John Arch - A Twist Of Fate (Metal Blade) 2003
Early Fates Warning fans all over the world must be rejoicing. Original Fates Warning vocalist John Arch teamed back up with Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos and released one stellar, albeit short EP. A Twist Of Fate employs the assistance of Armored Saint/Fates Warning bassist Joey Vera and Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy. Together they have created an album that is worthy of the accolades that the CD has been getting. Personally I have been a fan of Fates since I first heard them on one of those old Metal Blade compilations. Their "Spectre Within" CD is still among my favorites. It was the perfect combination of Maiden-inspired metal music and those signature vocals that I like so much. John has a unique voice that is strong and high, without sounding strained or fake. But enough of old albums. What of this CD? Despite the fact that John has not released anything in over a decade, I think he has improved with age. His vocals seem more controlled than they ever were. I really think this is better than anything he actually did in Fates Warning. When listening to this disc for the first time, when John sings "Fly awaaaaaaaay", it's at that very moment that I knew that he is back. This disc is chock full of patented Arch style vocal melodies made famous in those early Fates Warning days. The only real negative I have to say about this heavy metal platter is that there are only two songs. Granted that together they are almost 30 minutes in length, but I am still left wanting more. This actually says alot though, as lengthy songs are sometimes boring. That is not the case here whatsoever. Of the two tracks, "Relentless" is the heavier of the two, while "Cheyenne" is more melancholy and has a more somber, even ambient feel. The violin solo at around 4:30 into "Cheyennes" is beautiful, as is the acoustic opening. However, don't let the mention of a violin or ambience fool you, the riffs are pure Fates Warning circa Awaken The Guardian/No Exit. So, as I said, early Fates Warning fans, rejoice, for the mighty Arch is back. Let's just hope he doesn't disappear for another decade before we get a full length follow-up.