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Symphony X - The Odyssey CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.95 | 526 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I have to say that I'm quite surprised by some of the criticisms of this album. I think that Russell Allen sounds as good as ever, and there is plenty of prog to keep me satisfied. Perhaps some people were spoiled by The New Mythology Suite, as that album had a coherence, balance, and energy that few bands are able to pull off more than a couple times in their careers. The Odyssey seems to be primarily about prog, but also includes relatively generic metal singles, possibly to appease some combination of metal fans and/or producers and execs. Either way, the epic track and the other prog tunes are more than enough good music to keep me coming back to this album.

Inferno, Wicked, Incantations of the Apprentice, King of Terrors, The Turning. Here are the five metal tunes, and when I say generic, it's because they don't have the elements that I really appreciated about songs of similar structure on The New Mytholody Suite: Rullo consistently switching rhythms (and NOT relying solely on fast double bass lines), moving and emotive piano from Pinella (and not many heavy synth arrangements either), creative background riffing, and few classically-influenced instrumental flights of fancy. These do have strong vocals, plenty of guitar and keyboard runs, and unison keyboard guitar. Here are the Dream Theater comparisons, and in this case we've heard this stuff before and done better elsewhere.

Accolade II. Just a fantastic tune. I think I prefer this over the first (only slightly), mostly for the better, fuller production (the violin sounds MUCH less cheesy here). Allen sounds especially powerful here, and although the chorus reminds of Greensleeves (anyone else notice that?), the melody and lyrics are quite powerful. The Symphony X sound is officially back at this point.

Awakenings. The forgotten gem, based on other reviews. At just before 2:30 in the song, Allen hits a note that is just perfect (ALIGN in the night), and it's just another example of his talent. Just like some opera greats, I can picture people in the front row of concerts getting a shower because of Allen's power. Great tune.

The Odyssey. This is certainly a conceptual epic, but musically it's just solid tunes linked well together. They were smart to save the best for last, though it could have had more of an impact if they had used variations of the melody as teasers throughout the song. The is adventure prog, but the cool (not cheesy) kind, like out of an Indiana Jones movie (and not Pirates of the Caribbean). I enjoy it from end to end every time, probably in my top 50 epics (though certainly no competition for the classic epics).

Ignore the straight metal tunes if you choose, and the rest is great prog metal. Don't let your expectations get in the way, and you'll be well-rewarded. No masterpiece here, but but a solid addition to any prog collection.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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