Inside Out [Release date 29.06.18]
A live album by Fates Warning is always a pretty welcoming proposition, as the US Prog Metal giants belong to that elite category of bands whose live performances outdo, in principal, those featured in their studio releases.
Having attended the band’s Athenian show earlier in the year, and knowing full well that part of that show would be featured in “Live Over Europe”, explains both my excitement over its release and my willingness to take on review duties.
Most importantly, though, I would be given pretty early on the chance to discover the answer to one very important question: whether the idea of combining excerpts from eight different live shows into one body of music was a valid one indeed.
The answer to the above question is a resounding yes! It is not only the band’s skills in constantly maintaining high performance standards while on tour that make “Live Over Europe” such a successful release but also Jens Borgen’s (Opeth, Kreator) involvement on mixing duties.
Only a man of his professional stature and abilities could bring such a difficult task into fruition – make the listener forget most of the times that what he/she is being exposed to is not a single solid performance but pieces put together following the very successful tour that the band undertook in early 2018 across the ‘old continent’.
Consisting of twenty three tracks and featuring one of the most professional and highly-acclaimed line-ups in the band’s long and impressive history, “Live Over Europe” contains some of the most important compositions in the band’s musical cannon.
Introducing disc number one, “From The Rooftops” is one of the band’s recently-crafted classics – a song which exemplifies what Fates Warning stand for in the year 2018. Ray Alder’s reaches high performance standards throughout the album but it is in the most demanding of materials such as “Life In Still Water” and “Firefly” that his talent truly shines.
Matheos, the band’s sole founding member and guiding light, has found a trustworthy partner in the young but quite skilful guitarist Michael Abdow as suggested in the way they interact during “Seven Stars” and “The Light And Shade Of Things” while the killer rhythm section of Joey Vera/Bobby Jarzombek perform miracles during my all-time favorite “One” and the magnificent thematically-varied opus “And Yet It Moves”.
Disc number two kicks off with a stellar rendition of “Still Remains” and follows a more ‘old-school path’ through the performance of the technically-demanding “Nothing Left To Say” and the heavy-laden “Acquiescence” – another composition which proves how successful the guitar collaboration is between Matheos and his young “Padawan” (Abdow).
“Point Of View” is a difficult song to perform live under any circumstances but Alder not only manages to come out of the whole experience relatively unscathed but also offers his Athenian fans Goosebumps during both the two minute “Falling” and the “A Pleasant Shade Of Gray Pt. IX” which follows suit – a really highlight if ever there is one!
In “Through Different Eyes”, “Monument” and “Eye To Eye” you have three of the most important compositions in the band’s career, all of which were perfectly performed in front of an emotionally-charged and positively-engaged Greek crowd, thus offering a beautiful ending in this long but enormously fulfilling release.
Having presented the album in the most coherent and detailed fashion possible, what is left to do it to explain what made it deserving of the highest possible rating given here.
Well, the answer is pretty simple really; it features the best compositions performed in the most professional and heartfelt manner by one of the top Prog Metal bands of all times!
The only negative thing that I can think of, which is of course justified when considering the costs involved for such an endeavour, is the lack of visual material but that is a minor misdemeanour really!
**** (5.0 / 5.0)
Review by Ioannis Stefanis
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