Sound — 10
The great thing about "Sympathetic Resonance" was that you knew it was going to be amazing from the moment that it was announced. Obviously because of the skill possessed by the entire lineup, but anybody who prefers the John Arch era of Fates Warning would be happy for the sole reason of getting to hear Arch's voice on some new material. Despite this, the album does not have alot in common with the more power metal styled Fates Warning albums that Arch participated on. "Sympathetic Resonance" is a pure progressive metal album, and a very well written one. Four of the six songs are longer than eight minutes, and none of them sound overextended. Riffs and rhythm are the focus for the majority of the album, but the amount of tempo and time signature changes keep each song interesting without feeling like they are going out of their way to be overly technical like many progressive songs can do. The production is also much more modern sounding and the guitar tones are very different from anything on "The Spectre Within". Anybody who knows Fates Warning knows that Jim Matheos is an excellent songwriter and this album contains his usual high quality compositions. This album may not be for all Fates Warning listeners however, if you do not like the Ray Alder era of Fates Warning at all you may want to listen to the album before purchasing. I know some people that only like "Midnight Serenade" from this album because it is one of the shorter and more easier to follow songs of the album. But also do not assume that it is going to be boring because of the long songs, I hated the "A Pleasant Shade Of Gray" album and did not like "A Twist Of Fate" much more but find this album to be much more interesting and easier to listen to so it is kind of difficult to pinpoint who exactly will like and dislike this album.
Lyrics — 10
It's John Arch; it has to be good! Arch is the preferred vocalist of Fates Warning by many and his voice is still great after all these years. His tone has not changed much and is still very recognizable, but it now lacks that halfway-to-Geddy-Lee characteristic to it. The lyrics are also good and fit the songs very well. Particularly on "Any Given Day" the lyrics fit each riff and tempo change perfectly. Just like on the Fates Warning albums Arch does a good job of writing very interesting stories in his lyrics, even if at times they can be too ambiguous.
Overall Impression — 10
"Sympathetic Resonance" is my favorite album of 2011 and I believe is the best thing Jim Matheos has written since "Parallels" in 1991. There was definitely alot of time taken to write and prepare for this album and this has helped achieve the best possible results in the quality of the writing, tones, and production. Any listeners of progressive music must buy this album and most people who like Fates Warning should get it as well. The fourteen minute "Stained Glass Sky" includes some of the best riffs and drums on the album and my favorite song on the album, "Any Given Day", finishes at ten and a half minutes but could have easily been extended while still sounding great. The least impressive song on the album is "On The Fence" but it is still well written and deserves inclusion on this album. It will definitely take a few listens to fully comprehend but once you get past that, "Sympathetic Resonance" is an amazing album that deserves to be remembered among the best of any of the Fates Warning-affiliated albums.