Progressive music has not really been popular since the seventies, save for among a small bunch of ardent underground followers. In this losing battle of keeping prog-rock alive, many bands have passed on not leaving a trace; but Fates Warning, perhaps one of progressive metal’s finest bands, has pressed on. In a period of over a decade this band has made eight studio albums of quality music, always staying in their course and style, and thus setting a lasting mark. Still Life, a double CD set of live music from their latest tour, captures the best of this band, spanning from its earlier works to its latest release, A Pleasant Shade of Gray.
The second CD has classic gems like “The Ivory Gate of Dreams,” “Monument,” and “The Eleventh Hour,” recorded live at a show in Japan earlier this year, but the first CD is the real treat, A Pleasant Shade of Gray in its entirety, from Part I to Part XII! This 52-minute epic, concept album/song probably represents Fates Warning the best — you could hear all their influences: Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, UFO, Judas Priest, etc., coming through. (Supposedly, their main influence for A Pleasant Shade of Gray was Rush’s concept album 2112. So, closet Rush fans, don’t miss out on this!)
Still Life, like Fates Warning’s previous efforts, was produced by Terry Brown, who is known for his production marvels in Rush’s A Farewell to Kings and 2112. A must-have for the prog-rock fan. Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.iuma.com/Metal_Blade