The renaissance continues

When Fates Warning regrouped after a near decade long break and returned with the stellar “Darkness In A Different Light” record back in 2013, there was – lets be honest – a touch of surprise about how good it actually was.

That brings its own problems. Like, there’s now perhaps an expectation on the band that might not have been there, but this line up – the same as last time out – is made of sterner stuff than that, and where others might have been daunted, they only saw a challenge – the challenge to make something even better.

It’s immediately obvious that “Theories Of Flight” is exceptional. Epic opener, “From The Rooftops” is you’d guess, their way of proving that, while “Seven Stars, which begins with some sterling guitar work from long-standing duo, Jim Matheos (the band’s driving force throughout) and Frank Aresti, who returned in 2011 after a long period away, is perhaps even better, given its clever use of backing vocals in order to sound effortlessly huge.

Marking out a clear difference with some of their prog metal brethren, FW manage not to dazzle totally with bombast, and inject songs with urgency, “SOS” is one such example, but equally, when a point needs to be made in a lengthy manner, then they aren’t found wanting here.

“The Light And Shade Of Things” which invokes the same atmosphere as Iron Maiden circa their incredible “A Matter Of Life And Death” opus, stretches over ten minutes, but there’s barely a wasted second such is the class on view and the track is a real highlight.

Continuing the feeling that the band are one of the most versatile around, “White Flag” has a modern metal edge, and there’s some phenomenal double kick drumming from Bobby Jarzombek to give “Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen” a real ominous feel, before it settles for being stadium rock in waiting.

To say there is barely a duff moment here might be a cliché were it not quite so true, “The Ghosts Of Home” is another that clocks in with a hefty timeframe, but is leaner and meaner than many, and it is infused with an obvious quality – not to mention a quite wonderful metal gallop just for grins.

The title track ends things, and tells its own story, with spoken word pieces and narration giving the effect that it is a film score and the credits are almost rolling as it plays. Certainly if that was the aim then it worked and then some.

Actually, there is very little about “Theories Of Flight” that doesn’t work almost perfectly, and if this was a film, then it would be an Oscar winner. The brilliant comeback was no fluke it turns out.

Rating 9/10

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