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Symphony X - V - The New Mythology Suite CD (album) cover


Symphony X

Progressive Metal

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Marc Baum
5 stars Symphony X are by far better than all prog metal bands, who try to play like Dream Theater or Queensryche! "The Devine Wings Of Tragedy" was a milestone in the symphonic progressive metal genre. The follow-up "Twilight In Olympus" was a bit inferior but still excellent, because the songwriting seemed sometimes a bit uninspired but with "V" they've overshadowed themselves! The majestic choirs on this record remind on Queen again in the widest part and the as always great guitar work of Michael Romeo (something like the US answer to Yngwie Malmsteen) leaves me stand with an open mouth! The technical arrangements are incredibly perfect, but Symphony X don't do the same failure like most prog metal bands do, which mainly concentrate on the technics only. They create powerful, great symphonic progressive metal epics, which couldn't be done better! The about 64 minutes running time of "V: A New Mythology Suite" seems like one big multiple orgasm, and who says that only women are supposed to have these?

"V" is a perfect progressive metal sondtrack to the atlantis history, musically & lyrical. No time for low-points, but one song sets apart from all: "Rediscovery Part II - The New mythology". Russel Allen is an incredible shouter, he's one of the best singers of the prog metal genre, which he can show in this 12 minutes long beautiful epic. Don't read this boring review any longer and buy this album, if you are in the least interested in symphonic prog metal, I highly recommend it!

album rating: 10/10 points = 98 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#7148)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great concept album! When you listen to it, you can feel the atmosphere of Atlantis and Egypt. Michael Romeo is a great guitar player, and Michael Pinnella (keyboards) is very inspirated in this album. Hear also the fantastic drumming of Jason Rullo, and the strong vocals of Russell Allen: all is perfect. One of the best albums of 2000.
Report this review (#7133)
Posted Sunday, December 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars No so good as the debut, Divine Wings Of Tragedy or Odyssey... Many tracks aren't so energic like the other albun parts, the best songs in this albun are: Evolution, Death Of The Balance and A Fool's Paradise.
Report this review (#7136)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can´t remember a better metal album than this, it is exciting, Michael Romeo is a Genius and also Pinella and Russell Allen sings FANTASTIC, the rythm section is powerful, ufff!!!! In my opinion, till now and including Odyssey, THE BEST SYMPHONY X album
Report this review (#7137)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Out of my 700 or so prog rock/metal Cds Symphony Xs "The New Mythology Suite" (or "V" )is in my top ten, a 5 star CD if there ever was one. That's not to say other Cds by this band are not great, they are (with the possible exception of the 1st two). Even their latest epic "The Odyssey" does not do for me what "V" does. On this CD Symphony X are at their most complex yet musical best. Complex? Yup, big time! Check out 3 odd and simultaneous time signatures (the beginning of "Communion and the Oracle", parts of "Rediscovery part 2"and "Egypt". And it's melodic as hell. Now a lot of times a band will do this "hard math meets music" with awful results. Even the mighty Dream Theater is guilty of making certain parts of their songs a...... Rhythmic cluster f**k if you will. Well Symphony X have found away around that with songwriter/guitarist Michael Romeo. He's a master of rhythmic, melodic and thematic complexities without losing sight of song or melody. As a guitarist he shreds but does so much more. It would seem thet Mr. Romeo is more concerned with song writing then blowing his wad on every song (Y.Malmsteen anyone?) The CD start's out with a rocker called "Evolution" . Next is another rocker, but, check it out closely and you will see there is a lot more going on then you might think. Track #5 "Communion and the Oracle" is the one of my favorite prog. songs of the last 25 years. It is everything I could want in a prog. Metal song. Ultra melodic and ridiculously rhythmically complex. Beautiful vocal harmonies and lush piano lines compete with the crunch of Romeo's guitar and Russell Allen's throaty sometimes gruff vocal gymnastics. Track #6 is another rockish tune. #8 is called "Egypt". It's a great name for this song, because even without words the music would speak volumes on the subject of this tune. And then comes "The Death of Balance". It's drummer Jason Rullo's time to shine and a big bright light he is!! Orchestrated by Romeo this song is a percussion onslaught with mind boggling drum fills, tempo shifts and odd time signatures. (They do this one live. And I for one was amazed at how well they pulled it off) Track #10 is another complex yet rocking song. Tracks 11 and 12 are the last 2 and are essentially one song (named "Rediscovery") There's a lot of counterpoint melodic theme's going on here just as in "Communion" and the singing is on the softer side of Allen's voice. Note---On the next CD "The Odyssey" Russell Allen really turns up the Crunch factor in his voice. (A move I did not care for but am still amazed at the power he has. I.e. Balls!!) This CD has been out now for 4 or 5 years and my view on it has not changed since my proverbial jaw hit the ground on the 1st listen.
Report this review (#7149)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have heard a lot about SYMPHONY X before and all the rumors told me that they were among the best in their genre. As I finally got to hear them on their fifth release entitled "V - The New Mythology Suite", I had very high expectations. Could they really live up to their reputation? - "V - The New Mythology Suite" is a concept album about Mythology. I guess that many of you have already heard the band before, but if you haven't I can tell you that they are somewhat reminiscent to AYREON, DREAM THEATER, Yngwie MALMSTEEN, NIGHTWISH and RHAPSODY. Complex, yet melodic Prog Metal blended with Neo-Classical hard rock, big choirs, classical music and magnificent instrumental passages. The musicianship and the songwriting are very good and the vocalist Russell Allen has a strong voice, so there's actually nothing to complain about. - Even though it took some time to get into this album, it's definitely one of the most interesting releases this year. Not a single bad track. Highly Recommended!
Report this review (#7129)
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a progressive metal masterpiece. I am a fan of multiple genres from Judas Priest to Kansas and Symphony X fuses all that is wonderful in music into this brilliant complex, beautiful masterpiece. I have been an avid fan of music my entire life, maturing in taste in the 70s with other bands like Genesis, Black Sabbath, UK, Scorpions, Yes. Symphony X create some of the greatest music I have ever heard. Heavy. Fast. Intense. Magical. Beautiful. Dramatic. Epic. They seamlessly carry off all the elements from the diverse styles of music that I love. I can't praise this enough.
Report this review (#7138)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This band, given to me on recommendation, admittedly took awhile to grow on me. In fact, when I bought their most recent album, The Odyssey, unlike some, it nearly put me off of SYMPHONY X altogether (though since then, that album has grown on me). Yet after that unfortunate first experience, I still held on to The Odyssey. And when I happened to find V: The New Mythology Suite, I couldn't help my curiosity at the gorgeous cover art. Now this looked a lot more refined than the rather overblown art of The Odyssey...two mysterious opposing figures, hooded, cloaked, faces painted, with glowing eyes--I couldn't resist. But would the album live up to the artwork? Well, aside from a few ill-considered areas, the answer turned out to be a resounding yes! SYMPHONY X had redeemed itself...with this amazing conceptual work, I realized their catalogue really was worthy of exploration.

This is one of those albums that kind of sneaks up on you, and while my earlier inclination was to give it 4 stars, I've come to realize over time that if any SYMPHONY X belongs in the collection of fans and non-fans alike, it's this one. While I certainly would not have this album compete against The Human Equation or The Dark Side of the Moon, the kinds of albums that one rarely ever finds, there is definitely enough here to keep the listener entertained. There are a surprising number of moments where I find myself backing up my CD player to hear a particularly cool riff or effect again. This band is certainly not lacking in talent; all of the musicians and vocalists are precise almost to a fault. At times, the technical prowess can make the album sound a bit mechanical, but if you can approach it without expecting the kind of emotional involvement you might get from an album with a more personal story to tell, you should manage well.

The story certainly is grandiose indeed: a strange reconception of mythology speculating on a supposed prior civilization of Atlantis that reached great heights before annihilating itself and nearly damning all of mankind with it--a mythology that supposes we are an experiment by energy beings gone badly awry! While there is a conceptual similarity to AYREON's Universal Migrator set, I would not accuse either band of getting too close to the other. Both stories are quite distinct from each other in the musical styles and particular plot points. The symphonic arrangements are stunning in the harder parts--don't scoff at this, but there are undertones of Metallica's S&M collaboration with Maestro Michael Kamen here, and I mean it in a good way.

In the softer parts, however, I find my usual quibble with SYMPHONY X--sometimes the band's vision overreaches the synthesizer technology available to them. While this problem seems much improved on V, sometimes it's still there. I've never (regardless of who uses it) been a fan of the Korg synth SYMPHONY X seems to like, and I lay a fair amount of the blame for the inadequacy of certain sounds--most particularly the brass sections--on the feet of this machine. Kudos, however, go to the pipe organ sound they use, which is probably the best thing the SYMPHONY X keyboardist Michael Pinnella has going for him. The ideas are good, so is the talent, but I admit sometimes I wish they'd get a new synth, or even if they can't afford a full orchestra, perhaps they could have a small number of session musicians handle problem instruments during the softer parts where other instruments can't help mask the synth issues. Still...if one can get accustomed to the synths of the 60s through 80s, where problems abounded even on the best of albums, I think it's quite possible to get past this and hear the album for what it is.

Highlights of this album include "Evolution", which features some amazing riffs from Michael Romeo, "Fallen", "Communion and the Oracle", "Egypt", but most of all "A Fool's Paradise", which to me has just about all that you could possibly ask for in a SYMPHONY X song. The closing song, "Rediscovery", is a very long closer (nearly 12 minutes!) for the album--but it doesn't ever drag like DREAM THEATER can. Perhaps the variety and rapid pace of SYMPHONY X's songs helps with this.

The only real mistake on the part of the band that I can't pin on a technological weakness is the choral arrangement of "Lacrymosa", which unfortunately hurts the wonderful "Death of Balance" that came before it. Despite repeated listening, "Lacrymosa" still seems rather laughable and out-of-place. This could have been rearranged in some way, with a different vocal approach by Russell Allen, or if not that, the vocal section could have perhaps been removed without hurting anything. Although after hearing the original "Lacrymosa" on Mozart's Requiem, I admit my opinion has softened some. SYMPHONY X is an acquired taste...but once the taste is acquired, you've got a masterpiece on your hands.

Report this review (#7144)
Posted Saturday, December 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another great album from Symphony X, combining their progressive virtuous metal (with some doom influences and some remissness from power metal like their paced rhythms) with majestically classical music, particularly MOZART. The album is very consistent, with great grandiose melodies, great complex instrumental arrangements and performances, fairly good musical transitions, variety. A must to your ear.

The concept of the album is very fictional, in someway remembering Ayreon, in which it tells a story of the lost civilization of Atlantis, created by superior beings from cosmic space who started to create creatures. But something went wrong and several beasts were created. Among their creator, they (Dark side) were banished from Atlantis, till the day they went back and fought with the Good side in Atlantis, winning the war and affecting mankind beyond that, with dark forces surpassing the balance with good forces. But there is still hope and mankind will have an important play on that matter.

I don't find any weak tracks at all, from the beginning to the end the tracks have the same high quality with all the factors I described. But still, I would like to emphasize some tracks. Evolution is one of those, with a good melody with very complex guitar work. To appreciate also is the rhythm of Fallen and the progressive subtleness and beauty of Communication and The Oracle. I find in The Dance of Balance/Lacrimosa a memorable track, with psychedelic complex drumming creating a wonderful tense atmosphere leading to a soft organ crescendo followed by emotional chorus taken by Mozart. Mozart presence in the album is also patented in the great A Fool's Paradise, another highlight, with the classical composer's musical arrangements making the final bridge of the track and preceded by great and strong melody reinforced tremendously by a well-orchestrated chorus and with the powerful paced drumming. The final track, the great suite of the album, The New Mythology, has also its great moments, many transitions remembering DREAM THEATER but a la Symphony X, with its great chorus leading once again the emotion accomplished by the instrumental power.

Many ingredients make this progressive record a must to all progressive music lovers. Epic, classical, melodic, virtuous, powerful, diverse, in sum, great sonority, though not brilliantly original.

Report this review (#7147)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Consistency to perform progressive metal is characteristic of Symphony X. Symphony X: "V - The New Mythology Suite" shown how great metal and classical sounds combined. From 1st song Prelude as opening to 13rd song, Rediscovery Pt.2 The New Mythology as closing, you can hear rich sound textures. My favourite song is Rediscovery Pt.2 The New Mythology-longest song of the album, almost 12 minute. Most complex and artistic composititon. Symphony X deserves FIVE STARS (*****) for their consistency and brilliant providing progressive metal album. torro-karawang-indonesia
Report this review (#7151)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent album, the music is varied and the compositions are quit complex. At first I thought it was to rough for me until I discovered the complexity and tempo changes like real progressive. These guys are great, you have to love fast riffs and fast guitar work but it never last to long! This band has a great feeling for tempochanges and multiple rithems in their songs. I love this album and I can't wait to discover other work from Symphony X!!! This is heavy but detailed music wich you can compare with Dream Theater however this guys are very different as well.
Report this review (#7152)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X's finest. A nice concept album,but the real beauty lies in the excellent song writing and lyrics. Everything reeks of polish, and the songs are tight and entertaining. Symphony X has truly created a masterpiece here. Now, after listening to Twilight in Olympus with amazing songs like Smoke and Mirrors and Church of the Machine, and Divine Wings of Tragedy before, I doubted Symphony X could do it again. They did. They even improved in some ways even more on The Odyssey, although the album isn't as good as this one. Everything builds up so nicely, from the epic Rediscovery to the powerful song The Bird-Serpent War/Cataclysm. Wonderful stuff. Highlights are the two songs I just mentioned as well as Evolution, A Fool's Paradise which is awesome, Comunion and the Oracle and Death of Balance (although strange, great).

Weak points? Well, the segues are a bit worthless but don't really detract from the album. Absence of Light and Egypt sound a bit too much like other songs that did it better for me, although definitely not bad. Egypt is stil lgood, Absense of Light being..bearable. It's definitely the weakpoint of the album. Any other bad parts? Nope. The whole thign is epic in scope, builds up awesomely, if that's a word, to the awesome last song which NEVER gets boring all through it's twelve minutes. The only other song that has kept me entranced that's longer than 10 minutes is some Yes songs, Krimson songs, Opeth's The Drapery Falls and Finally Free from Dream Theater. An elite group indeed.

Excellent album, 4.4/5.
Report this review (#7155)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favourite SymphonyX album, an excellent piece of work like all the other albums from the band. I've been a big fan of Dream Theater but I found SymphonyX to be more progressive and versatile. Also, they have been able to develope their music without being quilty of using same manners too much. On the contrary Dream Theater's last albums have been plain metal and sound too much the same.The album "Metropolis pt2: Scenes From A Memory" is their best album so far, one of the big classics in progressive metal.

Bach to SymphonyX. Russell Allen's voice is outstanding. Michael Romeo's guitar playing is fantastic (though too much Y. Malmsteen influenced). I especially like the song "A Fool's Paradise" - full of energy and nice lyrics (reminds me of Frank Marino).

Symphony X is the the best progressive metal band today. One of my favourites is the Swedish band Therion. I can sincerely recommend you the band's album "Secret Of The Runes". A true classic also.

Report this review (#35475)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I will skip all the good parts about this cd, people spoke plenty about it. I would rather tell you one part that Symphony X failed at here, and on all other albums they have.

I am a finer listener, using Audiofile-quality Headphones with Amplification. (Sennheiser hd595 and portacorda if that helps you somehow). What this setup does comparing to general or 5.1 speakers or low-mid end headphones is setup a soundstage. I do not want to go into details, as for those who have no heard it, this meaningless, for those who have need no details. I just say that Symphony X has NO soundstage setup. The sounds is completely flat, and unnatural, which makes listening heavier on the head and not as musically effective.

Overall this is a great album, best of Symphony X and all power metal for sure (this is better then Rhapsody, but I would not say by a big margin). I would rather give this a 4.5, but since only 4 and 5 are available, i cannot rate this as a perfect one. Iits an amazing album, but the sound stage could have been there and would make this an incredible listen.

Report this review (#38731)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For all you guitarists out there, this is a MUST HAVE. This should truly be in every prog- head's library. I would recommend to anyone interested enough to download (or I suppose you could buy them too) Michael Romeo's instructional videos. After this, you'll have an enormous amount of appreciation for his and the band's virtuousity. Symphony X is arguably the best band in the less-than-profitable prog. business. Their chops merit appreciation and reverence.
Report this review (#41240)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have to thank Prog archives and one reason is this band and this album.Symphony X have taught me a valuable lesson.Seek and ye shall find.This album is in my opinion the bands highlight and a real tour de force.The standard of musicianship is stunning and the album has many gems including Evolution,Fallen and Egypt.To think I had never heard of them until a few weeks ago.I am now educating my immediate friends and showing them a band worthy of investigation.Symphony X-they rock!!Their is no weakness in the bands make-up that I can see.
Report this review (#47090)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Their best album, a more symphonic affair with a concept dealing with the myths of Atlantis and Egypt, bassist Thomas Miller quitted the band right before this one but got replaced with Mike LePond who does a great job here, though his style is less creative than Miller's. Drummer Jason Rullo returned for this album and does a faultless performance here. Musically, this is perhaps their most adventurous and atmospheric to date, featuring some of their strongest material ever. Notably the title track is a masterpiece and the rest of the album stand up to it well. "Absense of Light" is the only track here which I could consider "weak" overall. Otherwise, this is a great symphonic prog-metal album! 5/5
Report this review (#48483)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I really like progressive music. Sometimes I also listen to progressive rock bands, like Marillion, Transatlantic or Kansas, but my real passion is the progressive metal. I think now I know about 100 prog metal bands and one of my first prog metal bands was Symphony X. They are still my favourites since such a long time, and all the bands I`m getting to know can't top them. Their 5th Studio Release is this conceptual Masterpiece combining nice melodies with complex compositions and roughness. So it's a perfect blend of Power Metal, Math-Prog and Progressive Rock. Like just mentioned there are quite complex bits it's partially exertive, but that abates with the time. The oftener you listen to it the more you understand this album and the more you like it. Some critisized that there are no catchy tunes within this cd, but they're actually wrong because they're coming with the time. Well there're people alleging the strory is kitschy and cheesy because it deals with Mythology but I think it's a dumb way to argue. They don't like it because it is something else compared with all the other concept albums which are overall dealing with almost the same topics. And behind that Mythology sphere the're creating a connection to the today's society (e.g. "A Fool's Paradise"). But now I want to say something about the tracks. There are 13 songs on this cd. Through the concept they are musically connected and you could regard it as one huge song. Starting with a power metal vein it turns with "Fallen" into the Math-Prog-Metal genre. Just listen to the guitar work. But else than usual math-prog bands they're are combining the complexity with an interesting catchy (with the time) melody and a fantastic atmosphere. The next song is a short symphonic instrumental interlude reducing a whole orchester to 5 incredible guys."Communion and the oracle" is a much more progressive rock song than metal with an awful melody and the required complexity and amazing vocals by Russell Allen, for me the best vocalist in the ProgMetal genre. "The Bird-Serpent War" features again a lot of complexity with bodacious drums. Another Instrumental- Symphonic-Compositions follows up with "On the Breath of Poseidon". Longer then "Trascendence" and with a heavy passage and again a lot of orchestral effects. Next part of the trip is "Egypt", one of the best Progmetal track ever. Wonderful Chorus and an genious instrumentalpart within and an amazing solo (bass guitar). THe guitar solo is one of the best I#ve ever heard. It's not as fast as he could play, it's quite slow but is very special and awful. Now we have a nother Instrumental with "The Death of Balance" and the 2nd part of the song "Lacrymosa". "The Death of Balance" features again a heavy part and an incredible drum work. "Lacrymosa" is a variation of Mozart's "Lacrimosa". They used latin text again like they did in the "Prelude". Someone got excited over the fact that they wrote it with "y" although it's latin and supposed to been written with "i" but I think they emphasised that this is a variation. The next song in the line is the nice " Absence of Light", asong in the usual Symphony X style. Contains a nice solo and again a fantastic melody. "A Fool's Paradise" comprehends anew a wonderful melodie, a latin text part composed and sung in the same way as "Prelude", and a nice classical styled solo. The End is a 13-minute song consisting of 2 parts. The first part, about 1 1/2 minutes long is a harmonic soft instrumental part with a soft guitar and strings reminding me a bit of Pink Floyd. The 2nd part is amazing. The best song of the cd and one of my all time favourites. Wonderful Melodies, different styles from soft to heavy and a piano interlude to a rough and post-apocalypse style but composed in such a great way that it all fits together. The work of all Instruments is amazing. Well, Jason Rullo doesn't put in so many specials like Mike Portnoy for example but the stil so many complex signatures and amazing breaks that it's not that worse. And who could top Michael Romeo and Michael Pinnella? They are amazing. Their style changes from title to title and rarely you experience such a virtuosity. But what would Symphony X be without the incredible Russell Allen with his enormous range. But as well the new bass player Michael LePond is awful. Listen to the bassline in Fallen-inredible, or the solo in Egypt. It needs time till you understand and may if you dont like it give it more tries, it deserves it because it because it is one of the most amazing pieces of work ever in the music scene and of course a masterpiece. Symphony X are creating a fantastic longevity and a perfect togetherness of music, lyrics and vocals that is quite important for me especially on a concept album. I heard it about 300 times ore more often but it's still not disappointingand I've not yet discovered any failures within the album and I just can highly recommend it to everyone.

My rating: 94%

Report this review (#52335)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Symphony X is a band that is always mistakenly compared with other bands like Dream Theater or Queensryche. SX always has moved "in between" genres but I think they are mostly a metal band. Too progresive for the metalheads and too metal for the prog- fans, this has always been the issue with them. If we can just forget for a minute the existence of genres and only focus in the musicans' marksmanship then we will find out how a great band Symphony X is.

"V: The New Mythology Suite" is an excellent album. I still can´t decide if its their best if you compare it with other masterpieces like "The Divine Wings of Tragedy". Many people qualify the songs' lyrics as cheesy, but I guess sometimes it's good to just sit down, relax, listen to great music and be moved to this epic fantasy world.

"V" is a conceptual album about the existence of an ancient and lost civilzation. Very advanced for their time, the album tells you the story of this mytical land from its pinnacle to its inevitable destruction.

In my humble point of view, "V" is extraordinary from the begininng to the end with the only low point being "The Bird-Serpent War". The first three songs are magnificent and you can notice the the excellent musical quality of all members specially guitarrist Michael Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinnella. Their coordination is almost perfect.

"The Communion and the Oracle" can be said is the "typical" Symphony X song. Very much in the way of earlier songs like "Accolade" from The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

"The Death of Balance/Lacrymosa" is a very hard and heavy song that show us the excellent style of drummer Jason Rullo. And of course the whole album is a proof of the magnificent soaring vocals of Russell Allen. Perhaps one of the best singers I have heard in my whole life.

Report this review (#62290)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, I love the band. Symphony X is amazing. However, this album sucks. I hate it.

Thats not to say that the musicianship is lacking. Quite the opposite actually. The whole band is amazing with their instruments. And, of course, Russen Allen's vocals are amazing. The thing that I hate about this CD is that the whole story throughout the album tends to destroy their ability to create concise songs that actually go somewhere. As a whole, the album is good, but the individual songs...well...everybody has opinions.

But, I didn't give the album a 1 star rating. There are some good songs (some = 3). The opening track, Prelude, is one of their most interesting tracks. Not my favorite, but it is very interesting how a metal riff and drums can change a very classical sounding ditty into a completely prog-metal rocker. That song ends and Evolution quickly picks up. I love this song, and is in my opinion the only song on the album that can stand by itself as an excellent track. The guitar/keyboard solo is of course excellent. Other than those two, the only other track worth mentioning is the closer, Rediscovery Part II. All their songs over 10 minutes are amazing...its just assumed.

Yea, so basically, it all boils down to this. If you love Symphony X, get the album. But if you're new to the band, don't make the mistake of buying this one first. I'd start with Divine Wings of Tragedy and Twilight in Olympus. Those are the best, and when you've come to appreciate the style, then move onto this one.

~Queenfreak27 :-)

Report this review (#62294)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When Neo Prog Meets Prog Met

"Gatot, I'm sure you would enjoy this album because some keyboard punches and melodies lend the nuances from early Marillion style .!", that's how my prog colleague down here introduced me with the band and this album couple of years ago. I did not purchase the CD yet because at the time I was so crazy with Rhapsody's third album "Dawn of Victory" and was amazed on how the orchestral arrangements were blended nicely with power metal music characterized with hard etched guitar riffs. Well, everybody in our local community of prog knew very well that I'm a great fan of early Marillion and they were very happy (and surprised!) that I could enjoy the music of Rhapsody. That's why they tried to influence me to purchase this CD. Couple of weeks later I purchased the CD and my reaction was :"Gee.!!! This is the kind of music I want to enjoy!!!". Yeah, they're right, there are some early Marillion styles in some musical segments spread around the tracks of this album.

This album became my favorite since the first time I spun it until now. And I don't know why I have not reviewed it yet at this site. As you know, prog is contagious. The only trigger that makes me writing this review is due to a new radio program at PRO 2 FM 105 in Jakarta where they feature progressive rock music for two hours every Friday. It's like a dream when last night I listened to "The Accolade" (Symphony X), "Never Learn To Fly" (bonus track, Japanese edition of Pain of Salvation's "Entropia"), Dream Theater and Planet X were featured in the radio program. Yeah man . long live progrock!. Well, sorry for the long introduction but it boils down into one thing, philosophically, that talking about prog music should also include the nuances, the climate, the surroundings (not only the music) which things build into one: delightful experience. That's why I need to share this with all of you to give a bit of background on subtleties pertinent to progrock music. And specific to last night surprise listening to prog on the air I was actually in nggeblak state of mind - it's basically a state when you feel comfortably numb enjoying the beauty of prog music. Keep on proggin' .!!!

Let's talk about this album per se .

First off - I love the artwork of this cover. It's simple and it's really a prog cover! Dunno why I always like the cover with people using mask or something like Jester (Script of Marillion). Illustration was done by Kazuo Hakamada and design by Tomoko Hakamada. Great! The music? Masterpiece! It does not give me a chance to breathe whenever I enjoy this album. I always spin this CD in its entirety because I really enjoy how the band brings their music dynamically from start of the album until finish. It blasts off with a great church organ and choir style of "Prelude" in a very high energy spectrum. This opening track creates wonderful space effects when I play in high volume (preferred). The double pedal bass drum played in fast tempo gives enough impression of power metal. It flows with a sudden silence followed with heavy riffs music combining guitar, drum and bass that remark the next rack "Evolution (The Grand Design)" . Those of you who are familiar with power metal style would love this track right away. The beauty of this song is the symphonic nature of keyboard sounds despite fast speed music at fore front. Russell Allen's vocal is powerful and pretty clean throughout this song. The interlude part which demonstrates a combination of Michael Romeo' guitar solo and Michael Pinnella keyboard is an excellent part.

Wonderful! The music continues seamlessly to soft keyboard work in the vein of neo prog music as intro part of "Fallen" (5:51). Oh man . this transition piece really kills me to the bone man! It then transforms into guitar riffs wonderfully. It's an interesting track. The music and lyrics during the singing part with "Tonight Darkness will shadow the light" is a memorable part. The short piece "Transcendence" (0:38) provides a bridge to an excellent neo prog part intro of "Communion and the Oracle" (7:45) . Again, the band tries to kill me with this wonderful melody combining piano, acoustic guitar, keyboard and violin. Nggeblak! . When Rusell Allen voice enters it gives a kind of Kansas music. This track is very accessible to many people, I think, because the music is not as heavy as typical progmet music. For those who love Kansas would definitely enjoy this track. The guitar solo and keyboard solo are stunning.

The heavy guitar riffs and symphonic keyboard sound bring "The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm" (3:59) in a dynamic style by maintaining the core style of Symphony X's music: keyboard at background. The albums gives a chance to musical break with relatively mellow opening part of "On the Breath of Poseidon" (3:04) which has some theatrical nuance - as if we're watching Lord of the Rings movie. As the name implies the band gives a truly good emulation of eastern music using a kind of acoustic guitar / mandolin in "Egypt" (7:04) . It's a beautifully composed music that gives the album a rich variation of textures. "Death of Balance / Lacrymosa" (3:42) is another bridge that gives another theatrical impact with great combination of guitar riffs, powerful bass lines (Michael LePond) and energetic drumming by Jason Rullo. Another beautifully composed instrumental track with excellent choral section, in church style.

The remaining tracks "Absence of Light" (4:58) (great pulsating keyboard solo backed with heavy riffs), "A Fool's Paradise" (5:48) (relatively fast tempo track), "Rediscovery pt I and II" (great concluding track with relatively long duration) are all excellent tracks.

It's a bit hard to find which part this album lacks because everything has been crafted to perfection. The only problem - most probably - if you don't get used to heavier side of prog music like Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Evergrey, etc. But if you like such bands like I do, you would definitely categorize this album as a full five stars album! Yeah, it's highly recommended. For those who are familiar with neo prog would be comfortable with some segments this album offers. Keep on proggin' ..!

"Choose the way, five paths there for you to find turn the page, the question lies between the lines can we change?" - Rediscovery - The New Mythology.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#69823)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of SYMPHONY X's most appealing factors is that they are technically one of the best metal bands in the world. They are often compared to their contemporaries, DREAM THEATER, for their instrumental virtuosity. There are, of course, many differences between the two bands. SYMPHONY X is more of a neo-classical/power metal influenced band, while DREAM THEATER tends to be a bit jazzier.

Jason Rullo was absent for their previous album, Twilight in Olympus, but returned to record V and future albums.

On to the album itself:

V is probably SYMPHONY X's most steam-lined effort thus far. It takes on a somehow different feel from most of their other albums, sacrificing some metal feel for neo-classical proginess. It is also to date their only concept album. The theme of the album is based on Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology, astrology and Edgar Cayce's clairvoyant readings about Atlantean culture, according to SYMPHONY X's web site. SYMPHONY X has been known to include many classical pieces within their music, and this album is the most shining example of this.

Song-by-song breakdown:

Prelude [4/5]: This short piece is essentially the same as "Requiem" by GIUSEPPE VERDI. Good introduction.

Evolution - The Grand Design [4.8/5]: This song is almost played too flawlessly. It gives it almost a mechanical feel. Great song with a great melody. Contains some of the best rhythm guitar I've heard.

Fallen [4.9/5]: This is probably my favorite song on the album. I absolutely love the intro and the way the song progresses. RUSSELL ALLEN's voice here is quite stunning. The solo section 3:30 into the song is loosely based on "Presto" from Concerto for Orchestra by BELA BARTOK. The thing that bothers me about this song is that the chorus is repeated one too many times. Other than that, it is pretty much flawless.

Transcendence [4/5]: Brief segue into Communion in the Oracle. Fairly interesting for such a short piece, but nothing mindblowing.

Communion and the Oracle [4.3/5]: This piece takes a different direction from the first two full-length songs on the album. It's considerably mellower and a bit slower paced. 5:13-6:03 is one of the most majestic parts on this album. Overall, I think this track is a bit boring compared to other tracks on the album, but still excellent nonetheless.

The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm [3.9/5]: Overall, this is one of the less interesting tracks on the album. It's more chaotic than the others. Not a bad song in its own right, but it doesn't really hold up against the rest of the album.

On the Breath of Poseidon [4.4/5]: A somewhat brief (for prog) instrumental piece. This, along with "The Death of Balance", is probably the most interesting instrumental on the album. I love the way this song builds into the guitar's introduction at 1:00.

Egypt [4.6/5]: The song, as the name would imply, sounds very Egyptian. The lyrics of this track are probably the most interesting on the album. RUSSELL ALLEN's vocals are splendid on this track.

The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa [4.5/5]: One of the better instrumentals on this album. It basically has three sections: brief synth introduction, drum wankery, and finally SYMPHONY X's rendition of MOZART's well-known "Lacrimosa". JASON RULLO proves that he is a very capable drummer on this track. SYMPHONY X's rendition of "Lacrimosa" is very well done as well.

Absence of Light [3.6/5]: This track could have easily been left off the album. It's not really a bad track in its own right, but it seems like filler compared to the quality of the rest of this album. Probably the worst track here.

A Fool's Paradise [3.9/5]: A step up from "Absence of Light", but still lacking compared to the rest of the album IMO.

Rediscovery [4/5]: A brief segue. Pleasing to listen to. Not much to say here.

Rediscovery Part II - The New Mythology [4.3/5]: The longest track on the album and the album's conclusion. I think this is probably Symphony X's weakest 10 minute+ song, not that that makes it awful. Whenever I hear it, I think, "This song would have been a lot better if it were a few minutes shorter." Still, parts of the song are magnificent, especially the ending.

Overall, Symphony X's music contains a high level of technical virtuosity, along with a tendency to adhere to mythological/medieval themes, and a high-energy progressive power metal style. If these elements are things you look for in music, you will probably enjoy Symphony X.

Overall rating: [4.2/5]

Report this review (#73185)
Posted Sunday, March 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Highly acclaimed follow up to Twilight In Olympus. Is it as really as good as it is believed

V: The New Mythology Suite is another highly acclaimed album from New Jersey metallers Symphony X. The album is as the name implies, a concept album about myths with the diversity of Greece to Egypt. The album also touches on more serious concepts such as evolution and the fall of mankind to Earth. Not a bad lyrical concept, but certainly not the most serious.

I had high expectations considering this is the follow up to my favorite Symphony X album, Twilight In Olympus and it's equally impressive predacessor The Divine Wings of Tragedy. This album doesn't seem to have the same compositional intent as the previous two. How does this bode for the New Jersey boys.

Compared to Twilight In Olympus the album is a slower paced, but heavier effort. There's still some speedy matierial, but the emphasis of composing on this album seems to be taking slower tempos grooves to showcase more of a metal influence. The vocals from Russell Allen reflect this as well. Allen's performance is more aggressive than previous albums. It's good to see that the entire band was heading in the same direction, but was this a good direction?

Romeo's performance is key to any Symphony X album. As I said earlier this album is a slower paced and heavier album. This is most indicitive by Romeo's performance. Romeo use the lower range of his guitar much more on this album than previous ones. Songs like Egypt, a Fool's Paradise, and Rediscovery of course showcase the best of Romeo's talents on this album. On the other hand songs like Abscence of Light and Fallen are unimpressive. There's some strong solo work different from previous albums possibly because of the rythymnic difference, but that doesn't necessarily mean the solos are any better than previous albums.

Pinella's performance is key to any Symphony X album as well. His production was definately better on this album than previous ones. Sadly his playing did not see such improvement. Pinella uses creative synth sounds, and once again displays incredible functionality as a keyboardist playing so many roles. The weakeness is his lack of variation. I can't distinguish between well...any of Pinella's solos. He has good chops, good synth sounds and feel, but lacks the lead creativity.

Michael LePond takes over for Thomas Miller on this album. He had some big shoes to fill. He dissapointed me and didn't fill them. Previous Symphony X albums had excellent bass fills and solos by former bassist Thomas Miller. LePond is unable to do such things. Other than the tapping spot in Egypt, I find LePond to be devoid of Miller's creative and technical talents. LePond was the weakest part of the album musically.

This album also features the return of drummer Jason Rullo. (Thomas Walling played on Twilight In Olympus) Rullo does a solid metal performance. It's not the greatest or most variant performance by a drummer, but it's more than good enough to suit the band. He does some flashy fills, but generally keeps the beats to solid metal styles. Ballads however are a different story. Rullo's performance on ballads like Communion and the Oracle feature his strongest work on the album.

The production is terrible. Romeo's guitar is weak tonally, but too strong in the mix. A more detailed explanation would say that Romeo's guitar is overdistorted and lacks suffiecient equalization. The lows are too strong and the highs and mids are far too weak. The guitar is also too loud for it's poor tone quality and covers up the other parts of the band. The keyboards sound better than any previous Symphony X album, the lone production achievement. The bass is not present in the mix, and the drums sound too much like a typical metal recording. Bad production, but good keyboards.

It's a two star effort. The production could have boosted it to three easily. Why, because the way a band sounds is important. Good players always prevail, but production can always help them. The album lacks suffiecent musical quality for more stars. Other than the epic Rediscovery, the creative and impressive tracks are few and far between.

Report this review (#74347)
Posted Friday, April 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the second best album by Symphony X and one of the more prog-oriented ones, although it starts with a heavy rocking song, "Evolution (Grand Design)". Highlights are "Fallen", "Communion and Oracle", "Egypt" and the final 12-minute track. There are some great instrumentals here, notably "On the Breath of Poseidon" and "Rediscovery". "Death of Balance/Lacrymosa" is the most pro-classical song in the band's repertoir and features an operatic part. Romeo and Rullo succee admirably in this rather bold experiment. This album surely is a big step forward in the melodic step and is a retreat from the overall heaviness of its predecessor.

The only thing I miss here is Thomas Miller's unique bass sound. His replacement, Michael Lepond is not as aggressive or spectacular, so Romeo and Pinnella get more space for their showoffs which are even more impressive than previously, specially Pinnella has grown as a player and his solos are less shred-oriented than before. Russell Allen's voice is not always done justice by the mix, but he never lets us down. Symphony X V is truly a refreshing chapter in the history of a band who had started repeating itself and become less interesting after their fourth release, "Twilight in Olympus". Therefore I cherish this album and rank it among the best progrock albums of the last 10 years.

Report this review (#78374)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first time I heard the song 'Communion and the Oracle' (my first taste of Symphony X) I thought, this is pretty good. But, as with most progressive music it takes a couple more listens for you to realise when something is in fact awesome. When this realisation dawned on me I went and bought this album, and was most certainly not disappointed. Obviously there is cheese. But I suppose that must be expected with Symphony X's Dream Theater-influenced style. The quotes from Verdi's requiem, though obviously not original, are used well in the context of the piece as a whole, and I love most of all some of the orchestral breaks. Also this is a must have for fans of technical-but- sensitive shred. Woo for neoclassical metal!!
Report this review (#79160)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Symphony X album, followed closely by "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" and "The Odyssey". Of all the "symphonic power prog metal" (whew!!!) bands, Symphony X are undoubtedly the best!!! (Dream Who???) Russell Allen is among my all-time favorite vocalists. The feeling he has, the tone of his voice (far from being as cheesy and annoying as James Labrie (isn't brie cheese???)), his various intonations and complete mastery of his vocal chords surpass all. He can go from agressive growls to a soft melodic voice, from low to high pitch (without sticking too long or too often in the higher registers of his voice). A singer in the traditions of Journey and Foreigner, only better (he IS that good!!!). Symphony X are as competent, if not moreso, than Dream Theater, the main difference being that Symphony X write songs for the sake of songs, not as a pretext to show off their amazing dexterity more than needed (read tolerated).

Now with the album...

Not much to say except this : I cannot find something that displeases me. The album is good from start to finish, the running order is perfect (an improper order of songs can make the difference between a good and a not-so-good album), the production is great, the musicianship flawless, the songwriting excellent, the storyline great, the artwork magnificent. I love every single moment of this album and never get tired of listening to it.

For fans of Rush, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater, Rhapsody, etc...

Symphony X's masterpiece for the time being... I cannot wait for the new album to come out !!! Definitely an essential !

Report this review (#81438)
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars First off, this album is epic. From the very opening, with amazing orchestral sounds and choirs, this album has a big sound. And this doesn't let up for the rest of the album. Straight into the crushing guitars of 'Evolution', one can tell that this is probably their heaviest album so far to that date. (They hadn't made 'The Odyssey' at that stage, which I reckon is heavier.) I'd have to say that Michael Pinella is the standout of this particular album. While his keyboard work has always been amazing, it really comes out on this album. Really Symphonic, with massive orchestral soundscapes, as well as beautiful piano interludes and amazing solo's which as usual are traded off with Romeo's guitar solos. Romeo's guitar work is brilliant as usual, though perhaps not quite as flashy as on previous albums. He sort of takes a slightly lower approach to allow the keyboards to carry the melody, content to play very heavy riffs underneath. Michael Lepond does a stellar job on the bass, and for his first outing with Symphony X, and after having to step into Thomas Miller's shoes, I think he did an great job. Jason Rullo's drumming is probably some of his best, as there is even more time changes to deal with, and he stays well on top of it all, creating somewhat of a drumming powerhouse to push the songs along. Russell Allen's vocals are again flawless, proving once more that he is one of metal's premier vocalists. Simply stunning! This album is probably their most progressive and symphonic release. Although all of their latest albums contain all of these elements, I would say that 'Twilight in Olympus' is their most Neo-Classical release, 'V' the most symphonic/ progressive, 'The Odyssey' their heaviest, and 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' the best all round release, containing everything. If you haven't heard Symphony X, then I recommend this album or 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'. Best three songs for me were: 'Evolution: The Grand Design', 'Communion and the Oracle', and 'Rediscovery Pt.2: The New Mythology'.
Report this review (#81867)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#88946)
Posted Monday, September 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 2000, Symphony X, hot off the dual successes of Divine Wings of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus delivered their greatest work yet. V is a concept album about the history and mythology of Atlantis. I figure they named the album V since its the fifth studio album by the band. To this day that remains my biggest (and really only) problem with the album. The boys could write a rich story line inventing a religion but they couldn't muster up a few words for a proper title? No matter. Like with all albums, the importance is with the music (duh). The album contains elements of the beauty of past albums mixed with the heaviness of the follow up The Odyssey.

The concept is pulled off without a hitch though you will probably need out check a web site to fully understand the meanings of the concept. Russell Allen dazzles with his Dio- esque operatic screams, LePond fits right in with the boys with his great basswork (though he lacks some of Miller's aggressive bite), Pinella's keyboards are rich without being dominant, Rullo dazzles without showing off, and of course, Michael Romeo's fretwork is godlike.

Highlights of the album are Fallen, Evolution (Grand Design), the final track, and Communion and the Oracle, though every track is at worst very solid. V should and hopefully one day will take its place alongside DT's Scenes From a Memory and Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime as a masterpiece prog metal concept record. Fans of prog metal must have this record.

Grade: A

Report this review (#101520)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A conundrum.

This album I believe is different than the rest of their material. It's much heavier, much less dramatic, and more straightforward, which I believe makes it better. It's technical, but not as over-the-top as other albums have been.

Now despite this, the band retains many of the same qualities they have on other records, qualities I'd just assume they get rid of. Most of the album feels more like an entertainment show than a music record. Too gaudy. Cut the fat and you would have a good base of music to expand upon and make better. Admittedly there are some very cringe worthy sections that are more or less love/hate. Those who associate themselves with this quality of music I am sure would not be disappointed, however for me, it's just too much at times. Highlights for me were Communion and the Oracle and Egypt.

For those who do not like Dream Theater, Symphony X's V might be a good place to start into prog metal, but overall it is not a band I have ever been too thrilled about. I think it is the band's best album, and a great place to introduce yourself to their material.

Report this review (#104044)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The New Mythology Suite is a great display of Progressive Metal at its finest. To me, the story on this CD is just as cool as the music.

Prelude & Evolution/The Grand Design- According to legend, an evolution of material beings from a outer space colonized and created the civilization of Atlantis. They were the "Sons of the Law of One", the keepers of truth, technologically advanced beings.

FALLEN- The Atlantian leader decided it would be a good show of his power to create creatures, but something went wrong and the creatures were weird and evil.

TRANSCENDENCE/COMMUNION AND THE ORACLE- Seeing the potential conflict, the people pray for and receive, a bringer of balance, Ma'at.

THE BIRD-SERPENT WAR/CATACLYSM/ON THE BREATH OF POSEIDON- The evil creatures knew that there would never be true balance so they planned an attack. The Atlantians discovered this and used their great crystals to defend themselves, which shook the ground and caused Atlantis to sink. Somehow, Ma'at survives and floats on the sea.

EGYPT/THE DEATH OF BALANCE/LACRYMOSA- Ma'at floats to Egypt, but soon the Dark Lord discovers her whereabouts and he captures her. The battle between good and evil renews and the evil creatures kill Ma'at.

ABSENCE OF LIGHT/A FOOLS PARADISE- With the death of the child, evil wins, which according to legend is why evil is always much easier to do than good, and why there is so much evil in the world.

REDISCOVERY PART I/PART II- But there will come a time when man can fight for balance once again. The question is will we take the oppurtunity?

The music on this record is astounding. Very highly recommended.

Report this review (#110749)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a good, solid album. The musicianship is very good and the tracks well composed, performed and mixed. But I don't think they measure up to comparisons I have seen that match them with Dream Theater. Symphony X are much more symphonic (as I guess their name suggests) and whilst the guitar-work of Michael Romeo is very impressive I feel it lacks the range displayed by John Petrucci. And this is perhaps true of the album as a whole - not quite enough variety amongst the tracks.

That said, this is the only Symphony X I have, so I can't compare it with others but I do like this one enough to think it'd be worth checking out what else they have to offer.

Ratings-wise, I can't honestly be as enthusiastic as some of the other reviewers and that's why I give it 3 stars.

Report this review (#114514)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This band is for some years an appreciate name in prog metal genre. The technique of guitarist Michael Romeo is well known by everybody, thats why he has here the posibility to show us what he can do. A concept album was the answer, to show everybody whwre they stand now in prog metal music. Well, this album is dangerous (in a good way), because has an musical arsenal like no other band. It's clear that Symphony X don't execute, they play every note from the soul.The ideas on this album are outstanding, and with a continuity that envy every band.Symphony X are a mature band, and the album is full of unexpected (musicaly speaking). Strong pieces are Egypt (man, what a piece of music), On the breath of Poseidon, Absence of light. In the end a 5 star album and band. Highly recomended band and album.
Report this review (#114853)
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars By far the best Symphony X album ever to be released, interesting, quaint and a good rock out when in the mood for some good steady metal! Story in the lyrics with great power, and strenght in the melody. Best song by far Egypt along with a few others. Plenty of favorites and good musician ship. Vocals are good, quaint, and heavy. But lets focus on the music mostly. Very complex with great melodies and awsome movements plus the instrumentals are superb and very invigorating when you just want to head bang. Well, at least in Evolution I was feeling pumped enough to want to play the song again! Overall I'd have to give this wonderfull band a 4 star rating, better than odyessy or anything else they've dished out. Plus it's got a wonderful story. Symphony X never caught my attention with their style and I have to be in a certain mood to really listen to them, and the vocals can sometimes no catch my attention. He's a great singer, but for a reason I don't know he's never thrilled me. In anyway I'd suggest this album to any metal fan, even some non-metal fans that can take the power! Heavy, melodic, and fantasitic. 4-stars
Report this review (#117171)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very pleasant surprise in the progressive metal genre and a band I'm interested in discovering after finding the excellence in this album. The music is not exactly the cloning of Dream Theater's music. This music is purely symphonic, it just sounds as if all the songs are classical music songs done with heavy electric guitars, keyboards, and was given a metal drummer. To enhance the classical feel, choirs, strings are present. Another aspect in which this music differs from Dream Theater's is that it is based on Power Metal.

The album starts with choirs, symphonic arrangements and heavy metal guitars which lead to the first real song of the album and the best: Evolution , a flawless power metal piece with fantastic vocal harmonies, perfect use of dynamics, and some of the best rhythmic guitar I've heard in a while. The song ends with a majestic guitar harmony that reminds me of Brian May Fallen uses the church organ and some choirs, and at a point reminds me of Dream Theater due alternating guitar and keyboard solos. Communion is mellower and probably not as exciting, but if the album had only a bunch of heavy songs, it would have been hard to listen all the way through. It is still a good piece with a very classical feel that gets better in the second half. The Bird is another heavy piece in the vein of "Fallen" but not as interesting musically-wise. On The Breath of Poseidon is a soft instrumental with a nice buildup in the beginning. Egypt starts very similar to Opeth with acoustic guitars playing on scales typical of that band and develops into a great rocker with wonderful guitar riffs and rhythms as well as excellent vocal harmonies. I dare to say that this song brings back the greatness of "Evolution". Death of Balance is another instrumental, more bombastic and way better than the previous one. It features another guitar harmony reminiscent of the one at the end of "Evolution". Absence of Light is just a good metal song, nothing more but the following A Fool's Paradise is a fast-paced symphonic metal song that pulsates with a lot of energy. The arrangements are very well done, the music is varied, and technically-speaking, this song impresses. Rediscovery starts with a beautiful melodic segue, and turns into a lengthy song with both heavy and mellow sections. It is coherent and never dull. A great closer of this concept album.

I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys power metal and symphonic music. If you don't enjoy power metal, at least give this album a try ... it may change your mind.

2. Evolution (The Grand Design) (A) 3. Fallen (B+) 5. Communion and the Oracle (B) 6. The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm (C+) 7. On the Breath of Poseidon (C+) 8. Egypt (A-) 9. Death of Balance / Lacrymosa (A-) 10. Absence of Light (C+) 11. A Fool's Paradise (B+) 13. Rediscovery - The New Mythology (B+)

Report this review (#123451)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my absolute favorite Symphony X album. The boys from New Jersey really outdid themselves with this one. It is the most creative album that SYX have ever released. It doesn't have as much of a raw edge as Odyssey or Paradise Lost, but it features other qualities like lush orchestrations and an imaginative storyline. This album is so great to me because of songs like A Fool's Paradise and Rediscovery, pt. II. Fool's Paradise features great moments like a Baroque chord progression in the chorus, and even a rendition of a Brandenburg Concerto (no. 5 I think) gone metal. This is the only SYX album with a drum solo also, Death of Balance, with another great rendition at the end; this time it's Mozart's Lacrymosa. This is the defining album for this band that best combines the symphony aspect with metal. This also makes it the most neoclassical/baroque album in the band's discography. The guitars are a little held back in this cd to enable more keyboard orchestrations, but I love the finished product. Russell's voice is also quite polished. If you are looking for a more "in-your-face" metal sound, Paradise Lost is for you (and also spectacular!). But if you love the lush orchestrations and classical moments gone metal, this gem is for you!
Report this review (#124145)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars watching the progressive metal genre...v:the new mythology suite of the great band symphony x,in fact,this was the first album that i listen of this band...and guess what? i was very suprised about this one...the beginning of this album start like their band tittle say:symphony!,that was my reaction..and in the second song...I change my mind,but not too much..because what this band plays is also a symphony with metal elements...

to give a definition about this album i will give the influences that this band have... symphony x have the influences on the riffs parts of the guitar like Metallica,queensryche and black sabbath...and the solos section is similar to bands like,Deep purple,iron maiden and camel..most of people say that this band are the wannabes of dream theater,but i dont think so..this band is more powerful,and this band are based on clasical influences like bach, we are talking about diferent sounds and diferents concepts at all....This album cointains a lot of changes in the music,the riffs are powerfuls,michael romeo is a maginific guitarist,and his creativity is allways amazing..the voice of russel is perfectly acoplated to this me this is one of the best album that symphony x has made...just listen to very dinamic,very powerful,very sentimental and a very progressive thing...enjoy..

keep on the good work

Report this review (#127515)
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not being a huge metalhead, I was pretty skeptical about this album, especially after seeing pictures of these guys! Of course, the high ratings from fellow proggers was more than enough to overcome any superficial hesitation. If I had to describe Symphony X (especially on this album), I would say they are a cross between Dream Theater, Kansas, with a hint of Queen. A year ago, I would not have guessed that a hybrid such as this could be possible.

There are few albums where I don't get bored or my mind wanders for at least a bit, but this is one of those. Symphony X do a great job of changing time signatures, experimenting with different keyboard and guitar effects, and rarely falling into generic, double-bass-drum metal. Here are some of the highlights (though the entire album is very interesting and well-done from beginning to end):

Prelude. It's short, but a killer way to start this album. Admittedly, it took many listens to feel this way. I wouldn't want five minutes of this, but it certainly get me oriented for what's to come!

Communion and the Oracle. Just an excellent mellow song that is well-placed and allows Allen's vocal range to shine.

On the Breath of Poseidon/Egypt/The Death of Balance (Lacrymosa). I view these three songs as a mini-suite (perhaps not lyrically, but certainly musically for me). Great melodies, instrumentation, imagery, and creativity throughout here. Hats off for the middle section of Egypt: spacy guitar, wriggling baseline, and fascinating chord progressions. Lacrymosa shows some of the Queen influence (guitar effects and vocal choirs). I especially love Rullo's drums in the middle section--lots of chaotic clanging to drive home the abruptness of the music.

Rediscovery--The New Mythology. Crank this up and hold on tight--the ride will be 12 minutes of unrelenting prog magic. The whole band is firing on all cylinders throughout. If ever wonder who my favorite metal vocalist may be, I put this song on and the case is closed: Allen is pure power (though never overextending his ability). Kudos as well to Pinella: the blasting church organ is awesome in the louder parts, and the moving, ever-present-but-not-overpowering piano really fits the emotion and flow to the pensive bits. Toward the end, there is a freaky jam that if I close my eyes I swear is played by Kansas, finished off by a majestic choral refrain from earlier in the album.

If you like creative writing, exciting, fist-pumping material with symphonic flourishes, then this is right up your alley. If you prefer the slow build style, then not so much. I certainly can see the Dream Theater comparisons, but I cannot for the life of me see how people view Symphony X as DT knockoffs, given the subject matter (mythology), the classical breaks, and the onslaught of power that is Russell Allen. One of my best purchases!

Report this review (#135258)
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This by far best album SX ever made is a very interesting one. I'm not sure if I can call this a concept album, it certainly sounds like one but I can not find any conformation of this. Doesn't really matter, main thing it's that it's fantastic and highly amusing. It's one of those (like f.i. More Grains or Alone by CLEPSYDRA, or Generation 13 by SAGA) you have to hear as a whole. It's like one complete story, the songs are seperated by interludes, very nicely done. This to me proves the brilliance of SX. it's a pity they didn't make more albums like this. This is by far their best effort, at least where the entire album is concerned. My favourite parts are:Egypt, A fool's paradise and Rediscovery but the rest is hardly any less.

So this will score 5 stars, a great example of a fantastic overall performance

Report this review (#142208)
Posted Friday, October 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A Symphonic Rhapsody

"V" appears to have been a popular name for an album in the year 2000, with Spock's Beard also using the letter to signify their fifth album. The more significant sub-title here through is "The new mythology suite", signifying Symphony X's first complete concept album.

The signs are all positive in terms of a prog classic, with a continuing theme of ancient mythology, good vs. evil etc., plus we have a collection of tracks varying in length from just over a minute up to a 13 minute finale. The sleeve imagery too is pure prog, with a hooded man reflecting in negative in a mirror located in a stormy desert.

On a more prosaic level, the power house section of the band has changed since the previous album, with drummer Jason Rullo (the band's original drummer) returning, and Michael LePond taking over bass duties. While the rhythm section is perhaps more important for band such as Symphony X than for bands of other genres, reassuringly the core vocals/keyboards/guitar section remains unaltered.

Listening to the opening "Prelude", you could be forgiven for thinking you had picked up an album by Rhapsody (of Fire) by mistake. The operatic chorale which introduces the album is very like the overtures which adorn their albums. Likewise the double paced drumming, mythological lyrics, and strong melody of the following "Evolution (The Grand design)" would be entirely at home on any Rhapsody album.

The story, which essentially seeks to blend the myths of various ancient civilisations together then add a science fiction element, is told through the lyrics, with brief commentaries being added in the accompanying booklet. An example of these commentaries for the superb 8 minute piece "Communion and the Oracle" reads ".unfortunately, not all were interested in the Ways of Justice, and those of the night gathered to plot the elimination of the great law of One and the death of Ma'at".

As whole, the music here is a wonderful blend of Rhapsody, Dream Theater and Blackmore's Rainbow, the Rainbow elements being emphasised by the Dio like vocals of Russell Allen. Some tracks work better than others, the difference usually being down to the strength of the composition rather than the performance. "Fallen" for example is exemplary when it comes to the arrangement, which includes wonderful synth strings, but the song does not have the strength of is peers on the album.

The strongest track, certainly in terms of vocal performance, is "Egypt", which incorporates a strangely ethereal chorus while maintaining the metallic principles to which the band subscribe. The bass playing is particularly notable here, Michael Lepond (the band has three Michaels in total) adding some wonderfully strong Chris Squire like vibrations. Indeed, this is a good time to mention that albums such as this demand to be heard at a decent volume on a good quality hi-fi, not simply squeezed through a set of PC speakers where the listener is deprived of half the content.

The album cumulates in the 13+ minute two part finale "Rediscovery" which effectively brings together every style, sound and effect which has appeared so far. Romeo and Pinnella throw in a guitar and keyboard duel as the track reaches is climax and the band, oblivious to the chaos all around them, disappear beneath the waves. Well not quite, but that's pretty much how the album concludes!

The tracks are linked together to form a whole, sometimes through segue tracks, sometimes they fit together well anyway. The most notable of the segues is Michael Romeo's three minute instrumental "On the breath of Poseidon". Although he is the band's guitarist, this is primarily a symphonic keyboards extravaganza with classical tones.

The album is liberally embellished with references from classical music, including Bartok, Mozart, Verdi and Bach. These references are not explicitly credited, something the band later acknowledged they should perhaps have done. In their defence, they (with some justification) say that such references are usually obvious.

In all, a wonderfully coherent work which sees Symphony X mastering the concept album with great confidence. Of all the Symphony X albums, this may be the best one to try first for those reticent about their genre. Recommended.

Report this review (#151688)
Posted Monday, November 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This is my favourite SYMPHONY X record so far. It is heavier overall than the others, but also not as fast paced. It fits my tastes more that's all. This is a concept album about "Atlantis". Interesting that while they were working on this recording both Romeo & Allen took part in Ayreon's "Flight Of The Migrator" album. As Easy Livin mentions, in the year 2000 we had two records entitled "V". SPOCK'S BEARD's fifth album and SYMPHONY X's fifth record. What seems strange to me is the fact that both bands were on the same record label, and both have almost the same background picture of gold desert sands with a black & red sky on the front covers. Odd.

"Prelude" is a Neo-Classical intro with the vocals to match. "Evolution (The Grand Design)" opens with heavy, fast paced riffs.The vocals almost sound distant, but they sound great. The background synths are a nice touch. Check out the guitar solo after 3 minutes that is followed by some killer riffs. This song blends into "Fallen". It opens with keys as a heavy sound slowly starts to rise up. A powerful sound is the result as vocals come in.The keys are swirling 3 1/2 minutes in followed by some blistering guitar. Light keys to end it. "Transcendence" is more Classical music like "Prelude". "Communion And The Oracle" is one of my top three favs on this album. I like the piano intro as drums and acoustic guitar provide a really nice sound. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in are restrained in this mid- paced tune.This is just so tasteful. "The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm" features heavy riffs and background synths. Nice guitar solo later. "On The Breath Of Poseidon" has a classical intro before pounding drums and synths take it hostage. "Egypt" is another one of my top three on here. Probably my favourite actually with those Eastern sounds coming through the heavy soundscape. The chorus is incredible with the lighter vocals. Some outstanding bass as well. After 4 1/2 minutes the guitar is simply amazing.

"Death Of Balance / Lacrymosa" begins with a classical intro that is replaced by a punishing passage of riffs and background synths. Vocal harmonies with synths end it. "Absence Of Light" has a good galloping sound reminding me of IRON MAIDEN. The guitar and keys are fantastic ! A blistering guitar solo after 3 minutes. "A Fool's Paradise" is a dark, heavy and uptempo track. Good song. It calms down late with some beautiful melodic guitar. The pastoral mood continues with "Rediscovery(Segue)". "Rediscovery (Part II)-The New Mythology" is the longest track at almost 12 minutes.The guitar and vocals sound so good on this track. The synths and drumming can't be overlooked either. I know some feel this should have been the solo filled, exciting finale, but I love this song. My final top three track. There is some heaviness later, and it's not without it's solos,it just doesn't blow the doors off that's all.

A more mature offering from the band that I personally really like.

Report this review (#151787)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The New Mythology Suite is one of Symphony X's strongest and greatest albums. Muscially, the guitars and keyboard flow well; very little if any "organ-y" fills by Pinella (though I miss them somewhat). This concept album is thankfully complex and the story elements fit side-by-side with the music. The only problem I have V is that there are no specifically awesome songs. All of them are amazing, but they are set up as an whole epic, so you must listen to the whole album straight through to receive the desired "Wow!" effect. It just doesn,t have any powerhouse songs that can stand alone like "Smoke and Mirrors" or "The Accolade." Still an amazing album though, easily in Symphony X's top three.
Report this review (#153064)
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was quite addicted to V for the longest time, and even now I could still probably sing this album word for word. For this reason it is extremely difficult for me to give this album less than 5 stars, but I must. There is just too much cheese now that I look back. The songwriting here is SYMPHONY X's finest in terms of a full album, and everything here fits in the puzzle, except maybe Absence of Light. There is just something about the use of the fanciful choirs and string sections that I find a bit distasteful. If this kind of thing is your bag, this album is a must have, for sure. I must admit it is hard to find songwriting this good, so if you think it will fit your tastes, I advise you to get this album now.
Report this review (#157207)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I dont like the voice of Russell Allen and the excesiv sound of keyboards. This combination make this album to sound in my eras to cheap. It's alsow to repetitive. The good things are Michael Romeo's solo guitar who make this album to sound heavy.

The best song is after my opinion Communion and the Oracle, who is probably the best from Symphony X discography. This song has a very good orchestration and the keyboards sound enjoyable.

Maybe with a voice more natural and with more metal sound against so called symphonic sound of keyboard, this album could sound more on my taste. Just my opinion

Report this review (#173609)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars V - The New Mythology Suite is the fifth album from neo classical US power metal band Symphony X. It must be considered their most progressive album to date, as emphasis is put on technically challenging riffing and even grander symphonic arrangements than earlier in their career. V - The New Mythology Suite is a concept album about the myth of Atlantis and most of the songs seque into each other or are bridged by small arranged classical pieces. All the classical pieces are variants of the main theme which we are introduced to in the first song Prelude. A typical move in classical music which Symphony X are very influenced by.

The music is unmistakably Symphony X with lots of heavy guitar riffs and classical guitar/ keyboard runs and on top of that the powerful vocals from Russel Allen. One of the good things about Symphony X is that even though their music is in the power metal style it´s much heavier than the average power metal band. They really have some chrushingly heavy riffs. What was even more exciting at the time of this release is that they were incorporating more and more progressive elements into their music. There are still many basic power metal ideas in the music which is best examplified in the opening when the the guitar, drums and bass kicks in. It almost sounds like something Rhapsody could have done.

Evolution (The Grand Design) is a great power metal tune that is really powerful and a real Symphony X classic. Note that allthough all of the characteristic elements from Symphony X music is here you´ll hear that the keyboards are much more symphonic than on previous albums. The keyboard sound borders imitating a classical orchestra at times. Fallen is the next track and it´s actually a pretty challenging technical song. There are lots of really heavy guitar riffs in odd time signatures ( at least that´s how it sounds like to me. But I´m no expert, so it might be 4/4 played a bit differently). The melody isn´t as memorable as the general Symphony X song but it´s still a very good track. Transcendence is a short interlude of classical music based on the mythology theme and it works as a bridge to the next song which is Communion and the Oracle. This is a very beautiful progressive metal song and it´s a clear highlight on V - The New Mythology Suite. Note the many beautiful and varied guitar solos from Michael Romeo in this song. His playing reaches new hights here.

The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm is another powerful song. Listen to the first minute of that song. That´s heavy stuff. It´s almost a ripp-off of The Mirror by Dream Theater but who cares as long as it´s played as it´s done here ?On the Breath of Poseidon is a variation on the mythology theme which was introduced to us in the first song on the album. Symphonic instrumental music. It works as a bridge to the next song.Egypt is a great diverse song with some middle eastern notes to match the lyrics.

Death of Balance / Lacrymosa is another instrumental interlude. It starts out with technical playing and ends with a choir arrangement not unlike the one which starts the title track from The Divine Wings of Tragedy.Absence of Light is together with the next song A Fool's Paradise my least favoured songs here. There are lots of great soloing as usual but the songs are just below par when you compare them to the other songs on the album. These two songs are fillers. Rediscovery is a short interlude with some beautiful classical guitar and keyboard interplay.Rediscovery pt. II - The New Mythology is an almost 12 minute long epic track. It´s not my favorite here but it´s allright.

The musicianship is excellent all the way round and that includes the returned Jason Rullo on drums who I have complained about before. This time his playing is much better than on earlier albums from Symphony X. I was hoping Tom Walling who played on Twilight in Olympus would continue on the drums for Symphony X but Jason Rullo apparently returned after his break from the band. As always main composer and guitarist Michael Romeo has to be mentioned for his genious playing style. He is such a heavy guitarist but he also masters melody well.

The production is not to my liking. If I have to be frank I must say that it´s ruined my excitement over this album for many years which is too bad. It´s not that you can´t hear what is happening but it´s the way the instruments sound. It´s hard to explain but I don´t like it.

V - The New Mythology Suite is yet another brilliant album from Symphony X and even though it´s not my favorite Symphony X album and I seldom listen to it, I´ll still rate it 4 stars. Symphony X continues to develop their sound with this their fifth album. But it doesn´t really prepare you for what´s to come. Their next album The Odyssey sees Symphony X return to a more simple heavy approach ( except for the title track) which is much more to my liking than the symphonic grand sound they have on V - The New Mythology Suite. I can´t wait to review that one.

Report this review (#174548)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Woo! Symphony X's best album, in my opinion! This album is amazing! It was released in 2000, and is their fifth, as the title is V.

Prelude starts off with some very operatic singing and nice orchestral backing. Nice guitar lines make this a winner. (10/10)

Evolution (The Grand Design) starts off just AMAZING. I could listen to that start for hours. It's so well written. The guitar lines for the rest of the song are just as nice, this song really kick starts the album. This album marks the return of Jason Rullo, their original drummer. Boy, he sounds five times better than he did before. Russell Allen's singing is amazing as per usual. He's seriously, one of the best singers in prog. Period. The solos in the are amazing, this song just really sets the bar for the rest of this album. Pure carnage. Love it! (10/10)

Fallen starts off very...Rush like...sweeeeet. This song is very technical, the double bass patterns were really nice. The guitar line in the pre chorus is really brutal. This song is just really cool. The unison midway was just really nice. Then, when the intrumental comes, it just blew me away. It sounds a little like the Glass Prison instrumental, guitar then keyboards then guitar then keyboards. Those who've heard it know what I mean. The song comes to a whole stop, making way for another interlude. (9/10)

Transcendence is really nice. That's about it. Nothing special here folks. (8.5/10)

The Communion and The Oracle, starts off really soft with some nice guitars. It doesn't go too far, but it still sounds great. The best parts in this song are probably Russell Allen's singing. Most notably this section: Breathe the air around you. Very nice guitar solo too. Solid song. (8.5/10)

The Bird Serpent War / Cataclysm starts off VERY heavy with some solid guitar work by Michael Romeo. The vocalising near the end I found really compelling. Then the keybards after it, very nice. I thought this song was just going to be a thrashing, but it was actually really well placed in the album. (9/10)

On The Breath Of The Poseidon, I found, sounded a lot like Runescape. But it was better. It really sounds like a movie score. The title is cool and the song leads into an amazing piece from the album. (9/10)

Egypt, starts off very cool, with some great drumming by Jason Rullo. The guitar playing is really cool sounding too, throwing acoustic into the mix. This song, in my opinion is easily the most progressive on the album. Even more than the title track. The chorus I really liked: Gaze in these eys, my child and see, here by my side you're destined to be! Fear is in the night fleeing with the sun, if we are born! Genius! The ending, I found to be also very progressive with a lone keyboard taking the song out by itself. This song is the best on the album. (10/10)

The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa is a maddening intrumental. It's sort of like Dance of Eternity, (In concept, coming right after the middle eastern influenced song) out it didn't come off as betcha can't play this as Dance did. I actually really liked it. It had substance, it wasn't so random and show offy as Dance. The song actually goes somewhere too, with a choir singing Lacrymosa into the next song. (9/10)

Absence of Light, starts off heavy with a haunting Opeth like organ behind it. I personally love the idea of 1 minute of soloing then getting to the real song. That was really cool. The song itself, once it begins is really cool. The lyrics I found really compelling and mystic. The song doesn't go anywhere past that, other than some wicked keyboard soloing. (8.5/10)

A Fool's Paradise starts off with the nice drum fills by Rullo. The song actually really hooked me in. The constant organ I really liked and the chorus's guitar line was really rockin. This song doesn't go too far, but where it does go is so awesome, it baffles me. This song shouldn't be good, but it is for some reason. When the choir line from Prelude is repeated, it really hooked me in further. Then some WICKED unisons at the end just really made decide on the rating. Then, the way the song fades out into Rediscovery. This song IS AMAZING!!! (10/10)

Rediscovery, my favorite of all the segues in the album. For some reason, it's nostalgic for me. It reminds me of some video game music I used to hear daily as a kid. Very nice and relaxing. Beautiful piece. (10/10)

Rediscovery, Pt. 2: The New Mythology Suite, starts off WAY heavy with a nice unison. I love to air guitar that part. It was here I really noticed the skill of the keyboardist, although maybe not in virtuosity in contrast to Jordan Rudess or Rick Wakeman, but he is very consistent. He plays is odd time signatures most of the time, and he always plays the lines perfectly. They're like that live too. Anyways back to the song. I found the drumming to be the beston the album. Jason is really firing, for lack of a better word, his load on all levels. The overall writing is just amazing, the best I've heard, until now and past then too. The singing and lyrics are just amazing. The guitar lines near the middle of the song are just perfect. I especially liked this part: Lost evermore, the essence of truth. That part was really compelling and beautiful. This song is just breathtaking on so many levels. The durmming after that section is also wonderful. The instrumental section is really well orchestrated, then the vocals come in with an amazing barrage of double bass and heavy guitar lines. Then another instrumental, this one with a odd timed guitar riff and solo. Then the weird Jan Hammer keyboards. Then again with the consistent keyboards and heavy guitars. This song is just so great. Oh wow! Keyboard riff! JUST AMAZING! These guys really worked on this, it shows. They put their effort into this song. It's nothing short of amazing. Then, the song comes to a climax that reminds me of the ending of Close To The Edge by Yes. Just beautiful in it's majesty and glory. A wonderful effort by Symphony X here. (10/10)

I can only say two words: Magnum Opus. This album is their best, there is no doubt about it. No album after this or before has surpassed it. Hopefully, they'll be able to record another one of this caliber.

5 stars. A glorious effort.

Report this review (#175545)
Posted Friday, June 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now that I'm in my own account... there is quite a bit to this review, and if you've listened to this album before, you might discover much about it you never realized before, for I've done some pretty good research, and many of the things I've discovered are quite astounding. Classical buffs and symphonic proggers should especially enjoy this album, which is probably why it's pretty highly rated. There is A LOT to this album, and I probably haven't even covered much of it, really.

V: The New Mythology Suite is, by far, my favorite Symphony X album, and it has come to be one of my favorite albums of all time, especially regarding progressive metal. In fact, it may be my favorite metal album of all time. The achievements the band made in this album, especially regarding head spinning changes in asymmetric time signatures, counterpoints, poly-rhythms, musical quotes, melodies, riffs, atmospheres, solos, almost everything one finds delicious in prog and otherwise massively intellectually stimulating music. There is a strong link with classical music, much stronger than almost any prog metal album out there. There are even musical quotes to Mozart, Kansas, and I'm sure other artists that have influenced their music, especially in a classical sense. The musicianship is wonderfully showy and top-notched, and recorded and produced to near perfection. Russel Allen's vocals have never been more competent, cleaner, and inspired, and is rough when it is quite appropriate for the music, and almost operatic (I use that term a bit loosely, for I actually listen to opera) when it fits best, especially with the more classical parts. The meter and riffs complement each other perfectly, as occasionally, especially in progressive metal, a riff that might sound better in four is put into something like seven-eight just for the sake of being in an odd time signature. This is found to never be the case in this album. It all flows wonderfully, from measure to measure, section to section, and song to song, and as an album as a whole from start to finish. All musicians show off their capabilities to the max, which is incredibly high, astronomical in fact. The interactions between the guitar and keyboard parts are simply astounding, as well as the atmosphere the keyboard helps to create, made even more unique with the inclusion of the organ setting. A keyboardist has perhaps never had a more prominent and important role in a metal album, making it quite close to symphonic prog, even compared to anything else in the band's discography. This band knows it's classical music theory inside out, quite rare even for many great metal bands.

The album is also a concept album on mythology, focusing mainly on the story of Atlantis, its rise, conflicts, and fall. The lyrics presenting the story, and the music emphasizes the mood the lyrics present very well, as is the case with any concept album masterpiece. It's all relatively complex and I could definitely look more into it than I have, and probably will after this review, for there is a lot to it really. Symphony X has (almost) always had knowledgeable lyrics regarding literature, especially Greek Mythology, and this album serves as the best example of this knowledge. The way the music compliments the storyline goes back to Yes' days of "musical portraits," in which the goal of the music was to paint a portrait in one's mind and imagination. As I gain more knowledge about the storyline, I can almost see the incidents happening to the music without the help of lyrics, and astounding quality of any album, and the pinnacle of artistic quality in progressive rock, and especially metal.

I will say a slight warning to those thinking about giving this album a try. The first time I heard this, it seemed like the most pretentious thing on Earth and I could not understand why it was highly rated on this site. It sounded like intense musicians noodling around on their instruments with no real point, mainly because I didn't understand the album the way I do now. It took me several spins for it to grow on me, all in different states of mind (for that often determines how much I enjoy an album). With every listen, it grew on me just a little more, eventually to the point of it becoming one of my favorite albums of all time. So if you do give the album a listen, be sure to not let first impressions deceive you. I find my opinion on an album after five or more attentive listens vastly changes, for better or for worse. And boy did my opinion of this album change for the better.

Prelude: This starts the album with an intense inclusion of classical music with powerful strings and a chorus of voices singing Latin, and the structure of the prelude overall serves as a very fitting intro to the rest of the album. The band definitely doesn't hesitate to a bombastic entry rich with classical influence. One of the greatest one-minute-long tracks out there.

Evolution (The Grand Design): Quite something you'd expect from the band as far as the its structure goes, this song shows the band's song writing capabilities and musicianship quite quickly. The inclusion of the organ is introduced to the bands music, and is evident throughout the album, and sadly would be the only album in the band's discography so far to have played a prominent role. It helps the band sound much fuller in my opinion. My high school rock band Occam's Razor actually tried to cover this song once (lol). We found out how beyond our reach it was quite quickly, and we're pretty competent musicians to start with. It's the first great song in the series of great songs that span the album.

Fallen: Poly-rhythms are introduced at the beginning of the song between the keyboard and the the other instruments in the song (which would come up a few more times later in the album). The band's use of effects regarding guitar, keyboard, and vocals are also showcased first in this song. This song probably has one of the catchiest choruses and riffs on the album. Organ is very prominent in this song as well. Odd meter and poly-rhythms abound in this song as well.

Transcendence (Segue): We're completely in the realm of classical music with this thirty-eight second interlude, and an incredibly majestic realm it is. I get an immense feeling of wonder and adventure upon hearing this track, which leads very nicely into one of my favorite tracks of all time.

Communion and the Oracle: The magnum opus creation of Symphony X, it starts of very similarly to the Accolade from Divine Wings of Tragedy, with a brilliant acoustic guitar intro in 21/8 time with a mind boggling poly-rhythm with the keyboard part layered on top. No matter how many times I listen to that part I simply can't figure out what time the part is in, it becomes so blurred with the asymmetric guitar part, yet it works so perfectly. And what a complimentary bass line and drum part! This is just the most magical song I can think of. I once found myself snowboarding very fast on fresh powder listening to this song during a snowstorm, with the snow falling absolutely perfectly... it was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had in my life. Easily one of the most classical based and progressive songs of everything the band has made. Russel's singing is just perfect... and the counterpoint... I feel like I'm lifted off my feet to a realm of pure bliss and euphoria when I indulge in this song. "Raise our hands up to the skies, feel the essence of time..." A masterpiece song on a masterpiece album!

The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm: Much heavier and more metal, this track somewhat contrasts the euphoria feel of the previous song, musically and lyrically presenting the conflict in the storyline that has arisen. Meter changes very frequently throughout the song and sounds a bit more jagged, as all Atlantis cries out in their downfall, as Neptune's waves rise to make a kingdom's grave. This song marks the sort of half point in the storyline, or the climax, if you will.

On the Breath of Poseidon: Another sort of interlude track, a ship rows away from a drowned, now destroyed Atlantis off to a land unknown. It displays feelings of relief, loss, loneliness, a slight fear of what's to come, as well as hope for the future, with caution. So the emotional ride of the song goes anyway, all in about three minutes.

Egypt: Well, another great song on a great album. It has a very, well, Egyptian feel, as one might expect, especially with the clean Egyptian sounding guitar (?) with the band's excellent use of the melodic minor scale (I think... it always sounded Egyptian like to me...). Great musicianship is demonstrated, asymmetric meter, etc. I especially love the band's use of stereo sound in this song, mainly with the higher vocals, and the instrumental section as well. One of my favorite songs on one of my favorite albums, just dripping with artistic musicality and musicianship while maintaining its sense of being, as I heard Mike Akerfeldt once say, really f***'n metal. I had the privilege of seeing Symphony X perform this and the next track live during their tour on their last album Paradise Lost. Man was it EPIC.

The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa: This song I always thought was reminiscent of Dance of Eternity from Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory (in fact I wouldn't be surprised if that's were it was influenced from). Further in the song there's a crazy time signature change just about every measure. It's musically insane and awesome, I was so happy to see them play this live, especially the chorus toward the end, which I just discovered listening to Mozart this morning before writing this review (!) is a musical quote from his piece, Lacrimosa dies illa. These guys know their classical music, and their's nothing corny or pretentious about the way they present it - else, you're actually describing Mozart himself as such.

Absence of Light: This is probably my least favorite track on the album - and I love even this one. It's quite metal, like Bird-Serpent War, with a good intro riff, keyboard solo, and chorus. Poly-rhythmic keyboard/guitar parts galore. Again, a great song on a great album, with particularly great keyboard solos being the best part.

A Fool's Paradise: This song took the longest to grow on me of all the songs, but I came to appreciate even this one, even more than the last track. The chorus never made much musical sense to me. Nonetheless, the organ and strings are prominent as ever in the atmosphere of the music. It is overall just as well written as the rest of the album. And there's a harpsichord in a somewhat Trans-Siberian Orchestra sounding part too!

Rediscovery (Segue / Pt. 2): The Segue is quite a pretty little track, almost a bit sad, but it leads into one of the best songs in prog metal with the length of greater than ten minutes, the only one on the album to top that long. The piano background is nice, and is overall very reminiscent of Kansas' Song for America; in fact, it practically has a musical quote (Feel the mystery, so much to see...) with I think the same melody as that song with those lyrics. I've always thought Symphony X's softer songs reminded me of Kansas, Russel's singing very much included, and I guess this musical quote is just stronger evidence of this. The song is a great one to end with, with both very soft and loud parts, very metal and very classical sections, great contrast. I especially love the section where the lyrics say "Bow down to me" and the great down beat piano. This song has many great and somewhat lengthly instrumental sections and powerful backing organ. The ending of this album is one of the most epic endings of any album I think I've heard, right after the lyrics finish at "can we change" plays a theme introduced in In the Wake of Poseidon, with a dozen string and vocal parts layered atop one another to create the finishing of one of the greatest albums ever made.

If you've managed to read this far (or cheated and read the last paragraph) then I need say no more. This album is so jam-packed with the essence of prog, metal, classical, and quality composition, musicianship, time signature madness, chordal structures, use of counterpoint and poly-rhythms... I could go forever about this album. It is certainly one of the greatest albums, in my opinion, of all time. It seems like some of the best bands have one album where I could swear God descended and told the band how to write just one album - and left. There are certain albums that I can fall back on to listen to at any time and have left me better educated in the way of composition and music in general. This is definitely one of those priceless albums. So in case you were wondering, yes, I would recommend this album to anyone.

Report this review (#177234)
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Until today I had refused to review any Prog Metal album, being that if I didn't had anything good to say about a whole sub-genre, most surely the problem should be in my personal taste; but just found "V: The New Mythology Suite" by SYMPHONY X and must honestly say that I'm impressed.

The album combines elements of Metal with excellent Symphonic structures, and that's something I'm able to understand or even like, this doesn't mean I became an instant fan of the genre, but it's good to see there's some Prog Metal that I'm able to listen with pleasure.

From the operatic "Overture" it's easy to know you are in front of something different, all those unnecessary solos and contests of egomaniac guitar pyrotechnics are left aside for a coherent structure, loved the opening.

"Evolution (The Grand Design) marks a change, were in definitive inside Metal territory which somehow reminds me of the galloping style of IRON MAIDEN and their obsession for Ancient Egyptian obsession, but designed in such way that the Symphonic component is almost as important, of course you will find some fast guitars, but in small dose doesn't harm, and at the end there's not Prog Metal without guitars. The vocals are simply impressive, excellent choral work, another high point.

"Fallen" starts slower than the previous track with a keyboard that leads to an "in crescendo" guitar work, the drumming is extremely accurate, but this time the vocals by Russell Allen are a bit over the top, like he's making an incredible effort not to leave the Metal zone in which sounds a bit less confident than in Symphonic territory.

"Transcendence" is just a pompous intro (those we like so much) for "Communion and the Oracle" which starts with a soft guitar pretty unusual in this kind of music that sends us to less familiar territory, but again it's nice, I can understand why some hardcore metalheads don't like this album too much, because it's as Symphonic ads metallic.

But the most interesting aspect of this track is how it evolves, linking every section with the next one, in such way you almost don't feel the dramatic changes, with Michael Pinella and Michael Romeo doing an outstanding work.

"The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm" begins harder than all the previous with the expected (even when uncommon in this album) distorted guitar, again that reminiscence of IRON MAIDEN pulls me towards the most familiar an pleasant sound for a non Metal fan as me. But what impresses me more is the fantastic synth work.

Somebody please stop the world, I'm listening Prog Metal and I like it, "In the Breath of Poseidon" is full of pompous and ancient atmospheres with soft instrumental bridges to link the harder sections making the gap between them less evident, simply delightful.

"Egypt" as expected by the name is mysterious but frantic at the same time, two concepts that usually are not easy to combine are managed with enough dexterity to make them sound as natural partners, again the vocal work is amazing. Of course the soft piano closing section was a total surprise for me.

"Death of Balance / Lacrymosa" defies all what I thought I knew about Metal, the aggressive guitars blending with traditional piano in the most Classical sense is brilliant, the controlled cacophony is almost pleasant, reminding me of a harder version of ELP, but the surprises don't end, another amazing choral section proves me that SYMPHONY X is different than most of the bands of the genre..Vive la différence"

Despite "Absence of Light" is the harder song of the album and clearly more oriented towards what I could expect from a metal album, can't say I dislike it, the elaborate vocal work makes it easy to digest even by a person who usually won't listen distorted guitars unless is forced.

"A Fool's Paradise" starts frantic and breathtaking, for the second time seems like Russell Allen does too much effort when trying to be a metal singer instead of a Symphonic Metal singer, but when someone fails to match ,my taste, another member rescues the song, in this case Pinella with his impeccable keyboards. Around the middle, Allen recovers the calm and everything matches perfectly again, specially when the chorus enter and during a Bach reminiscent organ section...Loved the song.

"Rediscovery" is the short and softer interlude that places the audience in mood for the final epic, sadly is too short, I believe they could had exploited it much more.

The almost 12 minutes epic "Rediscovery pt. II - The New Mythology" is the cherry in the top of the cake, the band jumps from one style, mood and atmosphere to another one with absolute coherence but at the same time in a very dramatic and radical way, always linking every section with an accurate bridge usually classical or Baroque, sometimes is Bach, in this case is Mozart, another high point.

Now, is time for my biggest problem, I really enjoyed the album but not enough to classify it as an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock, so five stars are out of my book, but less than four would be unfair and lack of coherence with what I wrote.

Now I will get "The Odyssey" and "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" to convince myself that this is not a mirage and that I really like SYMPHONY X.

Report this review (#177392)
Posted Sunday, July 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If The Divine Wings of Tragedy was the album where Symphony X began to stretch their legs (hope you didn't expect me to say wings there. Too redundant), then V is the album where the band suddenly realized a way to make interesting, unique neoclassical progressive power metal. They are not a band that progresses a terrible much. In fact, they stick to their tricks pretty faithfully. This album, though, was built for such tricks and ideas, and it all meshes together in a way that I don't find it ever to again with the band, at least as of 2008.

Where the previous album was mixed and mastered fairly poorly, this CD sounds great, and even plays around with purposefully muddy songs early one, which make the crisp ones at the end sound absolutely magnificent. The levels of noodling are down on this album, at least as far as the band's usual allotment of half the song for solos and unisons. The keyboards also end up playing, on the whole, many more patches of actual agreeable sonic quality. The end result of these changes result in an album that, though likely indisputably cheesy, can be taken seriously and enjoyed as a high caliber release by a band that could have mucked around in power metal their whole career and probably been okay.

The flow between the songs, I must add, is beautiful. Some bands try to string together songs on their CDs, and the end result is mildly painful. Here, though, we get a clear progression, aided by some breathtakingly beautiful segues (another prog trick that is often used poorly, leading to awkward filler). We get the picture through listening to this that the instrumental bits correspond with un-narrated action, in a way. The presence of many bits of classical music throughout give the music a sense of lasting quality, even though it may not be necessarily so. I need to mention, too, the fine power of Sir Russel Allen. His voice is the only thing that really sets Symphony X apart from a slew of other progressive metal bands. The sheer force and range of his vocal abilities can be downright staggering.

Songs worth extra mentions are The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa, a semi-instrumental that many consider to be Symphony X's answer to Dream Theater's The Dance of Eternity. Needless to say, even without really stacking the two against each other, The Death of Balance / Lacrymosa is a wildly drummed, complex piece of music. My favorite track on here is A Fool's Paradise, with its clever inclusion of Dies Irae and some bouncy classical string hits, while being stacked on a rapidly moving progressive metal tune. And, of course, Russel Allen sings his heart out here.

All in all, I'd vouch for this as Symphony X's best album. When listened to as a whole, it's a bit one sided, a bit repetitive in terms of styles and sounds, but very good. If you're a fan of progressive metal or even just progressive rock and are interested in what kind of high powered instrumentation is appearing these days, this is a very good album to look at.

Report this review (#184008)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars To me, this album defines Symphony X's signature sound. The music is all pretty heavy, but nothing is so heavy or distorted that it doesn't have their stamp on it. In other words, it's Prog Metal, but it is not a clone of anything.

This album is a suite of songs that really plays well when listened to from beginning to end. There are great transitions between the songs, too. That may not work well when ripped to MP3, because of the second of silence between the tracks. I think that when listened to on CD, the segues really push this CD towards being more progressive.

The vocals are strong and aggressive, without being anything like death/black vocals. The guitars are probably why I continue to keep this CD in my rotation. Again, in my opinion they are unique enough. All the other instruments are great. Aside from a couple dueling guitar/keyboard leads, the focus seems to be on playing as a band. Most of the songs have pretty memorable hooks, but nothing in the song-writing department seems overused.

The lyrics are a pretty wild re-telling of the Atlantis story. There is a link on there web site that explains the story, which is helpful if you are interested.

Overall, this is the one Symphony X CD I would own, if I could only own one. It may not have much to lend to a Greatest Hits album, but I think it is very consistent and is entertaining as a suite, which is what I guess they intended.

Report this review (#190478)
Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars People often compare SYMPHONY X to DREAM THEATER and other prog metal bands, but I can't see the relation. SYMPHONY X is much heavier, more neo-classical-type-metal, and has more agressive lyrics than DT. So beware DT fans like me: just because you like prog metal, it doesn't mean you'll like SYMPHONY X quite as much. This is their most critically-acclaimed album, but is not my favorite of theirs. It basically retells the story of Atlantis in a very interesting way. I'm not a huge SX fan, and the vocals are a little too much like power metal for me, but then again that's kind of what SX are. I love most of the music, and the musicians have an immense aount of skill, however to listen to the whole album is where the poblem begins. All of the music sounds very similar, and it's not because it's a concept album. There are really no acoustic parts, slow parts, or emotional parts of V. It all has the same power metal sound, which is fine, but really isn't at all what FATES WARNING or DREAM THEATER sounds like.

Basically V is a great album for a power metal fan, but could dissapoint the typical prog rock or prog metal fan because of the lack of emotional and slower parts. If you really want good SX go for The Divine Wings of Tragedy first.

Report this review (#191135)
Posted Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you fancy cliché concept albums, combined with metal music then I guess that the music featured on this work will be of major interest to you. If on top of this, super fast metal lines are your cup of tea, I'm sure that you will be enchanted.

I would be much more cautious about this release than most of my fellow reviewers. But I am mot frankly a fan of the metal genre. There are some fine melodic chords during ''Evolution'' but most of this album sounds pretty much alike.

There is no question of course about the skills and talent of the musicians (of which Michael Romeo is probably the best one). The most prog track from this album is the keys oriented ''Transcendence''. It lasts for almost forty.seconds.

My favourite track is the most melodic one, somewhat reminding me of ''Kansas'' to some extent. ''Communion.'' wonderfully combines some symphonic elements with metal sounds. A whole shebang of bombastic feel which works pretty well actually.

After a good and speedy ''The Bird.'', I quite dislike such attempts as ''On The Breath Of Poseidon'' with lots of orchestration to start and little savour to follow. It sounds as a soundtrack and could have been used in a new version of ''Laurence Of Arabia''. The same can be experienced with ''The Death of Balance'' (with a harder accent during the second part).

I guess that it is useless to tell you that ''Egypt'' holds some Middle-Eastern influences. The vocals are of the finest from this album but the global feel is just good (thanks to the mix of these metal lines and Oriental feel actually).

I am not sure that the genuine prog fan would be overwhelmed with the music he will discover with this recording. Some good tracks like ''Absence Of Light'' appeals to my taste because I am a quite heavy or hard-rock oriented old freak at times. But this is not the majority of the PA members I guess.

''Ayreon'' and ''Dream Theater'' fans should be thrilled. But I only moderately appreciate these bands. Having said this, this album is of course not a bad one. I rate it as a three star one, which means that you could easily add up one star if metal is one of your praised musical genre: virtuosity at times, raging beats, some attempts to sound like Purple during some short instrumental part (''A Fool's Paradise'') are quite alright.

Like the band said on stage while they were performing their set as opening act for ''Dream Theater'' during their European tour (at least at Antwerp where I witnessed this): ''you're gonna to have a great heavy metal night''. They didn't mention: ''you're gonna get a fine prog metal evening''. Did you get the message?

Three stars for this good album.

Report this review (#196468)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'V: The New Mythology Suite' - Symphony X (8.5/10)

Symphony X has been cited alot as being the counterpart of Dream Theater in the progressive metal world. The two are constantly being compared to each other, and while I prefer Dream Theater hands down overall, Symphony X have made themselves a conceptual masterpiece that matches any album by Petrucci and company. This is music that paints a very exotic locale, and has a very classical Greek/Egyptian feel to it, as if it's the soundtrack to a badass, metal version of 'Jason & The Argonauts.' While there's a point where the cheesy power metal approach the band takes in their music can become a bit too much, there's just enough progressive magic here to balance it out and make for a hell of a wild ride.

Judging from 'The New Mythology Suite's name, it's understandable to think of the album has not a mere collection of songs, but a multi-part epic, much along the lines of Fates Warning's 'The Ivory Gate Of Dreams' or The Mars Volta's 'Cassandra Geminni,' spanning the course of many tracks.

Despite the instrumental brilliance that the band adopts, I have never been a fan of Russell Allen's voice, and most likely never will. He's obviously a very technically accomplished vocalist, and is able to hit an impressive range, but the tone of his voice simply contrasts with my personal tastes. While his vocals detract a little from my overall enjoyment of the work, it's still an album that is excellent and enjoyable throughout.

The highlights are always the parts where the band opts to go very progressive and technical. The instrumental parts (for reason mentioned above) are my favourite. Stand-out songs include the epic 'Communion And The Oracle,' the exotic sounding 'Egypt,' the highly progressive and abstract- rhythmic 'Death Of Balance/Lacrymosa' and the fantastic, grandiose closer 'Rediscovery Pt. II.' This is a very neoclassically-arranged piece of progressive metal. I'm sure every prog-metal fan can enjoy the greatness of this album. It's not the superior masterpiece of progressive metal, but it's definately up there, and stands as being Symphony X's most impressive work to date.

Report this review (#206422)
Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best progressive metal album ever: energetic, passionate and exceptionally symphonic. Michael Romeo, great guitarist, primary songs composer and orchestral scores creator, is, for me, one of the most important figures in music scene today. Russell Allen, as you know, is one of the best Metal singers in the world, but for more has an interpretative feeling truly unique, so it's limited to define him only a "metal singer". The other members of the group are no less, with the powerful drumming of Jason Rullo always present. All the songs in this album are beautiful and well built. Especially the four central tracks "Communion and the Oracle", On the breath of Poseidon, Egypt, Death of balance are really fantastic, with a creativity and orchestral taste out of the ordinary. A true masterpiece
Report this review (#207374)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I purchased V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE about a year ago (it is still the only Symphony X album I have bought) after hearing some other Symphony X music. I mostly bought V: A NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE because it was the highest rated Symphony X album on Prog Archives at the time. Boy was I disappointed! This album to me is very boring and, though musically proficient, Michael Romeo and Co. just don't craft decent songs. Everything here is over the top--as usual--and there is little music on here that is particularly interesting to my ears. Overall, I would pick THE ODYSSEY or THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY over this any day. GRADE: D+ (68%)
Report this review (#209224)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lately I have been getting more into prog metal territory , mainly thanks to buying records that suit my tastes. V:The new mythology suite is one of them to describe this record in a single sentence I would say that while it's progressive it has much aspects in common with Power Metal specially the drums and fast guitars. Like many users said before , the record has a symphonic feel all around: Featuring incredible vocal harmonies and catchy chouruses , some cheese as well but this is prog metal and you always have some of it. Lyrically the album is a mixture of tales from ancent civilizations like Egypt and Atlantis , they are not outstanding but feet well with the epic sounding of the band.

Opening with a brief symphonic intro that suddenly develops into a power metal song serving as a prelude for "Evolution" the first real tune. This is power metal with prog learnings , great riffs and powerful vocals by Russell Allen make this song on of the highlights of V. Fallen continues in the same way but this time with more interplay between guitars & keys. While I don't find Michael Pinella to be one of the best keyboardists ever , he has a signature sound that I really appreciate in this album. His pipe organ-like keys add some pomp to the band's output. All around the album , there are brief symphonic like tunes that will connect the main songs , Trascendence is one of them , servin as a prelude to Communion and the Oracle. The song is a tad longer that previous two and also more progressive featuring a different vocal approach by Rusell Allen. This guy can really sing! One aspect of the band that I recognise is the fact that they always keep balance and every musician has his chance to shine without compromising the structure of the album. This song is the proof.

After a calm tune we have the heaviest number of the album "The bird serpent war". Anothe typical Power Metal number , while not a band song it isn't as strong as the previous ones. "On the breath of Poseidon" is the only insrumental number here if we exclude all those brief preludes. The song could fit very well on a fantasy movie since it's mood it's quite grandiose. Egypt reminds me of Iron Maiden circa Powerslave , the singer delivers a solid performance , as well as Pinella giving a mystical ambience with his keyboards. Death of balance/Lacrymosa , is the most symphonic and least metal moment of the record. It's not bad or out of context on the record , ever if it includes some cliches here and there. The next number reminds us all that this is a prog metal record , Absence of Light kicks in with a powerful riff by Michael Romeo. But there is nothing progressive on this song besides some Queen like vocal harmonies. This one and the upcoming number are a fast and furious combo before the epic finale. "Rediscovery" is the longest composition of the album clocking at 13:30 minutes , the intro is outstanding and its a pity they didn't develop it further.As every epic the song is varied but it's main feature are the vocals. Rusell Allen does a superb job here singing with passion note that around the 5 minute mark the song gets really emotive thanks to his voice.On the other hand , I didn't mension drummer Jason Rullo up to now , but his work here deserves it. Speciallly on the softer sections.

While not perfect , I think V it's a right place for those who want to start with this genre or move past the DreamTheater barrier. If you fancy Power Metal , this is the one for you to hear.

Report this review (#217821)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X is one of my favorites band, so I will try to be objective in this critic. V is the album that raised their popularity in the progressive metal masses. It is an admirable lyrical album with a lot classical references. It deals with the myth of Atlantis(Russell Allen is historian, that is why in all albums they contain mythology lyrics) which seems interesting though. As a fan of classical music I like all the interludes like On Breath of Poseidon, Transcendence and Death of Balance. The only minus in this work are the many power metal elements. But with songs like Egypt, Evolution(The Grand Design), Absence of Light and Fool's Paradise you forget the few negatives. As I consider their next works masterpieces, this one is the passage from excess ability to perfection. So, this album is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection.
Report this review (#221378)
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Rediscovery, Pt 2: The New Yngwie J. Malmsteen!

I am often surprised to see that many people rate this album as highly as, if not higher than, the brilliant The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. I find the present album a bit less memorable, a bit less original and less diverse compared to that earlier album. There is no doubt that this is another very good Symphony X album, but it does not blow me away like The Divine Wings Of Tragedy did. I used to rate this album with three stars only, but after further listens over a longer period of time I have decided to raise my rating to four stars.

Every track here is enjoyable for sure, but apart from the short Classical interludes, the songs have basically the same sound throughout. And with a running time of over an hour it is a lot to digest. The Divine Wings Of Tragedy too runs for over an hour but I never got that feeling while listening to that album at least partly because that album is more varied but also because I simply find the material on that album stronger.

Though it is beyond doubt that Symphony X is heavily inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen, while listening to this album I sometimes get the feeling that I'm listening to Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. Not only is the guitar playing of Michael Romeo similar to that of Malmsteen, but some of the keyboard solos of Michael Pinnella are similar to those of Jens Johansson of Malmsteen's band. This is not a major problem though, as Symphony X obviously takes it a bit further.

My biggest problem with this album is that there are no real ballads or even semi-ballads on V and neither is there anything to correspond to the 20 minute plus title track on The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. The closing title track runs for 12 minutes, but despite its tasteful use of piano it is not as diverse and memorable as The Divine Wings Of Tragedy title track.

Overall, I find this album less interesting compared to The Divine Wings Of Tragedy, but still a very good one. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#228722)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Mythology = fantasy in my mind. These words are somehow connected. But I'm aware that fantasy lyrics in prog metal are somehow cliché. It's funny how for example jazz + fantasy doesn't exist. Or fantasy post-rock. But these prejudices are not my own. Basis of this album is melodic (and yes, I like melodic music, when it's peppered with quality (which is term that means a lot of thing, not just one, universal Quality) and also yes, I like melodic things over dissonant in general. Why ? That question isn't meant seriously. It should be clear why I choose something pleasant over unpleasant. Why to torment with cruel, depth of soul attacking sound, when I can have this. To put it in other words, choice is between dissonant quality and melodic quality. Now it seems more clear I hope.

But I also worship idea that every genre should be approached differently. For example Egypt sounds egypticaly. Well, first I heard Egypt theme in Nightwish music (Tutanhamon? I suppose) and know that it's not so easy to bring certain feeling to music. The one you want. And not only this one, seems like tracks here in general are part of one concept. I like concept albums, because feelings about music are raised even more by A Tale. And these gothical (are they?) sounding organs in Lacrymosa , yes, for some this may sounds like usual pattern of prog metal and maybe in some parts it is. But this is it. It sounds good and lack any mistake. Maybe one melody is repeated used in various styles through few tracks, just a little.

But 5(-) for mythology (secretly fantasy)

Report this review (#239939)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Impressive album... surely proves why theyr'e the best symphonic metal band out there right now... this album is more accurate to non-so-metal prog fans, so this is where you can start your journey of this great musicians...

First, this guys really know how to structure their journeys... I mean they have a good balance between symphonic elements and metal, trying not to impress with their skills but trying to be dramatic, and make the instruments and the whole essamble takes you to particular emotions or sensations... this album has every trick on it and everything seems to fit excelent with the subject... Mythology is something fascinating and there are thousands of cliché albums and songs that are pretentous and miss the complete point to re-create some fantastic stories... Symphony X do not mess around here, you can see they spend time analysing their songs and give them more sense and feeling...

If you like a well thought album, with great vocals, melodic and still technically strong, this is your album... If you are not into prog metal or metal at all, this album is also for you... the strong passages are used only on the right dossis just to make a point, to for showing off or trying to seem too metallish...

This is an album to dive in with eyes closed and for sure you will enjoy the complete journey... I did it and I really recomend it almost to everybody, not just metal fans... 4 stars... easily...

Report this review (#248481)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A classical lesson in giving a second chance.

I got this album after "The Odyssey" and "Paradise Lost" because I was craving to hear more about Symphony X than just the 2 albums I just mentioned.

After my first listen, I was disappointed. Where are the catchy riffs? Where is all the rage and power? This seems to be too convoluted and a little too pompous. Sure "Egypt" did stand out but I wasn't thrilled with anything else. It is not bad, but why did everybody gave so high a rating? I was confused?

Then came the time when I thought I should write a review about this. I gave it a few more spins. It still looked too complicated to me but I started to like some other parts here and there. I was trying too hard to rate and evaluate each song. I was still missing the point.

Almost when I was going to give up on it, I realized that I should look at it as whole. And then, it clicked. No point in trying to describe each song here. Just let the music guide you from one song to another. There is a lot to like if you persevere listening to this album.

It gets heavy when it needs to just like at the beginning of "Evolution (the grand design)". I really like the classical approach in between song. The way each song flows into another is truly amazing. Take the end of "Transcendence" going into "Communion and the Oracle" as just an example of many fine moments.

For you, it might just click right away. For me it took a while, but I am sure glad that I gave this CD a chance. It was worth discovering and getting familiar with!

Not sure if this review would make sense to you, but it does make sense to me. And yes, it has grown enough on me that I will give it 5 stars!

Report this review (#251758)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I tend to be quite receptive to many music genres. Actually, I don't care at all what 'genre' a band is tagged with, as long as the music has something valuable to offer I'll be very pleased. However, from experience I've learned that there are a few types of music that I better avoid for medical reasons: rap, Eurovision song contest music, the soul of MTV, disco and power metal. Why? They all give me acute nausea.

The reason that most of that kind of music annoys me so much is the total lack of personality and creativity. I find it formulaic, cliché, cheesy and generic. It is made to cater for a distinct target audience; it has to conform to specific rules, dos and donts; it always repeats the same trick; it's commercially manufactured music and it's the death to any possible listening enjoyment on my part.

Well of course I'm generalizing and I'm sure I rambled on about this before, so before I start being repetitive too, let me conclude that this is probably a good album in the genre. So don't be afraid, I don't want to be a spoilsport, nor do I want to poke my nose into others people's audile pleasures (what an image) No I won't go in and rate every album in this style on PA with one star, even though it sounds very tempting :)

No, if I want to hear this type of music I'll stick to my Rainbow and a few Dio tracks. That's all I wanted to say.

Report this review (#252050)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The artwork for this album bears an uncanny resemblance to Spock's Beard's V and just as it been mentioned by Easy Livin and sinkadotentree both albums were released in 2000 and marked the fifth studio album for each of the two bands!

For some strange reason I never listened to Twilight in Olympus. One possible explanation could be that I haven't seen it on the shelves of the record stores and since my Internet opportunities were limited at the time I had to rely entirely on the very limited word of mouth. Of course once I saw V: The New Mythology Suite I bought it without a single hesitation.

I didn't expect that Symphony X would ever surpass Divine Wings Of Tragedy but what I heard here was definitely a much more mature band. The neo-classical elements really shine and in result make the band sound more creative than ever! There are still definite nods at the power metal but they outdo themselves even in that category since Evolution (The Grand Design) is probably the best power composition that the band has so far managed to record.

With the release of V: The New Mythology Suite the band skipped the idea of composing one long concept track and instead went for an even more ambitious approach of recording an entire conceptual record! The result is basically everything one can expect from a concept metal album at its best. The flow of the album is smooth and every composition has some new light to shed on the overall story. Among these conceptual composition lies Communion And The Oracle which is probably the best progressive metal composition penned by Romeo and Pinnella. Great melody and guitar/keyboard interplay make it the biggest highlight of the entire release.

The albums ending doesn't really give me the same satisfaction as the early compositions but it all sums up to a solid overall feel. V: The New Mythology Suite might not have clicked with me in the same way as Divine Wings Of Tragedy but that's only because my progressive metal preferences had evolved over the short course of those two years. Bands like Dream Theater, Queensrÿche and Pain of Salvation have started to compete for my attention and were releasing material that was more to my liking.

Still I think that everyone who is interested in exploring Symphony X should start with this album. An excellent addition to any progressive rock collection!

***** star songs: Evolution (The Grand Design) (5:20) Communion And The Oracle (7:45)

**** star songs: Prelude (1:07) Fallen (5:51) Transcendence (0:38) The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm (3:59) On The Breath Of Poseidon (3:04) Death Of Balance / Lacrymosa (3:42) Absence Of Light (4:58) A Fool's Paradise (5:48) Rediscovery (1:24) Rediscovery pt. II - The New Mythology (11:57)

*** star songs: Egypt (7:04)

Report this review (#263604)
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars opera rock experience

everything here contributes to the band in question being hailed from one of the best scene progmetal. be compared with the common lionized: Dream Theater, but weigh the differences and originality in this respect. While we realize the action of virtuoso Michael Romeo squander its blazing fast and competently monitor the keyboard. There is another highlight as it usually does not see the so-called "icon" cited above, this is distinguished also by the relentless use of double bass by Jason Rullo. The atmosphere is wonderful, while bordering on the symphonic vocal embellish in making travel as an epic movie, the contribution of keyboardist who goes by piano, church organ, violin and so on.

Report this review (#283923)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars At a very early point of my life (I was 13 or 14), I first got my dose of prog, becoming obsessed with Dream Theater (that obsession has ended, but I still respect them madly), so it was obvious that I would sample other cheeses on the progressive metal plate.

I had heard of Symphony X (i had one of their songs as a download, but you will find out about that in due time). So when I found this album in a now aborted Virign Megastores, i immediately bought it.

So is it any good.

Their are many albums that aritists make, and they are just flawless. This album is a classic example. Not one boring moment, amazing songwritining, incrediby cathcy chorus's and instrumentation of Gods.

I would go far to say that this is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.

This album is also a concept album, based on the old Atlantian tales, and Ma'at and balance. Basically a non greek version of Rush's Hemispheres.

1. Prelude - Just an amazing symphonic intro. Amazing instrumental work, and prepares you for the ride of your life. 9/10

2. Evolution (The Grand Design) - Fierce riffing, amazing instrumental work and Russel's voice is just spine chilling. Just breathless to listen to. 10/10

3. Fallen - I never really liked this song, but now I'm really getting into it. Amazing chorus, and the instrumental section has a very Black Mages vibe to it, with the amazing organ and guitar unison parts. 10/10

4. Transcendence (Segue) - Interlude basically. 8/10

5.Communion & The Oracle - Just beautifull. The compositional devices used are amazing, and remind me of the scales I would use when writing (basically alot of descant and the odd disjunct riffs now and then). Beautifull vocal harmonies and overall just amazing. Flawless. 10/10

6. The Bird Serpent War/Cataclysm - The most metal song on the album. The riffs in this song are mammothly heavy. Not as strong, but it is too kick ass to be forgotten. 9/10

7. One The Breath Of Posiedon (Segue) - Another interlude. But more kick ass and amazing guitar work. 9/10

8. Egypt - What a powerfull song. Amazing discourse between instruments, and Russel's best vocals on the album. The chorus is also amazing. 10/10

9. Death Of Balance/Lacrymosa - A choral influenced interlude. 9/10

10. Absence Of Light - This chorus always reminds me of the dwarves in Snow White. Fantastic chorus and just specatacluaire. 10/10

11. A Fool's Paradise - In my opinion, the best chorus on the album. It's just so powerfull and very catchy. 10/10

12. Rediscovery (Segue) - Another interlude, meh. 8/10

13. Rediscovery (Part II): The New Mythology - Epic in every way possible and not one boring moment. This song just has so much emotion and power. It's also crafted extremely well. 10/10

CONCLUSION: If you don't have this album, then you should be ashamed. Buy it now, and revel in it's spectacle, young child.

Report this review (#287892)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "The New Mythology": an album where astrology, lost worlds and Egyptian mythology come together.

The most acclaimed and famous album of Symphony X is an excellent opus and another step forward for the band's style; the first three albums were always concentrated on medieval themes, and also on greek mythology. Also, the solos and the "progressiveness" were more highlighted. In "V" the production is rough, the songs sum up to thirteen, and the influences are closer to Power Metal, more than to Progressive. The guitars here have a crunchier sound, the drums have a deeper resonance, the keyboards aren't focused on soloing and virtuosity, instead they are more concentrated on the production of mythical and majestic atmospheres. A great loss that is heavily missed is the departure of bassist Thomas Miller,who is a true fiend when playing his instrument. He is replaced by Lepond, who obviously can't maintain the same levels Miller did. This album, however, is an utterly unique example in Symphony X's discography, because it has a style that belongs only to this album, since "The Odyssey" and "Paradise Lost" are more addressed towards a very heavy and powerful Progressive Metal, abandoning this way all the typical moods of "The New Mythology".

"V" is like listening to a dream; everything seems to fade in and out so quickly, especially thanks to the brief interludes, that always have a certain mystery to them. The album is said to be a concept album, since it mainly concerns about Atlantis, Egyptian mythology, and also astrology, like I said in the beginning of this review. The lyrics aren't particularly intriguing though, but not always banal, like in "Evolution", where the concept is well presented.

The songs aren't all excellent, but at least half of them are: the already mentioned "Evolution" has a great chorus, and perfectly represents the album. "Egypt" is another fantastic track,with obvious med oriental references, even musically speaking, and here too the chorus is brilliant, like no other Symphony X song. "Communion and The Oracle" has also some pretty cool moments, especially the calmer ones. I enjoyed almost all the interludes, my favorite one would be "Death Of Balance", which can be considered more as just a simple instrumental track. But boy, these moments are incredible. Although I would like to express my disappointment for the epic title track, which didn't always grab my attention, like it could have.

In conclusion, an excellent album, very unique for being a Symphony X album. Excellent, but not a masterpiece.

Report this review (#333752)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I honestly think that this album sets the diamond standard for symphonic metal. Between Michael Romeo's beautiful guitar playing, the brilliantly orchestrated symphonic sections, fantastic melodies, and sudden russian interludes we hav a real winner.

I think the real magic of the album rests in three places--the balance between the orchestral sections and the metal sections, the flawless and beyond the call of duty execution of every element, and the absolute ingenuity that permeates from every section. The best part is that, if you'll notice, none of these have trouble overlapping, and in fact do--the entire album.

There are so many elements in this album. Power chords slamming, gentle strings and winds, odd meter defying normalcy all over, segues that make you want to cry a gentle tear, suspended chords slamming in place of power chords, allusions to Mozart, Russian fun, vocal counterpoint, shredding guitar solos, visions of Egypt, string chords slamming in place of power chords, ponderworth lyrics, mesmerizing sections of simple harmony, long intense guitar lines, synth sounds I can't name, synth sounds I can name--the list goes on...for quite a long ways.

If you have any desire to hear strings and guitars together--please buy this album now. If you have no interest--you should too, anyways. This album really is a quite spectacular example of what the genre can be.

Five stars

Report this review (#345451)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Without a doubt the best album of Symphony X "V: The new suite mithology" (do not confuse with the album "V"of Spocks Beard!) is certainly an ambitious project that blends concepts of mythology, Atlantis and new age and translates into a sound that mixes power metal, opera and symphonic rock.

Certainly this album is an improvement over their previous, but it is a masterpiece in its entirety, however it was in my first taps.The opening "Prelude" introduces the listener in a glorious, but the next songs a little disappointing . However the set of songs ranging from "Transcendence" by "Egypt" is the highlight of the album. "Communion and the oracle" is one of my favorite tracks from the band. "Death of balance / Lacrimosa" is still a prominent but the next two are also the epic final disappointing.Fortunately "Rediscovery" arranges things.

5 stars.

Report this review (#358974)
Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had listened to all Symphony X albums multiple times except for V, before I got it in a fairly big haul. The album cover is brilliant, and I was excited to spin it instantly. After spinning it a few times I concluded that this was truly their best album, surpassing The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

The musical skills of this band are displayed throughout, and especially the independent piano and key melodies of Michael Pinella clashing with Michael Romeo's guitar is exceptional. The rhythm section holds up incredibly well too, with bassist Michael Lepond having his moments in the spotlight and Jason Rullo's drumming is excellent. Russell Allen's vocals on this album are incredible and he really gets to sing on this album.

The music is what you'd expect from a prog/power/neo-classical band, with the orchestration and all - but it's welded together perfectly for this album. Also, as noted before, there are a lot of independent melodies going on with the keys - which create an incredible atmosphere which are only enhanced by orchestrations reminding the listener of Verdi's Requiem, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and even an occasional Bach composition.

There are a bunch of great tracks on this album that are great on their own. Evolution/The Grand Design is an amazing metal tune, and really sets the album off perfectly, Egypt has a strong Egyptian feel that is just awesome, Lacrymosa really highlights Jason Rullo's insane drumming and the choir sections will make your jaw drop. Yet two tracks are real stand-out tracks, Communion and the Oracle and Rediscovery pt. 2. These two tracks also happen to be the lengthiest tracks, but they are absolutely fantastic. The intro to Communion and the Oracle alone is amazing, and the theme reoccurs throughout the song. The same goes for Rediscovery, which in my mind only slightly beats Communion as the best track on the album.

There is so much win in this album one MUST hear it. 5/5

Report this review (#389595)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, for me, is an absolute masterpiece. It's hard to "get into" and get it to start to grow, but once it does, you will agree with me that this album it's incredible.

From the orchestrated and symphonic calmed parts to the heaviest metal riffing, I think this is a great album, full of melodies, classical licks, powerful singing, haunting choruses...

This album is full of metal songs filled with (neo)/classical passages thrown in the middle, and it's great to give the music a time to breathe and for us to prepare for the next song. I find this album really vocal based (sometimes the instruments repeat the same licks again and again for the vocals to develop the concept further), but I think you won't complain, Rusell Allen is one of the best singers I've ever heard.

Report this review (#392208)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars i cannot believe this album took only the usual 2 years for Symphony X! it has everything that a true progressive metal classic should have:

- 60+ minutes playing time - multiple "epic" songs - Communion and the Oracle, Egypt, Rediscovery... - segues, intros, instrumental interludes et al - a concept (being mythology makes it even more special) - superb instrumentalists strutting their best stuff - intriguing cover art

... ...

the return of Jason Rullo is quite telling in the rhythm section.

the band is so much more mature in this one, the difference is revealing if you listed to V after, for example, The Damnation Game not even considering the self-titled debut.

Report this review (#463314)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's easy to understand why some long term Symphony X fans have a preference for the older albums. The direction the band have taken on their last two albums Paradise Lost and Iconoclast - Iconoclast in particular, have seen the band moving into less prog territory in favour of a more direct metal approach. Sure there are still prog elements in their sound today but nowhere near as much as on earlier releases of which V: The new Mythology Suite is the pick of the bunch as my favourite. Before continuing though I must state that I'm of the opinion that despite the excellence of this album I do prefer the more streamlined and heavier Symphony X of the last two releases.

Released in 2000 V as has already been said was much more of a prog affair than the band of today. Musically it has a more symphonic approach, the band making more use of the classical influences they are known for. While the music is probably no more complex for the band to play than the newer stuff it does have more twists and turns and dynamics with greater use of light and shade moments. The guitar riffs are very heavy as you would expect but less so than now, though this can probably be put down to the production techniques the band employ these days. Musically it's very inventive with many captivating moments. Strong melodies are not in short supply and Russell Allen was a great vocalist ten years ago, as he is now though with a slightly smoother delivery. It's also worth mentioning Michael Pinnella's keyboards find more space to shine than they do now, taking less of a supporting role.

Being a concept album V is of course best digested as a whole and rather than picking out individual tracks for praise I'll say that as a complete piece it works magnificently. The instrumental parts are more often than not captivating and with a vocalist of Allen's capabilities the vocal parts are no less so and there's also the usual choral sections which when used in moderation like here add another interesting dimension.

It's pleasing to see that as good as this album is the band have grown over recent years and not been content to rest on their laurels. Nevertheless V remains a fitting testimony to the more symphonic prog metal approach of the bands earlier years and as such is an essential purchase for anyone investigating the bands past despite not quite reaching masterpiece status.

Report this review (#478122)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Metal is not my cup of tea. Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan melting my brain is just not my idea of musical enjoyment. Granted, I can appreciate the exceptional technical skill of these guys--especially the keyboard and lead guitar player--and I understand the lyrical effort going into the concept album--and, damn! everybody is trying hard, working very hard together, but I can't get past the voice of Darth--I mean, Russell Allen. It's a voice right out of the late 70s early 80s. Foreigner. Survivor. Ozzy. 707. 38 Special. Maiden. Loverboy. Leppard. DIO. And too many others to count. They all had that voice, that same voice. And I'm still not sure of the perceived need for constant thrashing of power chords and the gattling gun pounding of the bass/kick drum. Nice "operatic" setting . . . that cannot conceal/hide the pervasive Foreigner vocal sound. The guitar soli too often sound like Jan Hammer playing one- handed on his mobile, strap-on keyboard. Show. Can't rate it 4 stars cuz I can't quite accept metal power chords and rapid-fire kick drums into the prog sphere. IMHO, all metal thrash music should be kept unto itself. There I said it. I keep giving it chance after chance but it just doesn't sound like the kind of music that is exalting the human spirit to its highest heights of creative expression. Leprous, Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Unexpect, even Devin Townsend and some of Toby Driver's stuff grates me though this is the crème de la crème of prog metal. Genius, technically virtuosic, spiritually lacking. It would be interesting to do water crystallization experiments à la Masaro Emoto using music from each of these artists. Would plants thrive or die? Symphony X v. Mozart; Unexpect v. Enya; Devin v. ambient Eno; Kayo Dot Coyote v. The Lamb; Crimson (Edge of Sanity) v. Metheny. I think we have the makings of a new World Cup here!
Report this review (#613993)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whilst many cite The Divine Wings of Tragedy as the album where it all came together for Symphony X, personally I consider V to be their first really great album. Where I think the band really excel here, to an extent that they didn't on Divine Wings, is that they manage to seamlessly blend the conventions of classic power metal and progressive metal, delivering the best of both worlds whilst deftly evading the weaknesses of the two styles.

For instance, from progressive metal they draw the high level of technical complexity and the prog rock song structures whilst avoiding the pitfall of putting technicality and instrumental wanking above atmosphere, emotion, and tight song structures. For those three factors, they look to power metal, with its soaring emotional highs and epic atmosphere (perfect for the album's Atlantis mythology), but at the same time unlike many power metal bands (and prog metal bands who draw on power metal) they never cross the line from entertainingly over-the- top to embarrassingly cheesy on here, which I felt they did a little too often on Divine Wings.

In short, this album offers the listener all of the cream and none of the crud of the two genres most closely associated with Symphony X, and on the whole puts the band in the front rank of progressive metal.

Report this review (#641899)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars What if Dream Theater never existed?

These guys would probably be Prog Royalty. Although Dream Theater's technique is phenomenal, Symphony X is a well kept secret weapon for someone who wants a musical challenge. I can say it's been a while since I gave them a try, and their latest left me somewhat cold due to an overdose of aggressivity.

Luckily for me this album has more nuances and the rendition of the story is interesting, and might I add, very interesting. Musically the band is border insane: Romero is an absolutely gorgeous (not physically) guitar player. He shreds old school a la Malmsteen, sporting also the look of the Sweden Strato God. Pinella on keys is becoming one of my favorites fast and Allen is extraordinary as the front man; Allen becoming a safe value in Ayreon albums, I am impressed by his personnal style (even the backing vocals are great), not rending another Labrie imitation.

Let's not forget the visual side of the band! I'm not talking about their ugly mugs but of the artwork. I admit, was the first thing that attracted to me. I think the cover is easily one of the most memorable of the metal world, making the whole package even more attractive. My only (and minor) critic would be that band is not really visiting other roads than the Power Metal; t's a well oiled machine, but only giving us a full serving of neo-classical Crunch.

All in all a dead serious album, not giving you a moment to breathe and full of cinematic imagerie.

Report this review (#1076339)
Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was a bit wary of buying a symphonic metal album. Though my musical roots are in metal and I enjoy symphonic music in rock, I was concerned that it would sound too much like stereotypical power metal with its grandiose musical productions backed by an orchestra. An initial sample listen to something by Symphony X only seemed to confirm my suspicions. However, after picking up a few progressive metal bands like Dark Suns, Disillusion, and Suspyre, I became interested in getting some more prog metal into my collection and I saw that this album has received high ratings on both Prog Archives and Metal Music Archives (granted many of the reviewers are the same people).

It was actually surprisingly difficult to get this CD. On Amazon Japan it was only available as an expensive import and even though it was on for under $12, it took almost four months for the item to become available. The wait was well worth it, though.

From the opening track, my ears were pricked up as symphonic sounds mingled with metal for a very dramatic introduction. The first real song, "Evolution (The Grand Design)" has a fantastic riff and canters along with an abrupt halt after the solos and an instantaneous return to that great riff. Musically, much of the album explores various metal moods, some near thrash, some mellower and even gentle. Were it just for the guitar, bass and drums, it would be a pretty decent metal album.

But it's the keyboards and the symphonic approach that enrich the soundscope of this album. There's synthesizer and piano often steeped in classical vibes and even borrowing from well-known classical compositions as if to authenticate the symphonic conjecture in the band's name. The actual symphony parts come in mostly during the few "segues" between the longer songs, though sometimes I can't quite be certain whether the instrumentation is an actual orchestra or if some instruments aren't just a very good-sounding synthesizer. No matter, these boys aren't just trying to fake being cultured and sophisticated. They made the musical adaptions themselves.

Vocalist Russel Allen sounds like your average decent metal vocalist with clean vocals that can sport a rough edge a la Fates Warning, but he can also go a bit Dio at times. I also find myself thinking of Joe Lynn Turner at certain moments, perhaps when the songs sound a little Y. Malmsteen-ish.

The first half of the album really had me interested with a plethora of sounds and approaches. The longer tracks 5,6 and 8 offer up some captivating music and the segue "On the Breath of Poseidon" sounds fit for a concert hall. There's some wonderful rapid bass playing in a couple of songs too which I love, especially when it's contrasted with a mid-tempo beat and some atmospheric keyboards and guitars, like on "Egypt". But after a while I felt that the road had been paved and there was nothing new to come. The band had pulled everything out of the hat during the first 8 tracks and were now rehashing established themes. Yet before the last few songs had finished, there were still some pleasant surprises to crop up. Yes, the road had been paved but some new twists on the established themes were to occur and I felt the album had enough "favourite moments" to last through to the end.

Among the several albums I received around the same time, this was one I really felt like listening to a third and fourth time before I had properly listened to some of the others. That's a good sign. In the end, I have to conclude that as a progressive metal album it is really well worth listening to.

Report this review (#1197735)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars With their fifth studio release, Symphony X finally cave in to the common trend amongst progressive rock and metal bands... the concept album.

Having already established a style that incorporated elements of progressive and power metal with a neoclassical flare, the band have now implemented more symphonic arrangements, which gives the music a much bigger and more grandiose sound.

It would be tough to follow up the incredible 'Twilight in Olympus', an album I consider one of my all-time favourites, and for a band to thrive and avoid stagnating, it's good to try different approaches to their songwriting. In this regard, the orchestrations really add a new depth to Symphony X's music. It does add a certain level of pomposity too, but then, this is already a genre rife with musical indulgence, and seeing as this is a rock opera about the rise and fall of the city of Atlantis, it really gives a majestic atmosphere to the story being told.

(Or something like that).

As always with this band, the musicianship is astounding and really puts these guys above everyone else. Special praise as always goes to Michael Romeo's blistering guitar work, and vocalist Russell Allen starts to step away from the high-pitched wailing of previous releases and adds a new level of aggression to his already incredibly versatile voice. Songs like 'Evolution', 'Fallen', 'Egypt', 'Rediscovery (Part 2)' and one of the bands best compositions, 'Communion and the Oracle', are all fine examples of the talent of everyone involved.

Regarded as one of Symphony X's best albums, 'V: The New Mythology Suite' is another top-notch concept album for progressive metal enthusiasts to sink their teeth into, and non-metal prog fans might just find a few things in here to pique their interest too.

Report this review (#1781665)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 | Review Permalink

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