Fates Warning
Parallels


4.0
excellent

Review

by Reverse Perpendiculars USER (27 Reviews)
July 6th, 2011 | 505 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A stylistic peak for the progressive metal group Fates Warning, with emotion running in every verse and flawless songwriting throughout.

For any artist, the roughest course of action is a complete change in sound. It could be to strive for uniqueness, or for fluidity and accessibility, but this can be disastrous to a band's career. After Fates Warning recruited Ray Alder as their new lead vocalist, they pioneered a new genre by blending their rebellious and heavy hitting image with progressive tendencies on No Exit, before breaking into a wild sprint that eschewed their chugging and galloping epics in favor of mechanical lamentations on their next work, Perfect Symmetry. The original fanbase was further broken up as critics lauded Perfect Symmetry and it's complex arrangements, but the band did the unthinkable and pushed even farther on Parallels, in a move toward accessibility that was staggering to critics and fans alike. An inital spin gave listeners the impression that the band was positioning toward newcomers, with radio-ready-and-polished singles "Eye to Eye," "Point of View," and "We Only Say Goodbye" becoming international hits, and not to mention a shiny world tour being granted to them.

Despite it's direct approach and stark contrast from any of Fates Warning's previous albums, Parallels manages to impress by remaining relaxed while it dishes out its progressive lamentations. The melodical focus is consistently maintained throughout with Zonder's drumming as he showcases an impressive balance of precision and caution. This brings out each song's distinct flavor, bringing out the striking bass waves, and an excellent string of Matheos' choruses. Their edge is as strong as ever, and although fans of the power metal era of Fates Warning may have a bone to pick with Ray Alder, the album's lyrical content manages to answer those questioning their decisions, giving an intriguing account of emotional altruism that is unheard of in the metal genre. Contrary to the commercial failures of many bands throughout the nineties, Parallels was a massive success that helped shape the progressive metal genre alongside Dream Theater's Images and Words and Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime. The band also obtains assistance from fellow prog metal band Dream Theater, who was not far off from their landmark release “Images and Words." Both bands share a word of thanks with each other in the liner notes of their respective albums, in addition to Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie teaming up with Ray Alder for backup vocals on "Life in Still Water." Each band has their cover art showing near-parallel images of a young girl - where this album shows her at the deathbed of the laborer from Perfect Symmetry, and Dream Theater shows her alone in a lavish dreamscape of a bedroom - holding a pocket mirror.

If you are familiar with the band, then you are probably aware that Mark Zonder can be a rabid squirrel on the drums. He plays beats on his offbeats, creates drum fills that are impossible to decipher without multiple listens and a PHD in Progressive Metal, and stretches the atmosphere of the genre that the band was pioneering, even greater than Scott Rockenfield and Mike Portnoy ever did to Queensryche and Dream Theater, respectively. His presence on Parallels is beautifully connected with the rest of the band without taking from his obvious prowess. It's vaguely reminiscent of Neil Peart through the 80's "synth-era" Rush by granting creedence to the compositional nuances and letting the verses flow. Matheos' guitar work is simplistic in technicality, but affective by it's emphasized dissosance which simultaneously resonances when matched with bassist Frank Aresti.

"Leave the Past Behind" may not be able to challenge the untouchable "Part of the Machine," but it is a solid number and impressive opener with melodic flurries may leave you deftly in need for some Promethazine to cure your motion sickness.

Parallels reflects ideas of death and regret, and everyday experience with the fact that life is short. "Life in Still Water" illustrates this with lyrics like "Beneath the dust of our days/hides the key to our emotions/and it's been a while since we've been moved/without going through the motions/No emotions…/Is there time still for us to show?/Feelings we forgot long ago". An odd quirk worth noting is the obsessive use of 2nd person narration in the lyrics, (perhaps even joked about in the song "Point of View", the very title itself ironic) every song except for "The Road Goes On Forever" features some repeated use of the word 'You.' Still, their songwriting is nearly top notch, as is Ray Alder’s voice easily at its stylistic peak, belting out some impressive heights from his pipes on "The Eleventh Hour" and some sobering wails on"We Only Say Goodbye". As the closing track, "We Only Say Goodbye" has an incredibly memorable melody and as moody as it presents itself, it is the perfect theme to fit the new sound, the album cover, and the image and name of the band itself. With the perfect lineup of their members, Parallels is definitely the best place for any newcomer to Fates Warning, and is always a solid place in their catalogue.



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user ratings (337)
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
e210013 (4.5)
Parallels marks a transition to Fates Warning. It’s one of their best, important and coherent albu...

lostforwords (4.5)
Absolutely recommended to anyone who hasn’t yet heard anything by Fates Warning, because even thou...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Parallels
July 6th 2011


10157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eye to Eye : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCXbaNPnsO4

Point of View : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzq06pwOKfk&feature=fvwrel

KILL
July 7th 2011


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

absolutely love point of view yea this album is rule but yea they kinda went more radio friendly and shit but still m/

Willie
Moderator
July 7th 2011


20217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the first Fates Warning album that I ever heard and I love it. I had just started to get into Queensryche (Empire) and I was trying to find stuff similar to it and I came across this album. "Point of View" and "Dont Follow Me" are two of my favorite Fates songs.

KILL
July 7th 2011


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude no one likes this band except us

Willie
Moderator
July 7th 2011


20217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's true. That's why SonicSpeed is a trooper for keeping this up (especially if he hits all 10 albums). I've written a couple of Fates Warning reviews and they didn't go anywhere.

DocSportello
July 7th 2011


3399 Comments


Your language seems a bit forced. Take the opening sentence, for example: "Quite possibly the roughest course of action for any artist is a necessary change in sound." The idea (it is very difficult for bands to successfully alter their approach to music) is there, but it's poorly executed. Still, this is not a bad review by any means; it relays background information, describes the album's sound, and flows into a satisfactory conclusion. Thus, it's pos-worthy.

Also: "Fates Warning’s fanbase grew two sizes that day"

GRINCH REFERENCE?!?!?!

Parallels
July 7th 2011


10157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

KILL - :dude no one likes this band except us:



i couldnt help but laugh at the truth in that



@Drsmith4: Thanks man, I blame my reading too many Michael Crichton books for my overt diction.

@Willie: lol, woo woo, you bet your butt i will complete all 10.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2011


10805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent album!!!



Kudos for the review, will read it later.

Jacquelyn
July 17th 2011


33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would have given it a lesser rating. They have way better albums.

BladeRunner
July 18th 2011


603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The first Fates record I heard.



Life in Still Water, The Eleventh Hour and Point of View are high points for me.



I find that most people that like this band aren't over the moon for this record. However, fans that got turned on to the band via Queensryche (like myself) seem to gravitate towards this one. It IS derivative of the QR sound of the time, but I thank Fates Warning was much more of a progressive band, so their stuff is different enough for me.

Willie
Moderator
July 19th 2011


20217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree completely. I just got into Empire and then stumbled onto this.

KILL
December 7th 2011


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good ugh my dick is hard so good

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2011


18997 Comments


Bought No Exit this week.

KILL
December 7th 2011


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good choice

Parallels
February 16th 2012


10157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good ugh my dick is hard so good [2]



Yeah I'm tempted to bump this to a 5, but I can't. It's just soooo good though

KILL
February 16th 2012


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed this is too heavy for sputnik

jayfatha
February 16th 2012


2918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't listened to this in forever

Parallels
February 17th 2012


10157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should play it again





and then one more time

KILL
July 22nd 2012


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and the road goes on foreeeveeeeeeeeeeer

KILL
July 22nd 2012


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been so into prog metal the past few days fuckin a



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