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Still not quite it - 60%

LuigiCalzone, March 17th, 2023

In the 2000s it became pretty quiet around Fates Warning and its side projects. The main band only released 'Disconnected' in 2000 and 'FWX' in 2004, while Jim Matheos released the EP 'A Twist of Fate' with their former vocalist John Arch. It wasn't until 2011 that the fans finally got some new material. The first full length album with John Arch since 1986 is published under the name Arch / Matheos, but the musicians featured are basically the current Fates Warning lineup with the the one exception of John Arch singing instead of Ray Alder.

Similar to 'Darkness in a Different Light', the Fates Warning record that followed the Arch / Matheos debut, 'Sympathetic Resonance' is totally overproduced. The sound is overall soulless, even mechanical at times. If you are into modern production, this is nothing you will be disturbed by, but I can't stand it. However, unfortunately the songs themselves aren't masterpieces either, but for the most part they are good. "Neorotically Wired" is a pretty ambitious opener that exceeds the 11-minute-mark and is full of catchy melodies. Even the technical parts have some kind of earworm factor to them, definitely a memorable track. The catchy melodies continue in the "hit" single "Midnight Serenade". The two highlights on the album are "Stained Glass Sky" and "Incense and Myrrh". The former is the longest song on 'Sypathetic Resonance'. Similar to the opener it mixes technical instrumentation with catchy melodies, but it does it better. In my opinion the vocal melodies and the overall songwriting is superior in "Stained Glass Sky", and the riff coming shortly after the silent middle section is by far the best on the album. The latter is a beautiful and emotional track, a pretty cool way to close the album.

'Sympathetic Resonance' would be quite strong, if it weren't for "On the Fence". While having decent melodies occasionally, the verse riff is pretty ugly and can get annoying over time. This is without a doubt one of the worst songs in existence inside the Fates Warning cosmos. But even without this stinker the painfully modern production makes the album difficult to enjoy and the fact that it nearly lasts for 55 minutes does not help. It isn't easy to consume this album in one piece and it takes time to get into the long songs, but after several listens the album is pretty good. Overall an improvement over the EP from 2003.