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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 V: The New Mythology Suite is the fifth album by Symphony X and their first concept album. The concept revolves around the story of Atlantis, Egypt and that all knowledge gained today is a rediscovery of the past Atlantian knowledge, the good as well as the evil. On this album there is a couple of changes to the bands line-up. First, drummer Tom Walling has left the band and replaced by...... Jason Rullo, the man that vacated the stool for Walling in the first place. Of more significance is that bass player Thomas Miller, in my opinion one of the best bassists in prog metal, left the band after the Twilight In Olympus tour, to be replaced by Michael LePond.

This is a very good album, Symphony X's best and certainly my favourite, but it suffers from a number of ups and downs throughout. As they proved on the previous album, Twilight In Olympus, the band is better at writing songs that are based on stories and novels than there own fantasy by some way and this is one of the biggest improvements over their previous efforts. Variety between the songs has increased massively as well, something that they could be accused of lacking previously, and this has shown up most in the compositions of the album, making it flow and work as a whole, something that is very important for a good concept album.

The bad sides to this album are that the drumming of Rullo hasn't improved in his time off from the band. Its not that its bad but its not very inventive or particularly virtuoso, it just does the job required without sounding like it was trying to match the performance of Pinnella and Romeo. However, were the drumming is passable, if not stunning, the bass playing is the biggest fall in performance on this album. As I said earlier, Thomas Miller was an extremely good bass player and probably the unsung hero of prog metal in the 1990's, but LePond's performance on here is patchy at best. Songs like Communion And The Oracle, Egypt and Rediscovery Part 2: The New Mythology show that he can be very inventive and create's some very memorable and interesting bass lines, fills and solo's. A lot of songs on the rest of the album show that he is very unimaginative, playing a fast but dull bass line that follows the rhythm without any pretence at creativity, like he's just along for the ride. I can only hope he improves on subsequent albums.

As fans of Symphony X will know, Michael Romeo is the creative force behind the band and here he really was on top form, where his compositions move between fast and slow, complex and simple with ease and work really well. His guitar playing is brilliant, the openings to Egypt and Communion And The Oracle are highly memorable pieces that sound brilliant and really get the attention. Michael Pinnella's work is highly unique, for him, on this album. There was no change in style but he made constant use of string/orchestral samples that filled out the whole feeling of the album brilliantly, to an extent that I have only heard done a few times before or since (and one of those was his). The tone's of his keyboards are far more diverse than usual as well, a welcomed improvement on the last couple of albums.

Once again Russell Allen gives a stunning performance that really highlights his ability as a metal singer, full of power and theatrics but with a pleasing timbre. The concept of the album (based on Atlantis) works very well. It fits well with the band, who often write fantasy lyrics, but without being cheesy. However I feel that the close to the story is not that good, the idea that all were doing is regaining the lost knowledge after the fall of Atlantis, doesn't seem to fit too well.

Overall I'll give this 4 stars. If Thomas Miller had stayed with the band I don't doubt that I would have given this 5 stars as the bass lines would have been far better, but Michael LePond is not as creative and at times just plane boring. Symphony X's best album yet all the same.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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