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Symphony X - Symphony X CD (album) cover

SYMPHONY X

Symphony X

 

Progressive Metal

2.89 | 154 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

W.Chuck
3 stars In a certain way, you can compare Symphony X to a seed of a rose, that grew up to cherry-tree! You know that there would be a rose (something good), but you would have never had expected that there would have grown something so great and amazing. I think nobody expected such great albums as "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", "V" or "The Odyssey", I think even Symphony X didn't estimated their stunning further work. There first album was released in 1994. After Michael Romeo had finally finished his solo-album and sent it to several labels, it made its way to Japan and he was asked if he would have a band with the style of his solo album. Michael Romeo always had the idea of a band but this request led to the foundation of Symphony X. Michael Romeo had known Thomas Miller for 10 years and often played with him. He was the first one who joined Michael Romeo. After a short time the band was complete and they recorded a short demo first, called "Dance Macabre" in 1994 and directly afterwards they recorded this album. There are 10 tracks on that album and it is 53 minutes long! Here is a list of the tracks and some commentaries.

1. (Instrumental / Guitar solo with symphonic synthesizer)

A typical Michael Romeo Solo, actually reminding me of "The Dark Chapter", cornerstone for the foundation of Symphony X. So this solo kind of connects the 2 albums and is also a good introduction, besides all the bad critics about it.

2. (power metal)

Typical power metal song with a nice Queen-passage.

3. (ballad/power metal)

Starts like a ballad, very atmospheric with this wonderful piano and this great guitar arpeggio. Strangely, the whole mood changes very abrupt to a more hopeful and kind of cheerful spirit. The first verse uses the same accompaniment you can find in "Candlelight Fantasia" and in the last part of "The Odyssey". During the whole song I asked myself, how the solo would be. Finally when the short classic solo ceased and the real solo began, I knew this solo is simply perfect and still better than I expected.

4. (neoclassic power metal)

Starts with a classical part, afterwards normal power metal, nothing really great, in my opinion. Except that pre-chorus: "Save us from this masquerade of lies!" with a really short lies, that makes it really funny and generates memories of Frank Zappa, which could be possible considering Michael Romeo is a big Zappa fan. After the second chorus there is a short part introducing the fantastic classic solo (a piece by Bach). This part right before this solo is one of my favourite moments of my whole music collection. This great progression causes an awesome feeling. By the way, the whole thing (part before classic solo-classic solo-solo) sounds much better and more convincing in "Masquerade 98". The actual solo is fantastic (the 98' version even more). Very long, fast and a nice rocker! The solo starts with the same notes as the solo in "The Raging Seasons"

5. (progressive metal / power metal)

Mostly power metal with a catchy chorus, but with a nice and interesting instrumental part, starting with a bass solo, slow beautiful guitar solo, a complex part follows with a fast bass interlude, another guitar solo, closing with a fast guitar bass double. The end of the whole song is a slow and dark piano part.

6. (ballad)

One of the most beautiful ballads I've ever heard with a great piano and guitar arpeggio. Very sad but more cheerful in the chorus. The part right before the first verse reminds me "Candlelight Fantasia", I'm always expecting the first verse of it. The solo is fantastic, wonderful and fits perfectly. A long solo and at the end an additional fast guitar is added playing around the slow solo. The often repeated chorus and the song at all, could be a good radio track, rare for a band of Symphony X.

7. (power metal)

Power metal song with a stunning guitar-bass solo battle and a nice sweeped solo at the beginning.

8. (power metal)

Another power metal track, with a nice beginning and for the first time a keyboard solo, but together with the guitar most of the time.

9. (power metal)

The first part is kind of a call and response of the guitar and the keyboard. I really like this choir/organ-synthesizer Michael Pinnella uses. Afterwards there is an awesome riff, reminding me partial of the riff in "Sea of Lies" and furthermore a great keyboard besides. The chorus is again very catchy and nice. Another Queen inspired choir part introduces the solo that starts like the solo in "Masquerade" and "The Raging Season". A nice keyboard-guitar battle (the first one of Symphony X ever and you all know how great they are).

10. (progressive metal / power metal)

A really nice longtrack, with nice ideas, very varied, again a power-metal song and it furthermore shows that Symphony X are really good song-writers.

So this a really nice, strongly power metal influenced, album with great ideas, e.g. the multi voice Queen passage in "The raging Season", the dreamy part after the change in mood or the first verse accompaniment in "Premonition", the "Zappa-chorus" and the connection of metal and classic in "Masquerade". There are already really good and stunning song writing abilities. Every musician is amazing. Michael Romeo shows of great riffs and solos. Michael Pinnella plays fantastic piano passages and nice synthesizer-riffs. Thomas Miller convinces with his fast bass playing and great solos. Jason Rullo's drum work is also great but the sound is mixed up very bad and partly sounds like a drum computer. And at last, there is Rod Tyler. I never really liked him, but that changed now. I don't think he's a bad singer, his style is simply arduous. His only problem is the low notes, but he has a nice sustain and he almost hits every note. Anyway he's nothing against the incredible Russell Allen! Maybe the sound is also a reason for his disagreeableness, I don't know. Overall the sound is not really great. As I said the drums and the guitar also sounds quite strange and nasty. The best example is "Masquerade". The new version ("Masquerade 98") sounds so much better, especially the solo! This was the first album of Symphony X, created in a short time and really nice for this short development-period. You can already notice typical Symphony X signs. This album is still a bit imitated but fortunately that changed with the later discography of Symphony X. This album might please fans of Symphony X, of course but also Dream Theater, Dio and maybe also Black Sabbath fans could like it.

W.Chuck | 3/5 |

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