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Arch/Matheos - "Sympathetic Resonance" (CD)

Arch/Matheos - "Sympathetic Resonance" CD cover image

"Sympathetic Resonance" track listing:

1. Neurotically Wired (11:12)
2. Midnight Serenade (5:27)
3. Stained Glass Sky (13:56)
4. On The Fence (8:11)
5. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me) (10:27)
6. Incense and Myrrh (5:22)

Reviewed by on September 15, 2011

"The end result is a highly progressive and discernibly more electrifying release than any latter Fates Warning and present day Dream Theater album."

“Sympathetic Resonance” is a return to glory in what arguably should have been the successor album to “Awaken The Guardian.” After teasing fans with the two song EP “A Twist Of Fate,” marketed as a John Arch solo release in 2003, the famed vocalist/cabinet maker has teamed up with Jim Matheos again. The end result is a highly progressive and discernibly more electrifying release than any latter Fates Warning and present day Dream Theater album.

It is impossible to listen to this release and not harken back to the golden years of Fates Warning from the mid to late 80’s. “Sympathetic Resonance” firmly answers the burning question “What would Fates Warning sound like today if John Arch returned to the band?” The band behind Arch is Fates Warning’s current lineup (sans Ray Adler, of course), and even constitutes 3/5ths of the lineup from “Awaken The Guardian.” This fact alone is a welcome sight to this author and many others who feel that Fates Warning was never the same since Arch’s departure. It is shocking to see fans that still think “Perfect Symmetry” was Fates Warning’s first album, however, in many ways it was.

“Neurotically Wired” is a solid opener which wets the appetite for the near 60 minute progressive masterpiece. The instant feeling is that the band reached back to the past and refreshed the true Fates Warning sound with a more modern progressive feel. While older material was more power/progressive style with a tinge of dungeon/doom, the opening track presents a natural progression of that style for 2011.

Younger fans who require proof of just how good Arch would sound in today’s Fates Warning would do well to skip the first 2:58 of “Stained Glass Sky”(a dazzling array of progressive masturbation in its own right), to witness a song that would fool any older fan into believing the band re-recorded “Awaken The Guardian.” “Any Given Day” and “On The Fence” have many throwback flashes to early Fates, even recreating (to a certain extent) a tinge of the aforementioned dungeon/doom, a trademark from 1984-1986.

Perhaps the most stunning part about this release is the level at which John Arch can still sing. His vocals are a timeless journey to when Fates Warning had a style that wasn’t merely a cure for insomnia. Arch’s style today is nearly identical to that of his youth, sounding as if a very young Bruce Dickinson up and joined Dream Theater.

“Sympathetic Resonance” is like a “traveler in time” returning to the “exodus” of a “time long past,” an “apparition” of that long lost “night on Bröcken.” One can almost hear Arch bellowing out that familiar cry of “The Apparition” or end of “The Valley of the Dolls.” It is precisely what older fans of Fates Warning have been clamoring for.

Highs: The return to early Fates Warning glory.

Lows: The songs do run a tad long, but that is the nature of progressive metal

Bottom line: 'Sympathetic Resonance' is like a 'traveler in time' returning to the 'exodus' of a 'time long past,' an 'apparition' of that long lost 'night on Bröcken.'

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)