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Pleasant Shade of Gray

Fates WarningAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

Price: $12.58 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2008 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1997 $12.58  
Audio Cassette, 1998 --  

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After a near decade long hiatus, Fates Warning returns with Darkness In A Different Light, their first CD of new material since the release of FWX in 2004. This also marks the first release for the current lineup of Ray Alder (vocals) Jim Matheos and Frank Aresti (guitars), Joey Vera (bass), and Bobby Jarzombek (drums).

Formed in 1982, Fates Warning quickly gained attention with their ... Read more in Amazon's Fates Warning Store

Visit Amazon's Fates Warning Store
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • ASIN: B000001C9V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Part I
2. Part II
3. Part III
4. Part IV
5. Part V
6. Part VI
7. Part VII
8. Part VIII
9. Part IX
10. Part X
11. Part XI
12. Part XII

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A criminally unheralded progressive masterpiece. December 17, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Progressive metal...the term has a fair share of connotations. What does it really mean? I believe "progressive" music is that which is original and ambitious, pushing the traditional limits set by genres. It forges its own path of artistic discovery, defying trends and refusing to rest on its laurels. Dream Theater and Tool are both progressive metal bands, but they are musically very different. With A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Fates Warning carves its own little niche in the progressive metal world. As far as progressive metal goes, this is one of the most absorbing, original, and experimental albums in the genre.
Since Awaken the Guardian, Fates Warning has been known as one of the more sophisticated metal bands in the business. Still, their progressive touches were just that -- touches. Never before have they so fully embraced their progressive side. A Pleasant Shade of Gray seems to me to be the culmination of the band's career, combining the best of their melodic awareness, emotion, and creativity with stirring new musical directions. This album sounds little like the band's previous work. If you see the back of the CD case, you may think it's unusual that there is no track listing. That is because A Pleasant Shade of Gray consists entirely of its title track, a 55-minute progressive opus. It is divided into 12 parts so that it is easy navigate, but these tracks have no individual names themselves. It does not to me seem to be a concept album...more of a dream, really. It seems to be a constant stream of thoughts about love, loss, and sadness, brought to an end but the sudden ringing of an alarm clock in the album's final seconds. Jim Matheos' lyrics are usually simple, but very poetic and expressive.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, somber, and indelible. November 19, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I'm not reviewing this as a Fates Warning fan because this is my first real exposure to this band, so I'm not sure how it compares to their other work. Someone mentioned this album in a conversation, describing it as a single 55 minute song. Naturally, with my intrinsic ardor for long songs, I ordered this album. To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement.
I must admit this album took some time to hook me. It's not very accessible, being slow and heavy, with a despondent mood. On about the third listen, I was beginning to pick up on the musical ingenuity and the unity of the album. By the fifth listen, I was fully entranced by the dark tone, the melancholy lyrics, and the superb atmosphere created by the musicians. Some listeners might be deterred by its inaccessibility. Cynical -- and unlucky -- listeners will dismiss the album as a slow, boring plod through hackneyed conventions of progressive metal.
But those who give it a chance will be satisfied. The album plays out like a mysterious dreamscape and a constant stream of thoughts, with intermittent themes and recurring lyrical ideas. It pushes the listener into a hazy state of mind and takes to you on a 55 minute journey that runs through the gamut of emotions, thanks to the emotive vocalist Ray Alder and the atmospheric keyboards of Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater). The guitars also make quite an impression; gone are conventional solos and long-winded instrumental sections that are staple elements in progmetal, replaced by mellifluous and concise passages that supplement the feelings in the music. The result is a trance-inducing musical excursion that makes you think *and* feel.
An excellent album, one of the few that taps the true spirit of music.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog-Metal Masterpiece November 5, 2000
Format:Audio CD
A Pleasant Shade of Gray is a masterful album that brings out the best in progressive metal. It is essentially one long song, broken into 12 parts for ease of navigation. It's not really a concept album, because the lyrics are not really a concept per se, but rather seemingly stream-of-consciousness lyrical diety. This album stunned me. It is nothing like any of Fates Warning's previous works, and it is in my opinion their best. Guitarist Jim Matheos outdoes himself here, not only in his fine riffing and soloing, but in his compositional skills. For one man to write all the music and lyrics in this masterpiece is an achievement unparalled in the genre. Matheos is not the only standout, however. Of course we have the legendary singing and drumming of Ray Alder and Mark Zonder respectively, as well as powerhouse ex-Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera. But the real surprise on this album is the performance of ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore. Listening to Moore's seamless integration into the sound of Fates Warning makes you swear that the band has had a keyboardist all along, when in fact they have only used one (usually Moore) on a few songs here and there. His presence makes up for the loss of second guitarist Frank Aresti who left the band in 1996 after 10 years of service. Conclusion: Jim Matheos is a genius and this album is a must-own.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fates Warning - A Pleasant Shade Of Gray July 22, 2000
Format:Audio CD
The band. The album. The song. This cd has it all. This is, in my mind, clearly the most perfect piece of music ever created. From the wonderfully unsettling first chord, this masterpiece descends through all depths of human emotion. Jim Matheos (guitarist, lyricist, songwriter) writes deep, thought provoking lyrics the likes of which are to be found nowhere else. The vocals are perfect. Ray Alder delivers a spectacular performance. While very skilled, trained, and able, Ray does not stick to the traditional operatic vocals featured by James LaBrie of Dream Theater. Ray has a wonderful style, able to use vibrato profusely and sparsely, depending on the situation. The vocal melodies on APSOG are some of the best ever written in my opinion. The drumming is by the amazing Mark Zonder. Wow! Apparently Mr. Zonder's middle name is "Tasteful Yet Technical"... the drumming on APSOG ranges from minimalistic and quirky to intense and technical. However, Zonder is never in poor taste. Beautiful cymbal work and blazing fills are just part of why Mark Zonder is, in my opinion, progressive music's finest drummer. The guitar parts range from syncopated rythm cords to beautiful acoustic solo pieces. If you are looking for a deep, introspective and thoughtful album, this is THE cd for you. If you are just getting into Fates Warning or progressive metal, this is THE cd for you. Clocking in at 53 minutes, "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" is one continuous epic masterpiece written by virtuoso Jim Matheos... an awe inspiring and tremendously emotional piece. Rating: 100% - PERFECT --mark--
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It could have been perfect.
I want to love this album. Lyrically and musically its simply a fantastic work. The lyrics and especially the perfect and subtle playing on this album create a beautiful and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jonathon M. Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
What a tremendous album,hard to remember how long it is till you finish. Moody,yet very fulfilling album that is a testament to this bands depth.
Published 8 months ago by mike childress
4.0 out of 5 stars Fates Warning - "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" (1997)
"Apart from 'Parallels' and 'Inside Out,' all of our records have sounded different," said Jim Matheos of Fates Warning, the band's only constant member. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Head of Metal
5.0 out of 5 stars FATES WARNING !
One of the best Progressive Metal albums ever ... Epic ! ... Buy this ! ... Also buy albums from these similar bands here on Amazon MP3 : MAGNITUDE 9 --- KAMELOT --- HELLOWEEN... Read more
Published 17 months ago by MelodicMetalWarrior
5.0 out of 5 stars Staying Power
This album has been around for a long time and it just keeps getting better with age. Whatever I have to say about it has probably been written in another review. Read more
Published on June 23, 2012 by tshanno
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated prog masterpiece by FW
This album at first was to me kinda here and there.After a few listens I was astonished and ignorant as to what I wasn't listening. Read more
Published on May 19, 2012 by JoB
4.0 out of 5 stars A magical album
This album is really unique. Its a concept album with relly great melodies. Personally i dont like too much Fates Warning but i really like them in this album. Read more
Published on July 12, 2011 by KOURKOULOS NIKOS
5.0 out of 5 stars "Play from your Heart" -Bill Hicks
True Art is indeed a form of Self Expression, and that is exactly what Pleasant shade of Gray is, genuine self expression. Read more
Published on March 7, 2011 by Anonymous67
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing heavy, just very listenable
What a great album!! Not many air-guitar moments, just solid musicianship all the way through. My first experience with this band was Parallels, so I was expecting more of that. Read more
Published on September 27, 2010 by Mega Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange, Dark, Somber, Moody. But worth listening to.
Strange. that is the best word for this album, One large song broken into 12 partes, some better than others. Fates Warning was literally redefining what progressive music means. Read more
Published on November 14, 2009 by Kevin Nazario Bartolomei
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