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Symphony X

Progressive Metal

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5 stars After 5 years, 4 studio albums and even without a live album Symphony X released a Best-Of-Album. A collection of tracks of every album, except the first, "Symphony X". There's just one song of this album, called "Masquerade" But the remake is great. First of all, Russell Allen sings and second the sound is much, much better. The classic piece at the beginning changed and is now 1 minute long. And then there is this moment, directly after the second chorus. This is one of my favourite moments in music of all times. Afterwards there is this great classic solo and the normal solo, both sounding much better and the solo also was changed and is even much better now, one of my most admired solos! Although I miss songs like "A Winter's Dream II", "The Accolade" and "The Edge of Forever", this collection is still great with songs like "The Damnation Game" with this fantastic variation of Bach's Solfregietto, "Of Sins and Shadows" with this great solo battle, "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", one of he best prog-metal songs of all times and "Through the Looking Glass", the amazing, dreamy epic! Fans of Symphony X might have all the albums, but for the ones who want to have an overview about Symphony X could get this album or the live album. Symphony X for fans of classical music, who can tolerate metal and complexity and other progressive metal bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Adagio, Queensryche, etc.!
Report this review (#65744)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This boxset / compilation is an excellent way to know the band's music of their early years. One might have heard that Symphony X music is similar with Dream Theater. Nothing wrong with this as both bands are in the vein of progressive metal, characterized by heavy music riffs. But when a deeper observation is made, it can be said that both bands are different and each has its own standing on the style of music they play. One thing so peculiar about Symphony X is the fact that no matter heavy the music is, there are some influences or similarities with Kansas in some musical segments. In fact, the voice timbre of Sir Russell Allen during low register voice is somewhat similar with Steve Walsh of Kansas. You can hear this through a short track "A Winter's Dream - Prelude (Part I)" (3:03) which is a mellow one. This is a good break after the heavy song as opener : "Masquerade '98" (6:01) - a new version from the original recording which consumed 4 minutes duration. This new version is much matured in composition.

"The Damnation Game" (4:32) sounds like a power metal music, looking at the double bass drum sounds and the way Russell Allen sings. But this kind of music represents the roots of Symphony X: heavy rhythm section (bass and drum), powerful vocals and excellent interlude which in most cases comprise the intertwined work of Michael Romeo on guitar and Michael Pinnella on keyboards in a supersonic speed but it still manage good harmony.

The rhythm section by Michael LePond (bass) and Jason Rullo is also dynamic. You can observe it through the interlude part of "Sea of Lies" where in some transistions LePond plays critical role to connect between two music segments. The other points of Symphony X music is the vocal harmonies, like it can be heard on "Out of The Ashes".

One special thing I want to mention about this compilation is the inclusion of a very long epic "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" which consumes 20:41 minutes. I have made a long review about the album of this title, the album that I consider "the best" out of Symphony X albums that have been released until today. Not only this song is masterpiece but the whole album is awesome; a masterpiece. I would suggest you purchase "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" after you can enjoy this box set. It's fabulous!

Overall, this is an excellent boxset of heavy side of progressive music, presented by Symphony X. Hopefully, after listening to this box set, you will end up liking the album and I would suggest you to buy another album with this priority: "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" and "V". Keep on proggin' ..!

"Losers let life happen to them - winners make it happen"

Report this review (#121014)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars As is always the problem with compilations, they quickly become dated, which is the case for 'Prelude to the Millennium', Symphony X's 1998 collection that nicely compiles material from their first four albums, which in retrospect, covers their mainly progressive/neoclassical phase (subsequent albums would go in a much heavier, power metal-inspired direction).

With that said, there is still plenty of excellent music here which can easily to used to convert new fans. Featuring some of the bands most ambitious and complex pieces, this will appeal to metal and prog fans alike, with a nice mixture of heavy, fast, quiet and epic songs. As is standard with the genre, the technical ability of everyone involved is top-notch, with particular praise going to the chemistry between guitarist Michael Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinnella, and of course, to powerhouse vocalist Russell Allen.

Featuring some absolutely astonishing progressive metal hits such as 'Through the Looking Glass', 'Smoke and Mirrors' 'Of Sins and Shadows', 'The Damnation Game' and a re-recorded version of 'Masquerade' off of their debut album, the choice of songs here is (mostly) spot-on! And definitely highlights all of the bands strengths. However with that said, there is one problem...

'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'.

Now, the choice of songs is mostly killer here, and although there's one or two songs I'd have left off (this is always the case for compilation CD's), the real overkill is the inclusion of the 21-minute epic 'Divine Wings...'. It's a great song, but damn, it just takes up such a huge chunk here, and really, it just seems too much to hear the entire song! If it'd been up to me, 'The Accolade', 'Church of the Machine' or 'The Eyes of Medusa' are all much more accessible songs that could have taken its place. But never mind... can't win 'em all...

Symphony X are one of my all-time favourite bands, and I strongly encourage everyone to check them out. The music is incredibly well-written and will appeal to fans of both prog and metal. Despite only covering their first four albums, 'Prelude to the Millennium' is still a great starting point for anyone new to the band.

Report this review (#1790524)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 | Review Permalink

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