Fates Warning is one of the most important bands in the fields of powerful progressive metal, no doubt. Over a period of 35 years (incl. the ‘Misfit’ years) the guys influenced many bands while constantly releasing albums that are milestones in metal. Regardless if it’s the groundbreaking first releases or the newer ones like “Theories of Flight”, Fates Warning always delivered excellent music that is a treat for your ears. Of course it’s a mandatory to see their show when they are close to your hometown. As we speak the quintet is on tour through Europe, a trip that included two stops in The Netherland – Uden and Haarlem.
When I arrived at the venue the first support band started their show already. Greece symphonic power metal outfit Fallen Arise have been the first ones that night and to my surprise the room was already pretty much packed. This is even more surprising considering the fact that Sabaton and Accept played the same night in Amsterdam which is just a few kilometers away. However, Fallen Arise nailed down a solid show that was built on their first two albums. It got pretty tight though on stage. The six guys could only use parts of the stage in the smaller of the two rooms, which basically means that the potential space for moving was one square meter per musician. Fallen Arise was a good start, but not more.
This didn’t change with the second band that night and one can ask the question according to what criterias the support bands for Fates Warning's current tour have been chosen. Band number two was Armored Dawn from Brazil, another sextet that had to do with the same space issues as their predecessors. The guys played in total five songs, based on their debut album that came out mid-2016. What was the gothic visual expression of Fallen Away became a ‘Manowar-like’ one with Armored Dawn and what’s a bit strange in this context is that the set included a Dropkick Murphy cover, ‘The Rose Tattoo’, which felt heavily misplaced - soundwise and stylewise. Talking about sound; no idea what the soundman did during Armored Dawn’s show, but the band didn’t benefit from his work at all. Singer Eduardo Parras was almost unhearable, the drum were too much in the forefront and also the entire mix was far away from being optimal.
After these two bands and a 30 minutes stage rebuild the curtain rose (actually the stage had a curtain that was closed during the break) for the band most people came for that night– Fates Warning. What to say? As expected, this show was a true highlight. Jim Matheos and has gang inflamed pure metal magic that night, taking the audience on a journey through metal that included four new songs as well as the brilliant milestones ‘The Ivory Gate of Dreams: VII. Acquiescence’ from the ‘No Exit’ release and ‘Through Different Eyes’ from ‘Perfect Symmetry’.
Fates Warning has a pretty stable line-up, something that benefits their music and sound a lot. However, next to the well-known Fates Warning icons Matheos, Alder, Vera and Jarzombek it was guitarist Michael Abdow who replaced Frank Aresti on second guitar. But since the axe man was part of earlier Fates Warning session it was to be nothing integrating him on this tour. This quintet nailed down a tight show that reflected 100 minutes of excellent progressive metal that combined history with present. It’s a pleasure listening to Matheos, a musician that becomes one with his guitar. Next Matheos more genius and introvert musical magic it’s power pack Joey Vera, building, together with drummer Bobby Jarzombek, a rock solid rhythm foundation for each of the Fates Warning tunes performed that night, all rounded off by a Ray Alder who obviously enjoyed every note he sang.
I think that there was nobody in the audience that night who was not impressed by a gorgeous concert of a band that stands for powerful progressive metal, performed in authentic and humble way. Fates Warning doesn’t need any gimmicks or fancy stage scenery. These guys have their songs, their setlist and their musical capabilities which is more than enough for concerts that are jaw-dropping moments.
There are two wishes though: Hopefully Fates Warning comes back soon to The Netherlands and hopefully with support band(s) that fit better to their music.