Fates Warning - Inside Out review
|Release date:||July 1994|
01. Outside Looking In
02. Pale Fire
03. The Strand
04. Shelter Me
05. Island In The Stream
06. Down To The Wire
07. Face The Fear
08. Inward Bound
11. Outside Looking In [demo] [Expanded Edition bonus]
12. Shelter Me [demo] [Expanded Edition bonus]
13. Island In The Stream [demo] [Expanded Edition bonus]
This Fates Warning's 1994 release continues the style of their previous album Parallels which made the group more known to audience all over, getting radio plays and appearing as their most commercially successful album to date. With Inside Out they tried to continue this road, but the album never achieved the same attention as it's predecessor.
Music on Inside Out is strong and solid progressive rock written by Jim Matheos who continues to impress with his complex and interesting guitar arrangements. I have always liked the fact that Matheos never overplays his solos, they are never too long or fast, he doesn't need to show us how fast he can play - he uses his guitar purely to express feelings and it works - solos are always very emotional and somewhat distant. If you listen to Inside Out you'll understand what i mean.
Ray Alder sounds also strong, singing again in the same vein as on Parallels, meaning that he does not sing as high as on Perfect Symmetry or on No Exit, but here Ray has found a perfect way to control his voice even better resulting in beautiful and deep vocals.
Mark Zonder's drumming is perhaps the most impressive part of the album - he never continues to amaze me. This rock/jazz style Mark plays is truly one of a kind and absolutely fantastic to hear - and with a band like Fates Warning backing it up, the result is extremely enjoyable.
Inside Out may not be the most "progressive" albums the band have put out, it has no lengthy over 10 minute tracks or other "typical" progressive elements, as some could say. Instead it has 10 well constructed, well written and well performed "normal" length tracks that should offer interest to anyone who enjoys catchy melodies, interesting song structures, very original drumming and, on top of that, emotional and pure vocals.
But as we know, nothing is perfect, so there are some flaws on Inside Out as well. Main problem it seems to have is the aforementioned similar Parallels style they continued here - I think this is the albums two-bladed sword. Audience cannot decide what the band wants to say - it seems the album is "too progressive" for more radio-friendly audience and then again "too mainstream" for dedicated prog fans.
The second problem I will point out is the album's overall production. Somehow it sounds a bit overproduced, namely, it sounds too sterile and dry. Ray's voice is too prominent and occasionally overshadows the music.
So, that said, I will end my review of Inside Out by saying this is an album that falls between the progressive- and mainstream rock category - for some it is confusing but others find it interesting for the very same reason. But the one thing we cannot deny is that Inside Out is a professional and mature work from a very strong and important progressive rock/metal band.
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