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Symphony X - Symphony X CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

2.87 | 237 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The self-titled debut from Symphony X has rarely been truly praised not just on this site, but on the whole world wide web in general. I'd like to see it be judged for what it does well, not on its shortcomings.

I'm assuming that if you are reading this review, you know plenty about Symphony X including their lineup changes, future albums, and history so i won't go into that much.

Even with the less-than-able Rod Tyler as the vocalist, what we have here is quite amazing under its own merit. Unlike most SX fans I've come across, this was my first exposure to SX and therefore my introduction to the band. I had heard their future material a little, but this was the first whole album of SX I listened to. After reading reviews, and hearing what others have stated, I expected a terrible purchase to say the least. A part of me didn't like the idea of buying it before their later albums. I was surprised to find this is a fantastic first effort.

Despite the obvious technical limitations, the creativity shines quite well. I love the dirty unpolished guitar sound of Romeo. Pinnella's key/synth sound has an eerie cathedral/choir/organ tinge to it which I love--It has a nice classical vibe to it that is somewhat absent in their later releases. "A lesson before dying", "Shades of grey", "Thorns of sorrow", "Premonition" and even "Into the dementia" are the standout tracks for me. Rod's singing isn't as bad as people let on. I prefer Allen's vocals more over Tyler's, but for this album, with this material, he works. There is a mood and atmosphere about this album that stands out. Maybe it's that "we gotta get that first album out, demo" quality about it and for that reason it deserves more credit than it gets.

You take a prog metal band, strip away the egos, boasting, pretentiousness, etc. and this is what you would be left with: a raw imperfect album hinting at a band's amazing future. As it stands there are plenty of flaws, but there is so much here to admire that I can't possibly say it doesn't belong in any SX fan's library right alongside the Damnation Game and Twilight in Olympus. I give it 3 stars although I really want to rate it higher but I won't because there is some very obvious filler material here and the production does suffer, but the great moments are so stunning and on-par , in my opinion, with anything they would later do on V or The Odyssey.

My final thought? If you are an SX fan and don't have this album, I recommend that you should venture "into the dementia". If you are simply a fan of prog metal, then I would say it's somewhat non-essential--newcomers of SX are probably better off skipping this and going straight to their sophomore effort, the Damnation Game. Then later on, if you like what you hear, go pick it up.

Simply put, if SX would have used the material on this album, weeded out the filler, and used the excellent 50% on a later release with Allen (they did re-do Masquerade w/Allen but that's all), they would have half of a masterpiece written.

culexearth | 3/5 |


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