Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:52 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:28 pm 
 

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
Orange_Gem wrote:
They remind me of Saxon's Biff Byford.


Down's Syndrome's an interesting thing, though.


Yeah...it's a sad disease. What, who has it? The boy in Guardian you mean? Because that's not Saxon.

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