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When prog rock first reared its head during the early '70s, it contained elements of hard rock, but few bands crossed the line into heavy metal. This all changed during the '80s, when bands such as Dream Theater, Watchtower, and Fates Warning merged their love of Yes and Rush with their admiration for Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Formed in Hartford, CT in 1983, Fates Warning has endured quite a few lineup changes since its inception, with the exception of guitarist Jim Matheos, who has been present through it all. Starting off as a straight-ahead metal band (their progressive side didn't show up until a few years later), Fates Warning built up a regional following, which soon led to a recording contract with metal indie label Metal Blade. With vocals being handled by John Arch, Fates Warning issued such titles as 1984's Night on Brocken, 1985's The Spectre Within, and 1986's Awaken the Guardian, the latter of which became the first record from the group to appear on the Billboard album charts. Wanting to break out of a somewhat one-dimensional metal sound, Arch was dismissed in 1987 and replaced with Ray Alder. The move immediately paid off for Fates Warning, as their music (and lyrics/subject matter) became much more complex and challenging. The band's first recording with Alder, 1988's No Exit, would go on to become their highest-charting album ever (peaking at number 111), and was followed up a year later with Perfect Symmetry, as well as an inaugural tour of Europe. The early '90s saw Fates Warning focus primarily on touring (only one album was issued during a several-year span, 1991's Parallels), although Matheos did issue a solo album in 1993, First Impressions. 1994 saw the group issue Inside Out, which was supported with a U.S. tour alongside Dream Theater (at a hometown gig in Connecticut, former frontman Arch joined the band on-stage). The band's first best-of compilation, Chasing Time, followed a year later, as did appearances on tribute albums for Rush (Working Man) and Judas Priest (Legends of Heavy Metal), which helped buy the band time as they began composing the most challenging album of their career. It was also around this time that former Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera joined the group (although he was originally thought to be a temporary replacement, Vera was still present several years later). Finally issued in 1997, Pleasant Shade of Gray took the extended suite style of 2112 and Tales from Topographic Oceans to a new extreme, as the album was comprised of a single, hour-long song (broken down into 12 different, untitled sections). The very first live release by Fates Warning, Still Life, was issued in 1998, while Matheos issued a solo releases the following year (Away with Words) and Alder, having formed a side project, Engine, recorded an eponymous CD. Fates Warning continues strong into the 21st century, as evidenced by 2000's studio album Disconnected, and further extensive touring -- including a set of summer dates in 2003 alongside prog metal comrades Queensrÿche and Dream Theater. The band marked its 20th anniversary with the release of FWX in 2004.
Fates Warning is an American progressive metal band, formed in 1982 by vocalist John Arch, guitarists Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini, bassist Joe DiBiase, and drummer Steve Zimmerman in Hartford, Connecticut. Fates Warning has experienced numerous line-up changes. From 1982 to 1996 — and temporarily in 2010 — Matheos and DiBiase were the only original members of the band, with Matheos being the only constant member. Their current lineup consists of guitarists Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti, vocalist Ray Alder and bassist Joey Vera. Drummer Bobby Jarzombek has been part of Fates Warning since 2007 but is only a live member. As a pioneer of the American progressive metal movement, Fates Warning rose to international fame in the 1980s and was ranked as one of the early "flagship bands of progressive metal" along with Queensrÿche and Dream Theater, who were responsible for creating, developing and popularizing that genre.
Fates Warning has released ten studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, one VHS, three DVDs (each of them features live concerts) and four demo tapes. The band experienced major American commercial success with the 1986 release of their third studio album, Awaken the Guardian, which peaked at number No. 191 on the Billboard 200, and became the first album released on Metal Blade to enter that chart. Their next three albums, No Exit (1988), Perfect Symmetry (1989) and Parallels (1991), were also successful; the first two peaked at No. 111 and No. 141 on the Billboard 200 respectively. Fates Warning's most recent studio album, FWX, was released in 2004. Since 2011, they have been working on a new album, which will be released in 2013.
Early career and first three albums (1982−1986) 
The first album, Night on Bröcken, was released in 1984, on the Metal Blade label, featuring a strong Iron Maiden influence. The Spectre Within, which featured a more progressive sound, was released in 1985.
In 1986, original guitarist Victor Arduini left the band and was replaced by Frank Aresti. The third album, Awaken the Guardian was released in that year, moving towards a more mythical atmosphere.
Lineup changes and rise to near fame (1987−1993) 
In 1987, original vocalist John Arch left the band, prior to the start of work on the band's next album. Ray Alder joined the band in 1988. That year, the first album with Alder, No Exit was released.
Continuing the pattern of lineup changes, original drummer Steve Zimmerman left the band in 1988, and was replaced by Mark Zonder in 1989. Perfect Symmetry was released in the same year. Kevin Moore (keyboardist for Dream Theater at the time) was featured as a guest on the song At Fate's Hands.
1991 saw the release of Parallels, which was distributed by Warner. New Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie made a guest appearance on the song Life in Still Water.
Later years (1994−2008) 
After a two and a half year breakup, the next album, 1994's Inside Out, continued in the general vein of the previous album while adding more melody to the songs. It has been stated various times from the band that they were confused while writing this album because of all the success and then the downfall of Parallels which they say is the reason the album didn't do so well. It was followed by a 1995 compilation, Chasing Time, which included two previously unreleased songs.
In 1996, both Joe DiBiase and Frank Aresti left the group.
The three remaining members-—Alder, Matheos and Zonder—-released A Pleasant Shade of Gray in 1997. The album also featured work from guest musicians Joey Vera on bass and Kevin Moore performing piano and keyboards. Written as a concept album, A Pleasant Shade of Gray revealed a much darker and bleaker mood in songwriting style than had been heard before from the band. The album consists of a single 53-minute song split into twelve parts.
A live two-CD set, Still Life, was released in 1998, containing A Pleasant Shade of Gray" performed live in its entirety. Joey Vera (bass), Bernie Versailles (guitars) and Jason Keazer (keyboards) accompanied the group on this album. A Japanese version included a studio Scorpions cover, "In Trance."
In 2000, Moore and Vera again returned as guests to appear on the next album, Disconnected. In 2003, Frank Aresti was asked to fill in on a tour with Dream Theater and Queensryche, and subsequently rejoined the band.
Their tenth studio recording FWX was released in 2004. Drummer Mark Zonder stated it would be his last album with the band, as he wished to pursue other interests, and left in 2005. Although an official member again, Frank Aresti did not appear because the writing had been completed and contracts had been signed already.
Live in Athens, a concert DVD, was released in 2005; a CD version was also released. This DVD included guest drummer Nick D'Virgilio.
In the liner notes to the 2005 expanded edition of the Awaken the Guardian album, Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy noted that, "very often fans and critics credit Dream Theater for creating a whole new genre of progressive metal music in the late '80s/early '90s, . . . but the truth is Fates Warning were doing it years before us."
The band has recorded songs for various "tribute" albums, including "Closer to the Heart" on the 1996 Working Man Rush tribute, "Saints in Hell" on the 1997 Legends of Metal Judas Priest tribute, and "Sign of the Southern Cross" on the 2000 Holy Dio Ronnie James Dio tribute.
Recent history and New Album (2009−present) 
Fates Warning played select dates with the Parallels lineup (Alder, Matheos, Zonder, Aresti and DiBiase) to celebrate the 2010 reissued, remastered and expanded edition of the classic album.
At the beginning of 2011, an announcement was made that Matheos and original vocalist John Arch had formed a band called Arch / Matheos. Their debut album was released in the autumn of that year, also featuring Joey Vera on bass guitar, Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Frank Aresti on additional lead guitar.
Fates Warning is expected to release a new album, which will be their first one in nine years, in 2013.
Miscellaneous releases Demo 1983 (1983)Misfit Demo (1983)Demo 1984 (1984)Dickie Demo (1985)Pale Fire (Single) (1994)A Pleasant Shade of Gray: Part II (Single) (1997)Awaken the Guardian Re-Release (Box Set) (2005)CD1: Awaken the Guardian Remaster CDCD2: Demos & Live CDCD3: DVD: 28 December 1986 at Sundance, Long Island, NYInside Out / Disconnected (combined re-release with bonus tracks) (2007)
Music videos "Kyrie Eleison" (1986)"Anarchy Divine" (1988)"Silent Cries" (1988)"Through Different Eyes" (1989)"Point of View" (1991)"Eye to Eye" (1992)"Monument" (1994)"Simple Human" (2004)
DVDs and VHSs A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1998, VHS)Live at the Dynamo (2000, DVD)The View from Here (2003, DVD)Live in Athens (2005, DVD)
Guitar Rig & Signal Flow 
A detailed gear diagram of Jim Matheos' 2012 Fates Warning guitar rig is well-documented.