Jim Matheos
Away with Words


4.0
excellent

Review

by OmairSh USER (31 Reviews)
June 30th, 2020 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An elegant offering by Fates Warning’s band leader that deviates from his more customary Metal indulgences in exchange for eclectic acoustic based Classical and Folk Rock music. Truly exhibiting his songwriting versatility

Feels like Autumn

Something that’s dawned on me with the passage of time is the level of care with which Jim Matheos handles his music projects. Regardless of whether it’s a solo or band endeavour, there always seems to be an air of maturity & sophistication present in the music as well as the production vision as a whole. 1999’s Away With Words is no exception.

This album is sandwiched in between Fates Warning’s gloomiest albums; A Pleasant Shade of Gray & Disconnected, and is a significant departure in a musical sense, but close enough to be their cousin in terms of overall mood. Jim heavily explores his acoustic inclinations similar to the way he did on his debut solo album First Impressions, with this feeling very much like its literal & spiritual successor. Away With Words is a fully fleshed out music listening experience, and has undeniably been treated that way. There are ebbs & flows over the course of the album’s duration, with Jim traversing through genres ranging from purely Classical to Folk Rock, and even Bluegrass. Sometimes the music’s disposition is bright & upbeat as displayed on songs like “Tongue Tied,” whilst elsewhere it feels ominous & dramatic as shown on songs like “The Language of Silence” & “The Last Light of August.” Certain songs may contain only one instrument supporting Jim’s acoustic guitar, while other songs are a full four-member band piece, with noticeable mood swings & sizzling crescendos. The guest musicians help to ensure that the album doesn’t suffer from feeling too minimalistic & linear as a whole. String instruments, the bass guitar, and drums (provided by the venerable Mark Zonder) are all employed to varying degrees to serve the music, and every musician delivers. No one overplays or demonstrates musical pyrotechnics, and thankfully so, since every member fulfills their purpose which is to add textures & variety to the compositions.

This having been released in 1999 means Jim had ample engineering & production experience under his belt by the release of this album, and it shows on here. All the instruments sound crisp and the mix is a complementary layer; it’s spacious and respects every instrument ubiquitously. The absence of electric guitars in any capacity unquestionably provides more room in the mixing real estate for the remaining instruments, however this has also held the album back in my opinion. There isn’t a requirement for heavily distorted guitar tones, but the presence of some clean & melodic lead sections would have definitely elevated this album. Another minor gripe of mine is that the album can feel somewhat cold in general from a production standpoint, especially when the bass guitar isn’t present.

Away With Words may require some patience and being in the right mood in order to truly be appreciated, but once it’s given a proper investment of time the experience this album has to offer can really be enjoyed. This continues to prove that Jim is one of Metal’s, if not Western Music as a whole, most prolific & hardworking musicians that continues to stay relevant no matter what genre or decade it may be.

Recommended Tracks
1. A Way With Words
2. The Last Light of August
3. Astronomics
4. The Language Of Silence


"A Way With Words": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R9K3CajxGA&list=PLNWwSTO1wvafvWGbsIuW 9GKTo62f7O2BJ&index=1




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user ratings (9)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
OmairSh
June 30th 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really been enjoying this recently. Very chilled out



Astronomics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsqhZN4XXTo&list=TLPQMzAwNjIwMjCoOiCCGugVKQ&index=3



The Language Of The Silence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDzEqndTZIU&list=TLPQMzAwNjIwMjCoOiCCGugVKQ&index=4

Digging: The Gathering - Mandylion

Source
June 30th 2020


18491 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool review dude, i love the bass on this one

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 30th 2020


8807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, pos.



Great album, although not as introvert and coherent as its predecessor.

Digging: Qualm - Tiefe

wildinferno2010
June 30th 2020


778 Comments


Another great writeup, dude.
Reminds me, I need to get more into Fates Warning. Probably won't listen to this anytime soon, but might give Disconnected a shot later today.

e210013
June 30th 2020


2998 Comments


It seems to me interesting stuff. Since I'm a great fan of Matheos (I especially with your point of view about the maturity and sophistication), I'm going to put it into my list. Besides, I love both albums, "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" and "Disconnected.
The review is great, as always. Pos.

teamster
June 30th 2020


5035 Comments


Probably my favorite musician of all time. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Sleestak - Aeon

OmairSh
June 30th 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the POS' guys!



I prefer this to Jim's debut solo album because its more varied as a whole and the rhythm section really augments the compositions tastefully.



Revisiting this album after so long makes me want Jim to incorporate acoustic elements more extensively on modern Fates Warning albums

Source
June 30th 2020


18491 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i prefer first impressions because it's a little more chill

OmairSh
July 1st 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah its more chill than this for sure, just the acoustic guitar & violin, but it can feel more tedious than this one imo



@wild: Theories of Flight is an album you might be able to get into more easily, but honestly every FW album is different, so I can't even say which one you'll enjoy more. I'd say check either From The Rooftops or Seven Stars if you want a taste of Theories



@e: Yeah man Jim brings a lot of depth and maturity to his music, and I'm really amazed at how productive he's been, and still is after nearly 4 decades

Titan
July 2nd 2020


20995 Comments


Man Omair Ima bout to disappoint you





















I haven't heard any of his solo work

Titan
July 2nd 2020


20995 Comments


This review was well written Yes

OmairSh
July 3rd 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Grazi Titan :-)



Yeah most people haven't heard his solo albums, it's quite different from his metal stuff, but still worthwhile if you're in the proper mood

Titan
July 3rd 2020


20995 Comments


I'm definitely going to check em out

OmairSh
July 3rd 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Noicee, hope ya dig



Also, after so many reviews it was about time I reviewed some Matheos project

OmairSh
July 13th 2020


16702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In the mood to jam this again. Soothing



Language Of Silence is so melodic and pleasant



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