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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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Prog Reviewer
4 stars If The Divine Wings of Tragedy was the album where Symphony X began to stretch their legs (hope you didn't expect me to say wings there. Too redundant), then V is the album where the band suddenly realized a way to make interesting, unique neoclassical progressive power metal. They are not a band that progresses a terrible much. In fact, they stick to their tricks pretty faithfully. This album, though, was built for such tricks and ideas, and it all meshes together in a way that I don't find it ever to again with the band, at least as of 2008.

Where the previous album was mixed and mastered fairly poorly, this CD sounds great, and even plays around with purposefully muddy songs early one, which make the crisp ones at the end sound absolutely magnificent. The levels of noodling are down on this album, at least as far as the band's usual allotment of half the song for solos and unisons. The keyboards also end up playing, on the whole, many more patches of actual agreeable sonic quality. The end result of these changes result in an album that, though likely indisputably cheesy, can be taken seriously and enjoyed as a high caliber release by a band that could have mucked around in power metal their whole career and probably been okay.

The flow between the songs, I must add, is beautiful. Some bands try to string together songs on their CDs, and the end result is mildly painful. Here, though, we get a clear progression, aided by some breathtakingly beautiful segues (another prog trick that is often used poorly, leading to awkward filler). We get the picture through listening to this that the instrumental bits correspond with un-narrated action, in a way. The presence of many bits of classical music throughout give the music a sense of lasting quality, even though it may not be necessarily so. I need to mention, too, the fine power of Sir Russel Allen. His voice is the only thing that really sets Symphony X apart from a slew of other progressive metal bands. The sheer force and range of his vocal abilities can be downright staggering.

Songs worth extra mentions are The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa, a semi-instrumental that many consider to be Symphony X's answer to Dream Theater's The Dance of Eternity. Needless to say, even without really stacking the two against each other, The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa is a wildly drummed, complex piece of music. My favorite track on here is A Fool's Paradise, with its clever inclusion of Dies Irae and some bouncy classical string hits, while being stacked on a rapidly moving progressive metal tune. And, of course, Russel Allen sings his heart out here.

All in all, I'd vouch for this as Symphony X's best album. When listened to as a whole, it's a bit one sided, a bit repetitive in terms of styles and sounds, but very good. If you're a fan of progressive metal or even just progressive rock and are interested in what kind of high powered instrumentation is appearing these days, this is a very good album to look at.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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