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Symphony X - V - The New Mythology Suite CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

4.13 | 718 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Not being a huge metalhead, I was pretty skeptical about this album, especially after seeing pictures of these guys! Of course, the high ratings from fellow proggers was more than enough to overcome any superficial hesitation. If I had to describe Symphony X (especially on this album), I would say they are a cross between Dream Theater, Kansas, with a hint of Queen. A year ago, I would not have guessed that a hybrid such as this could be possible.

There are few albums where I don't get bored or my mind wanders for at least a bit, but this is one of those. Symphony X do a great job of changing time signatures, experimenting with different keyboard and guitar effects, and rarely falling into generic, double-bass-drum metal. Here are some of the highlights (though the entire album is very interesting and well-done from beginning to end):

Prelude. It's short, but a killer way to start this album. Admittedly, it took many listens to feel this way. I wouldn't want five minutes of this, but it certainly get me oriented for what's to come!

Communion and the Oracle. Just an excellent mellow song that is well-placed and allows Allen's vocal range to shine.

On the Breath of Poseidon/Egypt/The Death of Balance (Lacrymosa). I view these three songs as a mini-suite (perhaps not lyrically, but certainly musically for me). Great melodies, instrumentation, imagery, and creativity throughout here. Hats off for the middle section of Egypt: spacy guitar, wriggling baseline, and fascinating chord progressions. Lacrymosa shows some of the Queen influence (guitar effects and vocal choirs). I especially love Rullo's drums in the middle section--lots of chaotic clanging to drive home the abruptness of the music.

Rediscovery--The New Mythology. Crank this up and hold on tight--the ride will be 12 minutes of unrelenting prog magic. The whole band is firing on all cylinders throughout. If ever wonder who my favorite metal vocalist may be, I put this song on and the case is closed: Allen is pure power (though never overextending his ability). Kudos as well to Pinella: the blasting church organ is awesome in the louder parts, and the moving, ever-present-but-not-overpowering piano really fits the emotion and flow to the pensive bits. Toward the end, there is a freaky jam that if I close my eyes I swear is played by Kansas, finished off by a majestic choral refrain from earlier in the album.

If you like creative writing, exciting, fist-pumping material with symphonic flourishes, then this is right up your alley. If you prefer the slow build style, then not so much. I certainly can see the Dream Theater comparisons, but I cannot for the life of me see how people view Symphony X as DT knockoffs, given the subject matter (mythology), the classical breaks, and the onslaught of power that is Russell Allen. One of my best purchases!

Flucktrot | 5/5 |


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