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Fates Warning - Theories Of Flight album review

Unsung heroes of prog metal.

Fates Warning Theories Of Flight album cover

Some bands just don’t get the breaks, no matter how good they might be. So it is with Fates Warning, whose long career has been played out in the margins while other progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater and Queensrÿche have sold millions of records.

Formed in Hartford, Connecticut in 1983, Fates Warning defined their sound with the 1988 album No Exit and a 20-minute track, The Ivory Gates Of Dreams, which evoked Rush and Metallica.

Twenty-eight years on, with guitarist Jim Matheos and singer Ray Alder still present, Theories Of Flight, the band’s twelfth album, is another epic. Songs such as SOS and From The Rooftops have all the bravura of classic Dream Theater. And in the two 10-minute tracks The Light And Shade Of Things and The Ghosts Of Home is a near-perfect balance between metallic riffing and prog complexity, melodic finesse and subtle atmospherics. Fates Warning are not big, but they are clever.

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”