Rating:
9.8
Fates Warning - No Exit
30 March 1988


01. No Exit
02. Anarchy Divine
03. Silent Cries
04. In A Word
05. Shades Of Heavenly Death
06. The Ivory Gate Of Dreams
    1 - Innocence
    2 - Cold Daze
    3 - Daylight Dreamers
    4 - Quietus
    5 - Ivory Tower
    6 - Whispers On The Wind
    7 - Aquiescence
    8 - Retrospect
07. Quietus [demo] [2007 Deluxe Edition bonus]
08. The Ivory Gate Of Dreams [Outtake 1] [2007 Deluxe Edition bonus]
09. The Ivory Gate Of Dreams [Outtake 2] [2007 Deluxe Edition bonus]


Chunk and the end of an era.

Here's a cd that is one of the peaks in the progressive metal arena, but which also signified the end of a particular style for a band that could've done so much more had they stayed the course afterwards.

No Exit is a chunky, somewhat underrated progressive metal behemoth. Although John Arch was replaced by Ray Alder, the music never relented. Awaken the Guardian had a more technical, mystical side whereas No Exit brought in way more bass and chunk. That's not to say there aren't plenty of technical elements to be had, as anyone who's heard "The Ivory Gates of Dreams" can attest to.

Unfortunately the era of dragons, wizards, and gypsies was gone, and in came a more serious atmosphere with more down to earth, yet still challenging lyrical themes.

From the opening track, "Anarchy Divine", we're taken full force into what Fates Warning has to offer musically this time around which is shredding, chunky, melodic, dueling guitars which never relent, and which are accompanied the entire time by some amazing, technical, clear, deep bass from Joe DiBiase. Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti are absolutely spot on and tight with the riffing and soloing throughout the entire cd, and their harmonies and trade-offs leave guitar enthusiasts picking their jaws up off the floor. The culmination of this musical orgy is "The Ivory Gate of Dreams" which is an epic 22 minute long journey into the heart of the band and their talents, and more notably the last time they'd ever do anything as long, heavy, and thought-provoking again.

In my humble opinion this is the heaviest Fates Warning ever got both musically and atmospherically. They would never again release a cd with the kinds of balls No Exit had and still retains to this day. This cd is a timeless progressive metal masterpiece and was clearly a hallmark for other bands at the time. The production is flawless, tight, deep and clear, which unfortunately you didn't really get with the earlier Fates Warning offerings including the remasters. You can barely hear Joe DiBiase on any of the earlier releases, but thankfully he's quite prevalent on No Exit, and will continue to be throughout the rest of his stay with Fates Warning.

One of the important things to note here is that this would be the last cd for the drummer and founder of the band, Steve Zimmerman. His departure heralded in a new era of music for Fates Warning which saw the band almost totally embrace the progressive side over the metal side. Although the music would still remain technically astounding, the era of up front, chunky guitars and blistering riffing was gone forever. Steve Zimmerman's work on No Exit is more than noteworthy and I think totally underrated. He brought a heavier and at times more simplistic approach to the music, but there are those shining moments where you know if it hadn't been him, it wouldn't have been No Exit, nor any of the previous releases for that matter. I can't see any other drummer on the planet doing The Spectre Within, Awaken the Guardian, or No Exit.

I willingly embraced this cd when it retailed in '88 even though John Arch was gone, and I still have the tape cassette, vinyl, original cd, and remaster to this day. No Exit is a heavy progressive metal classic that will live forever.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Fates Warning
Album: No Exit


 


written by ponderer | 17.10.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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K†ulu - 18.10.2010 at 00:55  
Thanks for the review. Now I have to check this out. Sounds very intriguing, especially that claim about Steve Zimmerman.
ponderer - 18.10.2010 at 11:24  
Don't get me wrong, Steve Zimmerman is no Neil Peart or Mike Portnoy, but he contributed plenty to the earlier Fates Warning sound. I think his work on Awaken the Guardian and even The Spectre Within was second to none. None of the four cds he played on would have that Fates Warning feel without him, at least imo. Their sound completely changed when he was kicked out of the band and they'd never be as heavy again.

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