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Fates Warning | Inside Out (Expanded Edition)

by Joe Mis
Staff Writer —

Long before “progressive” was a genre – back in the days when it was only a mere adjective – there was Fates Warning. Reaching back into the archives, Metal Blade has remastered Fates’ superb 1994 progressive metal opus Inside Out, bringing a fresh perspective to this fine album and giving fans of this pioneering act a chance to hear some unreleased live material and demos.

Despite an original release date in 1994, Inside Out was actually Fates Warning’s seventh studio release – the follow-up to their commercially successful 1991’s Parallels. With a history extending back to 1982, Fates Warning is considered by many to be one of the founders of the progressive metal genre, along with Dream Theater and Queensryche. Perhaps the instability of the band’s lineup kept them from becoming as widely known as their peers, as by 1994 only guitarist Jim Matheos and bassist Joe DiBiase as the only remaining founding members. The lineup for Inside Out was: Ray Alder (vocals), Jim Matheos (guitar), Frank Aresti (guitar), Joe DiBiase (bass), and Mark Zonder (drums) – arguably the strongest of all incarnations.

Inside Out was an extremely melodic album, featuring amazing musicianship and fine songwriting both in terms of music and lyrics. The tracks seem to be a bit edgier and slightly harsher than those from Parallels, and lyrically they are more introspective. Fortunately the remastering did nothing to diminish the impact and musicality of Inside Out, with the only obvious changes being an emphasis on the more subtle highs and a general increase in crispness which helps to emphasize Mark Zonder’s amazingly intricate cymbal work.

Revisit the stunning “Pale Fire,” take a swim back to “The Strand,” focus on Ray Alder’s amazing vocals on “Shelter Me,” and spend some time on “The Island In The Stream.” All of the tracks have aged well, and are still relevant today.

The second CD is a true treat for Fates fans. There are killer live versions of “Outside Looking In” and “Point Of View,” and a nicely done concert recording of “The Eleventh Hour.” The demo tracks are interesting peeks into the development and writing processes, particularly the alternate lyrics on “Outside Looking In,” the different, livelier arrangement of “Pale Fire”and more dramatic vocal delivery on “Shelter Me” and “Island In The Stream,” and the cool instrumental version of “Face The Fear.” The final track, the demo “Circles” truly shows the evolution of a song – this was the basis for “Shelter Me,” but it is radically different in meaning and lyric, although the melody is unmistakable.

The additional material is not perfect, for example on “Down To The Wire” Ray Alder voice is pretty much buried by the music, and the bass in “Face The Fear” is loud enough that it is distracting. Considering the technology of the time and the age of the recordings, the small things are easily forgiven.

The expanded edition of Inside Out will be released on 5-June-2012. Until Fates completes its eagerly anticipated follow up to 2004’s FWX, fans can happily enjoy these newly remastered releases and bonus material, as well as the debut release from Arch / Matheos – featuring Jim Matheos and original Fates voclaist John Arch, along with long time member Frank Aresti.

If you already own the original Inside Out, there may not be enough additional material to justify purchasing the Expanded Edition, but if you don’t have a copy then this release is simply a must have if you consider yourself a fan of progressive metal.

Genre: Progressive Metal

Ray Alder (vocals)
Jim Matheos (guitar)
Frank Aresti (guitar)
Joe DiBiase (bass)
Mark Zonder (drums)

Track Listing:
1. Outside Looking In
2. Pale Fire
3. The Strand
4. Shelter Me
5. Island in the Stream
6. Down to the Wire
7. Face the Fear
8. Inward Bound
9. Monument
10. Afterglow
11. Outside Looking In (Live)
12. Down to the Wire (Live)
13. The Eleventh Hour (Live)
14. Point of View (Live)
15. Face the Fear (Live)
16. Outside Looking In (Demo)
17. Pale Fire (Demo)
18. Shelter Me (Demo)
19. Island in the Stream (Demo)
20. Face the Fear (Demo)
21. Monument (Rough Mix)
22. Circles (Demo)

Label: Metal Blade


Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10