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Symphony X - The Odyssey CD (album) cover

THE ODYSSEY

Symphony X

 

Progressive Metal

3.94 | 437 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Symphony X embark on an Odyssey of blistering riffs and ambient orchestration; a force to be reckoned with. Immediately the riffing guitars absolutely blaze, the vocals burst out and the guitar lead breaks are as in your face as you would like. The time sigs are all over the place and there is an incessant drum beat from Jason Rullo. Welcome to Symphony X's "The Odyssey". On 'Inferno' the guitar riff is brilliantly played by Michael Romeo especially the screaming lead solo. The trade off between this and keyboards by Michael Pinella. Russell Allen has a clean dynamic vocal style. A masterful heavy metal opener.

'Wicked' features another killer riff that continues constantly and the rhythms are fractured by drums and great bass by Michael LePond. There are moments that are reminiscent of Riverside or Dream Theater. Michael Romeo trades off again with Pinella's flowing keyboards. The time sig changes momentarily before heading back to the main complicated riff. Great metal at the top of Symphony X's repertoire.

'Incantations Of The Apprentice' begins with a very ominous keyboard sound and the distorted jagged riff fades up till it breaks out with crunching riffs like Opeth. The low bass solo of Lepond enhances the mood. An angular guitar riffs with the thrashing drums. The power metal is fantastic and there is a strong melody that drives it along. There is a twin guitar solo with lots of bends and screams. Wonderful metal.

'Accolade II' runs for 7 minutes and is the sequel from the first part on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" album. The song combines violin and piano and the guitars enhance the atmosphere.

'King Of Terrors' has a crunching riff that tears you rears off and the keyboards are an ambient touch. I love the riff at 4 mins in with the piano breaks and killer keyboard playing. It is very doomy and the time sigs are extraordinary. The lead break is amazing. One of the best Symphony X tracks.

'The Turning' is a riff heavy metal blaster with more speed playing from the 3 Michaels. It is frenetic metal with very intricate riffing and staccato keyboards. The vocals are quite aggressive and dark on this, much more gravelly than usual for Allen. The blazing riffs go ballistic on this and the layered guitar solo is divine. The keyboards are again a force to be reckoned with. It is the band at their best.

'Awakenings' is an 8 and a half minute quieter track which gives some respite from all the chaos and power chords to provide a melancholy keyboard driven ambience. The intro is an intriguing time sig with nice piano motifs and orchestration. This prepares us for the big one.

The magnum opus of the band is 'The Odyssey' that clocks in at a whopping 24 minutes, the typical prog track. It is a multi movement suite in 7 parts, as good as what Dream Theater achieved on the epic 'Octavarium'. The orchestra is the real deal, a full classical orchestra opens this with a majesty and intense portentous atmosphere like a movie soundtrack. It is of course all about the Greek tragedy that is legendary. This opening section reminds me of what Therion do but it is better.

The parts are separated into distinct pieces that are easy to discern between; Part I: Odysseus Theme / Overture; Part II: Journey To Ithaca; Part III: The Eye; Part IV: Circe (Daughter Of The Sun); Part V: Sirens; Part VI: Scylla And Charybdis and Part VII: The Fate Of The Suitors / Champion Of Ithaca. That is as much as I want to divulge as it would be criminal to divulge the secrets this epic holds, suffice it to say this is a bombastic lavish masterpiece of music. I was in awe of this epic from beginning to end. As good as prog gets; it's seriously got everything.

This is one of Symphony X's greatest albums, it buries 'Twilight In Olympus' and only falls short of 'Paradise Lost' by a bee's sting. I recommend this to symphonic prog and prog metal fans without reservation. 4 metallic stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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