my Top Ten for 2011, it is a solid - and very heavy - progressive metal record worthy of addition to the library of any fan of Rush, Dream Theater, Yes or the recent offerings from Cormorant or Opeth.I don't know Fates Warning beyond recognition of their name and do not believe I have ever knowingly heard any work of Jim Matheos or John Arch prior to grabbing Sympathetic Resonance earlier this year. I know I need to check out some of their mid-80s work and hope to resolve that gap on the shelf after the Christmas coffers have been replenished. I have been enjoying Sympathetic Resonance since Autumn and, while it didn't rank in
Prior to purchase I had read of listeners unhappy with John Arch's vocals but I found them to be perfectly listenable with an impressive range to boot - and certainly a good foil for the guitar architecture of Jim Matheos, whose body of work I now absolutely need to hear. I was also immediately taken with the percussion of Bobby Jarzombek (who I do know from the marvelous Demons & Wizards project as well as the Halford records) and it is not often I am much affected by the "tone" of drums but, in the case of Sympathetic Resonance, the man again distinguishes himself from his peers. Add in solos from Frank Aresti (OK, I really need to find some Fates Warning) and this record is a modern prog lover's dream come true. There are no keyboards to be found - just riffs, riffs, riffs, shifting tempos and sick leads all amounting to rock polished to a razor-sharp intensity. The lyric is intelligent though veers toward stereotypical prog pomposity but, really, the words are just a vehicle for the great Arch vocals. Sympathetic Resonance is great, technically-impressive prog with a hefty heart of metal and, top ten or not, one of the best records I heard in 2011.