I will be upfront with you and start by saying that I’m a HUGE Fates Warning fan. When all my buddies in high school were squeaking and awing about Van Halen, I was in my dark room listening to the foreboding sounds of the Fates Warning albums “The Spectre Within” and “Awaken The Guardian”. So naturally both John Arch and Jim Matheos rank high in the ethos of metal for me.
When “Sympathetic Resonance” was released, I was giddy with excitement to once again hear that masterful combination of John Arch’s soaring vocals and Jim Matheos’ meaty guitars. I figured that album would be a ‘one off’ record but I was happy to have it. When I heard news of another collaboration of these two gentlemen, I immediately messaged John to get an interview for my radio show (which can be heard on the Headphone Meditations Facebook page) to get some details.
After so many years, John Arch still has a powerful voice and is immediately recognizable. Jim is in top shelf form as always as he keeps up his chops with Fates Warning. The new album “Winter Ethereal” was no let down. This album has the hard hitting riffs and haunting passages that you would naturally expect from these guys but also veers into some interesting changes. The main reason being the addition of several guest musicians that were not present on it’s predecessor “Sympathetic Resonance” but also because all the music was written specifically for Arch / Matheos whereas “Sympathetic Resonance” started off as a Fates Warning album.
Returning again to join John and Jim are Bobby Jarzombek, Joey Vera and Frank Aresti along with special guests Thomas Lang, , Baard Kolstad, Matt Lynch, Steve Di Giorgio, Sean Malone and former Fates alumni Joe DiBiase and Mark Zonder. How could you go wrong with that? Well, the answer is, you can’t.
I won’t go into all the stereotypical adjectives used to describe what the music sounds like (and never succeeds) but I will say that this album will provide you a journey that only John and Jim can navigate. Prepare yourself for a tear jerker at the end.
Favorite songs: ‘Wrath of the Universe’, ‘Never In Your Hands’ and ‘Kindred Spirits’
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10 May 2019