When only three years pass since the last studio album by Fates Warning, it is surely a wonderful feeling for all the fans of the American prog outfit; after all, we are talking about a band that has surely taken its time in the past to release new material. On the other hand, Jim Matheos is a perfectionist musician and he wouldn’t record something just for the sake of it.
Almost right from the start, “Theories of Flight” had the difficult task of reaching the same qualitative level as its predecessor, the magnificent “Darkness In A Different Light”. The first thing that is really striking with “Theories…” is the up-tempo character of the majorities of the songs and their aggressive attitude; something quite unusual for Fates Warning. Also, there is a clear optimistic mood and a sense of escapism in most of the tracks while the familiar (for Fates Warning) melancholic climate is present in the majestic prog opus of “The Ghosts of Home”. Ray Alder is perfect behind the mic, Bobby Zarzombek is as stomping as ever on the drums, Joey Vera is tight and groovy as ever while Jim Matheos is flawless and unique. Frank Aresti’s presence is small and discreet…yet always significant!
From a compositional standpoint, “Theories…” is a natural evolution of “Darkness…” and I’d say that one can find some common elements with “FWX” (especially in such songs as “White Flag” and “SOS”). Of notice as most definitely the catchy “Seven Stars” that should actually be the first single as it bears stylistic similarities with “Firefly” (the first single from “Darkness…”), the aforementioned “White Flag” with its frenzy guitar solo and my personal favorite so far, the brilliant “The Light And Shade Of Things”. Having said, all the songs “speak” to you in an almost metaphysical manner…in a typical Fates Warning manner!
“Theories Of Flight” is yet another masterpiece for Fates Warning…after all, we didn’t expect anything less than that!
Highlight: The initial album title was “The Ghosts Of Home” while the song of the same name that ended on the album had a working title of “Home Again”…