Fates Warning: Joey Vera (bass guitar); Jim Matheos, Mark Zonder, Ray Alder.
Personnel: Ray Alder (vocals); Jim Matheos (guitar, keyboards, programming); Mark Zonder (drums).
Audio Mixer: Phil Magnotti.
Recording information: A Clean Well-Lighted Place, NH (04/2004-06/2004); The Carriage House, CT (04/2004-06/2004).
FWX is a milestone for Fates Warning, marking 20 years since the band's debut, NIGHT ON BROCKEN. The album signals the end of one era, as departing drummer Mark Zonder's last with the group, and the beginning of another, as Fates make their first foray into producing their own records. While often compared to their prog-metal peers, Fates Warning are far less technical in their approach. What makes them progressive, and consistently sets them apart, is the lush mood and atmosphere they create. On FWX, their 10th studio album, the emotional tapestry of the group's songwriting carries a subtext of melancholy, personal reflection.
"Left Here" is close kin to the band's early-to-mid 1990s sound, while much of FWX ("Simple Human" and "Wish," especially) carries the aggressive touch established on DISCONNECTED (2000) and A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY (1998). "River Wide Ocean Deep" matches singer Ray Alder at his brooding best with a sampled vocal loop, yielding a haunting East Indian vibe. One of FWX's highlights, "Another Perfect Day," exhibits inspiring creative might and sums up the essence of the band's sound more effectively than ever before.