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Symphony X - Underworld CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.83 | 249 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Another triumph for Symphony X!

The band have come a long way since their early days when The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and V: The New Mythology Suite made the band a staple name among the progressive metal fans. They even managed to attract the attention of non-metal fans with The Odyssey (specifically it's opus title track) and Paradise Lost. I was personally not a big fans of those last two album since I felt that Symphony X were losing their heavy metal and neoclassical metal influences in exchange for the more straight symphonic metal. Luckily, the release of Iconoclast changed all that by featuring some of the band's heaviest material to date while toning down the symphonic metal side of their sound.

After another four years where Russell Allen managed to keep busy by releasing a bunch of Adrenaline Mob albums plus one new Allen/Lande and Level 10 release respectively, Symphony X suddenly returned with another heavy set of tracks. Underworld sounded initially as business as usual for me since the record continued their classic mix of heavy metal and power metal with a slight shift towards the latter while still maintaining their progressive metal aura.

Two differences that were very clear between Iconoclast and Underworld where the slight shift in tone from almost thrash sounding riffs, on the former, to heavy metal and the other differences being the shorter songs. After a few more spins of the record it was also clear that Underworld was a much more accessible record with most songs featuring memorable melodic hooks and choruses. The first single, Nevermore, being the only exception due to it's strong riffs and verses but completely anticlimactic chorus that ruins the momentum that the rest of the composition manages to build up.

After that weaker intro the album actually gets better with each new track. The title track, Charon and Swansong being some of the highlights in this very solid mix of compositions. It all comes to a triumphant finish with the album's final track. Appropriately titled, Legend managed to completely knock me off my feet by delivering one of the bands stronger tracks in their entire discography. Yes folks, I'm talking about the same quality as Communion And The Oracle and the title opus from The Divine Wings Of Tragedy! The only downside is that the track is merely 6,5 minutes long but I definitely respect Symphony X for not milking the track and instead making it straight and to the point.

If you're a fan of Iconoclast then this album will be an easy purchase for you. Fans of the early Symphony X will probably also enjoy Underworld since there is a stronger power metal emphasis here than what the band have had in years, still I respect them for not taking this influence too far. Hence, you won't find another Of Sins and Shadows or Evolution (The Grand Design) here. What you will find are a bunch of really awesome tracks that are extremely catchy and heavy while maintaining the band's signature progressive metal sound.

***** star songs: Underworld (5:48) Charon (6:07) Legend (6:30)

**** star songs: Without You (5:51) Kiss Of Fire (5:10) Hell And Back (9:24) In My Darkest Hour (4:22) Run With The Devil (5:38) Swansong (7:28)

*** star songs: Overture (2:13) Nevermore (5:30)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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