One Track Mind: Fates Warning, “Under The Milky Way” (2006)

This is what the internet is, or should be, all about: stumbling onto some weird thing that thrills you. Take that as you may, obviously, but as a music fiend, I’m talking about moments like right now where searching for one thing I find something else, like one of my favorite bands covering one of my favorite songs, and the result is a nice surprise. Sure, the Church’s original is likely never going to be topped, there’s a desolate sense of abandon that few other bands can muster like the Church, but somehow progressive metal veterans Fates Warning take a pretty good run at it.

Ray Alder’s typically powerful, operatic vocals are subdued we rarely hear, mimicking as close as he can Steve Kilbey’s tuneful talking style of singing. The band amps up the music a bit, Jim Matheos providing more cutting guitar than may be necessary throughout the tune, but it proves to essentially not to be too much of a distraction. Perhaps least successful are the seemingly random bits of electronic textures sprinkled throughout. I’m not sure what they’re doing there or attempting to do, but they don’t do much, and, yes, they kind of do distract. They don’t, however, ruin Fates Warning’s take. The song is too delicious and the band is too good for that.

Issued, along with a few other extra tracks, on the combo-pack Inside Out/Disconnected 2-CD set in 2006 in Germany, this is sadly now long out of print, but if Metal Blade keeps up with their expanded reissue campaign with the band’s material, I would think we should see this cover again sooner or later – Inside Out was recently reissued and included the tracks from this set. And there’s more – in finding this Church cover, I see covers of Scorpions’ “In Trance,” Sabbath’s “Sign of the Southern Cross,” and I personally remember the band covering Rush’s “Closer To The Heart”.

These, and whatever others I haven’t stumbled onto, all can’t disappear, only to be found on YouTube, right?

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.