JOHN ARCH - "A TWIST OF FATE" (METAL BLADE)
John Arch was the original vocalist of Fates Warning. He sang on their first four albums with them, until Ray Alder took over from "Perfect Symmetry" onward. Unlike Dream Theater's initial singer (Charlie Dominici), however, John Arch could actually sing very well. Luckily, Metal Blade have given John the opportunity to work on relaunching his career, starting with the "A Twist of Fate" EP. On this album, Arch is supported by Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy on drums, as well as current Fates Warning members Jim Matheos (guitar) and Joey Vera (bass). A stellar line-up indeed, reminiscent of the Office of Strategic Influence project earlier this year.
Arch's singing style is very typical, and although I liked it instantly, I know of people who have serious trouble with it. At any rate, it is instantly reminiscent of classic old Fates Warning tracks. In fact, it seems like the guy's voice hasn't changed at all.
The EP features two long-spun tracks, "Relentless" (co-written by Matheos) and "Cheyenne". "Relentless" is quite excellent, captivating despite its length. "Cheyenne" is quite different, starting off with a very laid-back two-and-a-half minutes. Except for some short, harsh, synth sound sections, it's quite beautiful musically. The chorus goes right for the heart as well. Lyrically it's about native Americans.
All in all, "A Twist of Fate" is a very good EP. I hope John Arch will be back with a full length album, preferably with these same exquisite musicians to support him. I like the album a lot more than the "OSI" project.
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Written August 2003
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