This double live album by the progressive metal heroes Fates Warning appropriately titled Live Over Europe containing an astounding 23 tracks captured on tape in eight different cities is a pure musical delight. Boasting a powerful and bombastic sound courtesy of producer Jens Bogren (Symphony X, Kreator, Opeth, etc.), the band are on top form and there are loads of passion and energy to the performances that are on display here. The guitars are as sharp as razors, the drums have depth and warmth to them, the bass lines are fat and punchy, and Ray Alder’s vocals are spot on throughout the entire thing. We all know that Fates Warning are a talented bunch of musicians and this album of theirs if further proof that they are as impressive and stellar on stage as they are when working their magic in the studio. The rapturous response of the crowd clearly has a huge impact on the five-piece as they plow through their delightfully challenging and engaging as if their very lives depended on it.
The renditions of ‘Life in Still Water‘, ‘Pale Fire‘, ‘Nothing to Say‘, and the introspective ‘The Eleventh Hour‘ are strong and muscular and leave nothing to be desired. The ensemble ooze confidence and the nuances, textures, and layers of their compositions are brought to life in a wonderful manner as evidenced by the dynamic ‘The Light and Shade of Things‘ and the exquisite ‘And Yet It Moves‘ just to list a couple of fine examples. Strangely, ‘Pieces of Me‘ comes across as a little strained while ‘A Pleasant Shade of Grey Pt. IX‘ sounds a little flat, but these are minor bumps on a two-and-a-half-hour journey through progressive metal bliss. In the overall perspective, we are dealing with a technically dazzling and grand live offering that perfectly encapsulates what Fates Warning are all about and what the essence of their music is. Another inspiring thing about Live Over Europe is that these dudes are still firing on all cylinders and have lost none of their drive or vigor over the years.
The best thing about this output is that it perfectly captures the vibe and atmosphere of experiencing Fates Warning in a live setting, which, surely, ought to be the objective of any faithful and proper live document out there. Another important thing is that it more or less spans the past thirty years of the band’s career, which is to say that each era and aspect of their discography are represented. In that sense, Live Over Europe is a success and manages to add something valuable to the Warning canon. Any fan of the band ought to invest their time in this superb release as soon as it hits the market – you will not regret it.