Not what I expected. That about sums up Sympathetic Resonance, the collaboration between composer and guitarist Jim Matheos (Fate's Warning) and vocalist John Arch (ex-Fate's Warning). Odd time signatures and guitar work fill the bulk of this recording. That, and lots of heavy riffage. Sympathetic Resonance is not a friendly or accessible album, not nearly like a Fate's Warning album; it takes time to digest. Add to this the feeling that John Arch is being swamped or drowned in the arrangements, and Sympathetic Resonance becomes a nearly agonizing proposition. Most certainly it's for progressive metal geeks.
Except for two tracks running slightly over five minutes, Sympathetic Resonance offers lengthy excursions into technical excess. On a sliding scale, Neurotically Wired is like the most perplexing cognitive dissonance and Any Given Day the least, and spins in more familiar prog metal territory. In between is the ambitious Stained Glass Sky, which succeeds for the aforementioned technical excess of a twisting arrangement. Later, Incense and Myrrh, one of the shorter pieces lessens the complexity and enjoins more melodic prog rock. It's also the only song (maybe Any Given Day as well) where Arch seems above water and an actual element in the composition.
By way of conclusion, Arch/Matheos' Sympathetic Resonance is certainly a complex adventure into modern progressive metal. While moments of friendly accessibility are fleeting, they are still there making this work digestible. Prepare for a challenge.