History & BiographyFates Warning was Metal Blade's progressive house band. The act was born in 1982 and carried the name Misfit at first. The band released a demo and appeared on Metal Massacre V in 1983 with the song Soldier Boy. With different band members living in various locations in the ‘90s, the group had become more of a project with musicians like Bernie Versailles of Agent Steel and Dream Theater's Kevin Moore contributing on occasion. The fans, generally, hail the John Arch-era as Fates' best, although FW retained a hardcore following in progressive metal circles. Later releases saw the band take on a more mainstream approach. The band recorded Parallels with producer Terry Brown (Rush, Voivod, etc.) in Toronto. The band had lived and rehearsed for six months prior to entering the studio in Canada. Still Life was a live album and the 1995 compilation Chasing Time featured a couple of unreleased tracks. Joe DiBiase, a founding member, left in 1996. US progressive outfit Fates Warning had to cancel European appearances at both the Wacken Festival and the Prog power Festival in 1999 due to Massacre Records unwillingness to pay for the band's airfare. A video called Live At The Dynamo was released in 2000.Guitarist Jim Matheos, keyboardist Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, formerly of Dream Theater) and drummer Mike Portnoy. Fates Warning opened for Dream Theater and Queensrÿche across North America in 2003. The band spent the rest of the year writing for a new album due in 2004. In the spring, Mark Zonder, Shadow Gallery guitarist Gary Wehrkamp and Silent Force singer D.C. Cooper joined forces to form a new project called Alfa Dog. Zonder left Fates Warning as a result. FWX (Fates Warning 10) was issued in October, 2004. Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy was asked to fill in on drums for a few live shows until a permanent replacement could be found in late 2004 and early 2005. The band and Metal Blade announced an expanded edition of the 1986 album Awaken The Guardian for 2005. This double CD and DVD set not only featured full, re-mastered versions of the original eight tracks, but also featured an entire disc of rare live and demo tracks and a DVD that included a dozen of the band's videos. Simultaneously, InsideOut Music announced November 11th as the release date for a DVD called Live In Athens, which was mixed by producer Bill Metoyer. The group was joined by former guitarist Frank Aresti and Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio for shows in California and Germany in 2006. The group’s 1988 album No Exit was re-released in most of Europe on October 8th, 2007 through Metal Blade Records. This edition featured alternate versions of several songs and a DVD filmed in that year. Metal Blade re-released Perfect Symmetry on June 10th, 2008 with bonus material and DVD footage. This audio/visual package included 2 CDs and 1 DVD of demo sessions from the original recording sessions, a feature from Kevin Moore (Dream Theater), live versions of classic tracks and concert footage from 1989 and 1990 with full colour packaging. Metal Blade Records announced March 16th, 2010 as the release date for a special-edition of the 1991 Parallels album. The package included a second CD of live and demo material. The package also included a DVD with three hours of material including a documentary on the making of the album.
Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos and early Fates Warning singer John Arch joined forces in early 2011 and were working on a full-length album for a project called Arch/Matheos that was due for release in May through Metal Blade Records. Fates Warning hired Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold) to play drums for the band again for its show opening for Queensrÿche in São Paulo, Brazil on April 14th, 2012. Metal Blade Records announced a June 5th release date for a special package of Fates Warning's 1994 album Inside Out. This re-release contained a double CD plus bonus-DVD. It included a 1995 concert.
Fates Warning’s Darkness In A Different Light was out in late 2013 through InsideOut Music. It was recorded in the spring and summer of 2013. Bobby Jarzombek was on drums. Aresti was back. In 2015, Graham Bonnet was recording in the studio recording and using Fates Warning drummer Mark Zonder. A three-CD/DVD reissue of the 1997 album A Pleasant Shade Of Gray would be made available on October 2nd 2015 through Metal Blade. Victor Arduini and Brian Balich of Argus and Penance had a 2015 project called Arduini/Balich. Fates Warning commemorated the 30th anniversary of its Awaken The Guardian album with a show at the Keep It True festival on April 30th 2016 in Germany. The band featured the Awaken The Guardian line-up including singer John Arch. The band’s Theories Of Flight album was out through InsideOut. Guitarist Mike Abdow was taking the place of Frank Aresti for touring purpose. The band announced it would tour Europe in 2017. To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Awaken The Guardian album and make some money, Fates Warning’s Awaken The Guardian line-up played shows at the Keep It True XIX in Germany and Prog Power USA XVII in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The shows were recorded and were being issued as CD and DVD through Metal Blade in 2017. The band released a new live album, called Live Over Europe, through InsideOut Music in June 2018. Fates Warning, which was on the road with Queensrÿche, returned to the Metal Blade roster in 2019. An album was due in 2020. Bassist Joey Vera was unable to play the concerts in Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee due to his Armored Saint schedule. He was replaced by original Fates Warning bassist Joe DiBiase. Fates Warning released its 2020 album, Long Day Good Night, through Metal Blade Records on November 6th. The album hinted at the ending for the band given its title and how the last track was called The Last Song.
Electronica/progressive rock side-project Tuesday The Sky released a new album, entitled The Blurred Horizon, through Metal Blade Records on 03.09.2021. The act featured Jim Matheos. A-Z featuring singer Ray Alder and drummer Mark Zonder signed to Metal Blade in June 2021. The band’s monicker signified the musicians’ lack of adherence to any one style. Destination Onward: The Story Of Fates Warning was a book by Jeff Wagner out on July 15th 2022. The story of Fates Warning was written in conjunction with the members of the band.
The projects kept coming fast. Jim Matheos and FM singer Steve Overland had a new project, Kings Of Mercia. Session bassist Joey Vera and drummer Simon Philips were in the AOR act too. The band uploaded a song called Wrecking Ball and a full-length was out through house label Metal Blade.
Fates Warning members were discussing a 40th anniversary tour including Bobby Jarzombek who was playing with George Strait,
FATES WARNING - AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN - METAL BLADE
“I left alone, dark the night, deep the blackest forest down to devil’s hopyard.” What a bunch of alliterations! And look at this: “Blasphemous black bible bias you betray bigotry!” The lyrics on Fates Warning’s third album (from 1986), which was also the band’s last recording with original singer John Arch, features some of the most sophisticated and cryptic lyrics ever to be heard in the metal scene. The opener The Sorceress, where the first quote is taken from, is a mid-tempo song with several breaks and tempo changes in the guitar solo parts. Valley Of The Dolls could be about the movie of the same title, but the lyrics are mysterious again. The song’s intro sets up a structure that changes as soon as the vocals set in. Fata Morgana has nice melodic leads at the beginning and again contains breaks before the main riff starts. The song itself deals with Morgana LeFay, King Arthur’s half-sister. Guardian has strong Christian tendencies in the lyrics and could be about guardian angels: “I will wish upon a star / I believe in you / And if my will has strayed afar / I remember you / Will you remember me?” Prelude To Ruin again features the guardian angel motif (“Guardian angel guide us through the night”) and looks at the end of all living things. Giant’s Lore (Heart Of Winter) is pure fantasy. The song tells the story of a giant among men and its riffing is similar to Sanctuary or early Nevermore. Time Long Past is the melancholic instrumental intro to Exodus, the album’s longest song with a running time of 8:35 minutes. Its lyrics are magnificent - I still do not know what they are about. There are biblical motifs (Israel’s exodus from Egypt and the temptation of Christ in the desert), but also metaphors about thirst and visions of things to come. You will see for yourself if you listen to the song. Awaken The Guardian is a masterpiece of atmosphere and intelligent song writing and an all-time progressive classic. - Andreas Herzog
FATES WARNING - LIVE IN ATHENS DVD - INSIDEOUT
Has Fates Warning now unofficially moved on from Metal Blade? Or has the band somehow worked out a video deal with InsideOut? The DVD at hand is a compact four-camera account of the band’s Athens concert of early 2005. Aside from a couple of extras, like a show in The Netherlands, the largely unedited DVD shows the band’s revamped line-up on stage in every day garb delivering their songs without much ado. The lacks of frills extends to the band’s outfits, stage design or special effects.
The band’s brand of progressive rock is intact and sailing smoothly. Something that did surprise me was the band’s set, which skews the earlier material like the Arch-era songs. Sure, those songs are growing old in the tooth, but surely they remain popular. The band presents tracks like Quietus (the surprise of the set), A Pleasant Shade Of Grey, One, Simple Human, Another Perfect Day and several others to their enthusiastic Greek fans. The sound is crystal clear, but no 5.1 making do with Dolby Digital 2.0, as is the picture. Live In Athens is a no-frills video, which nonetheless should suffice given how the band has not exactly been prolific in the visual department. - Ali “The Metallian”
InterviewsFates Warning is playing a rare Canadian show on July fourth near Barrie. The location is one hour north of Toronto at the Molson Park. The bill also features Dream Theater and headliners Queensryche. Guitarist Jim Matheos of Fates Warning called in to Metallian Towers for a quick chat in order to promote the event. - 27.06.2003
The progressive package came about...
Ninety-percent, if not one-hundred percent of the reason, would be due to Dream Theater's drummer Mike Portnoy. He is a good friend of mine. We've done a few projects together over the last several years. They were getting together with Queensryche and one day he asked me if we would like to be on the bill.
Whether Fates Warning was a last minute addition...
No, not really. They had this tour since January. Then they asked us in March or April. I just don't think we would have had a shot at getting this tour if Mike had not gone to bat for us.
The tour is progressing nicely...
We did two shows on our own and we have so far done four shows as part of the bill and it is going very well. We are playing to big crowds, we are going over well and it is just an honour to be playing on this bill.
I would say it is between two and four thousand. As we go through North America, some shows will be bigger than that and the others will be in that range.
The unique nature of the tour package...
I think all three bands complement each other. On the one end of the spectrum you have the ultra-technical and progressive Dream Theater and on the other is Queensryche who are progressive, but are more song-oriented. Hopefully we fall somewhere in between. We have a little bit of the more technical stuff and we have songs which fall into the more structured mould.
The set list is a moving target...
I am not going to tell you what our set list looks like. We are trying to push it around every night! Unfortunately we only have a thirty minute set so it is very hard for us to move songs in and out. We have exactly thirty minutes to play. If we add a song to the list, then we have to take a song of equal length out. We still try to mix it up a little bit every night.
Expectations for the show...
I hate to say it, because we are promoting that show, but I never look ahead to coming shows. I just concentrate on one show at a time. I will start thinking about that show on the day of the show. It is a whirlwind when you are on tour. Many things compete for your attention.
Looking forward to playing near Toronto...
We have never played in Toronto, but we have fond memories because we spent about five or six months living in Toronto. We were writing the Parallels record in 1991. We recorded with producer Terry Brown. We went up to Toronto to write and record Parallels. We had planned on staying for a month and we stayed for almost six months. I have a good memory of living in Toronto on the lake. It was a lot of fun. It is actually some of the best memories of our whole career.
As for Fates Warning after the tour...
We had begun writing for our next album before this tour came up. The immediate thing, as soon as we get off the road, is to within a few weeks start writing for the record again. It will be on Metal Blade and will be out either in the winter or spring of 2004.
- Ali "The Metallian"