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Symphony X - Paradise Lost CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.79 | 505 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Before listening to Paradise Lost my only exposure to Symphony X was with their Divine Wings of Tragedy album, which I enjoyed but wasn't blown away by-- but they absolutely nail this one. Paradise Lost is prog/power-metal par excellance, crushingly heavy, dynamic, exciting, and engaging. Even if Dream Theatre was still going strong-- this album would probably top anything they could put out... and since that band has been in its death throes for 3 years or so, Symphony X's work comes as a hurricane of heavy-metal fresh air. Time for a changing of the guard!

The opening orchestration sets a powerful and dynamic tone, doing a great job of building anticipation for the blistering, aggressive, and genuinely powerful metal to follow. "Set the World on Fire" gets things going with savage riffing and galloping tempo, showing off the group's songwriting and instrumental chops nicely, especially Romeo's guitars, which crunch, grind, wail, and penetrate with an especially effective energy. Allen's vocals in "Domination" show of a striking rawness that matches the gruff persona of Dio in his prime-- and the singer shows of the first of many appealing vocal hooks in this tune. An inventive guitar solo top things off, and just when I thought things couldn't get much better "Serpent's Kiss" starts up, which pretty much got me addicted to this album. It has killer melodies, lyrics, time signature changes, dynamics-- you name it. These guys seriously on their game.

The group's playing is quite tight throughout, with lots of classic prog-metal interplay between keys and guitar. Romeo's guitars are pretty much the dominating element of Paradise Lost, but the rhythm section may be more important to the bottom-heavy tone of these songs. This is one dark album, but never oppressive or filled with bathos (like any Riverside album). My only critical observation is the overal sameness of the songs. The group easily has the songwriting chops to experiment and give us some more variety, but with head-banging awesomeness of this quality I am not compaining.

Paradise Lost embraces the best of traditional heavy metal energy, prog-metal virtuousity, and power-metal dramaticism to create a wholly enjoyable package. You'll be hard pressed to find something within the genre better than this; it's easily deserves 4 stars, but I wouldn't be surprised if I bump this one up to 5 after a few years of listening.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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