This is an in-depth set of prog metal from Fates Warning which will have those lovers of basic HM scratching their heads to the point of 90% hair loss should they attempt to listen to this.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Fates Warning
ALBUM: Long Day Good Night
LABEL: Metal Blade
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Ray Alder – vocals * Jim Matheos – guitars, production * Joey Vera – bass * Bobby Jarzombek – drums, percussion
Additional Musicians: Michael Abdow – lead guitar (#2, 5, 12) * Gavin Harrison – drums (#9) * Mika Posen – violin (#6) * Raphael Weinroth-Browne – cello (#6) * George Hideous – bass (#9, 13)
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Destination Onward * 02 Shuttered World * 03 Alone We Walk * 04 Now Comes The Rain * 05 The Way Home * 06 Under The Sun * 07 Scars * 08 Begin Again * 09 When Snow Falls * 10 Liar * 11 Glass Houses * 12 The Longest Shadow Of The Day * 13 The Last Song
Always a welcome addition to the Glory Daze library of articles is prog tech metal band Fates Warning. We’ve got numerous reviews of them going right back to the early 80’s, and observed their development over the decades.
The last album that we looked at was their 2016 studio album called ‘Theories Of Flight’. In-between then and now, FW had actually released two other albums, both of those were Live sets released in 2017 and 2018. They return in 2020 with a rather extensive studio set which is also issued as a double LP on vinyl alongside the digipack CD release from Metal Blade Records.
The album (which is their thirteenth overall) has principally been written by Jim Matheos and Ray Alder over the course of 2019 and into 2020. It represents the longest album of their career, and drops in many varied song types and instrumentation. Despite its lengthy run time (72min), ‘Long Day Good Night’ is not a concept album, but stands as an individual collection of songs on its own merits.
The recording and mixing of the album was a labour of love, formulated in studios around the world (for instance, Alder lives in Spain, the others reside in various locations in the USA) and the songwriting and recording schedule was driven by deadlines bought on by the COVID and lockdown situation.
[L-R] Bobby Jarzombek, Joey Vera, Ray Alder, Jim Matheos, Michael Abdow (2nd live guitarist)
Of the thirteen songs, only three would be considered lengthy (7min, 8min,11min). All the others surprisingly hover in the three to five minute range. This makes it highly digestible. There doesn’t appear to be a set theme (or concept), so we’re left to our own devices to figure things out lyrically.
Kicking off, there’s a long drawn out instrumental entrance to ‘The Destination Onward’ which lasts for 3min of the 8min runtime. There are trademark FW cast-iron sections coupled with some slower reflective passages too, but overall the heaviness factor is not quite at full-tilt. Just warming up.
‘Shuttered World’ is driven along by a powerful back-end from Bobby Jarzombek. ‘Alone We Walk’ works its way up from a restrained start toward a bustling track built upon angst and intensity. I’ll take a punt and suggest that both songs are all about COVID lockdowns during 2020.
‘Now Comes The Rain’ is a mellow and melodic number, it’s not metal as such, the super vocal choruses put paid to that. It’s sparse sounding and all the better for it. There’s not even a guitar solo in sight. ‘The Way Home’ features some gentle picked harmonics to start with. Things get more interesting from the 3min mark, a fusion like passage then morphs into a heavier section. A cutting solo is unleashed toward the end. A very progressive track.
There’s an orchestral element to ‘Under The Sun’, along with acoustic guitars, and though there are bursts of electrics, this song is very lightweight. FW return to heavier ground courtesy of ‘Scars’. This sounds familiar to the recent Armored Saint release ‘Punching The Sky’, with growling guitars creating a darker edge that suits the aural imagery of the song.
‘Begin Again’ rocks hard but opts toward a cleaner sound without too much in the way of distortion. ‘When Snow Falls’ is the pure ballad on the album, as pure as the driven snow, as the saying goes. Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree is the guest drummer on this one.
‘Liar’ helps balance up the quota of rock tracks though I’ll say this one didn’t have the same impact as those tracks which went before and after. ‘Glass Houses’ is powered along by another tiptronic drum performance from Jarzombek, everything else falling neatly in behind, loud and proud.
‘The Longest Shadow Of The Day’ is the longest on the album (11min) and ends up sounding like one almighty jam. Pretty impressive I might add. ‘The Last Song’ ends the album as an acoustic guitar piece. Not quite an interlude, this one winds down things on a gentle note.
This is an in-depth set of prog metal from Fates Warning which will have those lovers of basic HM scratching their heads to the point of 90% hair loss should they attempt to listen to this. There’s a load of variety so its not all bombast and blunderbuss.
Some will appreciate what Fates Warning have attempted here. They were never part of the old school metal brigade nor were they totally prog metal like many of the fantasy and sci-fi based bands out of Europe. Intelligent themes and lyrics pervade their work, much like Rush did within a lighter hard rock framework. There you go. An extensive overview, if this feels like something you’d want to listen to then go for it.
Now Comes The Rain