This year has seen one of the best progressive metal albums for a very long time emerge from the musical union of composer/guitarist Jim Matheos from Fates Warning and former Fates Warning band mate, vocalist John Arch. Apart from his own acclaimed solo EP Twist of Fate Arch has stayed away from music on the whole but the teaming up with Matheos has brought forth a release in Sympathetic Resonance that will be classed a classic. With pleasure The RingMaster Review had the chance to ask Arch about the album and his return to music.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with The RingMaster Review. Could you first tell us about yourselves, musical histories and musical history together?
Arch: Well Jim, Frank and I have a history that dates back to the 80’s, when the band Fates Warning was in its infancy. The next twenty some odd years would bring many a personnel changes and quite a catalog of music. The present incarnation of Fates Warning with a guest appearance by yours truly makes up the team of musicians on Sympathetic Resonance.
Arch: Thank you, I think it is quite simple really, Jim had been working on material slated for the next Fates album and Ray was unavailable for personal reasons. I was approached by Jim to see if I was interested in working to complete these songs for what would be a possible album, so step by step Jim and I, really without knowing the outcome, pursued writing and immersing ourselves in the music.
After John’s solo EP was it always going to be inevitable that some time you two would work together again?
Arch: Death and taxes are inevitable…music for me is not, but when this opportunity presented itself, I, with much apprehension at the start, was very glad we could finally finish what the EP, ATOF should have been.
For a vast many your absence from music has been a big loss John, could you reveal a little of why that happened and what eventually brought you back into its arms?
Arch: Well it seems I am more in the eyes and ears of others than I am in my own, and although I still find it a little hard to understand, I am seeing that the music that I have been a part of has been a part of the history of many other lives, and we all relate the music to the good times in our lives. Maybe I thought I had more to give.
Some of the tracks on Sympathetic Resonance were meant for a proposed Fates Warning release, how have they changed if at all from what was intended for that project?
Arch: Well…I guess I look at this sort of like… Jim composes the music that inspires him like a painting on canvas, and what I add to that is how the painting has inspired me. You could have a thousand different artists and not one would be the same. So in essence if anyone else had worked with Jim, the final painting would be very different.
Would it be right to assume that the majority of the music came first on Sympathetic Resonance and because of that how difficult was it at first to write the lyrical content to accompany it?
Arch: Jim and I quickly fell into a groove and began working together the way we always have, most of the compositions were well on their way when I added melody lines and lyrics, and that set the tone for the remainder of the album where we worked well together finishing up the final songs as a true collaboration of ideas and creative input.
The tracks vary in length with some over 10 minutes was this a natural evolution to the songs as they were worked on as a band or the songs original intended lengths?
Arch: Jim composed these songs with all their intended movements as they were presented to me.
You were joined by excellent and well known to you musicians how much of an input did they have in the albums creation other than their excellent skill and ability?
Arch: Although the songs were completed as they were presented to Bobby (Jarzombek), Frank (Aresti), and Joey (Vera), I can’t say enough on how each and every player brought life to the music as they added their voices to the songs… they certainly added some vibrant color to the painting.
Could you give some insight to the strongly emotive feelings musically and lyrically to the tracks and was there a strong personal aspect involved other than from being your creations?
Arch: As I mentioned before, the music with all its energy and movements from hard driving to quiet reflective passages really inspired me to dig deep and sing passionately about the manifestation of some life experiences that had a powerful impact on me. There is no mythology, no characters to hide behind, just me and my shadow.
Could you tell us about the distinctive and powerful art work for the album?
Arch: We chose this artwork as we felt this natural photography using only exposure time, no unnatural effects, was a perfect fit for the music, lyrics and meaning behind Sympathetic Resonance. A perfect visual.
Can we hope that Sympathetic Resonance could possibly be the beginning of further projects between you both and live shows?
Arch: In the end it was very rewarding making this album and future works are certainly not out of the realm.
Many thanks for talking with us would you like to add some final thoughts for our readers and your fans?
Arch: Thanks for having me and best wishes to all of you.
Sympathetic Resonance is available now via Metal Blade Records.
Sympathetic Resonance review https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/arch-matheos-sympathetic-resonance/