Fates Warning
Theories of Flight


4.5
superb

Review

by Trey STAFF
June 26th, 2016 | 591 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blending the best parts of Parallels and Darkness in a Different Light, Theories of Flight sets a new standard for the modern Fates Warning sound.

If there is one characteristic that fits every classic album, regardless of genre, it is the effortlessness of it all. Listening to a classic album feels like watching something just fall into place. These are the albums that bands reflect on years later while admitting they had no idea how important they were going to become. At least a few of Fates Warning’s albums could fall into that classic realm. Whether it’s the more traditional Awaken the Guardian or the cold precision of Perfect Symmetry or even the mainstream breakthrough of Parallels, there’s no doubt Fates Warning has had its share of classic releases. The problem is that ever since A Pleasant Shade of Gray, the band has been in transition. This has benefitted fans because it has led to a multitude of varied releases, but none of them have felt like classics. Theories of Flight feels like a classic.

Theories of Flight takes the infectiously captivating Parallels formula and fuses it with the riffy progressive metal of Darkness in a Different Light, and the results are truly impressive. The album opens with ‘From the Rooftops’ and establishes a firm direction; one that is equal parts metal, progressive, and catchy. Unfortunately, ‘From the Rooftops’ has led some to believe that there might be an Arch/Matheos influence present, but there is not. This assumption is based on some chaotic riffing (by Fates Warning standards) on the opening track, but overall the Arch/Matheos influence just isn’t there. I say this not as a complaint, but to make sure people don’t go in with preconceived notions that dampen the impact of this excellent release. That also isn’t meant to imply there aren’t plenty of heavy progressive moments on the album, because there are; it’s only that they’re not so blatantly derived from Jim Matheos’ side project.

While there are definitely riffy moments on the album, Theories of Flight is much more than that one quality thanks to some of the most solid songwriting of the band’s career. Without exception, the songs on this album feature some of the catchiest choruses this side of Parallels. There are a few shorter songs such as ‘Seven Stars’ that sound like they could have literally come from a metalized version of Parallels, and those tracks are going to get stuck in your head immediately. There are also songs like ‘Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen’ that are much more steeped in the metal aspect that was first introduced in FWX and expanded upon during Darkness in a Different Light. These songs, too, still manage to introduce a multitude of memorable facets, from guitar riffs and melodies, to minor refrains, to powerful vocal melodies. What might be surprising, though, is that even the two extended tracks are catchy as hell while efficiently filling every bit of their 10-minute runtimes with indispensable moments. In fact, ‘The Light and Shade of Things’ is probably the song that ends up stuck in my head the most often.

The traditional progressive metal genre is in dire need of another classic album. While staples of the genre continue their downward trend, Fates Warning has been consistently excellent… but not quite classic. That stands to change with the release of Theories of Flight. Of course, it’s probably too early to announce this album deserves to join that elite list, but there’s no denying the argument should definitely begin. When a band somehow manages to take the most solid and memorable moments of their breakthrough release and seamlessly mesh them with a sound they’ve been circling around for years, and do so flawlessly, then it is at least worth proclaiming that they’ve released a milestone within their own career. But is it worth stopping the discussion there; I don’t know? While it’s too early to start calling Theories of Flight another pinnacle of the progressive metal genre, in 10-years’ time that may very well be what this album has become.



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user ratings (245)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4.5)
Darkness in a Different Light showed the group faring better than many of their peers in the prog sc...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 26th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

From the Rooftops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kkJ8qtgLBY

parksungjoon
June 26th 2016


19553 Comments


fuck yeah this band m/

mindpos hard

Digging: Nuclear Death - Bride of Insect

smaugman
June 26th 2016


5120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how did you listen to this? it's not supposed to be released for another 4 days

Willie
Moderator
June 26th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I get promos. I've had it since the end of May.



http://www.last.fm/user/WillieFisterbut

teamster
June 26th 2016


4914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You are obviously a FW fanboy so I will take this review with a grain of salt - I always tend to overreact to albums from my favorite bands - that being said, this sounds very promising and I cannot wait to hear it in glorious FLAC. Thanks for the review.

Digging: The Basement Paintings - Antipodes

Willie
Moderator
June 26th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Obviously... except not. I don't really like a lot of the albums people say this band has done really well, including No Exit and Pleasant Shade of Gray. I'm also not a big fan of their debut, Disconnected or Inside Out (all five of those I have listed at 3.0). In fact, I only have 5 of their albums rated at a 4 or above (out of 12 albums). Just saying.

teamster
June 27th 2016


4914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

U pretty much are , and that's ok , it wasn't meant to be a knock. I knew you would be the one to review this, knew it. Also, no mention of Ray's vocals? He is getting up there now - wonder how they are holding up.

facupm
June 27th 2016


11546 Comments


really that good?

OmairSh
June 27th 2016


15927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

THE WAIT IS UNBEARABLE!

Digging: Conception - State Of Deception

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

--U pretty much are , and that's ok , it wasn't meant to be a knock. I knew you would be the one to review this, knew it. Also, no mention of Ray's vocals? He is getting up there now - wonder how they are holding up.-

But it really is. By definition it means that I can't be objective about this band which would definitely be a knock considering the fact that this review should be at least kind of objective. No matter, either way, but that's my point. I had some stuff about Ray's vocals, but I wanted to shorten the review a little. Anyway, why mention his vocals when I'd probably just talk about how he walks on water and shoots rainbows from his ass. ha ha. Just kidding. I also had stuff about the drummer and how he provides a more metal edge to the band, but again, I wanted to shorten the review,



--really that good?--

Yes, but you don't have to take my word for it. Google 'Fates Warning Theory of Flight Review' and you'll see a lot of similar opinions.

bloc
June 27th 2016


61011 Comments


Never got super into these guys but I like to keep trying

Digging: Cut Copy - I Thought Of Numbers

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ha ha. I have a few bands that do that for, too. It never works out.

OmairSh
June 27th 2016


15927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why isn't this featured yet?

OmairSh
June 27th 2016


15927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The original album title was "Ghosts of home" which I liked more tbh. How does the cover art look in person?

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

--Why isn't this featured yet? --

It doesn't come out until 1 July and there isn't even a stream yet, plus there's still June 24th releases to feature... so there's no point.

--The original album title was "Ghosts of home" which I liked more tbh. How does the cover art look in person?--

I like that title more, too. It fits the mood and theme better. I don't know how the art looks in person. The promo is digital just like basically 99.9% of what we get. Google the album cover and you've got what I've got.



teamster
June 27th 2016


4914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alright, fair enough. I never doubt your objectivity - the obvious 3's and 4's for other FW albums signify that. Also, I am getting a "Clockwork Angels" vibe for this. Not necessarily a comeback album, but a terrific album so late in their careers.

Piripichotes
June 27th 2016


556 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This really is THAT good! I wasn't let down by the last Redemption, but it wasn't as good as I wished it would be... Snowfall in Judgement Day is still my favorite, and THIS record right here is exactly what I expected from Redemption... This is heavy, progressive, but still very melodic and may I say "nostalgic" at most times...



I'm only 2 spins in, but Willie is right, this is flawless, I don't wanna jump into conclusions, but this is top prog metal material. Ray's voice is so inspiring (to me at least)... The way he adds that soaring melody to heavy beats is unique.



Thanks for this review Willie, fanboyism allegations are completely out of place here, this record is all that. Had Dream Theater released this, we'd be calling it AOTY, let alone Radiohead or Swans, we'd be saying AOTEverExpandingUniverseForAeonsToCome.



Thanks again for this great review, it's spot on.

sonictheplumber
June 27th 2016


11027 Comments


I'm pumped. Greatest prog metal band of all time

sonictheplumber
June 27th 2016


11027 Comments


Willie man don't be so high strung, tell these ppl to fuck off

Willie
Moderator
June 28th 2016


18709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

If you like any of the post-No Exit Alder stuff, you should really enjoy this.



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