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Fates Warning "Parallels" Progressive Metal Album Review

Updated on February 16, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


"Parallels" Songs List

  1. Leave the Past Behind
  2. Life in Still Water (backing vocals provided by James Labrie of Dream Theater)
  3. Eye to Eye
  4. The Eleventh Hour
  5. Point of View
  6. We Only Say Goodbye
  7. Don’t Follow Me
  8. The Road Goes On Forever

Leave the Past Behind is one of the most important songs of any musical genre

In the long history of Fates Warning, they have evolved musically to a point of major excellence. Their 1991 album "Parallels" is an example of a very fine progressive metal album. This is the first Fates Warning album that I listened to as a teenager and there are many songs to appreciate out of the eight that are on the album. Leave the Past Behind is one of the first excellent songs on the album and it is about standing behind a door that has already been closed. There are two choices for the person to make. Either they succumb to their fears, fail to make a change and not leave their past behind, or they choose to stop and realize that they must leave their bad past behind. The song is trying to say that we should forget our fears and just do it anyway. What this means is that we must put an end to our past memories and begin a new chapter in our lives. This song is of particular importance to many including myself that are still struggling to put behind their past. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we can all close that door and open up a new one. If you don’t even listen to the other songs for some reason, at least make sure that you listen to this first song for its message is important enough to be more than just a progressive metal song.

Eye to Eye and The Eleventh Hour are two other solid songs on the album

However, one of the first songs I heard from this album is the song called Eye to Eye. Even though he claims to have seen his lover through the faces of many other people, he is still far away from her to be divided by the miles. The Eleventh Hour features guitar work that Italian band Lacuna Coil would be influenced by and use early on in their career. Late at night, he stays awake because if the need to explain how he lied to the one that he loved. They may have had dreams and a common goal but those have now gone as they have let pride get the best of them. Along the way, the relationship described in this song has gone wrong. This is a topic that has been done so many times by so many bands and needless to say, love and romance are such popular topics.

By 1991 Fates Warning had matured musically and become better vocally

Musically by this point in their career, Fates Warning had become more polished and the melodies that they were known for in the 1980’s are still there. The high pitched vocals of Ray Alder are an improvement from what the band had with John Arch. Alder has a better low voice than Arch did and his vocals are more understandable. The beginning of the song Leave the Past Behind shows the crispness of the riffing as the structure makes total sense! Ray Alder gives all of us some very helpful advice in this song. Let’s close our eyes, forget the fear and leave the past behind! This is one of the best opening songs for any album.

The song "Leave the Past Behind"

Where does Parallels rank among Fates Warning albums?

Overall, Parallels is a very pleasant listen however, it is not as good as their 1988 album No Exit. The strongest songs are Leave the Past Behind, Eye to Eye, The Eleventh Hour and We Only Say Goodbye. Their 1994 album Inside Out was another good release.

Best Fates Warning Album up through 1991

Which one of these Fates Warning albums is best?

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"The Eleventh Hour"

The drummer that replaced Steve Zimmerman

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"We Only Say Goodbye"

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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