Sympathetic Resonance is definitely a blast from the past, hearing Arch on vocals again. But it is not a retro album all, it's very modern in style and production. The album is 6 songs and nearly an hour of proggy goodness, with multiple tempo, time signature and texture changes, lengthy instrumental passages and lengthy compositions. It's more progressive than Fates Warning, and also a bit heavier.
There's no question of the musical direction when the opening song is a 11 plus minute opus. “Neurotically Wired” twists and turns, ebbs and flows and is very dynamic. “Midnight Serenade” is much more straightforward, with big hooks and a lot of melody and accessibility. “Stained Glass Sky” starts out very intensely, then backs off a bit for a nearly 14 minute ride. The musicianship of Arch/Matheos is outstanding, with really good guitar work and some stellar drumming. Arch's voice has held up very well over the years, and he can still hit the high notes with little effort.
After a couple more epic tracks, the proceedings close with “Incense and Myrhh,” an acoustic ballad that really showcases Arch's vocals, then kicks into power ballad mode. It's a strong ending to the album. Overall, there are some self-indulgent moments, which is to be expected in the progressive genre, and a few lulls. But Sympathetic Resonance maintains their momentum and the result is an album fans of early Fates Warning and prog in general will enjoy. It will be interesting to see if Arch steps back away from music again, or if we'll hear future efforts from Arch/Matheos.
(released September 13, 2011 on Metal Blade Records)