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Symphony X

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5 stars This is the most intense music I have ever experienced. Yes it's very hard to digest but I feel it truly is an incredible piece of work.

I don't feel that musicianship has ever been brought to this intensity on a recording.

For those looking for a mellow album - stay away!

This one is IN YOUR FACE brilliance - literally smacking your face with intensity. Wow!

Sorry to use the word intense so much but it's the only word that describes this album to me. It's going to take many listens before I fully can appreciate all that it has to offer.

I'd go into detail about each track but I'm going to have to absorb all of it first. And, yes, I preordered it on Amazon - It's that good.

5 Stars!

Report this review (#121460)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW. I can honestly say that this is the only album I have ever heard the first time through and just dropped my jaw in absolute astonishment. This is not an album for the casual progressive metal listener. Everything about this album is intense, as the last reviewer so tactfully reported. This album has some great throwbacks to earlier moments in SYX history, along with a whole new bag of tricks. First of all, Russell Allen's voice is back with much more bite than even Odyssey had. Romeo's guitar work is polished to a tight, crunchy sound and with more lightning-fast rythms than ever. The guitar solos are incredibly astonishing in this album, yet Romeo shows off his talent of "less is more" in sections. In Domination and the Serpent's Kiss, there are some great pure metal moments which are likely to go down as some of the best ever. This whole disc sounds a bit like SYX gone absolute metal, but fear not! All of the great prog elements that made this band great are still here! There are multiple meter changes galore and great samples of dark, Wagnerian orchestrations with some intense choir moments reminiscent of Carmina Burana. Before the end of this rant on a great band, the mix needs to be addressed. Thanks to Jens Borgen, who happens to mix Opeth, this disc sounds a million times more polished than the "garage-band" sound that the Odyssey contained. For SYX fans old and new, this album is both a Tour de Force of old and new Symphony X. All of the stuff that I loved from past albums is here in some form, including some great neo-baroque moments, and some INSANE new metal moments. Truly will go down as one of their absolute best efforts, period.
Report this review (#121462)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars They have passed five years sincethe last studio album o SX.

I had the privilege to own one of the promotional copies¿Do I?

That`s what I realize at first,but when I listen to it....mmm..

There are songs in the great quality of the short songs of the last best SX albums.

¿But what did happen with those epic long symph power prog metal songs of before?

¿Did Russel Allen had surgery in his throat? His voice sounds devastated .

It seems that in their lasts concerts they like too much the applauses,cries and screams of the audience when they sang the most power metal songs and they said " ...ah thats the way".....

This album is too comercial and it seems that SX nowadays is looking foward popularity in the great metal masses.


Report this review (#121554)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Paradise Lost is a very good album, but after 5 years of waiting i expected something REALLY special, though that does NOT mean that this album has let me down.

The sound is a bit less heavy than Odyssey and i could dare to say that overall it sounds like a mixture between "V" and "Divine Wings Of Tragedy". The biggest con of the album is that some songs give you the impression that you've heard them before or that they could fit in some of their previous recordings. E.g. the intro (although brilliant) will definitely get you back in "V" days, "Domination"'s intro will undoubtedly remind you "Sea of Lies" etc.

After hearing the album about 7 times i must say its great but not groundbreaking like "V" or "Odyssey" and that's what saddens me the most. I got total faith in those guys' capabilities and i believed that after 5 years of preparation that album could be a kick in the face but unfortunately isn't. It's still many levels above from 90% of prog-power recordings out there and a must-have for the genre's fans but to me it seems like they wanted to play in a "safe" ground.

Get this album, you wont regret it at all. Superb musicianship, powerful,fierce music and a voice that has no rival!

Report this review (#121627)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars First off, let me tell you, i've never had bigger expectations for any album release ever! This might be why it turned out to be a slight let down for me personally. Don't get me wrong, this is a very good trash/powermetal album, but i'm missing some of the "magic" from albums like DWOT, V, Twilight in Olympus and Odyssey.

The slow progressive build up with the brilliant melodies has in many ways been standarized to vers/chorus type songs. This album is harder and faster than anything they've done so far, with a more agressive guitar sound and riffing. Russel Allen really proves that he is one of the very best singers out there, and takes his vocals to a new level in tracks like 'The Walls Of Babylon'.

Some other really good tracks are definitely worth a note. 'Eve Of Seduction' is one of my personal favorites, with an original melodic line, natural composition, all beautifully interwoven with technical brilliance, like I've always known Symphony X. 'Sacrifice' also takes you back to albums like DWOT, and songs like 'candlelight fantasia'. 'Revelation' is the longest track on the album, running for 9:17 with multiple layers and the most progressive song on the album. The outro is the same slow guitarplay from DWOT, is this a part ll?

Eventhough the 'Paradise Lost' definitely has some really good tracks, for me, the album as a whole doesn't quite deliver. But like i've said before, i had REALLY big expectations!! As a standalone album though, this is a technical and musical masterpiece definitely worth a space in anybodys metal collection.

Report this review (#121771)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to say that I was really looking forward to this album, because I loved "The Odyssey".

"Paradise Lost" falls short of the expectations set by their previous album. When I first heard it, I was excited by the opening song. It's heavy, epic, typical Symphony X greatness. Nothing short of a perfect opener. The following songs though . . . They leave the listener wondering what happened to the band in the last 5 years. The vocals aren't the same, the riffs are still the same insane speed, but lacking the creativity of previous albums.

This was a pretty dissapointing album, esspecially the song "Serpent's Kiss". They wen't for a heavier sound, but overall, the songs sound muddy because of too much distortion and double bass drums. It seemed like they were moving away from everything that was so great about the band.

Report this review (#122897)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My rating: 5 stars - progressive metal masterpiece!


I have been anticipating this album (as many others had) for five years. How the HELL could Symphony X top "The Odyssey" or "V"? Well, for one, the mix is UNBELIEVABLE! Forget the typical garage band style Symphony X has been known for. This time, they got Jens Bogren of Opeth to do the production and boy, did it help. Also, Michael Romeo has really stepped up his guitar playing. He has some amazing and memorable riffs, but also melodic, though intense, shredding as well.

The album starts off with "Oculus ex Inferni", with a steady, crunchy chord delivered by Romeo with a choir doing some vocals over top and Romeo's usual orchestral arrangements, but this time, the quality is MUCH better than say "The Odyssey". The orchestra actually sounds like a real orchestra this time and the mix with Jason Rullo's drums and Romeo's guitar is wonderful. There are also great moments of beauty where a soprano voice soars over the orchestra with an incredibly epic scope. A great opener.

Next comes "Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)", which blends in smoothly with "Oculus ex Inferni". This starts of with some AMAZING, and arguably Romeo's best, riffage (though this album is full of incredible riffs). Eventually, the amazing Russell Allen explodes with an extremely angry and deep voice, filling the song with rage. If you've seen the album cover, you can understand what exactly is going on in this song. The chorus feels like a typical Symphony X chorus and Rullo's double bass patterns continue to fill this album, though not to the extent as his previous albums. It's definitely very tasteful and fits extremely well with Romeo's crunchy guitar work. Michael Pinnella's synth work is also brought more towards the front of the mix, though sometimes it can be hard to find. That's not necessarily a bad thing as sometimes when you listen closely, you can hear his extremely complex harmonies and melodies that go along with Romeo's solos. The song ends with another strong riff from Romeo with some great men's vocals as backups. This is the definition of what Symphony X set out to do. Create a symphony of instruments, but add guitars, keyboards, and drums to create an amazing experience.

"Domination" begins with another bass solo by Michael Lepond, reminiscent of "Sea of Lies", but still unique. Russell Allen once again adds his amazing voice to the song, making it truly creepy to listen to the incredibly dark lyrics. Russell's voice feels much more rough on this album and it's great to see a very different side of his voice. Towards the middle of the song, we have another classic Romeo solo behind Rullo's double bass groove. After that, we lead into some great keyboard work by Pinnella and then my favorite part. Pinnella's left hand continues with an extremely dark melody in front of a wicked guitar chord that creates one of my favorite moments on the album. The choir seems to be everywhere on this album, which is definitely a plus as it's done very well and very tastefully.

"The Serpent's Kiss" begins with another wicked riff from Romeo and afterwards, Allen continues painting a very creepy and scary picture with his voice, much lower than usual. Romeo's guitar shredding continues later in the song right before a great choir moment comes in. One of my favorite tracks on the album.

The title track is an excellent ballad in the vein of "The Accolade" beginning with Pinnella's piano and Romeo's acoustic. There's also a great bass line from Lepond as well. Allen's voice goes back to the more traditional style and it's great to hear him 'back to normal', so to speak, as this is the first time on the album he's in a much more choral voice. The chorus is very memorable and also quite beautiful. This is actually one of the better tracks on the album and it's good to see Symphony X still knows how to do a great ballad to slow down the pace of the album. Romeo's solos on this track are also unique and memorable.

I hate repeating myself, but "Eve of Seduction" is just another great gem on this album that's full of them. It begins with a sweet Romeo riff with Pinnella adding a great harmony on top of it. It then leads into sinister chords backed up once again by Rullo's double bass. This song kind of reminds me a bit of Dragonforce, but not as fast nor as repetitive.

"The Walls of Babylon" begins with creepy, Arabian-like female vocals, but then leads into another sick Romeo riff back up by amazing drums and also a male choir, reminding me almost of some of The Lord of the Rings soundtracks (and that's certainly a good thing!). It then delves deeper into the riff, expanding it and making it even better. Pinnella adds his own melody on top of it, which makes it even richer. Pinnella then does a great solo, not too fast, but definitely not slow. Finally, three and a half minutes in, Allen finally adds his now familiar sinister and angry vocals. The song continues in excellent fashion, later adding some amazing guitar and keyboard solos.

"Seven" is one of the harder songs on an album already chocked full of progressive metal goodness. It begins with an extremely fast solo from Pinnella backed up by Romeo's rhythm guitar, then leads into the main riff. This song reminds you of classic, fast-paced Symphony X songs with finger melting guitar and keyboard solos in between classic Allen vocals. Though it might remind of you of songs from previous albums, it stands unique in itself on this album. Later on in the song, we get some amazing tapping work by the bassist, Lepond, which reminds you of "Egypt" from "V". It works behind crunchy guitar chords and more chanting from the men's choir.

"The Sacrifice" is the second ballad on the album and it is just as well done as "Paradise Lost", beginning with the gentle vocals of Russell Allen backed up by piano and an acoustic guitar. The lyrics feel very heartfelt and emotional, which has usually been something lacking from Symphony X. The 'cheese' on this album is definitely less than on previous, not only making it easier to listen to, but adding a seriousness that hasn't existed before on SX albums. The album art definitely helps as it matches very well with the lyrics, which describe the destruction of paradise.

"Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia)", the final and longest track, is the epic of the album. It definitely feels that way and works as a great ending to a truly fantastic album. Pinnella somehow manages to add some beautiful piano melodies behind the unforgiving guitar and drum work, which is truly great to listen to. This track has the most memorable of the work done by Romeo and Pinnella, with some absolutely astounding riffs, solos, chants, and vocal work from the choir. I don't know who they got to sing on this album, but it definitely sounds great. This is the most progressive song on the album consisting of the most solos and the most complex structure of all the songs. The song ends with the main riff from "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" as it slowly fades out, making it a truly fantastic track and probably my favorite from the album.

Overall, this is by far Symphony X's best work. Four and a half to five years in the making, it has definitely been worth it. Although some of you, including me, were wary of the lack of an epic, the first time for SX since The Damnation Game, they really put most of the work making the shorter songs truly amazing and memorable. This is Symphony X's hardest album, but don't let that keep you from buying it. It's still Symphony X and the classic SX elements are still there, but paired with some astounding new and unique aspects that could make this album my album of the year. Currently, it's tied for first with Redemption's "The Origins of Ruin", but we'll see how Dream Theater, Riverside, and Circus Maximus match up to them by the end of the year.

Report this review (#123008)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album rocks.When I heard it for the first time I thought, well, this is kinda cool but after couple of more listenings I was amazed.First of all the sound is really much better on this one rather than "The Oddyssey" one, it sounds fuller, heavier, better.There is no bad song on the album, and that's really important.Russell's singing is strong, powerful, and beautiful at slower songs.He shows constant progres in singing from album to album.As for the rest of the band, well, all is said long time ago.Romeo tried really hard in every song to show his best, and I think he did it.Jason gives us some of his signature drumming once again, but maybe a little heavier.Pinnella and Mike are really good too.My favorites are "set the world on fire" , "domination" , "eve of seduction".Amazing album, keep up the good work guys.
Report this review (#123380)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I listened to this album I was speechless. I hungered for the music of each and every one of the songs as I waited for this album for a long time - and when every song ended I couldn't wait to hear it again.

2 weeks have passed since the day I got the album, and I have listened to it twice a day, EVERY day. This masterpiece does not bore me, unlike so many other albums.

Yes, Rusell Allen's voice is a bit rougher than on other Symx albums and that is a change. Changes, however, are not always bad. I must admit I like his voice when it is clear, but listening to him sing like on Paradise Lost is a welcomed change - and of course there are the tracks Paradise Lost and The Sacrifice where you can still hear him and understand why he is such an excellent singer.

Overall, one of the best Symx albums I've heard so far, I liked it a lot from the moment I started listening to it and evey second after that. The songs are just so intense, and really, you don't get a break for a second - a good quality in my opinion.

Definitely 5 stars!

Report this review (#123393)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have waited for so long this album.... I enjoyed The Odyssey for his epic sounds and lyrics and can't wait for the new opera of Romeo and Co. Paradise Lost leave no time for breathing.... it's even more powerful and epic than previous SX releases, songwriting is really good, guitar soloing (sometimes Romeo is really boring with those tapping solos... in every damn song!!!) seem for the first time an extension of the lyrics... well what about the words.... They're SX, sir! Mr. Pinnella give us another time his best behind the keys (a keyboard or an orchestra? it's incredible), also Mr Lepond is fantastic (MY DOMINATION!!!!!) ... well what about Mr. Rullo??? one word: PERFECT. My favorite songs are The serpent's kiss ("trust in me coz I will set you FREEEE") and Revelation (a chorus you won't forget). songs 6 and 8 seem more power style... well I'm not a power fan... but SX roots are power isn't it? but this time is ... reinventing the power... do you know any other band who can play power as SX plays power???? PLEASE BUY THIS ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EXCELLENT

Ops... I forget to mention titletrack "paradise lost".... You know candlelight fantasia from TDWT??? well, forget it, paradise lost will soon be your favorite SX song! thank you RUSSELL!

Report this review (#124469)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X, I must confess, is one of my favorite bands, and thus I may tend to judge them wrong. I so long awaited this CD that when I got one of the promo CDs I just wanted to shout it out to the whole world and jump all around. I eagerly put in in my recorder, and pressed play.

Oculus ex Inferni: A majestic intro, with a lot of dark ambiance. My heart beating hard in my chest. Wow, this IS a good intro. I love it. It remembers me of those old V days(by the way, V is my favorite CD)Some guitars and some orchestral-choral background. Some keyboards rage almost sporadically. Its just touching.

Set The World On Fire(The Lie of Lies): Finally the moment had come. This was the very moment in which I started listening to my favorite band's latest CD, a CD that took 5 years of preparation to be done. I was sooo excited. As the song begun I felt some blood running into my head. The guitars come in. WHOA! THIS IS SYMPHONY X! I even head banged. The entire CD is definitely not as heavy as The Odyssey. Though, the first seconds of the songs you get this overwhelming feeling of heaviness. Then you get Russell's vocals. Somehow, these vocals are harsher than in previous CD's. When the chorus comes, you notice a new element in SYX. How to describe it is the real question. Its a more epic-power element, still not going to a Rhapsody stage. I like it, but i'm not really convinces with it. For about 10 seconds after the chorus, there are some completely V manner keyboards. This song could be a combination of V plus some Odyssey elements, and the final touch of fresh material.

Domination: An ABSOLUTELY TDWOT song. It is something very similar to "Sea Of Lies", "Of Sins And Shadows" song. Cool, but not great. Not very innovative. Again you feel Russel's vocals are harsher. I was a little let down while listening this song. It was just not as convincing as I would expect from the 2nd song in this cd. Not bad though.

The Serpent's Kiss: As the song begins, you notice once more the Odyssey moments. Heavy, deep. But then, the guitars cease as the vocals begin, and the fresh air hits you in the face. This song is definitely one of the best in the CD. Very different from the earlier SYX material. Cool riffs, good vocal arrengements(harsher than in earlier works, again). Some of those fark, choral parts mixed now and then with heavy Romeo guitars. Very good song.

Paradise Lost: When this song begun, I just thought of some old school SYX songs like Accolade, Accolade II, or Communion And The Oracle. But then at some point of the song, I remembered one of my favorite songs. Awakenings. This song is beautiful. Harmonious. Russell just touched my heart, lol. I LOVE it. No match for this song in Paradise Lost. Amazing, just shocking.

Eve of Seduction: Mmmm This song is one of the mos uniteresting tracks in the CD. Some parts are cool, but overall, I get boared listening to it. Nothing really special to remark here, just that lyrics seems to be good.

The Walls Of Babylon: Definitely remembers me of King Of Terrors. Some Heavy guitars introduce the song, along with some choral keyboards which give it some ambiance of darkness. Cool keyboards then get along with guitars. At the poing where vocals begin, I can only think in King Of Terrors. Almost a copy-cat. Not the best song in the CD though(so I thought of King Of Terrors when I heard it).

Seven: Good song, I'd say. Raging, amazing keyboards. Cool guitar riffs. Though, this song is a very Oddyssey song. I would compare it too The Turning or Wicked. Im not fan of these kinds of songs, but I don't dislike them. I think this is an average song. Some parts are very cool, others are just filling.

The Sacrifice: This is another "Communion And The Oracle", "Accolade" song. It's not bad. But its another song, and only that. Lyric is very cool. No more comments about it, I guess.

Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia): This is the Paradise Lost long song SYX always includes in their CDs. It starts with some guitars with a very DWOT sound. Then we hear the vocals, and some parts of it are just much more fresh than previous 3 songs. Others, are very Odyssey parts. They are both cool, but either is great. Then you get some DWOT vocals. The song is kindda unfortunatley repetitive, though I sense this was not what SYX planned for it. Good song.

This cd overall is very good. I was expecting more from SYX, but I think that it wont be long until the next CD is released, and I would say that in that CD we will have a renewed SYX. Remarkable songs: Oculus ex Inferni, Set The World On Fire(The Lie of Lies), The Serpent's Kiss, Paradise Lost.

Soft sections: 10/10 Heavy sections: 8/10 Lasting Appeal: 8/10 Musicianship: 9/10 Creativity/Originality: 8.5/10 Oculus ex Inferni: 10/10 Set The World On Fire(The Lie Of Lies): 10/10 Domination: 7/10 The Serpents Kiss: 9.5/10 Paradise Lost: 10/10(Absolutely the best song in the CD, and one of SYX's greatest) Eve of Seduction: 6/10 The Walls Of Babylon: 8/10 Seven: 8.5/10 The Sacrifice: 8/10 Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia): 8.5/10

10+8+8+9+8.5+10+10+7+9.5+10+6+8+8.5+8+8.5=129 129/150=86/100=43/50=4.3/5 4*

Report this review (#125323)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I received this album early Monday morning, after pre-ordering it (like Dream Theater's "Systematic Chaos") on F.Y.E.; and immediately, I was introduced to the record's pure and unadulterated joie de vivre. Following their 2002 masterpiece, "The Odyssey," naturally I was hesitant for this album when I read they wouldn't be including another epic to rival their previous one, of the same name as their album; however, from the first thirty seconds of listening to track one, "Oculus Ex Inferni," I was at once brought back to when I first heard "V: The New Mythology Suite," as both opening songs have a similar operatic touch, and I knew I was going to enjoy the all- encompassing complexities of this record.

Speaking of the opening song, I think this track, in comparison to the one found on "V: The New Mythology Suite," brings with it much more depth and several undercurrents than the other, both musically as well as, I suppose, spiritually. Call it "fan-boy" drivel, but I couldn't really care less; I am a Symphony X loyalist. Sue me.

The transition from "Oculus Ex Inferni" to "Set the World on Fire (The Lieof Lies)" was one of their best yet, including, naturally, the transition on "V: The New Mythology Suite," between its prelude and "Evolution (The Grand Design)." From a broad, underdeveloped tone to a heavier, grander-in-scale one can never be unappreciated.

Quite unlike Dream Theater's singles, Symphony X can create terrific songs even in their more-popularly bound ones; as is the case with "The Serpent's Kiss." I would suggest this song to anyone who's familiar with their sound or newcomers unfettered in their style. Further noteworthy tracks include "The Walls of Babylon," which, as well-crafted as it is, can still be pin-pointed to its unambiguous influence; "Seven," which brings with it an overwhelming sensation to rock "the hell" out; and "Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia)," a truly classic piece of music with remarkable lyrics, vocals and, above all, guitar work. Upon first listening, I would say this song gets my prize of best track on the record, but give me another digestion tomorrow and I'm sure that'll either change or, if nothing else, just strengthen my fervor for it.

Naturally, I have negative issues with this album, like anyone else; but right now I have chosen to focus on the lighter beats, rather than anything else, because one, I don't have a lot of time; and two, to find lesser qualities of this album would not only cost me another, perhaps two more, dives into the record, but it would also be too time- consuming, because, as many of fellow Symphony X listeners would be able to tell you, it is far too difficult to find an inferior performance of a record by this group than it is to focus on all else clouding the mind. So, please forgive me and simply take this review as evidence enough to at least give the album a try. that is, presumably-speaking, that you are already familiar with their work. I would, by no means at all, recommend this album for one foreign to this band. For that purpose, either "V: The New Mythology Suite," "Twilight in Olympus" or "The Odyssey" would likely prove a greater opportunity.

Anyway, I suppose that's it. "Paradise Lost" is an album I have greatly looked forward to and, now that it's here, do not plan on putting it aside anytime soon. For one who considers "The Odyssey" their second greatest work yet, beaten only by "V: The New Mythology Suite," I think this album certainly rivals the place of third, which as of yet is reserved for "The Divine Wings of Tragedy." I can't wait to hear these songs live; speaking of which, I cannot wait to see the group on the 27th of July, in Seattle. For those of you vigilant on giving "Paradise Lost" a chance, I pray you take me at my word when I say it's without doubt an album that makes up for a five-year intermission.

Report this review (#126800)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely stunnig, incredible, tasty. brutal, fast, yet very recognizable and very well mixed album. Before I sat daown and decided to write my review, which I don't do very often (either when I am just very dissapointed or very excited, I have read other reviews. Since the perception of any musical piece by everyone has been always very subjective (and so will be mine), it also tends to reveal their feel for either greatness, blind following of a name that has ceased to perform anymore, and finally, their appreciation for pure genius of music making. In the world where it is without a question almost impossible to record a music that will satisfy all the parameters for greatness, I think that Symphony X is one of the few bands who are able to understand what it takes to make an absolute masterpice. Each and every album they have ever made has gotten just better and better (except that I would put Mytholgy Suite before Odyssey in terms of perfection since I think that Odyssey, while great, did not reach the pinnacle SX V did).

Paradise Lost - I have been waiting for this one more than for any album in my history of buying music. Just two days prior, I bought Vai's new Sound Theories Vol. I and I was so disappointed that I was just horrified by an idea that SX will not deliver, either when I get it in the mail. Then, when I opened the package, I saw a beautiful, original artwork and I could not but admire the taste of the artist. Then, finally, I slid it into my Denon and played it. I literally dropped my jaw and at some moments, I screamed in joy. The album is an absolute stunner. Yes, it is much more agressive than the rest; not just in sound but in speed, walls of sounds and unbeliavably difficult playing techniques, yet incredibly well mastered . But everything comes together so compact and clock like that I think that the only album that stands comparison with it (altough a little different style and concept) is Spiral Architects when it comes to mastery of each player. It is overwhelming from the first note to the last. This is Symphony X I've always hoped I will hear one day - I could hear their potential on the previous works.

I am not going to analyze each track - I never do that. I always look at it as a whole. But if there is a guitar player other than Jeff Beck who can play as clean as God meant for guitar to be played ( I mean all the sounds), it is Michael Romeo. And trust me, I have many favorite guitar players. I know lots of you regard DT as masters of Prog. I regard them as the jump-starters of it; no more, no less. They certainly deserve their place in history. However, without hearing their last album (simply because I can't stand their last four projects; they were getting progressively worse with each attempt), I don't like them anymore and except I&W I sold the rest of them. I can't stand LaBrie, their live show in Viejas(CA) was very bad at best so I lost any interest in them anymore. Back to Romeo. He is so incredibly good, fast, melodic, clean and rhytmical that I don't think anyone on today's rock music can match his skills. Russell Allen is one of the most talented singers of a new era. He is getting better with each album. I did not really like his solo attempt that much but I understand that he was trying to do something else there. The other three - drummer, bass guitar and keyboard players are no less phenomenal than the two above. Drummer maintains smooth transitions even when at the rythm changes - it all comes out very flawless and weirdly natural (even though most of us are accustomed to 4/4 beat by nature, so anything out of that range we perceive as a distraction - in SX case, I find myself looking for hickups and there are none. It's all very well composed and performed.

It all comes into a fantastic performance on every note they hit. This is not just a raw energy - this is a very calculated effort; a very well thought out piece of incredible art, worthy of great composers of the past, only in different genre. Since I have yet to get into it more (I've heard it so far twice today), I can't dissect the entire album to details like some others could on this forum already. But just as I was shocked by their Mythology Suite and I basically could have not listened to anything else for four(!) months, which I've never done before, I dropped my jaws even lower this time in pure amazement and joy. Now, I can only give this album five starts but judging by what some people give to other bands and artists who do not deserve such a gratitude, let me just say that this album is rated by me at least by ten stars. It my collection, it will be among the five best albums I have ever owned - for sure. That would make SX my most admired band since SX V has it's place between those five already. Pure perfection....

Report this review (#127393)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Long awaited masterpiece album!

Wow! Lately, I have been bombarded with lot of heavy side of rock music. After our hectic days to present Solucite Metal Concert featuring DragonForce live in Jakarta, May 19, 2007, a lot of progressive metal albums were available in the market. I got Dream Theater "Systematic Chaos" and Symphony X "Paradise Lost" in the forms of MP3 way before the official release dates. I then preordered all of them and now I have the original CDs with me. Later I got Kamelot "Ghost Opera" which I have posted a review at this site. What I like about those albums were that all of them were excellent! As a matter of taste, my order of preference from these three wonderful releases are: 1. Ghost Opera, 2. Paradise Lost, 3. Systematic Chaos. I will need to post my review on Dream Theater "Systematic Chaos" because I got the special edition with "The Making of" DVD.

As far as "Paradise Lost" concern, I really amazed with the beauty of this album especially in delivering a stream of music which mostly in uptempo and heavy riffs fashion. If you relate this album with Dream Theater, this seems like an answer of Dream Theater's "Rain of Thoughts" album by Symphony X. The only difference is that "Paradise Lost" has more symphonic fills than "Train of Thought". I have to agree that these two bands are equivalently excellent. Most of their compositioans are top notch!

In terms of Symphony X, this album is better than the band's previous "Odyssey" album which was released 5 years ago in 2002. It's been quite a long time for the band to come up with this new album, but it's worth the wait because this album is very close to perfection. When I say so, because I can appreciate the heavy side of rock music which is typically demonstrated by guitar riffs and upbeat tempo. This album does not compromise with this even though there are excellent musical breaks which feature keyboard and vocal line. So, if you don't get used to heavy riffs and fast tempo, you'd better stay away from this album as it might not be your cup of tea. But I tell you what, once you like heavy riffs, your horizon wouls be expanded tremendously because there is a lot of excellent music which explores riffs and combine them with catchy solos.

Why this album is a masterpiece?

Composition. Most music was composed by the guitarist, Michael Romeo, which has significant influence of classical music. I think, the name "Symphony X" was originated from him especially on his obsession towards symphonic music. All lyrics were done by Michael Romeo and Russell Allen. Michael Romeo also produce this album. The songwriting is top notch. Not ony song by song composition which seems to me very neat and tight, the song placement in the whole album is well positioned to present an excellent stream of music that flows beautifully from start to end. The opening instrumental track "Oculus Ex Inferni" is a masterpiece orchestration, wonderfully composed by Michael Romeo. The melody sounds complex but the harmonies of sounds produced from this opening track are wonderful. Lumped up together they can jockey up your adrenalin and make you getting "prepared" for the next beautiful blasts of progressive metal music. I'm telling you the truth because what comes next is a beautiful song "Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)" which has full of heavy riffs in fast tempo. Each song in this album has been crafted in such a way that the combined work of instruments being used produce excellent harmonies in relatively catchy melody line where eerie vocal quality of Russell Allen delivers the storyline of the album - which I think it's a Scientific Fiction story.

Drive and Energy. You will listen to a stream of music which is very dynamic with frequent high and low points demonstrating keyboard and / or guitar solos during the musical breaks. Almost all songs have strong drive and energy which might elevate your emotion in an uplifting mode. The album is quite good to start the day because of its power and energy. Out of all tracks only one that has a bit mellow style, i.e. "Paradise Lost". The rest are music with power.

Performance. Each member of the band provides their virtuosity in playing their own instruments with excellent harmonies. The result is a coherent music that flows beautifully from segment to segement and from song to song which at the end build a masterpiece album. Michael Romeo's riffs are heavy but he plays them in smooth and clean sounds with practically no distortion at all. Michael Pinnella keyboards playing work perfectly in augmenting Romeo's guitar solo as well as performing his own keyboard solo. Russell Allen voice is excellent and when he tones down, his voice is quite close to Kansas' Steve Walsh. In some respect the music of Symphony X is close to Kansas, especially on the parts where keyboard sound like a violin. Try "Accollades" of the band's previous albums and you will get the similarities.

Having done that long review, of course , I will recommend you to own this album. It's really worth collecting especially the CD package has excellent artwork in the CD sleeves. One minor thing is the ending part of "The Walls of Babylon" which I expect the heavy riffs will continue longer and the song does not end in "fading out" way. But that's minor and I expect the band will play this longer in their live concerts. I also expect that the band will not take another long period of time to release the next album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#127784)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In "Paradise Lost" everything is born from inside, from the song and the maximum advantage of the resources whereupon it counts the band. As for me, the disc not only serves me almost to justify five years of delay. Also I use it to say that it is an exception to the rule that such Symphony X wrote at some time, because I believe that from that masterpiece of the' 97, "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", that came removing to albums each one lower than the previous one, by more "V: The New Mythology Suite" that outside, naming one of the favorites.
Report this review (#128039)
Posted Tuesday, July 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dear God. After 5 long years of waiting SX deliver to us a new album and the least we can do is to give it our full attention. And I dont' think that anyone who likes SX music will have a problem with that.

From the epical intro of this, from the first riff, from the first note of Allen's voice you feel that it worth all 5 years of expectation. They are back more solid, heavy and matured then ever. All songs are strong, some compositions are the strongest I've heard this year. The guitar does excellent work, with unique ideas on riffs and solos, more technical and heavier that ever. This is metal in all its forms: speed, power, thrash, gothic. "Symphonic" is IMO the word that fits to it but the whole result is beyond words. Vocals are angrier than ever with many melodic parts and high notes jus t as usual. We couldn't expect less from mr Allen. Keys, drums, bass lines, all have a particular role in the whole colossal orchestration. As for the complexity of the music, well, SX put again a new meaning to the word.

After the first shock, you come across the artwork of this album. It is truly breathtaking, emotional and in accordance with the message of the music and the lyrics. This is a dark album, maybe their darkest. The message is clear and that makes this album even more solid and complete.This is an idea explored and then performed, recorded and presented in a perfect way. And that truly makes this album a masterpiece.

I don't know if this is theri finest work, frankly I don't care. SX delivered an album that deserves to be placed in the 1st place of the "Album of the Year" contest. It shares this place with DT's "Systematic Chaos". These two albums are the best examples of Prog Metal '07.

Report this review (#130140)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a five year wait, Symphony X delivered their heaviest album to date with the crushing Paradise Lost. Pinella's keyboards sound a lot heavier, and his interplay with Romeo has never been tighter. rullo still has the most groove of any prog metal drummer I know. Allen sounds enraged for about 90% of the album and he seems to spit the lyrics at times. Lepond finally steps out of Thomas Miller's shadow with some killer bass performances. Romeo sets himself up as the king of prog metal riff-makers with his best set of riffs yet.

What is immediately noticeable (besides the crushing heaviness) is the lack of any epics. laso, only one song has any ties with John Milton's epic poem, and it's more of a metaphor for life than a synopsis of that wonderful piece of literature. However, Symhony X prove that they can cram all of their progressive traits into shorter tracks. This release marks SX as the true successors of Rush. The drums are technical yet groovy, and the short tracks have more complexity than many epics. The entire album is enjoyable, but highlights include the storming "Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies) ," "Domination" (which opens with a killer bass intro), "The Serpent's Kiss" and the epic "The Walls of Babylon." "Eve of Seduction" and "The Sacrifice" are the weakest tracks of the album; they just fail to ecite me. They're not bad, but they don't stand out.

After the slight misstep of The Odyssey, SX bounce back tremendously with this release. It is the air guitar album of the year and you'll be shredding your tennis racket along with Romeo until you can't lift your arm. It isn't very varied, but it is highly enjoyable an a great album for any fan of prog metal.

Grade: B

Report this review (#130153)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 5 stars for the music and 1 star for the vocals. I may not be objective here, as it is generally a strong release and instrumentally satisfies my completely, and probably will satisfy most of the progressive metal fans, but I just can't stand the vocalist. That's the problem I have with metal music, growling and disorted vocals are just not my cup of tea. If you don't mind, than you can find this album astonishing but for me it's only good, but not essential. And what a shame, because just for the instrumental parts I might love this album, but I just can't...

3 stars

Report this review (#130403)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that this is a tremendous album. The music is excellent and played by a quintet that is on top form. The mix of moods captures the underlying story very well and helps the cascade of sound to scoop you up and sweep you along.

I can't single out any tracks for particular praise as all of them are so good - there is no filler in evidence at all. In fact, this album is so strong that it blows DT's Systematic Chaos out of the water (even though it is a good, if predictable, release). I wonder if this year will see a stronger release in this genre? I suspect not.

If you're open-minded about your prog music then this one is a must. It is very heavy though so if you're put off by some harsh vocals and occasionally thrashy riffs it is probably not for you. Well worth the price of admission and deserving of four stars!

Report this review (#130413)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Been a big fan of this band for close to a decade and I have loved most of what they have put out, but I regret to admit that they have become too heavy for me on this occasion. I only enjoy three songs on this CD the title song "Paradise Lost" , "The Sacrifice" & "Revelation". Now please don`t think I`m complaining about the heaviness as I knew that Symph X were going to be heavy on this release, what I wasn`t prepared for was the very forced and brutal nature of their application on the CD. In the past the Heavy factor has almost been organic and served a purpose but on this CD it is as if they are running dry on ideas and just cranking it up to fill the void of any artistic creativity. I think the most shocking and disturbing thing about this rather empty result is the fans seem to let it go unnoticed and have allowed this CD to rest side by side in rating with "The New Mythology" and Paradise Lost is considered higher in rating than "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" ??? makes you wonder if Symph X fans know more about Shred than they do prog metal ? Romeo is too up front , Rullo is too far in the background , Allen's voice is rough and sounds uncared for basically his voice has lost its quality which is a shame too because Allen was a great singer once, but that's what singing to shred all the time will do so its a choice he made I guess, but it is damaged.

Collectors/fans only don't start here if you are new to Symphony X and serious about prog metal whatever you do

Report this review (#133974)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another stunning work by Symphony X, Paradise Lost contains both the greatness the band is known for while still branching out into new realms - as progressive music should be.

Overall, the album is heavier and darker than their previous installments. It is a "concept album", however unlike V it does not appear to be one continuous story but rather nine or ten individual ones linked by the the theme of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. The band's skill is still tip-top-notch. Allen and Romeo are still as unbelievable as ever; Rullo plays his role fiercely and (regretfully I'm not a drum expert); Pinella's teamwork with Romeo is still so good it's hard to distinguish the two. HE also takes an interesting role in many of the songs as a background ambiance rather than a standard pianist; and LePond is arguably better than ever, when he isn't unfortunately drowned out by everyone else (one point I think could have been done better). Here's a brief track-by-track synopsis:

Oculus Ex Inferni - An orchestral instrumental that quickly sets the mood for the rest of the album. Very nicely put together and serves well as both an intro to the album and an intro track for the next song, which it seamlessly flows into.

Set the World On Fire (The Lie of Lies) - If Symphony X's favorite theme of deceit wasn't apparent already this clinches it. While said alternate title is a little quirky the song overall is excellent and one of my favorites on the album. Classic Symphony X style is tweaked with the album's heavier and darker trend for noticeable similarities and differences all at once. If any one song could sum up the entire album this would be it. True progressive power metal.

Domination - I actually don't like this one as much as others seem to. I feel like Russel's vocals could have been applied better here; less bluntly. Great bass intro reminiscent of Sea of Lies and overall good instrumentals but it just seems to lack that special something in the band's greater songs. Fans of the heavier, 'thrashier' styles may like this one more.

The Serpent's Kiss - This may well be the best song on the album and it's one of my favorites. The Serpent's Kiss brings the band's music into a new direction that some seem to love and others just don't. Although it's probably the darkest song they've ever made, what really makes it stand out are the vocals. Russell shows a darker, soft yet powerful side of his voice we haven't seen yet that works very well.Some people seem to be under the impression that it's because his voice has been damaged, but this is clearly not true as he uses his 'normal' clean vocals at times as well. Quite the contrary this song shows he's better with his voice than ever. The song's one fault is that it's very distorted which, while adding to the 'feel', makes a lot of it blur together at times. A well-placed orchestral keyboard solo does help offset this, though. Paradise Lost - This is the first of the album's softer songs providing a nice break from the almost overwhelming heaviness thus far. Even so, no 'power' is lost here, Allen makes sure of that as he takes the spotlight again. Penella plays a more prominent role with a clean piano melody yet still somehow seems less included than he has been in the past albums.

Eve of Seduction - Now this is a song worthy of attention. Every part of it is played beautifully and I must say, this is probably the heaviest love song I've ever heard that loses none of its message in the force. The main guitar riff is incredible and has found itself stuck in my head for days. Lepond gives what may be his best work yet, but you have to listen closely for it. The lyrics are well written (although the line "I'll tear it apart" still throws me off) and Russel's voice shines here even for him. Of significant note may be Romeo's solo, which appears to contain the same technically impossible chromatic move he pulled in Ayreon's Dawn of a Million Souls. If there's one thing that bugs me it's this one riff that screams "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" to me (good a song as that is).

The Walls of Babylon - A good song overall, but there isn't much that makes it stand out from the rest of the album. Perhaps a Judas Priest-esque scream Allen uses at points? Oh! Penella finally gets a proper solo on this album for one... I feel bad for not having more to say about this song.

Seven - Starts out with a fancy neo-classical bit with subtle hints at the later parts of the song. I hate to say, but Russell is probably the weakest link for once here. Aside from the pre-chorus I think he could have done more than he did. Keep in mind though, that less than average for Allen is still great. The "catch you when you fall" line seems just a teeny touch overused, but enough to bug me. It's probably irrational. I'll let the nice "So damn you all" line cancel that out. Geez, I hate to say, but this song is hurt by Russell.

The Sacrifice - Here's Russell's chance to atone; he delivers. The second softer song which I feel is better than the first if only for the emotion conveyed by Allen. All of the band members just work together here to make a soft, beautiful, melodic love song that still, somehow, someway, has the power of a train.

Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) - While still darker, this song is probably the closest to the older Symphony X songs. The most distinctive part, the chorus, is a new approach lyrically for the band but it's not a big difference. The multi-instrumental solo about halfway through the song is one of those wonderful prog medleys and is definitely one of the album's strongest points. No band member is hidden behind the others here, which has been an issue throughout the album. It may well be the most well put-together song of the album but it still seems overshadowed, in my mind at least, by Eve of Seduction and maybe another or two simply for it's lack of a good catchiness. The outro of this song will be a small treat for fans of the one of the band's earlier and greatest works.

Overall it's a great album. I may have lauded it quite a bit through this whole piece, but it isn't perfect. I've already covered the overshadowing (no pun intended)... I used the word "heavy" a lot. Probably because it's a heavy album, maybe too heavy for some people to fully enjoy. While it still contains Symphony X's unparalleled musicianship, it's very distorted much of the time and at points the complexities are blurred by that. Tact seems just a little sacrificed in favor of force. In most bands this would be overlooked, but Symphony X... Like all of X's works it takes quite a few listens through to fully appreciate it all; all great prog bands are this way but none more so. Even to a trained ear some of their intricate work can sound a blurry mess at first so the untrained ear will probably not accept this album nearly as well. This is both a demonstration of the band's technical greatness and a presentational weakness.

So it's not perfect, but it's still ridiculously good. I give it a 5-star rating not automatically because I love the band, but because nothing is perfect and few things deserve the recognition more. Whether or not you like the new direction the band has taken with this album, the quality of it is undeniable. The band consists, without exception, of sheer virtuosos.

Report this review (#135956)
Posted Sunday, September 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X will soon be playing a first ever gig in my country (Scotland) and needless to say I have been counting the days. Some band called Dream Theater will be supporting them and in an unprecedented move Symphony X will be allowing them to go on last!! Generous or what? Symphony X were the first band this Prog Archive brought to my attention - I had never heard of them previously - and for that alone I will always be grateful. I have to start by saying that this album is not my favourite by the band. That accolade belongs to V. I have persuaded a friend to come to the forthcoming gig. I don't know whether Symphony X will ever return and I want my mate to experience what is sure to be a truly fantastic evening of virtuoso musicianship from TWO premier prog-metal bands. Paradise Lost is however not representative of what Symphony X means to me. Don't get me wrong it is still up there and still excites me - it seems heavier in places and (as some have said) darker at the edges. Saying that, the title track reminded me a little of Kansas ( no bad thing) until it picked up the pace. The Walls of Babylon is a masterpiece and worth the cost of the album alone. What I'm trying to say is that I could let my friend hear at least 10 other Symphony X tracks that I hope they play - these include Of Sins and Shadows,Fallen, Egypt,Pharaoh,Wicked and Incantations of the Apprentice. Short and sweet - its still worth buying - they set standards few can equal.
Report this review (#137060)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had heard most of the album before I bought it, and the reason I actually DID buy it was for "Set the World on Fire." After a bunch of complete album listens, I found out the whole album was awesome, with few exceptions.

Oculus ex Inferni: One of the lesser highlights, in my opinion. Time and again, I listen to it, but it just doesn't hold very much appeal to me. I for one, love Symphony X's instrumentals, but this one simply isn't at par with any their others.

Set The World On Fire (The lie of lies): What could very well be a successor to "Inferno (Unleash the fire)" in more than one way. For one, the song is as awesome, if not more catchy than Inferno, and features the same kind of chorus (STWA: "Fly with me..." and Interno: "The endless nights...") and structure (two regular choruses then bridge, solo, chorus).

Domination: The only thing I didn't like about this song is the beginning bass riff and guitar riff; they sounded like a rehash of "Sea of lies". Once he goes into the regular riff and whatnot, it's an entirely different song... Until after the chorus. If hadn't heard "Sea of Lies," I'd probably find this one better. It DOES have an short and sweet riff in the middle of the song, though.

Serpent's Kiss: I'm not sure why, but this song just doesn't hold that much appeal to me. It sounds too compressed, like it should have been at least 3 or four minutes longer. The riffs and vocals are good, yes, but the band just speeds through them too quickly for my taste.

Paradise Lost: What? A softer song being the highlight of a metal album? Yes. This song is simply beautiful. You'd have to hear to know what I mean.

Eve of Seduction: The song has a je-ne-sais-quoi flair to it. A good song, yes, but not an attraction to the album.

The Walls of Babylon: Symphony X as we know them have always been known to incorporate at least 2 long songs in each of their albums. One under 10 minutes, the other over. This one is the one under 10 minutes (dur) so expect it to be epic, because it is.

Seven & The Sacrifice: These two are probably the songs I listen to the least on the album. One straight-up metal, the other melodic. Both of which are simply overshadowed by better songs on the album, which probably why I don't listen to them.

Revelation (Divus ex Pennae Tragodea): The longer epic song of the album. It is but 2 seconds shy of 10 minutes, so we'll let that part slide, because this song is indeed one of the best on the album. Similar to "Divine Wings of tragedy" (I'm fairly certain the latin in the title is "Divine wings of tragedy") Like their other epics, they layered many parts to the song, each of which I found fantastic. At the end of the song, they semi-use the acoustic riff from TDWOT. A must-listen.

OVERALL: With great guitar, varied vocals, incredible keyboards, awesome bass, this album is one of Symphony X's best and a must-buy. 4 stars.

Report this review (#140943)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars It seems I'm losing that Prog-Metal gene I once had.

I mean there are some essential releases from the past, that still work on me. But every new one I experience fails to amuse me. Now I long to Prog Metal which is eclectic, somewhat extreme, less cliched, closer to Post-Rock kind of Metal or something...Unfortunately, SYMPHONY X is a Power-Prog band, that kind of music I tend to dislike. There's nothing awful about "Paradise Lost", it's a solid but far too ordinary Power-Prog record. Melodies are forced to be equal to some standard, musicianship is good but amount of notes played makes you feel boring (have they ever heard of "less is more" principle?), and I simply can't get how this can be regarded as a Masterpiece. Tastes differ, and I'm happy to think that "Paradise Lost" filled someone's life with sense or just made it better. Sorry, it just didn't click on me. Recommended for genre's (traditional Power- Prog) fans only.

Report this review (#143407)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars That's really striking ! After 76 (!) ratings there's an average for this album of exactly 4,00. And that's exactly the rating I had in mind for this one. I waited quite some time with my review because I wanted to do it justice (maybe also because we had to wait a long time for it to come out) and not review too quickly or too soon.

But after a few months I can't say my opinion has really changed. In most cases it is what it is and you feel what you feel about an album and this is also the case here. PL is a heavy album and also a good one but to say that it was worth the wait for 5 years, no I don't think so. What's lacking in my opinion is one or more excellent tracks that give the album more status. On the other hand: most tracks are very good, there is hardly a lesser track on the album and that is worth something too.

If I have to point out the better songs: the title track, Walls of Babylon and my very favourite: Domination. This is maybe the heaviest of them all and it really rocks, what a great metal effort this is. As I said, the others are very worthwhile but it's really missing the masterpiece status I think. So obviously 4 stars !

Report this review (#154957)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphony X had fans waiting for a long time for this release, and they certainly have branched out. Is this different direction for the better? Some fans obviously find this album exciting and intense, but others find it noisy and oppressive. I regret to say that I'm one of the latter.

Now, to the most important issue (at least in my opinion): Is Russell Allen's voice "destroyed"? Well, from most of the album, you might be inclined to agree, as he sounds very much like a singer who can't belt out the high notes in tune and compensates by growling and remaining in a lower register. On the other hand, you have some moments (on the chorus of Set the World on Fire and parts of Revelation, as well as the mellow title track) where he sounds as good as ever. My take is that Allen stills has great control over his voice--this is exactly how he wants to sound. Why he wants to take one of the best voices out there and make it sound as if he is putting his larynx through a meat grinder is beyond me...Allen is probably the only person who knows for sure. At any rate, this is the first Symphony X album where the vocals are not a highlight, and that is a divine tragedy in itself.

How about the music? Well, after many listens, I am underwhelmed, especially in comparison to the rest of their discography. There is a lot of repetition, such as fast runs in 4/4 time, that get old quickly. Also, after defending against allegations of cloning on their other albums, I unfortunately hear a lot of similarities to Dream Theater here. Pinella's tasteful piano lines are mostly replaced by Rudess-like arpeggio runs (though not completely: see Revelation). I also hope it's just a coincidence that the opening of Set the World on Fire is nearly identical to the part of Dream Theater's In the Presence of Enemies just before the first vocals. Finally, we also have the lyrics. Take the chorus of Revelation: "Oh no, oh no, I've got to find a way. A way, a way, to rise above it all". These are certainly not terrible, but they also pale in comparison to their previous work: more simplistic and repetitive than I've come to expect from them.

Don't get me wrong--this is a solid metal album: fast, intense, with plenty of virtuosity (especially on Domination and Seven). There's also some defiinite prog: from the opening and closing instrumentals, to the highlight title track, to the extended adrenaline-pumping finale. There's nothing wrong with a band changing direction, but they also risk losing some of their identity in doing so. I need some variety, such as more material like the title track, to balance the oppressive, crushing onslaught of metal. I still look forward to more from Symphony X, but I do hope they choose not to continue in this direction.

Report this review (#155771)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars With this album, Symphony X give a spin to more accesible straight heavy/power metal. Their result is their heaviest album to date, but in my opinion the music is not as challenging as on previous works. This CD is very metal, but, as happened with Dream Theater, they've become pretty predictable. I can even guess how the solos will be, or what kind of riffing will follow certain structure. Another problem I found is the production: it's chaotic, and it seems every instrument was recorded at top volume. Sometimes it's hard to know what's going on. And that problem is frequent with the most recent albums, doesn't matter the genre (1995 onward).

However, if you're in the mood you'll likely enjoy this album. The greatest aspect about this album are the riffs, many of them are very good, and the metal lover will find himself headbanging to them. The music is more accesible, with some great choruses. The highlights are the amazing opener Set The World On Fire (great one!!!), Domination, The Serpent's Kiss and The Sacrifice.

This album is good, but not as great as other SX's recordings, and fans of straight metal will love this one. A non essential work on the band's discography, to my taste.

Rating: 3/5

Report this review (#160069)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 5 years on from the hugely disappointing The Odyssey, Symphony X return with an album that took them 4 of those years to produce and one things for certain, it was worth the wait. Two things immediately strike me, the first is that this album now only has much less of a prog feel to it, they're not setting it out quite along the old lines of The Divine Wings of Tragedy and tightening up every aspect of the composition. The result is a very focused album with progressive leanings but mostly in the power metal style and much heavier than previous albums. The second major change is that bass player Michael Le Pond has spent the intervening time finding some serious inspiration (as well as fighting Crohns disease) as he offers up the single biggest improvement in performance from any of the bands members. An impressive turnaround from the lackluster showing he gave on The Odyssey. This isn't quite the album I was hopping from them, my wishes went more along the lines of having branch out into something new rather than improving on what they have already done, and as a result there are a few moments that I don't like that are clear hangovers from their past. Usually, when they bass a song/album of someone else's written work, they completely avoid the problem of cheesy lyrics but they don't seem to have been able to do that here. The worst offender is The Walls of Babylon, which would have made an impressive instrumental anyway. A very strong album, up there with The Divine Wings of Tragedy and V, but not a masterpiece.
Report this review (#165048)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album just didn't do it for me. Symphony X's last album The Odyssey had many wondering where the symphony was; It seems like now they've lost the progressive too. Paradise Lost is a really heavy album with gritty vocals and wailing guitars, but the element of progressive is severely lacking. Most Symphony X albums have a coup de grace track that is substantially more complex, melodic, and engaging than other tracks. The tracks on Paradise Lost seemed very formulaic and uninspired. Where's the time shifts? The beautiful sweeping symphonic music? Pinnella's Keyboards? Orchestration? In my opinion, this is SX's weakest deliveries since their freshman album. Hopefully they will find their roots for their next album.
Report this review (#165057)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3 1/4 stars

A fast, heavy, fist-pumping and anthemic power metal album.

uh, power metal? The problem is that with this release I believe that Symphony X distanced themselves quite a bit from their very classical roots in exchange for more power, heaviness, and uniformity. While still classically structured, I miss the massive male chorals and giant symphonies in their previous works. Luckily the exchange is not a total loss as the production is easily the best in a Symphony X thanks to the beautiful sound of the electric guitar. Nevertheless, this album seems to be an album aimed for a power-metal audience.

Unlike the others, the opening track Oculus Ex Inferni sounds like the Symphony X that we all know and love but even more grandiose and symphonic. An epic classical short piece with electric guitar fitting in perfectly with the orchestra. Once the next song Set the World on Fire starts, you might think you got yet another amazing album, as the brutally heavy intro would floor you but the next thing you know, you'll hear fast-paced metal with memorable choruses like in their previous albums in the following tracks, but with a bit more punch and less orchestral touches. Still, the only thing (besides better sound engineering) that is brought to the table is a bit more commercialized form of their style. For example Damnation has the typically ultra heavy slaying bass and guitar riff that the kids love to \m/ ^_^ \m/ . The riff is excellent, but that a progressive band bases most of a 6+ minute song on one riff is a problem.

It's a generally heavy album but luckily there are places to breathe. Paradise Lost is an elegant and classically-inspired metal ballad that inspires me of Dream Theater. There's another slower paced track later called The Sacrifice and the song after Paradise Lost is also somewhat soft in parts (probably the most commercial-sounding track).

Well, back on heavy tracks, we have next a nice bunch of heavy tracks. Walls of Babylon is a longer and heavier track than average which has massive chorals during the choruses, which are among Paradise Lost's most memorable moments. The next heavy track Seven follows the standard formula of this album but surprises when the guitar solo (which is fantastic) leads way to a frenzied ultra-fast bass riff. That transition is another of the album's best moments, even if the song in itself isn't exactly outstanding. The last and longest song Revelation is nice, but I expected more from Symphony X as their earlier epics are more dynamic and exciting.

If you want energetic and heavy music, you can't go wrong with Paradise Lost, but the uniformity, Russell's raspy vocals (what happened to his voice?), and the lack of creativity in the songwriting department making this album non-essential to progressive enthusiasts.

Report this review (#168957)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars A very solid 4 stars. THRESHOLD, KAMELOT and SYMPHONY X all released new albums in 2007 and this one is definitely my favourite of the three. This record is perhaps their heaviest album yet, even Russel Allen's vocals sound rougher than usual. Only time will tell where I place this one in their discography as far as favourites go. I still place "V-The New Mythology Suite" at the top of the heap. "Paradise Lost" is based loosely on the poem by John Milton.

"Oculus Ex Inferni" is typical SYMPHONY X with the choirs and orchestration. Drums are also evident in this 2 1/2 minute instrumental. "Set The World On Fire" maybe should have been called "Here come the riffs !". Because that's what we get to start with as punishing drums pound it out and guitars rip it up. Vocals a minute in. An instrumental workout 4 minutes in. It becomes sinister-sounding a minute later. Suitable of course as this is about satan being cast out of heaven to earth. Hence the title "Set The World On Fire". The next track "Domination" opens with some fantastic bass as drums and a full sound come in quickly. It gets heavier. Allen spits out the venom after a minute. A ripping guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. A great heavy sound 5 minutes in. The title of this track is fitting as the music is so dominating, like getting hit with a two by four for 6 1/2 minutes. "Serpent's Kiss" is one of my top three songs on this album. It opens with the metal flying everywhere. Romeo must have had a blast doing this album. This track is very much guitar led, driven and overwhelmed ! Killer tune man.

"Paradise Lost" opens with piano as synths and reserved vocals come in. It gets fuller sounding. Nice guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes and after 4 minutes. I really like the chorus. "Eve Of Seduction" is extremely fast paced, although the tempo does shift throughout. The guitar is excellent 3 1/2 minutes in. Not one of my favourites for some reason. "The Walls Of Babylon" is though, and one of my top three tracks. Some atmosphere to open before all hell breaks loose before a minute. Great sound before 2 minutes. Vocals 3 1/2 minutes in. Perhaps Russell's best vocal performance on the album. "Seven" like "Eve Of Seduction" is more in the Power-Metal realm, very fast paced with a stampede of drums. It slows down after 4 1/2 minutes but gets heavier. The guitar solo after 5 minutes is killer ! The thunder is back. "The Sacrifice" is ok but more of a power ballad. "Revelation" is another top three for me. Heavy with guitar to open with some galloping rhythms. Great sound a minute in as things get intense. Vocals follow. It settles 2 1/2 minutes in. Synths are prominant 4 minutes in. Piano after 5 minutes. The guitar starts to dominate a minute later. It calms down again (I love this part). Kicks back in 7 minutes.

An excellent return for this band with lots crushing passages to rock out to. This is probably closer to Prog-Metal than Power-Metal.

Report this review (#177898)
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Paradise Lost is the seventh studio album from progressive neo classical US power metal band Symphony X. Their previous album The Odyssey is one of my favorite progressive metal albums and without a doubt my favorite from the band. So it´s understandable that I was awaiting the release of Paradise Lost with some expectations. My expectations were unfortunately only partially met.

The music on Paradise Lost continues the more heavy and dark path that was started on The Odyssey. This is a positive thing in my opinion and songs like Set the World on Fire and Domination are great examples of Symphony X when they are most heavy. The Serpent´s Kiss is also a good song and with the title track we have a beautiful power ballad. Maybe the most well composed power ballad ever written by the band ( Micheal Romeo). It´s very much in the vein of former power ballads written by the band but I enjoy it. Of the last five songs I´m most fond of Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) allthough the quality is high throughout the album.

The musicianship is as always excellent and the production is probably the best Symphony X has had up until now.

I said that my expectations were only partially met with Paradise Lost and I have to mention why. First of all the music is very similar to what Symphony X have made in the past. We have the sharp edgy riffing, neo classical and power metal elements and we have the symphonic epic approach to writing music that has always been one of the trademarks in Symphony X music. It´s done well on Paradise Lost and Symphony X is maybe the best band in their particular sub-genre. They are definitely much heavier than most other bands in the genre which is something I greatly enjoy. The problem is that I´ve heard it all before and if you ask me it´s time for a change of sound for Symphony X. They´ve simply used all the water in the well. Despite my growing concern regarding Symphony X stagnated sound I still think Paradise Lost is an excellent album and it fully deserves 4 stars. But next time I want to hear something new or I´ll probably not be so kind again.

Report this review (#180967)
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Normally, I find myself more at home with Gabriel-era Genesis or Bardens/Latimer Camel. But, probably because I am a drummer, every now and again, I gotta have something with an edge to it (you prog-drummers KNOW what I mean!). On a short visit to the in-laws in Phoenix this summer of 2008, I had to stop in at Zia Records (a GREAT record store in Arizona!) and I had to see what they had in stock in prog. To make this long story shorter, I found Symphony X, 'Paradise Lost,' and bought it without having read much review on it ahead of time. From the first listen, I was captivated. I had listened to some Symphony X live-stream tracks on ProgArchives and said, Yeah, they're pretty good, but after listening to this album - several times! - I would have to say this is my favorite metal album - and I am not really into metal!

With my classical upbringing (my mother almost was Beverly Sills contemporary at the New York Met!), track 1 is a great opening to what is almost a prog-metal rock opera.

Track 2, Set the World on Fire, definitely delivers. Can I hear an 'Amen' to Russell Allen is the BEST rock-metal vocalist - EVER! Jason Rullo gives some tasty machine-like double-bass drumming that Portnoy could only wish he could do! Michael Romeo is a Petrucci wanna-be, but - hey - the man can do it! Even Slash drools at Romeo's prowess.

Track 3, Domination, is a very nice speed metal / ballad that mixes the best components of prog metal ideas.

Track 4, Serpent's Kiss, again accents Allen's powerful metal vocals, as well as some great musicianship from the band.

Yeah, I am more for the symphonic sound at times (hence, Genesis and Camel); therefore, the title cut, Paradise Lost, is right up there with some of the greatest prog ballads of all time - metal or not.

I have to admit that I skip through Tracks 6 and 7 almost all the time, so I cannot comment coherently on those.

All is I can say about Track 8, Seven, is someone found a way to load it onto Guitar Hero (my teenage son showed that to me). And, with good reason - Romeo is shredding big time! Petrucci, eat your heart out!

Track 9, The Sacrifice, is the best second best prog ballad of all time - a real great song. Everyone in the band shines on that, especially Michael Pinnella on keys.

Track 10, Revelation, is another track I skip over more often than not. But the opening of that song is classic Symphony X!

Despite the fact that I often skip over two or three of the tracks consistently, this album is a must for even you symphonic proggers. If there was ever a prog metal band that symphonic prog could get behind, Symphony X would be the one (even over Dream Theater! Yeah, I really said that...)

Report this review (#183180)
Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars If this was the only Symphony X album ever, it would get a very solid five stars. It's a great album, total fun with wild vocals and crazy instruments.

Only problem is, I think I've heard all of it somewhere before.

And the answer is, of course, that I have, and that it was on other Symphony X releases. Not that the band is a self-plagiaristic act like Iron Maiden, but that they don't really try to hard to grow and try different things. Every album since The Divine Wings of Tragedy has been a form of progressive power metal, and this release is pretty much no different. In truth, this isn't even a first time for them to tackle this story (The Divine Wings of Tragedy's title track happens to be about the exact same epic poem). The only real points of interest that set this album apart from their others is the height and depth of Sir Russel Allen's increasingly growly vocals (no longer the 80s hair metal feel) and the breadth of the intriguing noodling of the rest of the band.

Yes, that is one of the differences here between Paradise Lost and its predecessors: somehow, the boys managed to make their solos and instrumental bits much more interesting this time around. The truth is, though, that this cannot make up for the fact that there is truly very little of progression to be found here. This is just another album made for listeners to headbang to and try not to read too much into it. It's an illusion the band creates by playing off classical and scholarly themes, but the truth is, their music is best enjoyed at face value and for the kicks in adrenaline it provides.

That said, the title track is absolutely beautiful, and can be enjoyed individually as a quality song. The rest are hit or miss (hit as far as fun goes, miss as far as creativity goes).

I'm not recommending against this. Just pointing out that it isn't very progressive at all, especially not from the angle of looking at the band and its history. I really do like this release. But I have trouble rating prog albums highly when they feel like they've got absolutely nothing new to offer other than speed and Russel Allen tearing it up. Enjoyable, but average.

Report this review (#184015)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Paradise Lost is the latest album by Symphont X and was realesed five years after their last effort The Odyssey. The sound is familiar, but it's a bit darker then earlier.

Paradise Lost starts good with the intro Oculus Ex Inferni, which reminds me of some pieces on V: The New Mythology Suite. Set The World On Fire and Damnation just passes by, even though they aren't bad songs. The Serpent's Kiss has an amazing guitar riff and Russell Allen once again strikes me with his amazing voice! Paradise Lost isn't bad either, but just very predictable (as this album mostly are). The Walls Of Babylon has a nice intro and is one of the better tracks on Paradise Lost. My personal favourit is the last track Revelation (Together with the intro Oculus Ex Inferni)

Paradise Lost is an Symphony X album where I miss the classical music and the choirs that creates the great atmosphere Symphony X usually has. It's more powermetal and less classical/progressive music here than before. I must say that I had expected more after five years.

Rate: 3+

Report this review (#187386)
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a huge SX fan, I've waited for this album counting almost every day to it's release. I was hoping, that they will come back to their classical style from The Divine Wings of Tragedy, Twilight in Olympus and V because modern style from The Odyssey is not my favourite (specially as to Allen's harsh vocals), although it was very good album. The first song from this album that I've heard was The Serpents Kiss and I thought... ok it's not great but it's interesting, little bit different and catchy. My appetite has grown. The beginning of the album was also electrising but my album first heard filling was that It's disappointing. And after many times of hearing it I didn't change my mind.

Firs of all the vocals are still harsh and it's really hard to understand why Russell ruins his great voice knowing that he can still normally sing (title track for example).

Second thing is production and I don't have sound quality in mind cause it's great. What I mean is that for most of the album I almost can't hear keyboards and bass. It is dominated by Romeo's guitar. On their last albums this part of production was more equalised and better resolved that is of course in my opinion.

Third thing - the same problem as with Dream Theater witch is: more power and less progressive. It's sad because it seams that both groups leaks of creativity. Maybe this is a little more easy to understand with DT cause they are releasing their albums systematically, but SX had five years and thought it's enough time to release a masterpiece by such talented musicians. Well it seems that I was wrong.

Ending: well the Paradise Lost is simply good power metal album with a little prog and symphonic coating and I was expecting different proportions here.

2,7 Stars

Report this review (#201751)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good, solid power/prog metal album.

This album is much harder than Symphony X previous album, The oddysey. Sadly for symphony loving progheads, the orchestra sound is removed this time, making place for a louder prog metal sound. I find the music techniqually more advanced than before, but at the same time less prog and more metal. However there's no doubt to call this prog-metal. It starts out with a little bit of stereotypical intro, with choirs and orchestra. You will not hear much of that orchestra after this intro. The rest of the albums track are very similar in style and sound, but they are still variated. Some of them are the fast, pounding Set the World on Fire, the very load Domination, the beutiful ballad Paradise Lost and the epic The Walls Of Babylon. There are no really let downs, but relelation and The Sacrifice are not very good and feels like fillers. Elsewhere, this is a very good metal album, and if you are a progger who likes load music you will appreciate this.

Report this review (#207999)
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars After reading some favourable reviews of 'Paradise Lost' I had decided to get the album into my hands. Eventually the day came when I could sit down and press the play button. I listened to these recordings once, twice, three times trying to find all the things which make many people regard 'Paradise Lost' as a masterpiece. Unfortunately, all that I found was disappointment and boredom. The guys from the band are technically really good but what they play is just so obvious. I had an impression I could heard tunes like these many times before. I felt as if I had got some heavy metal band from the beginning of the 90' or even from the 80'. The vocal had just intensified my feelings. Perhaps if 'Paradise Lost' had been recorded 10 years ago.To me it sounds too ordinary; there is no creativity, just worn out motives. Quite kitschy. By many reviewers Paradise Lost was found as a 'Materpiece of a progressive rock music'. The think is that it's not even, so called, 'progressive rock'. I wouldn't even rate this album as a good in general.

So that 'Paradise Lost' didn't find a place in my Heavy-Prog albums collection among works by Anekdoten, Tool, Indukti, Riverside, Kayo Dot and others. 'Paradise Lost' will be a gift for one of my friends who still enjoys 'Iron Maiden', 'Megadeth' and older tunes of 'Metallica'. Maybe he will like it.

Report this review (#209488)
Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a long time fan of Symphony X, and considers "The Odyssey" an absolute gem, I had high expectations for this album. I was not disappointed! "Paradise Lost" is another Symphony X classic and is right up there with "The Odyssey" and Divine Wings. This is one of the rare albums where I like every song, not one lets me down. This does not surprise me, since I feel Symphony X is one of the most talented bands out there. The vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard all are perfect on this album and work together splendidly.

Oculus Ex Inferni: A short song with some simple, yet heavy, guitar work, wonderful keyboard ambiance, instruments out the wazoo and an epic orchestra.

Set the World on Fire: A cool, building intro then into a heavy riff. Like any good Symphony X song the riff is followed with keyboard. This song has all the classics. Fast riffs, lots of keyboard, some mind blowing guitar work, and Russel Allen yet again shows off his excellent vocals. However, it should be noted Allen adopts a slightly harsher sound on this album, though it is still clean overall.

Domination: Begins with an awesome bass intro then a wild riff and even wilder drumming. Of course this wouldn't be a Symphony X song with Romeo's classic frantic slide down the fretboard. A good song which has some of my favorite vocals on the album. When Allen yells "I" the second time in this song, it just gives me chills. Some wonderful guitar and keyboard solo's as well! Finally, the part that kicks in at 4:10 is just awesome!

The Serpent's Kiss: A slow, groovy riff that goes for a bit. This is actually a bit of a slower song with some great sounding riffs. Really nice sounding song.

Paradise Lost: An even slower song. Starts with a beautiful keyboard, (then later guitar) melody and Russel Allen lays down the perfect vocals over it. This song also has some my favorite drumming on the album. There are some spectacular guitar and keyboard harmonies throughout this song, and it is all complemented by Allen's vocals.

Eve of Seduction: A faster song, this is a traditional Symphony X work. Tempo and style shifts, heavy guitar, perhaps the weakest song on the album. However, it is by no means a bad track. I like it very much. Also, the solo is just sweet.

The Walls of Babylon: Starts with a chilling musical intro with building guitar. I LOVE the guitar riff personally, just so odd sounding and heavy! This is a slow song, but very heavy! Also, this is another great example of Rullo's drumming. There is technical, as well as blistering double bass. Not to mention a cool bass breakdown and there are some epic choruses on this song. It has it all. GREAT work!

Seven: The 8th has a crazy guitar intro, which is followed by a crazy riff. This might be one of the more metal songs, with LOTS of tremolo picking. At 4:38 is my favorite part, and is followed by a classic Romeo shred solo.

The Sacrifice: Actually, I stand corrected. This is the weakest song on the album. A very slow song, this is pretty much a power ballad. Do not get me wrong it sounds beautiful and has some great guitar and powerful drums, but is a bit cheesy in my opinion.

Revelation: A moderate paced beginning with some wonderful guitar work. The part at :45 is amazing as well as at 3:50. Overall, a good song with a long instrumental middle section that takes you through several places. Not to mention the standard keyboard/guitar dueling solos. This maybe the most progressive song on the album, it is always changing!

I will admit, I am slightly biased. This is one of my favorite bands, period. However, there is no denying this is a masterpiece. Some could say this work is not terribly different from their others, is not their MOST progressive, but I rate each album on their own, not compared to their mates. Every song is good, great work from every member. Wonderful album!

5 stars

Report this review (#215073)
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progression through aggression! This can stand for Symphony's X new album. An evolution to their sound, following the trend in the prog scene of 21st century. A very balanced mix of heavy,progressive,aggressive and power sound. But,let's comment each track separately. Oculus Ex Inferni-As always Symphony X pay their tribute to classical music. Romeo's ideas are very productive in this intro which grandly opens the next track.5/5 (even if it is too short to judge) Set The World On Fire(The Lie Of Lies)-Wow,what an aggressive opening! Intense drumming along with thrash-death riffing. Allen's voice which sounds harsher than before, perfectly suits the music. Listen to the background keyboard theme that accompanies the heavy riffing.Very clever, Michael!My only objection is the power refrain but I cannot forget the perfect solos and performance of the musicians with the chorus ending. If it weren't for the power elements I would have put 5 stars but indeed I will rate it as 4.5/5. Domination- Michael Lepond reminds us why he should not be very underestimated by the metal audience,as he is,with his furious tapping(it is tapping,isn't it?)on his 4-string weapon. Riffs from hell similar to Pantera but with Romeo's significant style and Allen's wicked sentimental voice binding this masterpiece! I like very much the guitar themes. Very exciting song which raises your adrenaline. A new era for Symphony X,has just begun. It is a crime not to rate it with 5 stars.5/5 The Serpent's Kiss-More straight and less complex than the previous song but one of the best heavy metal songs I've heard the last 2 years. Again the instrumental team performs impeccably as Alle does also. He shouts, whispers, melodically sings, he does everything. That is why he is the most skilled 'offspring' of Dio.Check also the very artistic video-clip.5/5 Paradise Lost-If someone thought that Allen's voice has become rough and wild and he forgot his beautiful soft aspect, then he is totally wrong. This beautiful ballad reminds good old Symphony X songs(I believe that the new Symphony X are better). Another beautiful song but not the best ballad in this album. I will rate it with 4/5. Eve Of Seduction-In this song, Symphony X call their power metal roots. Very technical the solo in the beginning, I must say. I don't know for you but I am not any more in the power metal kngdom, so I believe that it is the weakest song in this album, thus it will be rated with 3/5. The Walls Of Babylon-This is a really epic song! Impressive intro with intelligent arrangement. The song reaches its peak when Russell enters the game. The rhythm section holds solidly and Romeo builds his riffs one after another. Of course Pinnella adds his touch once again. As grandiose was the opening, so delirious is the finale. The fading out riff is one of my best in all progressive and believe me, I listen a lot. 5/5 Seven-It is quite power,it is progressive, it is a lot aggressive! The massacre that is keep going on as the lyrics inform us is accurately incarnated by the song. Lepond' s tapping(this is taping for sure) is just astonishing. A catchy song with the good meaning of course. Very nice,well done!5/5 The Sacrifice-The second ballad in this song which is the best of the 2 in my opinion. Maybe Russell does not sing softly as in the Paradise Lost song but I find it more successful. Even if the lyrics are for love(I usually avoid this kind of lyrics, you listen for love in all kind of music,it is boring)I love it. I will rate it with 4.5/5 because I do not prefer ballads. Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia)- And I was starting to wonder'where is the epic song,more than 8 minutes long?'. Here it is. A very nice start(they have considered very much the opening of the tracks in this album)which is being followed by a flawless performance by the band. The chorus element are also present in this track. It will remind you The Divine Wings Of Tragedy because it refers to it,as far as I know. Ideal endinfg in this masterpiece album!The only bad think is that it may seem quite boring some times at the minority of people. So, 4.5/5. Overall, the best progressive album for 2007!I hope they will release something before 2010. I also hope that their next effort will follow the path of Paradise Lost, meaning the edgy and aggressive character with the progressive performance and sentiment with even less Power Metal touches.
Report this review (#219099)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album starts as a rock-opera and after this quite challenging (and pompous) opening, I was expecting some more novelty from the band. But there are hardly no surprise to expect from their latest release to date.

The usual characteristics of a ''Symphonic X'' album are all here: the frenetic beat, the heavy metal lines, a superb fast guitar play, keyboards hardly noticeable and some deep and shouting vocals (even growling at times). Not much prog in here, I'm afraid.

This album is full of metal clichés, and to listen to ''Domination'' is really not a great experience at all. I guess that band wanted to appear in the Guinness book of records to be one of the fastest out there. I guess that there might be a lot of competition though...

This album sounds very much the same to my old prog ears. It seems that the musicians do compete very well amongst themselves to ensure that he is the most technical of all. But technical aspects and skills don't make necessary a good album. ''Serpent's Kiss'' is a good illustration of this.

The second good moment of this album (after the opener) is the rock ballad and title track. At least, there are some theme variations in here, vocals are pleasant, piano work is more in the front line, and guitar is as usual excellent.

At times (briefly), one gets a very good feeling (''Eve Of Seduction''), but it is rapidly submerged by a wall of sound that has been already heard a zillion times (''Walls...'', ''Seven''). So, what's the use?

At last, another rock ballad is breaking the dull mood: ''The Sacrifice'' is another enjoyable track. Not brilliant and slightly AOR-oriented, but at least I can cope with this. Four out of ten. This is the number of good songs I could identify on this album (the keyboards are more present on the long closing number which is also a fine piece of music).

I guess that I share more ''Prog Jester'' 's point of view than many other reviewers. Two stars.

Report this review (#221818)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a killer album! I used to be a huge Symphony X fan, but my interest in them died down quite a bit about a year or so before this album came out. When I heard a new Symphony X was going to come out, I decided to pick it up despite my lack of interest. Boy am I glad that I decided to pick up this album! It is probably their heaviest album and it is nonstop fun! I just love this album. It starts with a symphonic overture with bombastic choirs. It is an exciting opening, before the heaviness of "Set the World On Fire" starts in. The album continues in the same fast pace with incredible crunchy riffs from Michael Romeo and Russel Allen singing heavier than he ever has on any album.

"Domination" is another heavy track with a great metal groove to it. There is a face melting solo by Michael Romeo in this track and Michael Pinnella shines on keys. This is heavy music, but really fun at the same time. "The Serpent's Kiss" may be one of the weaker tracks of the album, but it still rocks hard and has a great repeating guitar riff. After all the heaviness of the first three tracks comes the most beautiful ballad the band has written, "Paradise Lost". It is sort of ironic to me that the heaviest Symphony X album is named after its only ballad. The keyboards and acoustic guitar underneath Russel Allen's beautiful voice makes for a magical combination. This is a great track, one of my favorites on the album and a necessary breather between all the heavy tracks. The chorus is heavenly! Not to be missed for sure.

"Walls of Babylon" is an awesome track that has some choirs on top of the brilliant interplay between keyboards and guitars. It is a really fun track that showcases all the band members in an excellent way. I just can't get enough of it! "Seven" is another killer track with more virtuosity at show from all musicians involved. "The Sacrifice" starts softly and leads into a killer chorus that is very memorable to me. This leads into the thrilling conclusion, "Revelation". This is my favorite track on the album and it weaves its way through several different movements complete with soaring guitars and crazy quick keyboard flourishes. The drums and bass pound heavily throughout the whole song and Russel Allen has his moments to shine as he sings. There are instrumental breaks throughout the song and they are out of this world! I am just blown away by this song!

This album is a breathtaking metal ride. For those who like their progressive metal more on the metal side than the progressive side, this is the album for them. I generally like the progressive stuff more, but this album is so killer I can't deny that it is tons of fun to listen to. I am blown away by the guitar solos and riffs. This is my favorite Symphony X album because it is consistent and has sections that are truly mindblowing. I will be rocking out to this album for quite some time.

Report this review (#225431)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Suddenly, everyone was talking about Symphony X... so one friend of mine gave me this album and said "You'll like this... is better than Dream Theater..." I didn't believe it, as DT is my favorite band and seeing the subject I really had my doubts about it... One thing is to make an epic masterpiece and something way different to take on one of the best poems of the literature history and try to make justice to a masterpiece of poetry... seems too pretentious to me... so I prepared myself to check it out...

Well, I stopped it at the 2nd track... as I thought, it was just an excuse to the singer to take the roll of the devil and get screaming about how much the devil hates the mankind between some though power symphonic metal... and forget about the album.. months later, I discover and fell in love with the "New Mithology" album and really didn't believe how they where so good and creative and sound so great... so I give it a second chance to the famous Paradise Lost... God... how wrong was I... it sounds like an almost perfect album... but first, I point at the highlights... that are too many....!!!

First, the theme was something so ambicious, I doubt another band could make the honor to this greatest poem -One of my favorites books also...- the musical thematics while some could say are already use in other albums and by other bands, I really feel the emotion through the whole piece and been coherent with it's own goal... you know... you kinda feel the hate through the devils speach, and then I almost cry in the "Paradise Lost" song with that beautiful piano and the suffer of Adam when he discover the sin of Eve... you know... "Love is a tragedy..." and all of it... just great... the heaviness maybe is too much for the soft prog fans... but I really love the power of this album... I mean... this is how heavy an album can be without been annoying... at list, for me... and then, the quality of the players is just tip-top... they truly are on the level of the DT guys... and the vocals seems to fit well in this more heavy music... Allen become one of my favorite singers with a lot of range and texture, but this album is not his best... while the music is really demanding and heavy...

Then, why is an "almost" perfect album... well, I know many do not care about the lyrics, is fair to say that if you are talking about the origin of the world and the suffering of the mankind and you only takes the roles of the demons and the men, don't you think there's something a little miss there...??? like GOD... I mean... I don't say they have to take a religious way... but who send the devil to hell...??? and, who said to Adam to avoid eating the forbiden fruit...??? It's silly that the band avoid to put the role of God somewhere... Not even in an instrumental song or something... so I really feel that it could be more respectable for a rock band to take the risk and break another "cliché" of avoiding talk about God... I mean, they alone pick up the subject... so why don't to take the whole risk...??? but well... now that you're aware... really, dont' aloud yourself to loose this oportunity to really enjoy a real masterpiece of symphonic rock... one of my favorites albums in the last years... Symphony X is on the level of the greatest... sure is for the delight of my generation...!!! cheers...

Report this review (#242045)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X released Paradise Lost quite a long time after their previous release The Odyssey, which was the only album I had from them at that time. Later, I added V: The New Mythology Suite to my collection since I liked what I heard and wanted to discover more about this band.

So how good is this release? Read on?

After a quick intro, Set The World On Fire sets this CD on fire! I specially like the heavy part at the end but, somehow, I found the chorus the weakest part of this song. Domination is next and is one of my favourite of the album.

The Serpent's Kiss and Eve Of Seduction are in my humble opinion the weakest songs on this CD. Don't get me wrong, they are not bad, they just don't raise goose bumps like the others!

Paradise Lost and The Sacrifice are nice breaks among all the fury and energy. The Walls Of Babylon is sublime and really stands out. There is a powerful initial 3 minutes instrumental part at the beginning of what is the most theatrical song of the CD, with some very heavy part. Seven is another great song and Revelation brings a nice closure to this very strong album.

It could be argued that this release is not has progressive or theatrical than their previous albums. It has a much harder and faster edge to it. It is more straightforward and in your face. Nothing wrong with that, if you like a lot of metal in your prog. Still the music is far from being simple. It will be interesting to see what they will do next.

As a bonus, the artwork and presentation on this CD is top notch. Final rating: A very strong 4 stars.

Report this review (#248270)
Posted Thursday, November 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Paradise Lost

Symphony X's sound has always been a blend of classical music with metal. If you like prog-power metal you will probably like symphony x. These guys are talented musicians, they are one the same level of virtuosity as Dream Theater is. That being said Paradise lost is a mediocre album. If your like me the there is only a certain amount of heavy music you can listen to before your ears start to hurt. And this album is Symphony X's heaviest yet. Russell Allen who I think is one of the best singers in the metal genre unleashes some of his harshest vocals here. Michael Romeo is a great guitarist as always, I would call him a less pompous version of Yngwie Malmsteen. Paradise Lost and The Sacrifice are some of my favorite Symphony X tacks but the rest of the songs on here have been done before. Set The World on Fire is good but its really no different from the heavier songs on their previous two albums. This really is just a darker version of the band compared to their earlier works. There are a couple great moments but the vast majority of this album is kinda boring and has nothing new to off to the progressive metal scene.

Report this review (#255600)
Posted Friday, December 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars The band took a 5 year long leave of absence from the studio which might not be a big deal unless its put in the perspective of the previous 6 years were Symphony X recorded a whooping total of 4 studio albums! This 2007-release from Symphony X was originally hailed by the majority of fans as a great release, but after just a couple of month most of the hype faded away and what we had left was a very different kind of Symphony X album.

On Paradise Lost the band has lost most of their neo-classical elements trading them off for a more power metal-approach. A rumor has it that the band had outdone themselves on The Odyssey and they felt that a change of phase was in order. Well we can't blame them for that but now that I think about my joking remarks in The Odyssey-review I kind of hope that they would have taken them under consideration.

I remember seeing their live performance during Dream Theater's Chaos in Motion tour and thinking to myself that this can't really be the same band I enjoyed so much in my teens! This remark might have been slightly unfair considering that their performance lacked in the technical sound department. What is it with Dream Theater and their supporting acts anyway (read my review of Unexpect)? Sometimes the amplifiers made it almost impossible to distinguish the number they were performing and I had to rely entirely on Russell Allen's vocal intonations to figure it out.

I really hope that Symphony X will return to their neo-classical roots because that's what makes their music work for me. Until then I'll probably have to restrain myself from purchasing any new material.

**** star songs: Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies) (5:55) Eve Of Seduction (5:04) The Sacrifice (4:49) Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) (9:17)

*** star songs: Oculus Ex Inferni (2:34) Domination (6:29) The Serpent's Kiss (5:03) Paradise Lost (6:32) The Walls Of Babylon (8:16) Seven (7:01)

Report this review (#263787)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's impossible and almost ridiculous to be enthusiastic about this latest SYMPHONY X album,simply because 5 years is far too much to wait from the precedent album even for the most faithful SYMPHONY X fans!Well,I cannot say that PARADISE LOST is a bad album!No way,absolutelly not!It's just the fact that a certain feeling of dissapointing is covering me after the first 2 songs of the album!The mark of quality and the standards are always high,the compositions are good,the musicianship outstanding,top production too...that's undoubtedly,but there is something that is missing on this album!It's that spark of brilliance and excellence and I realised thet SYMPHONY X will be forver their own prisoners from the point of view of the style they play!They refuse to take risks and they always made the same mayonnaise,adding only few inspirational or new ingredients,but refusing systematically to try someting new!They are absolutelly a band of virtuosos and they are making high quality prog metal music,but I think that the evolutive process for them is an unknown expression!Some die hard SYMPHONY X fans will say...ok...ok...but what we expect from each new SYMPHONY X album?!?!It's also true that each album wasn't dissapointing or a major failure at all...and it's almost impossible with such high caliber top musicians and such a fantastic vocalist!...but I don't know why...for me,at least...being a true SYMPHONY X fan since the beginning...that I had major expectations with this new album after 5 long years of wait.....and I must confess...that I have a bitter taste,,,Maybee I am too pretentious...I don't know...personally I think that the vocal performance of RUSSEL ALLEN was more then excellent on both albums released with the fabulous JORN LANDE on the ALLEN LANDE project!That's a new vocal direction,more melodic and passionated in a much attractive music style-melodic power metal.Here on PARADISE LOST-Allen is the prisoner of SYMPHONY X's style...and "dictator Romeo"..maybee is not so generous to offer to Russel new ways of vocal and stylistic expression?!?! Anyway...a classic SYMPHONY X album,only for the die hard fans of the band...not a major musical discovery for new prog metal fans...and if the next album will be in the same monotonous register...then...brrr!...I am afraid that the future of the band will be not so shiny anymore!3 STARS for a deja vu album!
Report this review (#273757)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars "Paradise Lost" is a heavy powerhouse of prog metal.

"Paradise Lost" is the latest Symphony X from 2008. The album is as heavy as the band get featuring a much more aggressive approach. Gone are the heavy reliance on big bombastic orchestras from "The Odyssey" and gone are the pretentious conceptual themes of "Twilight In Olympus", this is just solid power metal with killer riffs, and it's awesome. Russel Allen is angry and darker on these tracks, The concept is present though it is more based on john Milton's epic poem rather than retelling it.

It begins with the instrumental 'Oculus Ex Inferni' that features mass choirs and orchestra, but it stands alone in this regard.

'Set The World On Fire' is a riff heavy guitar dominated thrasher. The lead break is incredible trading off between Romeo's guitar and Pinella's keys.

My favourite track on the album is 'Domination' that riffs along at a blistering speed. There is a scorching lead solo that tears the fabric of time apart itself.

'Serpent's Kiss' is another very good track with a strong melody. Romeo goes ballistic on guitar with time sig changes to die for.

'Paradise Lost' slows things down a little with a nice piano interlude and sustained synth pads. It builds up to an infectious chorus with catchy lyrics.

'Eve Of Seduction' is a quick tempo speed metal blaster, with very significant time shifts in tempo and feel.

'The Walls Of Babylon' is a wonderful metal triumph. Russell tears it up on this with dynamic expression.

'Seven' is a fast metal bltzkrieg that has on onslaught of drums and bass. Romeo is incredible on guitar throughout and the lead sol is a fireball onslaught.

'The Sacrifice' is like an 80s power ballad that is interesting to compare with the rest of the power metal and makes a nice break form the blistering riffs, showcasing Allen's vocals.

'Revelation' is ultra heavy and violent with chunky distortion and crunching riffs like machine gun blasts. There are synth passages and piano to break the mayhem and then it locks into an infectious riff after 7 minutes.

"Paradise Lost" is the best thing Symphony X have done; creative, powerful, intense and a strong melodic approach are the main points. I am not into the concept, which is way too dark for my tastes; demonic and overbearing in places, however credit where credit is due; this is a monster riffng metal powerhouse. 4 blazing stars.

Report this review (#280801)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember being a very happy bunny when this album was being released, because not only did Symphony X have a new album, but so did Dream Theater (Systematic Chaos).

I wasn't the biggest fan of the single they released from this album (Serpent's Kiss), but I knew that I would have to digest the rest.

When I first heard it, I thought it very cheesy, and I wasn't really overblown by it. But it really does sink in to your head.

I love this album now. It is definetly one of their best (coming close to V, but never accomplishing that masterpiece).

One thing I did notice about this album is that is mammothly heavy.

This album is so well produced that every riff Michael Romeo plays just hit's you in the face.

Their is also a very Megadeth influence present in this album (having earlier toured with them on Gigantour).

This album is also a concept album, based on John Milton's Paradise Lost, but if you are interested by this story, another masterpiece of an album based on this poem is Cradle Of Filths Damnation & A Day, which I do favour more than this album.

1. Ocuclus Ex Inferni - Wow, this was all done with computers? Yes, this is one of the greatest intros I have ever heard in an album. 10/10

2. Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies) - Wow, what a kick in the face. Russell's vocals just sound so aggressive but so epic and mastery. Incredibly fantastic chorus. 10/10

3. Domination - This song is very cheesy but incredible at the same time. Amazing guitar work and overall it's just a perfect metal song. 10/10

4. Serpent's Kiss - I wasn't the biggest fan of this song, but I really do like it now. Amazing vocals from Russell. 9/10

5. Paradise Lost - This albums Communion & The Oracle. Basically the ballad, but don't be put off, it does easily match Communion. So beautifull and amazing lyrics. 10/10

6. Eve Of Seduction - Again, I wasn't the biggest fan of this song, but as Justin Hawkins once said, "you're really growing on me." Great chorus and just amazing. 10/10

7. The Walls Of Babylon - Wow, what an intro. Yes, this build up in this song is amazing. Very chessy, but in such a good way. This song also has Russell's first experience with shrieking head voice. 10/10

8. Seven - Very kick ass. A bit too cheesy for my liking, but meh, who cares about how much cheese is in a song. 9/10

9. The Sacrifice - Another ballad esque song. Amazing vocals from Russel. 9/10

10. Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) - Out of all their epics, I was expecting a little more, but this song does really bite the bulled. 10/10

CONCULSION: The headbanging quallity is worth the price alone. The songs are even better.

Report this review (#287895)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Deadly flying angels from a distant paradise, lands covered in fire and ice, and a world coming to an end are all well suitable in the themes of this excellent album.

Paradise Lost is the seventh studio album by Neo Classical/Progressive Metal band Symphony X, and it definitely shows that the band is starting to achieve a new sound, that already started to develop in heir previous opus "The Odyssey" and is developing even more with this release.

Heavier and faster riffs, that are evidently closer to Power Metal than Progressive, strong and powerful vocals like never before, heavily distorted guitars, and a very supportive rhythm section. The songs show a maturity that had yet to be reached by the band, even though the album can't be put into comparison with their masterpiece "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", the ultimate, theatrical expression of life, or "The Odyssey", the epic and dark journey described with mystique and violence at the same time.

Some of the best songs I can think of are "Set The World On Fire" (truly a masterpiece, one of the band's best compositions), the hopeful title track, or the epic "Revelation". Not to forget "The Walls Of Babylon", with it's amazing arrangements, or the heaviness of "Seven".

An excellent album, no doubt in that, with memorable, haunting moments that make this album unique compared to the other albums of the band.

Report this review (#320113)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Before listening to Paradise Lost my only exposure to Symphony X was with their Divine Wings of Tragedy album, which I enjoyed but wasn't blown away by-- but they absolutely nail this one. Paradise Lost is prog/power-metal par excellance, crushingly heavy, dynamic, exciting, and engaging. Even if Dream Theatre was still going strong-- this album would probably top anything they could put out... and since that band has been in its death throes for 3 years or so, Symphony X's work comes as a hurricane of heavy-metal fresh air. Time for a changing of the guard!

The opening orchestration sets a powerful and dynamic tone, doing a great job of building anticipation for the blistering, aggressive, and genuinely powerful metal to follow. "Set the World on Fire" gets things going with savage riffing and galloping tempo, showing off the group's songwriting and instrumental chops nicely, especially Romeo's guitars, which crunch, grind, wail, and penetrate with an especially effective energy. Allen's vocals in "Domination" show of a striking rawness that matches the gruff persona of Dio in his prime-- and the singer shows of the first of many appealing vocal hooks in this tune. An inventive guitar solo top things off, and just when I thought things couldn't get much better "Serpent's Kiss" starts up, which pretty much got me addicted to this album. It has killer melodies, lyrics, time signature changes, dynamics-- you name it. These guys seriously on their game.

The group's playing is quite tight throughout, with lots of classic prog-metal interplay between keys and guitar. Romeo's guitars are pretty much the dominating element of Paradise Lost, but the rhythm section may be more important to the bottom-heavy tone of these songs. This is one dark album, but never oppressive or filled with bathos (like any Riverside album). My only critical observation is the overal sameness of the songs. The group easily has the songwriting chops to experiment and give us some more variety, but with head-banging awesomeness of this quality I am not compaining.

Paradise Lost embraces the best of traditional heavy metal energy, prog-metal virtuousity, and power-metal dramaticism to create a wholly enjoyable package. You'll be hard pressed to find something within the genre better than this; it's easily deserves 4 stars, but I wouldn't be surprised if I bump this one up to 5 after a few years of listening.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#380794)
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars |B| Probably the band's most underrated and misunderstood work, and probably always will be.

Many Symphony X fans were held in anticipation for quite some time for this album's release, and I'm sure the band wanted very much to give them something that would top their previous works and progress the band's sound even further. In some ways I think they were successful in this endeavor. I think the band might have "sold out" a bit to the metal community with this work, but remarkably enough they managed this without surrendering really any their artistic credibility, which might be less obvious the casual symphonic prog-snob.

It's safe to say that this album was their least cheesy release. The band themselves believed this to be their best work to date, and I think it would be more appreciated in the prog community if people were less concerned about their obsession with keyboard-driven composition and asymmetric-time-signatures and more concerned with musical expression, artistic craft, and a band being genuine about creating good music they love.

With this composition the band presents us with possibly the most drastic change of sound in their career. Paradise Lost is significantly darker and heavier than previous works. There are many more tracks in a minor key, and the guitar riffs have taken an even more central part in importance, much to the sacrifice to the orchestration and keyboard parts, save a few tracks on the album (especially the album title track, which is far more characteristic of their earlier work). Even in the production of the guitar takes a central forefront role and the keyboard pads and patterns are turned down to prevent an overly thick sound. However, being that the guitar work is as good as it is, the tone, the near flawless and quite expressive/inspired performance, this is little to complain about, especially given the band's aim to further their appeal with the heavy metal crowd. It's safe to say Michael Romeo and his talents have taken an even further central role in the band's sound. My main complaint with this is that sometimes the guitar covers up the added classical sonorities that pop up their heads every so often in heavier songs, such as the guitar entrance on the repeat of the string/choral section of Serpent's Kiss.

The band also brings us a concept album, with the theme of every track having a relation with something Biblical or that references Bible-influenced works, such as Paradise Lost, the written work. In fact having an understanding in Biblical history and the specific work Paradise Lost greatly increases one's appreciation for the lyrical themes and how they're musically and vocally expressed. There is an especially influence on Satan, which makes sense with "heavy metal brutality" and is displayed, ironically, with much elegance and thoughtfulness.

As far as the tracks themselves, each is very central to its own sound and theme. Each track has its own lyrical theme, and there is a strong relation of the lyrics to their expression from the vocalist and general composition, which scores big points in my book as I'd consider that the highest form of musicality. the introduction piece Oculus Ex Inferni is probably my favorite, molding modern film-score composition (which involves some medieval influences, always a treat!) with metal sonorities. Very impressive composition from a classical point of view. The following three tracks are all of the same vain, very prevalent guitar work, good displays of technical musicianship, broad chord progressions encompassing the ever prevalent guitar riffing. There's a lot of compositional creativity with all three. Russel Alan gets a little carried away with his growling sort of vocals, especially in Domination. Paradise Lost is among the band's best work of their career for certain, beautiful piano and string composition, very convincing and authentic composition. The rest of the album has a far balance between the heavy riffing and classical nuances of previous tracks, though the quality level of the work being generally slightly less inspired (especially Seven), but commendable high-quality work nonetheless. The Sacrifice is must like the album title track, yet with its own uniqueness and some really awesome harmonic language and modulations. Again I think Russel Alan gets carried away with being overly growly and emotional with his singing. I absolutely love the way the entire album is wrapped up at the end of Revelation, the sections of previous works, the choir, the pizzicato strings, it's all so tastefully executed.

I can't see any true fan of prog-metal having much to complain about this album, and I'd say it's essential to anyone who's a part of that listening community, and a solid album for those who are not. The production is spectacular, and the composition avoids the disgusting stereotypes of power-prog (and what stereotypes there are are fulfilled with convincing dignity to the composition). Paradise Lost should seriously be as hailed as highly as The Divine Wings of Tragedy and V: The New Mythology Suite, and if anything considered less cheesy than either, though. My only main complaint is that the album is a bit too long for the variation in timbres that it offers (which is greater than most metal out there.

Report this review (#469506)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink

A clear improvement over the disappointing "The Odyssey", "Paradise Lost" is now my favorite album of the band, along with "V" and the recent "Iconoclast". Heavier, more brutal, this album is living proof that anticipated by fans five years were worth it.

The sound is now more power metal and less symphonic.The songs are tighter, marking the first they from "The damnation game" in which they do not put a band with more than 10 minutes.However, the quality is still in vogue, and they appreciate it-the result is an album almost perfect with a great flow between their songs.The Allen's vocals are more hateful and darker than ever, but are much better than in "The Odyssey".

Despite the heavy atmosphere of the songs, there are two ballads, and they are: "Paradise Lost" and "The Sacrifice". The first is the best song on the album and one of my favorite band of all time, with a catchy chorus while the second refers to the years 80.Others outstanding songs are the opening "Oculus ex Hell," the exceptional "Eve of Seduction"(which was the first song I listened to the album, although I do not remember when or where) and the epic "Revelation (Divus Pennae Tragoedia)."

4.5 stars!

Report this review (#471127)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This was my second taste of Symphony X, and while not as good as the preceding album, "The Odyssey", it does have a lot to offer.

The opening track, Oculus Ex Inferni is a promising start. It's an instrumental, with the type of orchestration that owes more than a little to the soundtrack from "The Exorcist". But after that, the album settles in to a more traditional hard prog metal sound. It's good, especially Michael Romeo's guitaring, but not really my preference of styles. It's almost as though the band listened to some of the complaints about the last album not being metal enough.

The album almost comes to a halt near the end, with the almost maudlin The Sacrifice. But luckily, Symphony X knows how to end an album. Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia) is easily the best song on the album, almost topping anything from the previous album.

Another very good piece of prog metal. Just makes it to four stars from me.

Report this review (#488066)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X - Paradise Lost

Alright, so this is one of my first ever progressive metal albums. This band and of course Dream Theater, got me into the whole progressive metal scene. Now, this band, combines power, symphonic and progressive elements all into one. It is quite amazing. This album is truly one my favorite albums. Now, about the album, we start off with an instrumental, which has a beautifully composed orchestra section. It then goes into Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies), which is honestly, a great song. It has the catchy riffs, amazing drumming, catchy chorus, not to mention an amazing solo. There are plenty of songs that really stand out on this album. Such as, Domination, Paradise Lost, Serpent's Kiss and Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia). But, that's not to say that the other songs didn't stand out to me as well. Just these were some notably ones that I thought were amazing right away.

Why 4 stars? For music, a lot stood out, yet I do not think that many would consider them masterpieces nor do I. For musicianship; Oh, well these guys have it all. Their technical ability is amazing. Guitars; amazing. Drums; amazing. Bass; amazing (Especially Domination). And the singing. I really love his voice. It isn't a voice you hear everyday. It is quite unique.

***** songs- Paradise Lost, Domination, Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies), Serpent's Kiss

**** songs- Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia), The Sacrifice, Seven, Eve of Seduction and Oculus Ex Inferni

*** songs- The Walls of Babylon

Report this review (#625433)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars On Paradise Lost Symphony X hit on a fabulous new sound, a darker and grimmer variation on their progressive power metal approach which dials back the cheesier aspects of power metal substantially, even more so than on V. Substantially heavier than their preceding work, the album stands on a par with The New Mythology Suite in opening up new sonic possibilities in the band's music and expands their horizons, even at points bringing them close to the threshold of more extreme metal styles. For a band who previously often left me a little cold with their indulgence of the cheesier, lighter side of power metal, this is a welcoming broadening of their vocabulary, though at parts it still struggles to keep my attention.
Report this review (#726386)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Heavy: 1. of great weight; difficult to lift. 2. of great density. 3. 'Paradise Lost' by Symphony X.

Symphony X's seventh studio album, 'Paradise Lost', is, simply put, heavy. The majestic sounds of their earlier releases are gone, and the more orchestral feel of their previous two albums have dwindled. Now, in their place, is an all-out assault of the heaviest, beefiest, and arguably some of the most aggressive music you'll ever hear.

The song structures, while still maintaining progressive characteristics, are nowhere near as complex as past efforts, and the keyboards don't have as prominent a role in the songwriting. Much of the music is based around guitarist Michael Romeo's massive riffs and vocalist Russell Allen's intense yet melodic voice, both fitting together so perfectly that it's easy to forget the bands more classically-inspired days.

'Set the World on Fire', 'Serpent's Kiss', 'Paradise Lost' and 'Revelation' are all fantastic-enough reasons to get this album, but then there's what I consider one of the heaviest songs of all time; 'Domination'. The sheer weight of its huge riffs is insane, amazingly produced to really give it the thickness it needs. You really don't know what "heavy" means until you've cranked this song out at full blast!

Overall, this is certainly not Symphony X's best album, but it's a natural change of direction for the band, and one which should help them appeal to a broader metal audience. And you'd sure-as-hell better be a metal fan if you're going to listen to this!

Report this review (#1784142)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yet another solid Symphony X release, albeit a retreat from the high-caliber V and Odyssey. Symphony X left the leading Progressive Metal pack and returned to the more conventional and less ambitious territory. "Paradise Lost" presents the band in change: Still firmly rooted in progressive metal, coming back on earth and with visible power metal traces. The album is very well executed and melodies belong to the best that Symphony X ever created. The record is filled with energy, enthusiasm and appetite; after 5 years on hiatus, that shouldn't be different.

Gone are overblown song sections with orchestra, layered keyboard and vocals; more conventional song structures prevail. Guitar and keyboard solos are easy to find; some tracks feature pleasant organ-like chords, just like the eight track "7". The trademark tracks are "Set the world on fire", "Paradise Lost" and "Seven". Vocals got rougher and the music heavier; intensive riffs win over speedy muscular chords; but there is enough guitar variety to show.

"Paradise Lost" used to be my favourite album when I was hungry absorping progressive metal; by now I prefer their earlier releases. On the other hand, "Paradise Lost" is stronger then 2011's "Iconoclast" and 2015 "Underworld" that I consider disappointing in terms of development and new ideas. "Paradise Lost" is a mature, very-well crafted piece of progressive metal music, easy to consume and yet staying a long- standing favourite record to resort to.

Report this review (#2203669)
Posted Saturday, May 18, 2019 | Review Permalink

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