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Fates Warning must be jealous - 93%

Xeper, September 1st, 2003

I like Fates Warning, both with Arch and with Alder. I happen to like most of their material, but this new EP pisses all over anything they've done recently in terms of sheer progressiveness (if that's a word), and technicality, and being memorable...Arch can still sing ridiculously well, and the shuddering cadences of his pipes are second to none, even now after his being out of music for so long...obviously something inspired him along the way, because this is very inspired-sounding and intense stuff. The songwriting is top-notch as well, and it's no surprise that his band consists of Fates Warning and Dream Theater members, because performance is first-class, and songwriting is very intense, with senses of buildup, climax, blahblahblah. Both songs kind of remind me of Dream Theater's A Change of Seasons, though the riff work is clearly Matheos' own. Not that this sounds derivative at all, but it's that same kind of sprawling yet heavy epic winding progmetal songwriting thing they've got going on. Riffs abound, Portnoy's drumming gets better with every album the guy plays on and this is no exception, instrumental interplay is very classy and thought-out without ever being flashy. That's one of the most pleasant revelations this disc held for me-it's not a wankfest in any way, every note and bit of atmosphere is there for a reason, obviously very well written, even the lyrics are obviously quite personal and Arch's talents help emphasize aspects of this very well, as the man truly uses his voice like an instrument. Both songs, while epic in nature, are instant classics, and I can't wait to hear more from John Arch after this triumphant return of his. Prog metal fans take note!