by Victor J. Giol
In my many years of being a music fan, reading books about the subject is nowhere near the top of my preferences or priorities. This not only pertains to music, but to all subjects. This is a result of intense higher education which provided enough reading to last me several lifetimes. These days I limit my reading to articles, liner notes, and instruction booklets. So when my wife sees me reading a book, she is in shock as she is not accustomed to me engaging in the daily act of reading a book. This is a testament to the kind of book which long time Fates Warning fan, Jeff Wagner, has compiled. This book has the information and power to make you experience the band as if you are there with them. You are there as their story develops and unfolds.
The book takes you on a historical journey which include every aspect of the band from their formation all the way through the band’s 13th album. Jeff’s attention to every detail is enhanced by contributions from current and past band members, producers, and friends. He clearly explains the setting of the time which sets the stage for the synthesis of not only the band, but every character’s musical DNA which is part of the FW story. While Jim Matheos is the main character due to the fact he is the only consistent member throughout, there is no shortage of complete and thorough development of all of the band members. I appreciate how Jeff is able to get the contributors to open up in a very natural and reflective way. As the Fates Warning story unfolds, you get an opportunity to get to know the band and its members in a relatable level. You also learn specific details such as a brief but impactful interaction with Glen Danzig results in the band selecting its name. There are also great inserts and appendices with extra information and accounts that are sure to keep all fans interested.
Fates Warning’s place in the landscape of prog metal has always been recognized by those in the industry. This book’s content, which leaves no stone unturned, validates the band’s place in the genre. Upon completion of the book, not only are you well versed in the history of Fates Warning, you are also well versed in the history of rock music over the last three decades. I found my biases for and against certain albums and lineups were completely disarmed as the band’s story unfolded. I could not help but listen to the discography as I read my way through the different seasons of their careers. Jeff Wagner opens by explaining “Destination Onward is a blatant desire to publicly document my love and appreciation for Fates Warning.” Clearly this project took more than a long day good night to complete. It is a complete work very well done. Destination Onward is guaranteed to make bigger Fates Warning fans out of its readers.
Avaialable at fateswarningbook.com