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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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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Until today I had refused to review any Prog Metal album, being that if I didn't had anything good to say about a whole sub-genre, most surely the problem should be in my personal taste; but just found "V: The New Mythology Suite" by SYMPHONY X and must honestly say that I'm impressed.

The album combines elements of Metal with excellent Symphonic structures, and that's something I'm able to understand or even like, this doesn't mean I became an instant fan of the genre, but it's good to see there's some Prog Metal that I'm able to listen with pleasure.

From the operatic "Overture" it's easy to know you are in front of something different, all those unnecessary solos and contests of egomaniac guitar pyrotechnics are left aside for a coherent structure, loved the opening.

"Evolution (The Grand Design) marks a change, were in definitive inside Metal territory which somehow reminds me of the galloping style of IRON MAIDEN and their obsession for Ancient Egyptian obsession, but designed in such way that the Symphonic component is almost as important, of course you will find some fast guitars, but in small dose doesn't harm, and at the end there's not Prog Metal without guitars. The vocals are simply impressive, excellent choral work, another high point.

"Fallen" starts slower than the previous track with a keyboard that leads to an "in crescendo" guitar work, the drumming is extremely accurate, but this time the vocals by Russell Allen are a bit over the top, like he's making an incredible effort not to leave the Metal zone in which sounds a bit less confident than in Symphonic territory.

"Transcendence" is just a pompous intro (those we like so much) for "Communion and the Oracle" which starts with a soft guitar pretty unusual in this kind of music that sends us to less familiar territory, but again it's nice, I can understand why some hardcore metalheads don't like this album too much, because it's as Symphonic ads metallic.

But the most interesting aspect of this track is how it evolves, linking every section with the next one, in such way you almost don't feel the dramatic changes, with Michael Pinella and Michael Romeo doing an outstanding work.

"The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm" begins harder than all the previous with the expected (even when uncommon in this album) distorted guitar, again that reminiscence of IRON MAIDEN pulls me towards the most familiar an pleasant sound for a non Metal fan as me. But what impresses me more is the fantastic synth work.

Somebody please stop the world, I'm listening Prog Metal and I like it, "In the Breath of Poseidon" is full of pompous and ancient atmospheres with soft instrumental bridges to link the harder sections making the gap between them less evident, simply delightful.

"Egypt" as expected by the name is mysterious but frantic at the same time, two concepts that usually are not easy to combine are managed with enough dexterity to make them sound as natural partners, again the vocal work is amazing. Of course the soft piano closing section was a total surprise for me.

"Death of Balance / Lacrymosa" defies all what I thought I knew about Metal, the aggressive guitars blending with traditional piano in the most Classical sense is brilliant, the controlled cacophony is almost pleasant, reminding me of a harder version of ELP, but the surprises don't end, another amazing choral section proves me that SYMPHONY X is different than most of the bands of the genre..Vive la différence"

Despite "Absence of Light" is the harder song of the album and clearly more oriented towards what I could expect from a metal album, can't say I dislike it, the elaborate vocal work makes it easy to digest even by a person who usually won't listen distorted guitars unless is forced.

"A Fool's Paradise" starts frantic and breathtaking, for the second time seems like Russell Allen does too much effort when trying to be a metal singer instead of a Symphonic Metal singer, but when someone fails to match ,my taste, another member rescues the song, in this case Pinella with his impeccable keyboards. Around the middle, Allen recovers the calm and everything matches perfectly again, specially when the chorus enter and during a Bach reminiscent organ section...Loved the song.

"Rediscovery" is the short and softer interlude that places the audience in mood for the final epic, sadly is too short, I believe they could had exploited it much more.

The almost 12 minutes epic "Rediscovery pt. II - The New Mythology" is the cherry in the top of the cake, the band jumps from one style, mood and atmosphere to another one with absolute coherence but at the same time in a very dramatic and radical way, always linking every section with an accurate bridge usually classical or Baroque, sometimes is Bach, in this case is Mozart, another high point.

Now, is time for my biggest problem, I really enjoyed the album but not enough to classify it as an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock, so five stars are out of my book, but less than four would be unfair and lack of coherence with what I wrote.

Now I will get "The Odyssey" and "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" to convince myself that this is not a mirage and that I really like SYMPHONY X.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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