The band directly contributed to the establishment of the progressive metal genre. Their early works are considered by many as very important works defining the genre itself. The middle-period works are considered as a progress in songwriting and musicianship as the band evolved. Recent works, since 1997, are in a heavy-progressive, more mature style.
The first album, Night on Bröcken, was released in 1984, on the Metal Blade label, featuring a strong Iron Maiden influence. The Spectre Within was released in 1985, which had a more progressive sound. In 1986, original guitarist Victor Arduini left the band and was replaced by Frank Aresti. The third album, Awaken the Guardian was released in that year, moving towards a more mythical atmosphere. In 1987, original vocalist John Arch left the band, and was replaced by a new vocalist, Chris Cronk, who left short after. Ray Alder, joined the band in 1988. That year, the first album with Alder, No Exit was released. In 1988, original drummer Steve Zimmerman left the band, and Mark Zonder joined the band in 1989. Perfect Symmetry was released in the same year. Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater) was featured as a guest on At Fate's Hands playing keyboards.
1991 saw the release of Parallels, which was considered by some as a commercial release. James LaBrie from Dream Theater was featured as a guest vocalist on "Life in Still Water". The next album, Inside Out, from 1994 continued the vein of the previous album in general, adding more melody to the songs.
A compilation album, Chasing Time was released in 1995, including 2 previously unreleased songs.
In 1996, both Joe DiBiase and Frank Aresti left Fates Warning.
A Pleasant Shade of Gray was released in 1997, featuring the 3 remaining members, Alder, Matheos and Zonder - and 2 guests - Joey Vera on bass, and Kevin Moore once again as a guest, performing on piano and keyboards. The album revealed a much deeper and darker mood of Fates Warning, completely different from their previous works, a concept album. The album is originally a 50 minute long song, which was divided to 12 tracks.
A live 2CD set, "Still Life" was released in 1998 - the first CD contained "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" album performed live at it's entirety, while the second CD contained "The Ivory Gate Of Dreams" from the 1988 "No Exit" album performed at it's entirety with some other various songs performed live. Bernie Versailles on additional guitars, and Jason Keaser on keyboards accompanied the band on this album, while still keeping Joey Vera as the bassist on this record. A Japanese version included a studio Scorpions cover, "In Trance".
In 2000, Moore and Vera returned once more, to make the next album, "Disconnected", this time an album with techno influences.
"FWX", the band's tenth, latest studio recording was released in 2004. Drummer Mark Zonder has stated it will be his last album with the band, as he wishes to pursue other interests, and left in 2005.
A live DVD (Live In Athens) had been released in 2005, and was released on an audio version as well.
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