Fates Warning

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Fates Warning
Band Promoshoot, 2014 (left to right): Frank Aresti, Bobby Jarzombek, Ray Alder, Jim Matheos, Joey Vera
Background information
Origin Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Genres Progressive metal
Years active 1982−present
Labels Metal Blade, Inside Out
Associated acts
Website www.fateswarning.com
Members Jim Matheos
Frank Aresti
Ray Alder
Joey Vera
Bobby Jarzombek
Past members Victor Arduini
John Arch
Joe DiBiase
Steve Zimmerman
Mark Zonder

Fates Warning is an American progressive metal band,[1] formed in 1982 by vocalist John Arch, guitarists Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini, bassist Joe DiBiase, and drummer Steve Zimmerman in Hartford, Connecticut.[2] Their early work was heavily influenced by new wave of British heavy metal, and was key in the development of American power metal.[3][4] With each work the band developed into a pure progressive metal style. Fates Warning has experienced numerous line-up changes. From 1982 to 1996 — and temporarily in 2010 — Matheos and DiBiase were the only remaining original members of the band, with Matheos being the only constant member. Their current lineup consists of guitarists Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti, vocalist Ray Alder, bassist Joey Vera, and drummer Bobby Jarzombek. As a pioneer of the American progressive metal movement, Fates Warning rose to international fame in the 1980s and was ranked as one of the early "flagship bands of progressive metal" along with Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Crimson Glory and Watchtower, who were responsible for creating, developing and popularizing that genre.

Fates Warning has released twelve studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, one VHS, three DVDs (each of them features live concerts) and four demo tapes. The band experienced major American commercial success with the 1986 release of their third studio album, Awaken the Guardian, which peaked at number No. 191 on the Billboard 200,[1] and became the first album released on Metal Blade to enter that chart. Their next three albums, No Exit (1988), Perfect Symmetry (1989) and Parallels (1991), were also successful; the first two peaked at No. 111 and No. 141 on the Billboard 200 respectively. Fates Warning's most recent studio album, Theories of Flight, was released on July 1, 2016.


Early career and first three albums (1982−1986)[edit]

The first album, Night on Bröcken, was released in 1984 on the Metal Blade label. Mainly influenced by Iron Maiden and other heavy metal bands, in songs like the title track and, particularly, "Damnation," there were prog aspects that would be developed in subsequent albums. The Spectre Within, which was released in 1985, featured a more progressive approach in compositions like "The Apparition", "Epitaph", "Pirates of the Underground" and "Traveler in Time".

In 1986, original guitarist Victor Arduini left the band and was replaced by Frank Aresti. The third album, Awaken the Guardian was released in that year, moving towards a more mythical atmosphere and a fully progressive approach towards song form, full of complex riffs and numerous tempo changes, while maintaining a power/heavy sound.

Lineup changes and rise to near fame (1987−1993)[edit]

In 1987, original vocalist John Arch left the band prior to the start of work on the band's next album. Ray Alder joined the band later that year. The first album with Alder, No Exit was released in 1988 and further developed the route taken by the prior album with a more powerful sound while setting aside the fantasy themes and atmospheres. It featured the first prog metal suite of the genre, "The Ivory Gate of Dreams," which is based on the Gates of horn and ivory.

Following the tour in support of No Exit, original drummer Steve Zimmerman left the band in 1988. He was replaced by Mark Zonder in 1989. Perfect Symmetry was released in the same year. The album abandoned some of the straight-ahead "heavy metal" sound of No Exit in favor of a more melodic and significantly more progressive style, along with a melancholic atmosphere. Kevin Moore (keyboardist for Dream Theater at the time) was featured as a guest on the song "At Fate's Hands".

1991 saw the release of Parallels, which was distributed by Warner. New Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie made a guest appearance on the song "Life in Still Water". The album contains a more commercial blend of prog and metal elements and was the band's most commercially successful release.[citation needed]

Later years (1994−2008)[edit]

Slowing down after the momentum of the previous releases, the band took two and a half years to complete 1994's Inside Out, which continued in the general vein of the previous album while adding more melody to the songs. The band's lineup also remained intact between albums for the first time since Spectre Within. Band members have attributed the album's comparative lack of success to confusion while writing this album in the wake of the success of Parallels and their subsequent failure to maintain release momentum. Inside Out was followed by a 1995 compilation, Chasing Time, which included two previously unreleased songs.

In 1996, both Joe DiBiase and Frank Aresti left the group.

The three remaining members, Alder, Matheos and Zonder, released A Pleasant Shade of Gray in 1997. The album featured work from guest musicians Joey Vera on bass and Kevin Moore performing piano and keyboards. Written as a concept album, A Pleasant Shade of Gray revealed a much darker and bleaker mood in songwriting style than had been heard before from the band. The album consists of a single 53-minute song split into twelve parts, making it the longest track Fates Warning has ever recorded.

A live two-CD set, Still Life, was released in 1998, containing A Pleasant Shade of Gray performed live in its entirety. Joey Vera (bass), Bernie Versailles (guitars) and Jason Keazer (keyboards) accompanied the group on this album. A Japanese version included a studio Scorpions cover, "In Trance."

In 2000, Moore and Vera again returned as guests to appear on the next album, Disconnected. In 2003, Frank Aresti was asked to fill in on a tour with Dream Theater and Queensryche, and subsequently rejoined the band.

Their tenth studio recording FWX was released in 2004. Drummer Mark Zonder stated it would be his last album with the band, as he wished to pursue other interests, and left in 2005. Although an official member again, Frank Aresti did not appear because the writing had been completed and contracts had been signed already.

Live in Athens, a concert DVD, was released in 2005; This DVD included guest drummer Nick D'Virgilio.

In the liner notes to the 2005 expanded edition of the Awaken the Guardian album, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy noted that, "very often fans and critics credit Dream Theater for creating a whole new genre of progressive metal music in the late '80s/early '90s, . . . but the truth is Fates Warning were doing it years before us."[5]

The band has recorded songs for various "tribute" albums, including "Closer to the Heart" on the 1996 Working Man Rush tribute, "Saints in Hell" on the 1997 Legends of Metal Judas Priest tribute, and "Sign of the Southern Cross" on the 2000 Holy Dio Ronnie James Dio tribute.[citation needed]

Reunion with Parallels lineup and other projects (2009−2012)[edit]

In 2010, Fates Warning played select dates with the Parallels lineup (Alder, Matheos, Zonder, Aresti and DiBiase) to celebrate the reissued, remastered and expanded edition of the classic album.

At the beginning of 2011, an announcement was made that Matheos and original vocalist John Arch had formed a band called Arch / Matheos. Their debut album was released in the autumn of that year, also featuring Joey Vera on bass guitar, Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Frank Aresti on additional lead guitar.[6]

Darkness in a Different Light, reunion with Awaken the Guardian lineup and Theories of Flight (2013−present)[edit]

After many delays, Fates Warning released its eleventh studio album Darkness in a Different Light on September 27, 2013. It is the band's first album since 2004's FWX.[7][8][9]

In March 2016 the Awaken the Guardian lineup (Arch, Matheos, Aresti, DiBiase and Zimmerman) reunited for a European show to celebrate the album's 30th anniversary. That lineup was announced to also headline the Progpower USA Festival in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2016.[citation needed]

Fates Warning entered the studio in December 2015 to begin recording their twelfth studio album, which was planned for release in early 2016.[10] The album, titled Theories of Flight, was released on July 1, 2016.[11]


Band members[edit]


2010 Parallels reunion lineup[edit]

2016 Awaken the Guardian reunion lineup[edit]

Touring members[edit]

Touring guests[edit]


Guitar rig and signal flow[edit]

A detailed gear diagram of Jim Matheos' 2012 Fates Warning guitar rig is well-documented.[12]


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg (22 May 2003). "Fates Warning". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  2. ^ "FATES WARNING Profile:". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  3. ^ Taniwha. "Fates Warning biography". MusicMight. Retrieved 2015-08-07. 
  4. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (2003). A–Z of Power Metal. Rockdetector Series. Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-1-901447-13-2. 
  5. ^ Review of the album Awaken the Guardian at PopMatters.com
  6. ^ Arch / Matheos Project Launched Featuring Past And Present Fates Warning Members; Band Tracking In The Studio bravewords.com. 2011-01-19. Retrieved on 2011-01-22.
  7. ^ "FATES WARNING To Begin Work On New Album". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  8. ^ "News - FATES WARNING To Release New Album In 2012". KNAC.com. 23 June 2011. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  9. ^ "FATES WARNING To Release 'Darkness In A Different Light' In September". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  10. ^ "FATES WARNING To Record New Album In December". Blabbermouth.net. October 1, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "FATES WARNING To Release 'Theories Of Flight' Album In July". Blabbermouth.net. April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ Cooper, Adam (18 November 2011). "Jim Matheos' 2011 Fates Warning Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com

External links[edit]