JIM MATHEOS - "AWAY WITH WORDS" (METAL BLADE)
"Away with Words" is the second solo effort of Fates Warning guitarist and main composer, Jim Matheos. As the title implies, it consists of instrumental tracks. What the title does not imply is that, basically, it's an acoustic album that has a whole lot more violin than guitar on it.
As listening sessions progress, one cannot help but wonder why this album was released as 'Jim Matheos' instead of 'Charlie Bisharat', the violinist's name. People who expect anything resembling an instrumental Fates Warning will be disappointed. "Away with Words", in fact, is a repetitive album that rarely causes your eardrums to vibrate significantly. A lack of loudness would be no problem, it's the repetition that sets in. Michael Manring plays some awesome bass, and Fates Warning drummer Mark Zonder is flawless and talented as usual, but they cannot save this album from sheer musical greyness. The only track that kicks in second gear, "Tongue Tied", is an up-tempo folk tune that treads paths already well trodden.
For those of you who go for easy listening, consider "Away with Words". As for me...I'd rather wait for the next Fates Warning album, or listen again to Ray Alder's solo debut "Engine".
Written August 1999
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