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Report: Fates Warning + Support Acts – Athens, Greece

This would be only the second time I’d see Fates Warning in my life, and I can’t say I had the best possible impressions from my first live encounter with them. Two years ago, I saw them getting pulverized by Dream Theater in Terra Vibe Park in Malakasa and giving me the certain impression that they can’t perform that good in an open scene. The great new album they recently released entitled ‘’Darkness In A Different Light’’ and the fact that I’d see them in a closed scene, made me decide giving them a second chance and I think I left with much better feelings and with the band raised many clicks in my conscience after this gig. If I add the fact I saw two very interesting support bands before them, then this Sunday night was worth spending time in Fuzz Club (which is only twenty minutes straight walk from my house, so pretty much I was still close in the neighborhood). Parthian Shot is a great sixtet that plays progressive music in all the sense of the word and not only they don’t sound cheesy and light, but they give you the sense that they know what they want from the music they play and what’s even more important, was that you could see them having real fun while playing, showing that they knew they had a big chance, which they surely took advantage of. They played the tracks from their self-titled EP (which you might have purchased if you got a specific Greek Metal Hammer issue and they also distributed it inside the club) and their last track was entitled ‘’Promises-The Damnocracy Anthem’’, a ten minute epic which will be included in their forthcoming album. Surely the most complete and demanding track they played. Heavy sound, great vocals, guitars that are not afraid to rage as much as they want, steady rhythm section and essential keyboard fillings is what you’d witness for about 35 minutes. The singer’s t-shirt was writing ‘’This is what a really cool dad looks like’’. If you are a new dad my friend, then I wish you and your family all the best (and to all those who have become fathers recently of course). The Silent Wedding came after a quarter and with this quick change, the fans weren’t tired of waiting and were ready to also welcome them with warmth. The guys play a more atmospheric kind of music, with the vocalist trying to get the crowd’s attention in favor of his band and succeeding to transmit some energy on the stage. Unfortunately for them, the guitar wasn’t heard at all, the sound fucked the guitarist up, at least on the four first tracks they played, leaving the bassist the duty of becoming the rhythm guitarist of the band as well. Of course, they are such a good band that they overcame the loss of their most valued weapon (as the guitar OWES to be for ANY metal band) and continued professionally enough, playing Savatage’s ‘’Gutter Ballet’’ before their final track. The cover was gladly welcomed warmly by the crowd and half an hour after they entered the stage, they left getting the people’s applause which didn’t seem to get annoyed by the guitar’s absence. If you encounter them, give them a chance, as they sound way better with heavy guitar sound. Still they managed to handle this situation with decency and that’s something we have to admit. Cheers to you guys as well. Fates Warning is one of the most beloved bands for the Greek fans, in such a way that there were a lot of people in a visit of them once again (while many of the fans didn’t honor Shadow Gallery for example a week ago, strange enough but let’s stick to the point). The band started with ‘’One Thousand Fires’’, showing the strength of the new album at once, and going on with ‘’Life In Still Water’’, it was time to please their die-hards, showing they would leave everyone satisfied. ‘’One’’ sets Fuzz on fire, the sound is by their side, heavy and clean, with Ray Alder showing flexible, Jim Matheos alone in his corner and the great rhythm section of Joey Vera on bass and Bobby Jarzombek on drums playing in such way that you think they are the band’s secret weapon. The third part from ‘’A Pleasant Shade Of Gray’’ leads us to ‘’Another Perfect Day’’ (one of the best tracks they’ve written the last years) and ‘’Down To The Wire’’ represents ‘’Inside Out’’ (which sounds much better live), before the sixth part from APSOG makes the gig go full circle. Here starts the part I get obsessed, as I LOVE the heavy side of the band, and ‘’Pieces Of Me’’ shows how much it suits them to play this way. It’s not bad at all to bang your head in a gig you know, the same goes out for the band as well, as they were pretty much far from their really heavy side in the 1989-1994 period. ‘’I Am’’ is a new track that sounds a lot like Tool and if you watched Jarzombek carefully, then you took free drum lessons on this one without asking. Time for parallel ways, with ‘’The Eleventh Hour’’ (surely the most complete track of their light period I mentioned above) and ‘’Point Of View’’, with the fans exploding and Alder showing he feels it deep inside him. ‘’Firefly’’ is in my humble opinion the best track they’ve written the last 25 years (don’t throw curses, my opinion is just a point of view after all, right?) and a reason to buy their new album immediately. ‘’Through Different Eyes’’ takes over again before APSOG Is represented by it eleventh part, closing this album’s suite for the night. ‘’Nothing Left To Say’’ must have been a surprise, I don’t know how many fans waited for it, and was the last track they played from ‘’Perfect Symmetry’’, time brings ‘’Monument’’ to the speakers and from the crowd’s reactions I can easily understand it’s a very personal track for many of the attendants inside Fuzz Club. Joey Vera did some backing vocals on it with the bass pick in his mouth, how much of a little god he is anyway… The band leaves the stage and returns shortly with another surprise called ‘’Still Remains’’ which sounds colossal live (just like anything from ‘’Disconnected’’ album’’), before they close the gig with ‘’Eye To Eye’’ and leave the stage after 110 minutes. The truth is we see bands for the same ticket price that play 70-80 minutes by pulling it to the edge, Fates played like professionals and showed why they are loved so much in our country. As for me personally, I believe they were much better than I expected and imagined. The fans didn’t like the fact that Ray was coming in and out of stage sometimes (to take some clear breathing I guess). Talking with friends after the gig, I got various opinions (or points of view if you prefer). A friend having seen them four times, said this was surely the best one. Another more experienced friend (we share the same age) said it was good, but as he has memories of them playing the whole APSOG back in ’98, he thought of this gig as inferior. I’m surely somewhere in the middle, as I haven’t seen them so much times and surely they play better being not a support band. I only hope they’ll keep this heavy side of theirs as much as possible and adapt it to the setlist so successfully as they did this time.