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Michael Romeo - The Dark Chapter CD (album) cover


Michael Romeo

Progressive Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Solo debut album by Michael Romeo and currently his only one, released back in 1994 along with Symphony X' first one. This one is entirely instrumental and deals with power/shred metal only with slight classical influences as well as being quite proggy. Except for the programmed drums and the keyboards on track 8 (which are played by SymX keyboardist Michael Pinnela), Michael Romeo plays all the instruments himself and shows not only that he is a great guitarist, but a steady keyboardist and bassist as well. The music is much in the style of the earlier SymX material only more shredding and less keyboards, but it's not bad, not at all.

This one is, in my opinion, much better than SymX's debut, considering it's better produced and more balanced. However, this is more for the power/shred metal or SymX fan than people who want Dream Theater or Fates Warning-ish stuff. But fans of Romeo should really get this one if they can find it! The overal album mood is pretty dark, so play it at night for the best effect.

Report this review (#63498)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nice and interesting guitar album. "The Dark Chapter" provides many fantastic solos, arpeggios, e.g. "Masque of the Red Death" and also nice keyboard parts, e.g. "Noit Al Ever".

During the solos you can already notice Michael Romeo's usual techniques, such as string skipping, arpeggios², tapping and neoclassical sequences but also some asian influenced licks. Mostly there are fast shreds, slowing down several times and also heavy riffs and chords structures, typical for power metal.

The drumcomputer always supports that very well, but sound too much like a computer for me, what is a pity. Sometimes I feel reminded of Symphony X, nothing amazing, considering this was the cornerstone for the career of Symphony X.

If you like Symphony X or guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen or Rustly Cooley, you might like this. If you like guitars, give it a try, it's a nice guitar album, although the sound is a bit bad!

Report this review (#64980)
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Brrrrrrrrrrrrr!Excuse me if I use the term of guitar masturbation to qualify stylistically this album! Only an avalanche of arpeggios and sometimes I got the feeling that Mr Romeo is trying to see if he is able to break the speed of sound with some common and uninspired compositions in the neo classical style!There are so many clichees and nothing special ,excepting the ultra speed of the maestro at guitar ,that's making us to give attention to an album composed and performed 99 % by the leader of the excellent combo SYMPHONY X!The sound is poor and the ensemble of the album is in the second plan,the guitar being on throne and displayed in the first degree!I don't sincerelly understand what Mr Romeo wanted to prove with this album?!?!Second hand instrumental compositions,poor in their register and nothing catchy for an album that will satisfy only guitar afficionados or guitar students.Pure shred madness and compositions without any personality ,and overall pretty weak production as I've mentioned before an annoying drum machine sound that makes the audition oven more difficult!I think Romeo is better in compositions with vocal performances ,what he is doing in SYMPHONY X is more mature,elaborated and prog metal orientated... this album is some kind of bizarre in MICHAEL ROMEO's career!!! Hardly 2 STARS for the guitar work!
Report this review (#258382)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I did not pay enough attention on this solo album by Symphony X guitarist until a friend of mine posted a review of this solo album in my personal blog. Then, I tried to take a look on this and it surprised me that I enjoy this album. At first spin I thought that the music is something similar like what Yngwiw Malmsteen did. especially during the intro part from the opener "Carpathia" (2:08). It still then have similar style under the second track "Cask of Amontillado" (5:07) even though the dynamics a re quite different as this album lies heavily on power metal like Symphony X. The sonic quality of the album is very good even though Romeo played all instruments by himself. I was a bit disturbed with the drums programming but then I got used to it and enjoy the music through more progressive track like "Psychotic Episode" (4:00) where he plays also piano as part of the interlude. I know he is not a real pianist but he can insert the piano sounds really well. He is a talented musician, I believe, as he can play many instruments.

The fourth track "Masque of the Red Death" (7:01) is more progressive naturally as he strated with something quite explorative during introduction part and it moves forward with guitar that is mixed thinly before he finally makes the real guitar solo. Under the "Sevil Alucard" (5:10) he makes further exploration with ups and downs on rhythm section.

I think this album is worth for those who enjoy power metal or progressive metal. Fans of Symphony X must must have this album in their collection. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#1128505)
Posted Saturday, February 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Michael Romeo is without doubt one of the most talentated, inspired and skillful guitarist in last couple of decades. I'm a big fan of his style both solo as on Symphony X. Before or actualy in same time with born of legends Symphony X, Michael Romeo released his first and in same time his last solo album under his name - The dark chapter, issued in 1994. Well, this is awesome to my ears, instrumental prog metal with neo classical passages, from up tempo twists and turns to delightful arpeggios and inventive mellow parts, this release is more the enjoyble to me. Even I know Symphony X for long time, since around Damnation game, I never really look to this album, I don't know why, I bought this one only few years back, and I was instantly hooked, knowing his work with his mother band , this one was a sure delight to me. His style his very reminescent of Vinnie Moore, Malmsteen in places, and with his own touch, the result is almost perfect. The skills are top notch, he playing with an amazing ease even some said that this release is more a show of then a real album, I don't care, this is fantastic and all guitar lovers must listen to this one at least once. Also Michael Pinella is present here on keyboards, no other then his mate from future Symphony X, he done a very solid job here aswell. Pieces like Masque of the Red Death, Cask of Amontillado or The Premature Burial are real winners, showing how big potential this guy has in prog metal world, no wonder he will become quikly a very respected guitarist worldwide.Not only did Michael play the majority of all the instruments on the album, he also engineered, mixed and produced the album showcasing his versatile abilities in the studio. For me personaly 4 stars, quite connected with Symphony X, but only instrumental. A total winner.
Report this review (#1133310)
Posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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