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Symphony X - The Damnation Game CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.35 | 231 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Damnation Game represents positive signs of future excellence for Symphony X. We have plenty of shredding from Romeo, relatively tasteful keys and arrangements from Pinella, an impressive debut for Allen on vocals, and even some progginess and experimentation in songwriting, though certainly that aspect would take quantum leaps forward in the future.

The Damnation Game, Dressed to Kill, Savage Curtain, Secrets. These four have very little of the criteria that are used to classify progressive rock, such as varying time signatures, complex arrangements or extended song lengths. In those respects, these are fairly typical advanced metal tracks. However, they also feature plenty of virtuosic playing, clever interplay with guitar and keys, and of course plenty of a young, raw Russell Allen. These highlights are more than enough to make for a better-than-average record. There is also just enough variety and catchy melody, as well as classically influenced instrumental breaks, to prevent these tracks from running together and feeling repetitive.

Edge of Forever. Without this track, Symphony X's next release would have been a tremendous surprise. However, this song is packed so full of great melodies and energetic performances that devotees had to be hoping they would take the great leap into full-on prog metal that they were capable of making. This song could have been placed on The Divine Wings of Tragedy and not seemed out of place. Great job all around, but I especially enjoy Pinella's light and tasteful work on piano. Without a doubt, the highlight of the album.

Whispers, A Winter's Dream. Here Symphony X show another side of their potential that they would also harness on later albums: the softer side. These tracks would not quite fit into the power ballad category, but they don't fit well into the prog metal classification either. That's probably why Symphony X sound so unique. Featuring great melodies, dreamy yet powerful keys and guitar, and restrained yet dramatic vocals by Allen, Whispers and the Winter's Dream suite add a variety to the album that really provides a necessary counterbalance to the harder singles.

A solid album by any standards, and a must-own for Symphony X fans, The Damnation Game will not disappoint. You will be treated to a few melodies that will be revisited in later albums (on Savage Curtain and the title track, for example), which has the effect of providing a cohesiveness to their entire discography. The composition is certainly not as ambitious as proceeding albums, but you can hear the seeds of serious prog germinating.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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