Ray Alder – What The Water Wants

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The frontman of Fates Warning, Ray Alder, decides to release his first solo record and as one can easily gather the overall interest and the expectations are high amongst the prog rock/metal fans around the world. Personally, I’ve never hidden all these years my great appreciation of Fates Warning thus I was eagerly expecting the…second strike of the year after the sensational “Winter Ethereal” by Arch/Matheos.

“What The Water Wants” is both refreshing and familiar, at least to my ears, as you can trace different sonic elements but at the same time you can’t help bringing images of Fates Warning when you listen to Alder’s unmistakable voice. In addition, the presence of guitarist Mike Abdow on the album adds yet another Fates piece to the puzzle while it is instantly evident the chemistry between the two musicians. I’d say that the majority of the songs refer to the atmosphere of the last couple of Fates records with a seemingly more straightforward song structure. In other words the songs are more catchy compared to the more complex sense of “Theories…” and “Darkness…”. Especially the songs “Crown of Thorns”, “Lost” and “The Killing Floor are absolutely sensational.

On the other hand when the other guitarist on the album, Tony Hernando, handles the guitar duties (in the songs “Shine”, “A Beautiful Lie”, “Wait”) the album gets a more metal aesthetic thus making the overall result more diverse and –as I mentioned- refreshing. As for Alder, I truly believe that he is going through one of his most productive and prolific periods in his career as his inspiration combined with the overall performance is really impressive.

With 2019 coming to an end, “What The Water Wants” is a remarkable contender for one of the Top 10 albums of the year.

Highlight: In the album there is almost a…title track called “What The Water Wanted”.