It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I was reminded by Luke Henson of that, so here’s my rank ’em for the mighty Fates Warning. The criteria is no greatest hits albums, no EPs and no live albums. There is one slight caveat on this list. The Arch/Matheos album, to me, is a Fates Warning album so it’s on the list. The lineup is all current or former FW members and it sounds like them. So here’s the list:
13. Night on Bröcken (1984)
12. The Spectre Within (1985)
The first two albums are good (and I know John Arch fans will be pissed off) but they are far from great. Each have signs of what the band would become. I love the band’s energy more than the output. These are always at the bottom for me.
11. FWX (2004)
10. Inside Out (1994)
These two suffer from the same problem for me, a lack of energy. Each album has some GREAT songs but also some average ones. In both cases, it sounds like a band that was rather tired and going through the motions. Each album signaled the end for some members of the band so I think the discontent shows on each album. Each can move up a slot or two.
9. Darkness in a Different Light (2013)
There are some fantastic songs on this album! “O Chloroform” is one of my favorite Fates songs. The problem is the mix and mastering are lacking. The album has no punch at all. They fixed the issue on the next album “Theories of Flight” by getting Jens Bogren to mix it. Maybe have him remix this one?
8. No Exit (1988)
There are plenty of classic songs on “No Exit” but there are some iffy ones. I’ve never thought “Anarchy Divine” was any good. Plus Ray Alder’s voice was rather rough at this point. This one can move up a slot but no more.
7. Perfect Symmetry (1989)
What a difference a year made! Ray sounds so much better on this one. The songs are much tighter as well. This one can move up a slot or two for me from time to time.
6. Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance (2011)
This for me is a Fates album. Honestly I think it’s every bit as good as “Awaken the Guardian.” The two can flip spots. The songs on this one are stellar and John Arch sounds better than ever.
5. Awaken the Guardian (1986)
A classic album for sure. It showed how far the band could come by their third album. This one never gets any higher for me than number 5. It can drop as low as 8 though. I figured I’d better give it my highest rating or Arch fans would hunt me down.
4. Parallels (1991)
There’s not a weak song on this one. This album SHOULD have made Fates Warning huge. Some might knock it for it’s pop sensibility but who doesn’t want to sing along with the songs on this album. It can go as high as number 2.
3. Theories of Flight (2016)
This is the album I had been waiting for Fates to make. It really showcases everything that they can and have done over the years. Great songs, GREAT mix. But I can’t place it higher than 3.
2. Disconnected (2000)
This might be a surprise to some but the longer tracks on this album are some of my favorite Fates songs. It has Kevin Moore on it. Enough said. It goes no lower than 3 but usually it’s a strong number 2.
1. A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)
Easily my favorite Fates Warning album. There is no contest. This is one of my favorite albums by ANYONE. Love the songs, love the reuse of themes, love Terry Brown’s production and of course…Kevin Moore.
So there you have it. This is my ranking for Fates Warning. How did I do? What does your list look like?