Fates Warning - Parallels
Ray Alder: Vocals
Jim Matheos: Guitar
Frank Aresti: Guitar
Joe Dibiase: Bass
Mark Zonder: Drums

With the recruitment of their new singer Ray Alder Fates Warning started moving towards a more accessible sound. At this point in their career every album had been significantly different from the last one and Parallels lives up to this legacy. The album trilogy of "No Exit", "Perfect Symmetry" and "Parallels" shows an evolution that really comes to its own here. Parallels is the perfect marriage of challenging, thoughtful and easily accessible music. It is catchy, yet long lasting, technical and detailed, yet not overwhelming because it keeps the melodic element in focus at all times. Pop-Prog-Metal anyone?

Part of why the album is so easily accessible can be attributed to its warm production, which really is as close to perfection as I can imagine. Every instrument is given its own clear space to unfold. Bass, drums and guitars all have a wonderful sound.

Guitarist Jim Matheos is responsible for writing all the music and I am guessing he wrote all the lyrics as well. Ray Alder sings these with a ton of emotion and his voice holds a certain sadness that really hits home. He is much more controlled than on the previous two records and it suits his voice.
Mark Zonder shows his incredible skill on the drums by constantly changing patterns and adding a ton of detail to the music. I cannot stress how amazing it is listening to him play.
Joe Dibiase on bass is another creative spirit roaming free. His bass lines often lead the way and bring both intensity and extra nuances to the melodies.

From the gentle opening notes of Leave the past behind to the gentle closing notes of The road goes on forever the album mixes memorable choruses and vocal melodies with technical brilliance in a way that is compact, interesting and never boring.
This is one of those albums where you don't really notice the guitar solos until you start listening for them and discover that they are outstanding all around. The guitar sound has a lovely crunch to it throughout and this gives a song like Life on Still Water and extra edge.
The album doesn't take any detours into long instrumental passages or 20 minutes epics and in this case it is better for it.

Commenting on some of the songs, you should especially check out the drum and bass detail in Leave the past behind, which is astounding. Life in Still water holds genuine tension until it is finally released in the chorus. Eye to Eye opens with a small explosion, heads into a heavy riff and has my absolute favorite moment of the album, arriving when Ray, in a spine-chilling way, delivers the lines:

All we can really share
Is the coldness we feel
And the silent memory
Of the moment we met

The Eleventh Hour opens with some big emotions and just when you think you're listening to a ballad the song explodes in a massive display of musical fireworks, detailed in a way that leaves room for many repeated listens. I especially like the galloping bass line that pops up several times during this section. For a while this was my least favorite song off the album, but now I don't see how I could have ever thought that.

I think we can all agree that Point of View is a superb, straight ahead rock song that might have been delicately carved out for radio airplay, but still deserves a serious banging of head during its captivating chorus. The same can be said for Don't Follow Me.

A slowly suffocating fog of sadness surrounds We only say goodbye. The clear guitar notes work wonderfully in realizing this. The road goes on forever gently ends the album with a glimmer of hope.

One way of summing up the lyrics could be: Live your life to the fullest. The lyrics beautifully touch upon various subjects of inner turmoil, but never really give an answer, just a circle to follow.

Though I long for the unique atmosphere that pervaded the albums the band did with John Arch, Parallels has other qualities that overcomes this and make me embrace the album for what it is; a compelling, thoughtful and above all enjoyable collection of songs. A classic without doubt and my personal favorite in the Ray Alder-era of Fates Warning.

Written by Steen
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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Steen: 8.5/10

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Comment by ThraX (Member) - Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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This album is a 10/10 , it's perfect, as is almost any Fates Warning album with Mark Zonder drumming (Best drummer of all-time)....Every song is masterful in it's own way , I also love the guitar tone on this album....and as always vocal god Ray Alder shines throughout the album , heartfelt lyrics throughout the album..."Life In Still Water" & "The 11th Hour" are a couple of the best songs every made in the history of music in my opinion!

Posted by ThraX
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Anonymous) - Thursday, August 9, 2007
This is a wonderful release. Though it is not my favorite one, it is where I got introduced to this fantastic band. Its all because of the air play of "Point Of View". What I love about this band is the evolution of their music from the 1st release. To date No Exit is still my favorite, but thats definately not to down play the achievements of this release or anyother.

Seeing FW with DT and Queensryche was a Muscian's Dream Concert. Mind Blowing to say the least.

Comment by VeX (Member) - Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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I have to agree with my brother this album is a perfect 10/10. Every song is a winner. The first time I heard "Life In Still Water" was a mind blowing experience. I love the drum work by Mark Zonder in that song (Mind boggling it's so good). And the now classic "The Eleventh Hour" is such a great song. Well every song is amazing for me. I remember having to buy this tape, Yes tape back in the day over and over because I wore them out buy playing them so much.

Posted by VeX
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comment by Modulator (Member) - Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review by ProfessorShred (Member) - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
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I have some really fond memories in the early 90's timeframe one of them was listening to this Fates Warning Album over and over again
Classis stuff to be sure

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted by ProfessorShred
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review by Steen

Released by
Metal Blade - 1991

1. Leave The Past Behind
2. Life In Still Water
3. Eye To Eye
4. The Eleventh Hour
5. Point Of View
6. We Only Say Goodbye
7. Don't Follow Me
8. The Road Goes On Forever

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The Spectre within (Re-release) - (Steen)

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