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Album Review: "Inside Out" by American Progressive Metal Band Fates Warning

Updated on October 24, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Inside Out Is a Very Underrated Progressive Metal Album

American progressive metal band Fates Warning rose to even greater musical quality with the entry of Ray Alder into the band in 1987. After their solid progressive metal album Parallels in 1991, they still maintained that solid reputation with the album Inside Out in 1994. You are about to see why Inside Out is easily one of the best heavy metal albums to have been released that year. But first, let’s address how this album begins. It does not begin as well as Parallels did with the song “Leave the Past Behind.” We are taking a trip back to the past over 20 years ago when we look back at an album that may have been forgotten by fans.

Inside Out the Front Album Cover

Analysis of the Song "Outside Looking In"

Inside Out starts with the song called Outside Looking In. The song is about doing what you can to get a fresh start in life after you have been trying to get over your fears which have been holding you back. You have been literally tearing yourself apart trying to make yourself whole again. If we persist long enough, we can get back to normal.

Review of the Songs The Strand, Island in the Stream, and Down to the Wire

The Strand is a song about struggling through life no matter what we try to do. It feels that life throws boulders at us every time we try to improve our situation. Speaking of improving our situation, the song Island in the Stream can be used as a song to unwind and let our fantasies just run wild as we imagine ourselves at the edge of the world at an island near a stream. Down to the Wire is a song about two friends reconciling after they had tension and differences. When we have a true friend, we will do what we can to help them in times of greatest need.

Inside Out a Review Part 2 Includes the Song Face the Fear

One of the greatest, powerful, melodic songs in the band’s history is the one called Face the Fear. When we know that we are wrong about something, our ego sometimes makes us shut others out and we only hear what we want to hear. When this happens, we fail to face our fears as everything becomes hidden from the view of others. Inward Bound is a beautiful progressive style instrumental that is easily a better song than S.E.K. or Shadowfax. What is the reason for this? It is because Inward Bound shows that Fates Warning has grown and matured enough as a band to write not necessarily more complex but more beautiful instrumentals that do not just consist of heavy guitar work. The song Monument does not refer to a monument in the literal sense but it refers to the passion and drive to complete something and to leave it done as part of our legacy. If we are writing a book, there are blank pages before us that we have to write or type in to make that book complete for future generations to read and learn something from it. Monument is a song about completing something of value for our legacy and to benefit others in a very complex world. At the end of the song is a great keyboard part and this only adds to Fates Warning’s legacy as one of the best metal bands in United States history. Is this album better than Parallels? Given how strong the songs are, we could certainly make the case for that. The strongest songs in the album are many including Pale Fire, Shelter Me, Face the Fear, Inward Bound, and Monument. But there are two main reasons why Inside Out is one of the best heavy metal albums of 1994.



"Shelter Me"

Reason #1 the awesomeness of the songs Pale Fire and Shelter Me

Pale Fire is the #1 reason why Inside Out is such an epic album. The song actually makes reference to the effects that drought can have on crops and the land. When the land and crops dry out, nothing can be grown in that space even with the strongest of desires. The song is also about someone who realizes that even though he is looking for the person that he used to be, the times have changed and he has changed as well. There is a fear that returns to his mind. This fear claims another day of his life as he wonders what he has said. Adding to the #1 reason why Inside Out is one of the best albums of 1994 is the song called Shelter Me. This song is about turning to someone special when we need to walk through the darkness to see the light, the greatness of life itself. We are actually the architects of our life experience to a certain degree based on how we view the world.

"Inward Bound" (Very Beautiful and Soothing Instrumental Song)

Reason #2 the powerful vocals of Ray Alder

This reason speaks for itself. Fates Warning got even better as a band when he joined. THIS is the way that a vocalist should sing. Ray Alder has both power and passion in his voice and he can do a pretty good low voice as well.

Final score: 92 out of 100 points

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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