“What The Water Wants” is the debut solo album by long time Fates Warning vocalist Ray Alder. Alder has been with Fates since 1987 and has been a part of other projects such as Engine and more recently Redemption. With Fates leader Jim Matheos busy with the Fates offshoot, Arch/Matheos, Alder had the time to put together his first solo release.
The music on “What The Water Wants” was mostly written by Fates Warning touring guitarist Mike Abdow with the remaining 3 tracks penned by Lords of the Black guitarist Tony Hernando. Alder took care of all of the lyrics and melody. “What The Water Wants” isn’t a copy of Alder’s main gig but since his voice is so identifiable with Fates Warning, it does sound quite a bit like them at times. However, songs like “Crown of Thorns” sound completely unique musically. That track is definitely a favorite.
Overall, the genre is more nebulous. I suppose if Alder wanted to sick to prog metal alone, there would be no need to do a solo album. But songs like “Lost” and “Some Days,” though more direct, wouldn’t sound out of place on a Fates record. The 3 tracks co-written with Hernando are the ones that sound very different overall. “Shine” and “A Beautiful Lie” have a power metal feel to them, while “Wait” is one of the more progressive tracks and another favorite of mine. Killer guitar solo on it too!
The closer “The Killing Floor” is another outstanding song that…yes could be a Fates tune. It has a lot of power and atmosphere which reminds me of closers like “The Road Goes on Forever” or “Nothing Left to Say” in that there’s plenty of room for Alder to showcase his amazing voice. And yes he sounds incredible throughout this album! How he still sounds this good is beyond me.
“What The Water Wants” is essential for any Fates Warning fan. It offers a somewhat isolated glimpse into what Alder brings to that band, without Matheos. There are no weak tracks but at the same time, I am not consistently floored by any of them either. As solo albums go, “What The Water Wants” is a solid start to a solo career that’s been 31 years in the making.
1. Lost (03:45)
2. Crown Of Thorns (04:53)
3. Some Days (04:34)
4. Shine (04:53)
5. Under Dark Skies (03:58)
6. A Beautiful Lie (04:10)
7. The Road (05:38)
8. Wait (04:36)
9. What The Water Wanted (03:46)
10. The Killing Floor (05:47)
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 18 October 2019
Purchase the album here: https://www.insideoutshop.de/Item/Ray_Alder_-_What_The_Water_Wants_-Ltd-_CD_Digipak-/16565