Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

A Pleasant Shade of Gray

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Released  22 April 1997
A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)  Still Life (1998)
Release date  22 April 1997
Label  Metal Blade Records
Length  53:46
Artist  Fates Warning
Producer  Terry Brown
Genre  Progressive metal
A Pleasant Shade of Gray httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen441Ap
Recorded  December, 1996 at The Carriage House, Stamford, CT
Similar  Fates Warning albums, Progressive metal albums

A pleasant shade of gray i

A Pleasant Shade of Gray is a concept album by the progressive metal group Fates Warning, released in 1997. It contains one song divided into twelve parts and is noted for its darker mood and more progressive style.


Fates warning a pleasant shade of gray part xii on screen lyrics slideshow


A Pleasant Shade Of Gray is a single song that is divided into twelve tracks. The album is notable for its darker mood and mixture of progressive rock and metal with hints of industrial, classical, and psychedelia. Jim Matheos wrote the album following Fates Warning's 1994 tour in support of Inside Out, with Matheos mailing tapes to Ray Alder and Mark Zonder. The record was recorded after two weeks of live rehearsals. It took approximately one month in Carriage House studio with Terry Brown producing to complete the recording. Then-former Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera and former Dream Theater keyboard player Kevin Moore were recruited to complete the recording lineup of Matheos, Alder, and Zonder.

Matheos said that the genesis of A Pleasant Shade of Gray's stark departure was the similarity of the previous two albums. "I think all of our records have been drastically different with the exception of Inside Out and Parallels [...] Looking back, that might not have been such a good move. We repeated ourselves and when we stepped away from it at the end of touring with it we weren't pleased with that; so this time we've done something radically different."

In 2007 the album was re-released by Metal Blade Europe with a bonus DVD of the Pleasant Shade of Gray Live video, previously only on VHS.


The sound is less accessible than Fates Warning's other works and many say that the album required repeated listens to sink in; critics and fans have often had mixed opinions as a result. Indeed, the album has often polarized fans.

Sputnik Music gave the album 4.5 stars and noted that the album's has held up well with the passage of time: "It wasn't until later that people began to regard A Pleasant Shade of Gray in a more positive light, and its popularity subsequently grew as the album is now considered inimitable in the progressive genre." In 2005, the album was ranked number 416 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.

However, Allmusic panned the album, criticizing "the guitar riffs and melodic hooks [as] simply not that memorable, requiring way too many listens before leaving any lasting impressions and overshadowing the band's remarkable musicianship [...] All told, A Pleasant Shade of Gray is a challenging listen and not for the faint of heart."

Track listing

All tracks written by Jim Matheos.


  • Ray Alder – vocals
  • Jim Matheos – guitar, guitar synth
  • Mark Zonder – drums
  • Joey Vera – bass
  • Kevin Moore – keyboards
  • Bill Metoyer, Lydia Montagnese, Mark Zonder, Terry Brown, Lindsay Matheos - additional voices
  • Production and art

  • Terry Brown - production, recording and mixing
  • Andy Katz and Joe Peccerillo - assistant engineering
  • Eddy Schreyer - mastering
  • Bill Metoyer - pre-production
  • Ioannis and Steve Jacaruso at Vivid Images - art direction and design
  • Ioannis and Heide Coyle - photography
  • The credits thank former bassist Joe DiBiase, who departed the band in 1995; A Pleasant Shade of Grey was the first Fates Warning album without DiBiase.


    1A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Part I1:54
    2A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Part II3:26
    3A Pleasant Shade of Gray - Part III3:53


    A Pleasant Shade of Gray Wikipedia