Fates Warning - Disconnected Metal Blade Records - 2000 /images/covers/Fates_Warning-Disconnected.jpg Disconnected was released in 2000, so some of you are probably asking "Why is he reviewing this CD now?" Well, simply because Fates Warning is a band that must be discussed and reviewed on any metal site for their role as one of the leaders of the progressive metal world. With each of their albums, Fates Warning continues to challenge themselves and explore new musical directions. That statement is definitely true for Disconnected. After the release of A Pleasant Shade of Grey, many fans were wondering what kind of music Fates Warning would come out with next. The answer is a more heavy, distorted, and darker sound that sets it apart from the past few albums and reminds me of No Exit. On Disconnected, Jim Matheos (guitars), Mark Zonder (drums), and Ray Alder (vocals) are joined by Joey Vera (bass) and Kevin Moore (keyboards) to captivate us with another unique musical journey. Disconnected starts off with a short instrumental piece, titled "Disconnected Part I." It is a slow piece that is characterized by haunting keyboard and guitar sounds, and it sets the mood for the rest of the album. The last track of Disconnected is the second part of this song, titled "Disconnected Part II." It is a longer piece that expands the music found in part one and really shows what a great keyboard player Kevin is. After "Disconnected Part I" comes "One." It is a great tune that is fast, heavy, and upbeat, and features some driving riffs by Jim and some great vocal lines by Ray. The song "Pieces of Me" is of similar length and style. It has another great driving guitar riff, and the intro features a nice lead part, which is echoed at the end of the song. The keyboards are played in a pulsating vibe, and in parts of the song I would almost call this industrial music. "So" is a moody mid-tempo song that features some excellent tight drumming by Mark, whom I classify as one of the best drummers in this genre for his tremendous skills. "So" also shows more fantastic keyboard playing (this is really one of the greatest strengths of Disconnected: Kevin's keyboards really add a lot to the sound of this album). The song "Something From Nothing" is another somber piece. It has a slow pace, but picks up in parts, and it has some really haunting melodies in both the guitar and keyboard lines. All of those songs are great, but I have yet to talk about the highlight of this album and what may be one of Fates Warning's best songs ever recorded, "Still Remains," which rivals their classic "The Ivory Gates Of Dreams" in scope and musicianship. "Still Remains" has plenty of tempo changes: there are some great melancholy and haunting slow parts, then some frantic speedy sections where all the instruments are played fantastically. There are plenty of great guitar leads and riffs, excellent keyboard flashiness, and Mark's drumming is phenomenal. Ray shows a lot of vocal range, too -there are parts where he belts it out and other times he sings softly. Disconnected was the first Fates Warning album I acquired, and after listening to it I got their entire catalog. Now that I am familiar with Fates Warning, this has become one of my favorites among their albums. It actually took me some time to really get into this album, but once I did I could not stop listening to it. Disconnected might not be their best album (I think either No Exit or Perfect Symmetry would take that honor), but it is a great effort and one that should not be avoided.