Let me start this review by saying that I have always been a huge Fates Warning fan and Jim Matheos, the guitar picker of FW always moves me with his emotional and melodic hooks, riffs, solos and amazing melodies. Now after an eight year gap Matheos and singer John Arch, he was the first vocalist of FW, release their “follow up” album ‘Winter Ethereal’, after their debut called ‘Sympathetic Resonance’ . To be honest I have never actually heard their first album, but I really like ‘Winter Ethereal', as this album is packed with beautiful melodies, excellent guitar passages and well composed and structured prog metal songs. But there is no surprise there because everybody knows what an excellent composer Jim Matheos has always been. ‘Winter Ethereal’ contains nine tracks, of which four clock over the eight minutes mark and the longest song being the last one called ,,Kindred Spirit”, which has a playing time of thirteen minutes. A stand out track for me is the superb opener called ,,Vermillion Moons” ,which is filled with addictive guitar melodies and also offers a lot of musical variety. Arch’s vocals are excellent, although he is no Ray Alder [sorry about that John] and this track makes you want to long for more. However, vocally speaking, I feel that Arch sometimes tends to get too monotonous and his vocal range, tone wise that is, is a bit limited in tracks like ,,Wanderlust” or ,,Wrath Of The Universe”. Luckily Matheos steals the show with his guitar playing as his licks, riffs and solos are again extraordinary; just listen to his solos in ,,Vermillion Moons”, ,,Solitary Man” or ,,Never In Your Hands”. The latter being my favourite track of the album and together with the opener and the epic ,,Kindred Spirit” these three songs form the highlights of this album. Matheos and Arch are assisted by Joey Vera, Bobby Jarzombek, Joe Dibiase, Mark Zonder [all former or present Fates Warning members], Steve DiGiorgio [Testament], Sean Malone [Cynic] and drummer Thomas Lang. ‘Winter Ethereal' is a very good prog metal album and especially recommended to fans of Fates Warning of course…play it loud!!!