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Fates Warning - Perfect Symmetry

1989 Metal Blade Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-06

Upon cursory examination, this album just screams "sell-out", Fates Warning here attempting to break from the underground into the major leagues. Very professional packaging combined with excellent production and musicianship should have been all that was needed, but as hard as they try, FW just can't sell their souls to the masses. Gone is the Dungeons and Dragons appeal, only thing really retained being the love of screwing with time for kicks. Perfect Symmetry, which sports a really classy cover by Hugh Syme (of Rush fame), is also the first appearance of percussive powerhouse Mark Zonder. Born of the planet polyrhythm-9, Zonder has the dubious talent of making the simplest rhythms complicated. I only say dubiuos, for while I sit and listen slack-jawed, I've heard many complaints about the "busy" playing of this mastermind. Well, stick to Def Leppard if that's what you like, for this is some take no prisoners progressive metal. Upon repeated listens, the brilliance which resides here is only made more evident, but one can also begin to see why Perfect Symmetry never became as popular as say, Queensryche. Ray Alder's voice is still a little too "metal", time signatures are from hell, and Matheos just can't write anything plain! Even "ballad" Chasing Time has some interesting things going on here. First collaboration with members of Dream Theater, as Kevin Moore throws some keys into epic track At Fates Hands (a masterpiece!). Unfortunate that these guys had to comtinue to live in obscurity (although idolized and revered in small circles), but for those who feel that Dream Theater is a little "light", we always have Fates Warning. Final track Nothing Left to Say was featured on the Freddy's Dead Soundtrack, funny since the song plays for about 2 seconds in the film!