“Live In Athens” by Fates Warning

Artist: Fates Warning
Title: “Live In Athens”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 11/22/2005
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 7/10

Fates Warning has long been referred to as one of the first bands to venture in the realm of Metal and Progressive Music. While then ground was laid first by Rush and carried strong by Queensryche, it seemed that Fates Warning kept a lot more of their Metal core and introduced more and more progressive feels as they went forward. “Awaken The Guardian” is still revered to this day and while the group has had numerous lineup changes since that time and their release of “X” they still prove to be a group with staying power and musical efficiency. This concert performance (filmed in Athens in early 2005) shows the current lineup performing a great selection of their material from across the years. The early fans of the John Arch era material might balk somewhat at the complete lack of any of these songs from this time period but there is still enough music included that I feel most supporters of the band could enjoy. Many reviews I have seen described the small stage setting but to me it seemed fine as I had once seen the band perform set up in small confines in Manhattan clubs of the past. There is not much visually to this group anyway and it’s more about the music they are delivering. Sound and production of the DVD is excellent as far as the audio goes with the band sounding tight and on the money. Ray Alder truly shines vocally and is up on the list with Progressive giants of today in my opinion. Visually this left me a little wanting based more on the camera angles being mostly close-ups or pan outs. The only member from the bands original lineup is Jim Matheos who is joined by Alder (vocals), Joey Vera (bass) formerly of Anthrax and Armored Saint. Nick D’Virgilio (drums) from Spock’s Beard and Frank Aresti (guitar). Musically this is a great front line and as you watch them perform you see them doing so in relative ease. That’s the sign of professionals when it looks easy. Of the included selections the material from the last album is done particularly well and should send people looking into this among other releases. “Simple Human” is great as is “Another Perfect Day”.

Bonus Features: Sadly the bonus features are a little lackluster and limited in their content. There is a Behind The Scenes section with excerpts from Bulgarian TV, rehearsal and sound check. There are also a couple of added live performances that feature Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater from the Holland Headway Festival in 2005. Given the bands many changes both in lineup and creative direction I think some commentary from Matheos would have been wise to include.

I enjoyed this DVD but found it is more for the die-hard Fates Warning fan who has maintained an allegiance over the years than someone who is new to the band. However, there are those who simply like live concert videos and barring the minimal extras this is still a good viewing experience.

Track Listing:
1. One
2. A Pleasant Shade Of Gray III
3. Life In Still Water
4. Simple Human
5. Heal Me
6. Pieces Of Me
7. Face The Fear
8. Quietus
9. Another Perfect Day
10. A Pleasant Shade Of Gray XI
11. The Eleventh Hour
12. Point Of View
13. Monument
14. Still Remains
15. Nothing Left To Say

Official Website: www.FatesWarning.com

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