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Symphony X

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5 stars This is one of the BEST progressive metal albums ever created. It contains the BEST music I've ever heard, It's HARD and HEAVY and at the same time EPIC, PROGRESSIVE and CATCHY. Also the symphonic elements remind me of John Williams's Star Wars soundtracks and that's a DAMN good thing. Recommended for anyone looking for GOOD music to listen to.A true MASTERPIECE.
Report this review (#15861)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars This cd represents everything I love about prog metal.I love metal music if played right like Black Sabbath,Judas Priest or King Diamond and heaven knows I love progressive rock of all kinds symphonic,cantubury or zhuel.Symphony X walks that line to perfection on The Odyssey,one of my favorite Greek mythology tales by the way.One minute they rock with the power of Pantera or King Diamond the next you get symphonic brilliance.What more could one ask for?
Report this review (#15892)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars In which Symphony X leapt from progressive metal hackery to Titans of the genre in sixty six minutes and fifty seven seconds. It's rare for a band to manage the switch from ordinary to extraordinary in one fell swoop (even Queensryche and Dream Theater took slightly longer), but somehow Michael Romero and cohorts did it on this disk. From the Pantera stylings of the opening seconds of 'Inferno' throught to the Maidenesque mania of the closing minutes of 'Champion Of Ithaca' the band really doesn't put a foot wrong. Indeed, on the spectacular 'Accolade II', a song that brings to mind sublime visions of Joe Lynn Turner fronting Kansas, the band manages to forge one of the most memorable songs of the last ten years. This is an astounding record.
Report this review (#15897)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is amazing i must've listened to it about 100 times. I agree they are definetly the best symphonic metal band in the world.I would definetly recomend this album to any Prog lover who hasn't encountered Symphony X before. My faveourite song on the album is the Odyssey; with its superb guitar solos and instrumentals. Russel Allens vocals are the cherry on top of the delicous cake that is Symphony X.
Report this review (#15869)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Where's the symphony?

An ambitious project for Symphony X, "The Odyssey" sees the band experimenting further with the progressive side of metal. The main feature of the album is the 24 minute "Odyssey" Suite. This is made up of seven sections but it is essentially one track. For such a lengthy piece, it wanders somewhat, appearing at times to concentrate more on telling the story than on the music itself.

Other than "Odyssey", there are 7 tracks on the standard release (there is also a special edition with one bonus live track). Of these, "Accolade II" is best. It's slightly slower, and contains the symphonic overtones of previous albums, combined with some excellent lead guitar. The other tracks are mainly symphonic prog metal by the numbers.

Throughout the album, heavy riffs abound, combined with ultra fast guitar solos, and backed by double paced drums, but there's a lack of originality. The symphonic pomposity which made previous albums so striking and different is largely suppressed in favour of more conventional metal. In general with this album, while it has its highlights, the band appear to have overlooked the fact that fast guitars and lots of notes do not in themselves necessarily make for good compositions. Good, but by no means their best.

Report this review (#15870)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like sirens' songs, the best songs from prog-metal titans SYMPHONY X are practically irresistible. And even though "The Odyssey" isn't quite at the pinnacle of the SYMPHONY X catalog, listeners cannot ignore the allure of masterworks like the panoramic prog-metal of "Awakenings" and the prismatically brilliant, richly orchestrated, seven-part "The Odyssey."

Everything on this progressive heavy metal epic is delivered with searing energy and fiery chops. Indeed, the first tracks cast a metallic shadow from which the album doesn't truly emerge until well into the orchestral sections of the album-closing title track. To some extent, however, the band's crashing waves of heavy, focused prog-metal come at the expense of pomp ambition and melodic substance. As a result, the disc is both harder-hitting and less impressive than their previous album, the killer "New Mythology Suite."

But no prog-metal fan could fail to be impressed by SYMPHONY X's tight ensemble passages, guitarist Michael Romeo's sensational axework, and killer cuts like those mentioned above. And for fans of fierce prog/power-metal with touches of pomp and orchestral ambition, "The Odyssey" is without weakness, an excellent album from an elite band.

Report this review (#15877)
Posted Monday, July 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am a huge dream theater fan and i will overlook the fact that this band are practically clones of dream theater and have to many "similarities" that its just silly. But that aside, The Odyssey is an original and strong set of songs. The vocals, i agree, are very over the top at times but it seems to fit with their style of music, making everything about them seem evil. His voice is pretty similar to dream theater yet unique with his own styles. The lyrics are more supernatural and fantasy based than dream theater, giving the album an evil edge but it would be nicer to see real life situations being tackled here.

"Inferno" is a beast of an opening track with the incredibly speedy guitar riffs, gruff vocals and metal harmony. The album starts to mellow a little bit with the similar flow on "Wicked" but the album starts heading in a different direction when it reaches "Incantations of the Apprentice". "Accolade II" is the first song that really pushes the keyboard skills and it serves as an excellent sidekick to the guitar riffs and solos. This is probably the most sorrowful song on the album which slightly gives the album a bit of balance and variety. The odyssey's main purpose though is to provide pure progressive metal which it does well, whilst dream theater like to experiment on each album, which goes down better with most people. "King of Terrors" is a brilliant way of kicking off the second half of the album, with its evil piano pieces and bold guitar riffage. "The Turning" keeps the solid flow going but it starts to feel a little more repititive and less impressive, although this is a great song. "Awakenings" is much better and begins to blend mellow and heavy pieces together. The vocals here are at their best on the whole album (probably because they aren't as majestic and dramatic). "The Odyssey" is one of the most impressive suites i have heard because it manages to pull the listener in right away where as most suites require patience as they gradually build up to better things (eg. "Atom Heart Mother", "And You And I", "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"). This song unexplainable manages to have a Greek feel to it which fits in perfectly with its Greek god odyssey concept. This album probably manages to go down well with Dream Theater fans, despite the large array of annoying borrowed and unoriginal similarities. Still i would recomend "Images and Words" and "Awake" first because Symphony x are just re-inventing Dream Theaters created sound.

Report this review (#15878)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A new masterpiece from the kings of symphonic prog-metal. The overall guitar parts get thrashy in the most tracks ("king of terrors" is really terrific) which gives this LP a more energetic dimension compared to their previous productions. The prog touch is wonderfully emphasized in the great "Accolade", "Awakenings" and the epic "The Odyssey". Great vocals, chorus, guitar and keyboards solos. Highly recommended !
Report this review (#15881)
Posted Friday, October 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars A reasonably good release. As usual with Symphony X the musicianship is flawless with blistering solo work from guitarist Michael Romeo throughout. There are some fantastic tracks, most notably the opener "Inferno". The problem for me with this release is that the songs start to sound a little similar - heavy verse leading to melodic chorus leading to neo classical inspired midsection. The epic "Odyssey" suffers from a rather convoluted structure, and although there is some fantastic writing it tends to wander a little.

If you like your prog heavy with lashings of neo classical guitar heroism, then this is the band for you. Worth checking out if you are curious...

Report this review (#15884)
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This must be the year for prolific progressive rock releases. SYMPHONY X has released a blockbuster recording called "The Odyssey". It is a concept album inspired by Greek mythology or possibly the movie Jason And The Argonauts or something similar. One never knows what inspirations or driving forces an artist has upon completion of important musical works such as this, I can only look so far into what is behind the music itself. I can you tell this much, this band really dug in and made this their ultimate effort in the studio thus far. To coin a phrase... I would call this near death-metal-progressive rock. They key word here is near. Their style is hard to pin down. In a passing moment they sound like a complex Ronnie James Dio band then a mellower progressive rock in a YES kind of way. It sounds intricate, complicated, and interesting does it not? Well it is certainly all of that and more.

This striving venture is broken down into eight different segments, the eighth track being the most crucial to completing the story. Track 8 has seven individual parts all pieced together and segued to form one daunting composition. Russell Allen, the lead vocalist, has an impressive range. He can get down and dirty with a death growl or sing as smooth and dreamy as Jon ANDERSON. This band demands that kind of elasticity in a lead singer because their music has so many different atmospheres and textures that change during a song. What is nice to see are the members of the band getting in on the production of their own recording, besides having more control of their work it shows a definite concern for the quality of their product. That I feel is very important in the increasingly competitive field of music.

So there you have it, not a boring track-by-track breakdown, but a synopsis of the entire album and what to expect when you give it a spin yourself. If you are a metal head, prog- rock fanatic, guitar aficionado, or you just like to rock and stomp your feet and bang your fist against the wall, this music will give you the outlet for a complete release of energy, good or bad. The result is you get a therapeutic experience that sounds awesome.

Report this review (#15888)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, here's another one! Symphony X really done it this time! Altough "V - The mythology suite" remains my favorite album, "The Odyssey" follows! Every song on this album is unique, and I am not talking only about the last one. My favorites are "Acollade II", "King of terrors", "Wicked"... "The Odyssey" is such a fantastic composition. I always wished that they'll do something like that. It would be awsome if they countinue in a similar direction. Maybe one day they'll make a soundtrack for some Wault Disney picture! After many exellent albums so far, publishing this powerfull album, only proves that Symphony X guys are not tired and we can expect at least one more killer album! Keep the metal faith alive! Progressive rules!
Report this review (#15889)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although it's very hard for me to say this as an avid SYMPHONY X fan, I cannot understand why this album is being compared in the "Key Albums" section to V: The New Mythology Suite and The Divine Wings of Tragedy. The truth is, there is little comparison at all. In fact, The Odyssey is the reason I almost didn't become a SYMPHONY X fan at all. While in retrospect I can see that many things did improve greatly on The Odyssey from prior albums, I can also tell that there was a serious decline in some other aspects, one that I hope will not carry on to other albums. While parts of it are stunning to a degree thus far unmet in previous albums, other parts detract so severely that I find myself unable to listen to it very often at all...or having to skip songs if I do. I can't give this album 2 stars because of how good the good parts are; it would be unfair. However, there is no way I could justify even 4 stars...this is not the album to start out with, regardless of what many people say.

Some people are going to scream when I give Symphony X, their first album, the same rating as this. The difference is, when a band is just starting out, they deserve to be cut some slack due to inexperience and lack of resources. When a band is as far along as SYMPHONY X is now, they should know better. Knowing the full history of the band on one hand makes certain aspects of The Odyssey all the more incredible...and other parts all the more disappointing. I offer the perspective of someone who knows the entire SYMPHONY X catalogue instead of someone who just picked this one up without any idea of the rest of their accomplishments. I suspect Bob McBeath has a similar perspective, and you should pay attention to his words in addition to mine.

On one hand, the sound quality has jumped dramatically in quality. In fact, it's my suspicion that it's this fact alone that has garnered The Odyssey so much attention in comparison to the other albums. For one thing, it seems like keyboardist MICHAEL PINNELLA has bought a new synth and he uses it to great fact, he and MICHAEL ROMEO may even be using samples for some parts of the orchestra in the title track especially, which become so realistic I literally cannot tell for sure whether they're samples or synth tones. The general production has much more of an almost "surround-sound" aspect to it, for lack of better words, that I noticed immediately. On songs like "The Odyssey", this had a particularly stunning effect. There are subtle intros and outros that we've never heard before, vocal echoes that would've been imperceptible on earlier albums but have a chilling effect on this one, and other interesting studio tricks that they must have lacked the resources for in the past. From a technical standpoint, although it's hard to believe, all of the musicians--especially ROMEO and PINNELLA--are actually showing improvements. This is all the more stunning considering how skilled they all were to begin with--yet it's noticeable here that they've come along even further!

The trouble was, the album was quite simply too long and almost seems to have been recorded in two different sessions--one with very good production and technique, and one that really seems to be a wrong turn for SYMPHONY X. Unfortunately, on some of these tracks--the ones that I suspect came from an entirely different session!--ROMEO's guitar and RULLO's drums are mixed so prominently that PINNELLA becomes inaudible. I literally wound up with a headache from trying to turn these songs up to hear PINNELLA but being forced to turn them back down because it feels like ROMEO and RULLO are beating out a rhythm on my skull. To be honest, this almost pseudo-Metallica or Train of Thought kind of approach is not what I listen to SYMPHONY X for. It's not that I don't like harder fact, I really do...the problem is SYMPHONY X apparently trying to change their signature sound in places, but what they really end up doing is destroying it. In fact, I could've done without "The Turning" entirely, and perhaps one or two other songs like "Inferno" and "Wicked", though they are less annoying than "The Turning".

Yet where they do keep their "true" sound, the results are absolutely stunning. On the very good songs, PINNELLA's new synth is shown off to great effect, and what's more, he seems to have developed a more emotional, touching piano technique which appears in songs like "Accolade II", "Awakenings", and "The Odyssey" itself. The strings on "King of Terrors" demonstrate very well what he can do in a much harsher setting, as well as the excellent remake of "Masquerade". The orchestrations are nothing short of incredible, and I think that if you already know you like SYMPHONY X, this album is worth getting for these songs. Unfortunately, thanks to the more unremarkable tracks and the ones that just do not sound like what SYMPHONY X ought to be at all, I can only conclude that this album is highly overrated.

I cannot emphasize it more--make sure you start with V: The New Mythology Suite or The Divine Wings of Tragedy, not this one. I almost gave up on the band entirely because of this, and if I hadn't happened to have spotted V, I know that I would not have even come to discover the good parts (and when they're good, they're very good!) of this album.

(Note: it's said that the sound quality will be--somehow!--even better on the next SYMPHONY X album. But it's also said that the sound will be darker. One hopes that this will mean "darker" in terms of "atmospheric" like Twilight in Olympus and not just harder like this one.)

Report this review (#15893)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent step forward for SX. Perhaps if I could I would give an extra half star. Though their previous album, 'The New Mythology Suite', is stronger as a whole, 'The Odyssey' showcases some definate improvements in their songwriting and playing ability. It's hard not to give this album 5 stars but I do find when listening to it from beginning to end it falls a little short on flavor. I personally like to see more diversity in an album to keep the music interesting from beginning to end. However, one cannot over look the true brilliance of some of the individual tracks that make this album an excellent buy. The amazing epic title track ' The Odyssey' alone is worth the purchase. This 24 min masterpiece is the the best output buy SX to date. It beautifully captures every aspect of the band and simply demands your attention and recognition. Other notable tracks would include Inferno(Unleash the Fire), King of Terrors, and Awakenings. The Accolade II is also a good track that adds a little emotion to the enslaught of metal fury that surrounds it. All in all 'The Odyssey' is an exceptional prog metal album with a sound that's explosive, crunchy and energetic. Buy it!
Report this review (#15895)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a really excellent metal album. The discussion about it being inferior to V or Divine Wings reminds me of the Dream Theater: Train Of Thought discussions. The albums are quite similar in their effects on fans and critics.

I think that while it is not as good as V or Divine Wings, The Odyssey is slightly better than Twilight in Olympus. There are no weak tracks, but apparently some are more prog and some more metal. The

epic, Awakenings and Accolade II are standout prog tracks, ALL of the other tracks are wonderful (power) metal songs.

The band is playing very tight, and - again very much like Train Of Thought - the keyboards not very prominent ... but they're there, it all blends nicely into a power metal onslaught, culminating in a symphonic epic (sadly, the classical instruments are samples).

The limited edition also features the older track Masquerade as a bonus, re-recorded with Russell Allen vocals and a nice symphonic intro.

The Turning: I really like the Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde concept here.

Masquerade: This version is really much better than the original one. It's not just the vocals and production quality - the arrangements have been upgraded, too.

Report this review (#35148)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now, I'd like to start this review by informing the reader(s) - you - that I'm not the greatest Symphony X aficionado. I mean, I continue to love the band more and more with every album they construct, but I'm nowhere near the greatest fan on earth.

With that, I'd like to explicate my basis for enjoying this album over all the others:

When I first got into Symphony X, my favorite album was, of course, The Divine Wings of Tragedy (and I suppose I could argue it still is my favorite, both musically as well as vocal and lyrically), but what I found different with The Odyssey was Russell Allen. Yes, he's also the head vocals on The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but he isn't as evolved. With The Odyssey, Allen put himself in an almost kind empty shell that allowed him to center solely around the superior nature of the album at hand, without really wondering what all the fanatics wanted to hear. I mean, don't get me wrong, 'cause I'm not saying Allen purposely chose to sway his vocals - and lyrics, too, if we're speaking on it - toward the thought of necessarily gratifying the media's wishes, but I do happen to find their previous albums to be somewhat formulaic.

With Inferno (Unleash the Fire) - The Odyssey's first song - Allen coarsely runs right through the band's second-rate pulse with the words, "Welcome to the anarchy; enigmatic entity," and to me, when Russell accentuates "enigmatic," I just melt. His emphasis gives the whole verse more personality than I've ever heard from the five guys (including the old members). Like always with Symphony X's songs, this chorus beamed magnificently.

I'm not going to evaluate every track on here, so with that, I'll continue to Accolade II, which is the sequel to The Divine Wings of Tragedy's The Accolade. Pinnella's harmonious keys during the introduction immediately gives you - or at least me - an idea of how the song is going to go, but it's not until all the instruments simultaneously unite and excel as one, giving you the almost sensation of soaring through the air, that you know how grand the piece is going to carry on.

All right, now I have to skip farther ahead toward the song we all know and - I hope - love, The Odyssey. First off, if you haven't read Homer's The Odyssey, then you might not understand this song that much, so I'd suggest you pick it up soon and read it - it's the book I'm currently involved in at the moment. Without much elaboration, let me tell you it's a twenty-four minute epic that is up there with The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but as for now, I still don't know which one I appreciate more.

Eh, again I have to apologize for such a short review, but if you're not used to the Symphony X-ish music, then this album would be the perfect one to start with.

Report this review (#35347)
Posted Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well i am new to Symphony X. The Dream Theater comparisons seem some what out of place on the basis of this release. Its very guitar heavy in parts but not in the math-metal leanings of Petrucci-Rudess riffing. Its well interesteing. The cheese of the lyrics was a suprise. But it carries through. Some truly inspired arrangements and the vocals which go from a Dioesque rasp to sounding exactly like that guy from Rainbow's later albums works for the main. Its all very impressive and the melodic section in the final track is well just brilliant. I am always tempted back to this album. I know more informative X fans have differing opinions but this an album that seems to blend prog with its intellectualism with surely some lyrical cheese and that is fine.

The bass player is also amazing and i can see that given the right circumstances he can out Myung most certainly.

I simply just dig this hybrid prog/power metal feast.

A real grower for me.

Report this review (#44781)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am quickly beginning to have a new favorite band. This album is a definite jaw dropper form the get go. Inferno(Unleash the Fire) is as good a prog metal song as i have ever heard... period. If for no other reason you need to have this album because of this song. The guitars are wonderful, vocals are way beyond exceptional and everyone else is more than holding up their end of things. Wicked is a bit more strait forward metal, but still has the cool prog 13 time signature... incantaitions of the apprentice is an interesting but still pretty straight forward metal... Accolade II is a wonderful track that brings to mind Kansas for one. Much more keys in this, but it still rocks hard. King of Terrors is inspired by Edgar Alan Poe and sounds like you think it would, pretty dark, ultra heavy, low spoken vocal parts etc. The turning and awakenings carry this theme on to the 24:00+ The Odyssey. This track rocks for the whole duration, even managing to make the slow and "heartfelt" parts sound interesting and leaving you begging for more. Well Done!
Report this review (#46577)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Founded in 1994, New Jersey progressive symphonic metal veterans Symphony X have consistently released one excellent album after another.

Known mostly over the years for their grand technical and symphonic concept albums, Symphony X decided that a more straight forward back to metal basics approach was in order for The Odyssey. Crunchy riff driven songs with a more aggressive vocal style, just what the progressive symphonic metal fan was looking for. Well, that's maybe not quite right. Although there is plenty of keyboards that still bear the trademark Symphony X sound, lets just say The Odyssey is more guitar and less keyboard oriented than past releases.

The Odyssey does not begin with an instrumental piece but with a furious opening track entitled "Inferno (Unleash the Fire)"...the listener is immediately assaulted with a blistering guitar lick which leads into a very intense musical moment. In fact, the whole track maintains much of the intensity that is created in the first 30 seconds of the song. Russel Allen's voice has never sounded better and his performance throughout the album is simply brilliant.

The tale continues where "Inferno" left off with more mind blowing speedy guitar riffs, some beautiful relaxed piano passages, frantic pounding drums with complimenting bass lines that all comes together in a most magnificent kind of way. Let me say this one last time, The Odyssey is heavier than past releases and simply a formidable guitar driven album.

Every track tells a story from the opening song to the final Odyssey. This epic title track is divided into seven coherent and seamless parts that deals with the poem "The Iliad" by Greek writer Homerus.

Still thinking of holding out for something better in this genre? I think you should reconsider, especially if you like complex song structures, fluid keyboard lines, crunchy/aggressive guitar riffs, superb solos with some excellent vocals to boot, then The Odyssey is just perfect for you!

Report this review (#52359)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "The Odyssey" is,in my opinion,the heaviest album in Symphony X's discography. and the rawest too.It was guitarist and main man Michael Romeo's idea to go slightly off the beaten path and try a rawer approach, in the instrumental as well as in the vocal department.Instrumentally, this change of direction can be heard in the numerous riffs that characterise most of the songs on "The Odyssey". These guitar riffs give the still very recognisable Symphony X sound a light touch of thrash, especially on the opening track "Inferno (Unleash The Fire)" and "King Of Terrors", which I think is the heaviest song this band has ever recorded. It's also on these songs that Russell Allen could amuse himself making his vocal lines more direct and rawer. But of course, there was still plenty of room left on the disc to please those who prefer the 'old' type of material, which makes this album a varied product. "Wicked", "The Turning" and "Awakenings" are genuine and traditional Symphony X songs offering melody and emotion, while the impressive power ballad "Accolade II" is the sequel to the eponymous song that was on 1995's "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy". But the eye-catcher is the dramatic title track. With its length of over 24 minutes, "The Odyssey" is comprised of six parts that together tell the ancient Greek legend. The countless classical pieces in this song reminded me a lot of "V" by the way. I think the step from the sublime "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" to the - in my view equally heavy - "Twilight In Olympus" was a harder one to take for many among us. After the orchestral "V", this more direct "The Odyssey" is just the logical next step in the impressive career of Symphony X, who have placed themselves among the biggest bands in the prog metal genre An excellent addition to any progressive metal fans collection,4 stars.
Report this review (#54470)
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Blockbuster release from Symphony X leaves much to be desired.

The Odyssey by Symphony X is the band's follow up to the well recieved V. The Odyssey shows Symphony X in a much different vein. A vein that I do not percieve as positive.

The album lacks variation. The title track and Accolade II are the lone tracks on the album that I find to be Progressive works of music.

The guitar tone from Romeo is much stronger on this album, but lacks clarity. The influence of Dimebag on Mike Romeo shows much more on this album than on previous albums. Romeo's playing has never been the clearest, but this album shows less clarity and musicality than any previous efforts.

Russell Allen's vocals are at their worst as well. The graceful tones heard of The Divine Wings of Tragedy and Twilight in Olympus are no where to be found here. Instead Allen decides to show a more rugged side of yells and angst.

Other than the two tracks mentioned above I have little to compliment on the composing. Wicked is an awful track with harmonics as almost every other note. King of Terrors can't be even be considered Progressive, most of this album is just plain Heavy Metal. The attempt at a ballad, Awakenings acts as more of a boring lullaby song than an emotional ballad.

This album has very few positive aspects. This album would only get one star if there was an option for zero.

Report this review (#62082)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I just bought this album, and it was somewhat of a dissapointment. It is certainly better than their previous album, The New Mythology Suite (which I despise), but this is not their best work. The opening track begins promisingly enough (I love the guitar riff) but the vocals and guitar evolve into something too metal and not at all progressive.

That being said, there are two tracks that really catch my eye. Obviously, anything over 10 minutes (and certainly 20) is an instant 5-star classic in my mind, so the epic 24 minute title track is amazing. I was very impressed by that. Other than that, only Acolade II is in my mind a truly good song. Overall, I'm dissapointed, but this is by no means a bad album.

Report this review (#63048)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'The Odyssey' is possibly the greatest Symphony X album ever released. I've been following the band ever since I heard "Out of the Ashes" from the 'Divine Wings' album, and I've gotten every album since then. I appreciated the experimental side to 'V', but I felt it focused too much on symphonic overtones. Was this the new direction that Symphony X was going for? I had thought so, and while I was perfectly capable of accepting a symphonic edge to the band, I was a guitar freak at heart. Then came 'The Odyssey'; featuring a perfect blend of wall-to-wall guitar and keyboards, this release showcased the melodic and technical capabilities of the band while not completely doing away with the symphonic overtones featured on 'V'. I had the pleasure of talking to Michael Lepond (bassist) after it was released, and although he was a bit disappointed with the level of his bass in the mix - and I'll admit, it's a little low, but not as bad as Metallica's '...And Justice For All' - he was proud of the product. I took his opinion seriously, but I wanted to hear for myself. When it came out in stores, I (regretfully) went for the non-limited edition. Looking back, I should have waited for the special edition to be stocked, because it includes one extra song, but I wanted to hear the material right away.

So I bought the album and fed it into the CD player. Out blasted a frenetic sequence of guitar notes, the intro of "Inferno", to set the stage of the album. While I would hardly call "Inferno" my favorite song on the disk, it did leave an impact. Then I hit "Wicked", an awesome, slow-driving song which remains at the top of my Symphony X song list ever since hearing it; Russell Allen's vocal work shines on that song. Whoever calls "Awakenings" a weak ballad must be ignorant (in my opinion). The song starts off with a syncopated introduction between the bass, drums, and keyboards, and goes through a transformation as distorted guitars are added in; very symphonic and pleasant sounding.

Then I reached the title track, a 24-minute long epic called "The Odyssey". Split into seven parts, the song begins with an orchestrated session (accentuated with some heavy guitars and drums) that sounds like it came right out of a movie. Around the four minute mark, Michael Romeo sets his guitar on clean and brings the song into a peaceful-sounding interlude with Russell Allen. Later in the song, you'll hear an answer to that same part, but not before encountering heavy guitars at the 6-minute mark, vocal-layering and pulsating keyboards at the 13-minute mark, a bumbling guitar stampede at the 15-minute mark, and another orchestrated session at the 17. Despite the diversity mentioned here, the song flows very well for the most part, and it could very well make the album deserving of five stars in itself if it were offered as a single.

Overall, I believe this is Symphony X's most solid attempt. Offering a great blend of symphony and guitar, I gave this album the highest rating available. Great album; truly a must-have.

Report this review (#63052)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
King of Loss
3 stars The Odyssey is Symphony X's 2002 release (Why Hasn't a new album been released yet!) and I must say it is by far their heaviest and contains a massive epic called no other than THE ODYSSEY!

This album starts off with Inferno, a heavy Thrashier opener with the memorable vocals by singer Russell Allen yelling out the words, "WELCOME TO THE ANARCHY" and then a heavy riff starts. Overall, the first song isn't so bad, much better than an opener like Of Sins and Shadows, but much weaker than an opener like Evolution or Smoke and Mirrors.

The song Wicked follows it, an intensely heavy song, perhaps the heaviest song Sym X has ever done so far, for me it falls between the category of [&*!#] and crap (at least for SX standards) This is also my least favorite Sym X song. This is point where my skull cracks due to lack of melody and the harsh vocals of Russell Allen, which I enjoy far more when he is in a more "calmer" mood. (Exagerating of course) Not a very memorable Sym X song. Another bland heavy rocker follows and then we have the continuation of the Acollade trilogy.

Acollade II is a very good song, not quite as good as its brother and certainly heavier. Its creative vocals and guitar solo is one that is very much enjoyed by me. A great Sym X song and a classic under my standards.

Acollade II is followed by two other heavy rockers that rival that of Wicked, but none are memorable as well.

Awakenings is like the lighter, very much like a segue to a song like on Rediscovery, but this "segue" is far longer and not as good. Good song, nevertheless. Creative and out of the book for Sym X at least.

The Odyssey is the last and the longest track on this album. It is also by far the best track on the otherwise uncreative and heavy release by Symphony X. After the characteristically symphonic approach to them, it really sounds like a Lord of the Rings soundtrack, well, at least the beginning sounds like it. We carry the story of the grand Odyssey, a man lost at sea, wanting for Ithaca. A great, epic song I can not really describe. This song is by far the most creative, artistic thing Michael Romeo ever wrote. Along with V, this song is a sheer magnum opus. You just have to listen to the epic itself!

There is a remake of Masquerade also in the limited edition of this disc, which is actually widely sold in stores (actually the only one sold in stores). The remake is excellent and much better than awfully produced, sung original release on the self- titled Symphony X release.

Overall, I must say the Odyssey is not a very creative piece of work, other than the title track and one that is in sheer need of a balance between heavy riffs and melody. I would only recommend it if you want to listen to the magical title track. It is technically a 3/5 album, despite the greatness that is the title track. But I was so disappointed in this release overall and could have been a lot better much like V: The New Mythology Suite, but then I guess bands move in different directions..

Inferno- 4/5 Wicked - 2/5 Incantations Of The Apprentice - 2/5 Accollade II- 4/5 King Of Terrors- 2/5 The Turning- 2/5 Awakenings- 3/5 The Odyssey- 6/5 (Masquerade) - 4/5

Overall: 3 stars, a good effort but not the best Symphony X album as everyone puts it out to be. The epic however is a masterpiece!

Report this review (#64094)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was surprised to see all these 4 and 5 stars ratings here for a not very original and cheesy heavy metal album. IMO, only the first 2 songs save this album from being a total rip-off from other bands material. Vocals sound most of the time like a tired Dio and sometimes like Tony Martin from the last incarnation of Black Sabbath (mainly on track Accolade II - but Tony Martin has a more educated and clean voice). Music borrows heavily from Dream Theater, Black Sabbath (late 80's & 90's), Helloween,even Megadeth, and it seems like the instrumental passages are taken straight from Dream Theater. The lyrics are cheesy, which I suppose it's OK. The title track is very similar to Manowar products (though Manowar never said they were making 'prog-metal') and is laughable in places. Clearly for fans of the band only. It may appeal to 'dungeons & dragons' contingent.
Report this review (#64979)
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Even though this album is not as solid as its predecessor "V: The New Mythology Suite" but I still consider this as an excellent addition to any prog music collection. As far as listening pleasure, "Odyssey" is much heavier in rhythm as well as guitar riffs which enough to give listeners feel tired due to the heavy nature and high speed of the music. Composition-wise, it's still a strong album that combines chockfull of metal guitar riffs of Michael Romeo, fast-paced keyboard work of Michael Pinella, tight bass liones of Michael LePond augmented with dynamic 'n' energetic drumming of Jason Rullo. Russel Allen performs his best singing especially during high register notes. Enjoying the first half of this album sounds like having Metallica music in prog style due to many heavy guitar riffs performed.

"Inferno" (5:32) kicks off the album with heavy rhythm music demonstrating fast tempo guitar work augmented with crispy bass lines, dynamic drumming backed with keyboard sound at the back. Russell Allen sings in clear voice with high energy. In this regard he seems singing with his own style unlike in some softer part where his voice is similar to Steve Walsh (of Kansas). "Wicked" (5:32) continues the music with high energy style combining staccato drumming and guitar riffs which remind me to the music of Dream Theater. This time Russel sings similar to Steve Walsh. Michael Romeo plays his melodic riffs during transition followed with bass and drum works. Pinella plays pulsating keyboard during interlude just before nice guitar solo shot continued again with keyboard. Right after the interlude part the music changes the style into more mellow style for a while and returns back to heavier stuff right after guitar riffs. It's a very enjoyable track.

"Incantations Of The Apprentice" (4:21) starts wonderfully in crescendo with keyboard sounds followed with heavy rhythm music augmented with Michael LePond's bass guitar solo. Jason Rullo provides his power metal double bass drum pedal in relatively fast tempo. Russell again proves himself as excellent prog met vocalist. The guitar riffs are catchy. "Accolade II" (7:06) is a natural follow-up of "Accolade" ("The Dinine Wings of Tragedy" album) in the vein of Kansas music. It starts really beautiful with a great combination of violin and piano in an excellent melody at opening part. The music flows brilliantly into higher notes with varied styles in the vein of Kansas. The combination of keyboard, guitar and violin is the strong point of this track. It's brilliantly composed track and it has become my personal favorite - as is the case with "Accolade" (the first segue from The Divine Wings of Tragedy album).

"King Of Terrors" (6:19) is a full metal blast music with heavy guitar riffs and little prog components in it. For those who are familiar with the kind of Metallica music might enjoy this track. The following track "The Turning" (4:44) continues with metal music exploration with rough guitar riffs. "Awakenings" (8:21) provides a kind of break for my ears because it starts with an ambient music exploring long sustain keyboard, piano followed with drumming and guitar solo. Yep! When vocal enters the music, it's representing the style of Kansas music with touchy piano work at background. The music flows into heavier part with more metal music as characterized by heavy guitar riffs and solo.

The album title track "The Odyssey" (24:09) comprises seven parts. Structurally it reminds us to Dream Theater's "Six Degree of Inner Turbulence" because it blows with grandiose full orchestra throughout the span of this epic track. Conceptually, the composition is quite confusing as we, the listeners, do not exactly know on what the band is trying to achieve with this epic. The combination of acoustic guitar with vocal right after the Overture is really nice. The epic offers relatively complex combination of guitar and keyboard works especially during interlude part. Overall, I'm quite OK with this track as generally I enjoy long duration track not because of the duration itself but I kind like imagine how tough the musicians composed such a long track. It's a kind of my deep appreciation to prog musicians. According to the liner note, the opening orchestration was done by Romeo.

My CD is a limited edition one (with external cardboard sleeve) with bonus track "Masquarade" which is an excellent track. I love the cover artwork - it's fantastic - by Tom Thiel @ Illuvision. Because it's limited edition there is a full review of each track by members of the band. This is what I like about owning a limited edition package - I got a full picture of how the album was made and the backgrounds that built an album. Of course, my above review was totally "my perception" and nothing was taken from the band members' words.

Heavier than previous album, but I still recommend you to have it, especially if you can accept heavy riffs metal music. It's too rough for my ears but it's still an excellent album. It's not fully symphonic unless the epic track Odyssey. Keep on proggin' ..

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#70005)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "The Odyssey" is the last studio release of Symphony X. It was published in 2002 after their conceptual masterpiece "V", with an improved sound, new ideas and Michael LePond. He's still the bassist and fresh ideas again as well as a revised sound. The name already illustrates thoughts of any wanderings. However a more accurate view on the cover indicates the proper meaning of the title. It's the story of Odysseus, hero of Homer's Odyssey! I think everyone knows his story. Odysseus, after the victorious battle of Troy, returns to Ithaca, but he has to overcome several adventures/dangers. The last song on this album, the 24-minute long epic, "The Odyssey" traverses some different themes of Odysseus' journey back home. Anyway I have the feeling this is kind of a concept album. In every track there are keywords and the story itself points out my notion.

I have collected some extracts to prove or rather show it.

Inferno "we ride through stormy skies of fire"

Wicked "I travelled through the mountains"

Inc. of the Apprentice "I journey for nines moons of the year"

Accolade II "returning to his land"

King of Terrors "I slip away.into black I fade away"; "Inch by Inch and Line by Line"

Awakenings"So many paths of promise, indecision poisons my mind"; "Still I'm searching yet the truth is unknown"

"Awakenings" is a great example for the topic. As you read, this person is going to find the truth, which is "yet unknown" and there are many "paths of promise". Furthermore there are tracks like "King of Terrors", based on Poe's story, "The Pit and the Pendulum", the journey to the afterlife, Although there are no keywords in "The Turning", the story gives information about it. It describes the metamorphosis to a werewolf. This could be regarded as kind of a voyage as well. In my opinion, this shows that "The Odyssey" is partially a concept album. I know that all could be coincidence, but I can't really believe that! The music turned to a heavier and darker direction. Let's assume, this is a concept piece, the overall theme is odysseys, which are very dramatic, as you might know, so that could justify the "darkness" and the heavy style. The most conspicuous change is the vocals. The incredible Russell Allen crosses the edge to the trash-metal several times and the guitar became heavier as well, I think a bit away from this "Dream Theater"-progressive-metal-sound and more to a metal direction like "Pantera", but still very original.

I will describe every musician now. I think that's a good way to describe the album and everyone's role here.

Michael Romeo

His compositions (songs/solos) are quite controversial. One the one hand they are less melodic than the other albums. But the feeling is much darker now and they distanced themselves a bit from the melodic power metal. His solos are still great and fit perfectly into the songs. In my opinion he knows how to build in the perfect solo, regarding speed, feeling and melody. He's definitely a player of joy and he is always looking for demanding solos. Anyway if there should be any slow solos, they aren't missing. Furthermore, if he's really supposed to be such an awful shredder, wouldn't he ever play in that speed like he does in "King of Terrors"? He can play extremely fast, but he doesn't ever make use of it. Technique is more important for him and I even believe that he knows how to build up a song so that he can solo fast. The perfect example is "Accolade II". The song is growing up and building up more pressure with this instrumental part, so that he can start with a fast solo, which descends to a slow solo to create the best changeover and it perfectly merges with Russell's vocals. He's kind of the mastermind of Symphony X and responsible for the most compositions. Alone, he wrote the track "The Odyssey", one of the best songs ever. This track is so well-thought that it's able to represent every part of Homer's "Odyssey" with its special moods. Most obvious it's in the Wagner inspired classical part from 16.-20. minute that leads over from the "sirens" to the final arriving in Ithaca, so convincing that you could believe this is a real orchestra and perfectly build into the track! And this is just one of the parts of this varied song. The acoustic guitar arpeggio part at the beginning is also amazing and shows that Michael Romeo is not simply a metal-demoniac, but rather that he is very diverse and full of ideas. What I don't like are the sometimes monotone, "easy" riffs, you can find in "Inferno" and "King of Terrors". Well, the riff in "King of Terrors" is still quite accessible and I don't know if there would be a change in the feeling/mood of the song, if you would replace it, but I think the riff in "Inferno" (not the fast, the one during the verse) could have been done better. There's even no keyboard, just Russell's powerful voice drowns the guitar out a bit. Nevertheless there are still great riffs, for example in "Awakenings", the galloping riff in "Accolade II", the fast one at the beginning of "Inferno", the groovy one in "Wicked", or the fast riff in "Incantations of the Apprentice", following after each of Russell Allen's lines during the verse or the one in the chorus! And not to forget "The Odyssey" with those typical Michael Romeo riffs, usually played alone first without vocals, which join later, as you might know if you are a Symphony X fan. So you can get over those "simple" riffs, there's still enough to be happy with! What I also noticed is his laxness. In "Incantations of the Apprentice" for example! It sounds as if he would watch a comedy show along the way! But, I also think that he's not always perfect in technique. In "Inferno" for example, I've the feeling that he's overestimating himself a bit. I don't think that he played the solo proper. He once aid that it's the most difficult solo of all his stuff, at least at working it up to speed. There is this stagnant passage, where he doesn't play all the notes. Although this solo is quite difficult, it's a pity that he couldn't play it perfectly. But that's marginal criteria since this is the only time I noticed it. Even in the extreme fast string-skipping solo in "King of Terrors" he plays everything clean and alright!

Michael Pinnella

Unfortunately the keyboards have been reduced. Not really much in their presence, rather in sound. The fantastic synthesizer-background is still there, it's much more quiet now. And of course there are still the keyboard-guitar double- leads and the keyboard solos, sadly no stunning guitar-keyboard battles, like those in "Of Sins and Shadows" or "Smoke and Mirrors" for example. His most impressive work you can find in Awakenings. After 1 minute you easily notice it. The awesome keyboard part, actually it's the "Prelude nr. 24 in D-minor" by Chopin, with Russell Allen's great vocals. Afterwards, in the middle of the song, there is a Jazz-part, I read that Michael Pinnella is a passionate Jazz musician and plays it really often, so I hope there will be more Jazz in the coming albums of Symphony X. Directly after that part, it changes perfectly to a neo-classical piano session. I really like his work in the track "The Odyssey". This deep part after the guitar arpeggio, the solo (sadly there's just one), this nice piano line afterwards and the piano/keyboard during the classic part. Another highlight of his presence is "Accolade II". It already starts with a piano and some strings. And, what's also remarkable is this keyboard line! Yes, while he used to play quiet synths in the background during the last 3 tracks, now his moment has come, and he plays a varied melody of the first one out of "Accolade", you can find on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", besides the galloping guitar rhythm and this time good audible.

Russell Allen

He really never sounded heavier, than here. You can really compare it to trash- Metal sometimes, of the same tenor as Pantera, etc. I can tolerate it, but it's not really necessary! Luckily, there are still many "normal" vocals, where Russell Allen shows that he's can still sing like a siren! The beginning of "Awakenings", for example, where he sings while the piano plays the melody of Chopin's Prelude! Another example is the "Overture" in "The Odyssey". Anyway his heavy growls show his enormous power and range. On the one hand he can sing deep and extremely heavy as in "King of Terrors" and on the other hand he can calm down to such a soft in the and soulful way as in the "Overture"/"Reprise" of "The Odyssey". One more sign for the variety of this album - Russell's jaw-dropping vocal acrobatics! What I also noticed in some passages of the album, that he sometimes (strongly) some words/lines and in combination with this short sustain it appears like an opera extract. He has an enormous range. You can easily notice that on the whole album. Just listen to "Wicked", "The Odyssey" or "Awakenings". On the one hand he sings heavy, powerful and deep, nevertheless always with a sense of melody, but on the other hand he is able to sing like a child in the church or a pop-vocalist and then he slaps out such an amazing vocal solo in "Wicked" - WOW!

Jason Rullo

First, the drums sound very good! Sadly some parts, too quiet, e.g. the bass drum. So I would recommend that you listen to it in a special bass mode, you will notice much more of his stunning work. His best pieces of work you can find in "The Odyssey" of course and in "Incantations of the Apprentice". He slaps one by one staccato riff out, while playing the normal rhythm as well. Also great it this part during the verse. As a start he plays the normal rhythm and then he play each single note of this fast guitar riff with his bass drums! He's one of my favourite drummers and one of the reasons are his innovative, unusual riffs that appear illogical, simply meaning that it's brilliant! Another cool thing that stands out is this drum melody during the intro of "Incantations of the Apprentice". He plays it 2 times, first with the cymbals and then with the rest, accompanied with some effect-synthesizers! I really like his playing and also his alternative and unusual riffs. He exploits everything available! His style is a blend of complex, stagnant jazz-, fast and powerful metal- and usual rock-drumming.

Michael LePond

Unfortunately, it's really, really hard to hear him. Often it's really hard to hear him, even in a bass mode. What you can hear really well are some very fast licks he interposes sometimes, e.g. in "Accolade II", or at the beginning of "Awakenings", where he plays that slow line. It's really deplorable! You can't hear his licks / riffs really good and he has no special solos. I hope his sound is louder and he's more highlighted on their next album. Measures like "V" would be enough. Well, maybe it's one of the effects of this guitar-driven metal. Often he plays those typical repetitive fast single-tone-accumulations (changing tones of course) and on the other hand he often adds further melodies, it's just hard to hear them.

Symphony X have ever been a neo-classical progressive metal band. Although it is not obvious there are still many neo-classical parts, e.g. in "Inferno" ("Presto" from "Summer" by Antonio Vivaldi), "Awakenings" (Beginning (see above.), piano solo, guitar solos) and "The Odyssey" of course. There are again quite interesting ideas, e.g. "Wicked", kind of a typical Iced Earth song that really crosses the edge to the "proper" Metal, without falling out of the concept. Also interesting are ideas like the repetition of the incipiently melody of "Inferno" (by Romeo) at the beginning of "Accolade II", indeed in another mood and with the piano this time or another nice one, that they integrated turns of Paul Duka's composition "Incantations of the Apprentice" into their song. I like the story of that song. They said Russell Allen and Michael Romeo saw Disney's "Fantasia" and Russell wanted to use this story for a song. In "The Turning" Symphony X even dive into the speed-metal genre, very interesting and that emphasizes the diversity of the album. What I heard lastly, is the similarity of the drums in "King of Terrors" and heartbeats, what describes the mental situation of the acting person. First the drums are already fast, so he's already a bit scared and unsure, but in the chorus, that worsens and with the word "Terrified" (the first word of the chorus) the drums become very fast, fitting to the word "terrified". Besides those problems in volume (everything I will say now ignores those audibility-problems), the sound went to a positive direction. The whole sound-spectrum is much fuller now. Russell Allen sounds more powerful (if you hear it with headphones, you can even hear his whispers), Michael Romeo sounds cleaner and stronger now, Michael Pinnella's new synthesizer are really awesome and are very pleasant, Michael LePond sounds as usual (nothing special) and Jason Rullo's drums sound good too, more agreeable this time but his bass drums sounds a bit watery-muffled. Unfortunately there are less guitar-keyboard solo battles, but the solos are still awesome. The solo in "Wicked" for example: Michael Romeo becomes faster and faster and is near to go berserk but than Michael Pinnella takes over and leads the solo to that nice arpeggio. The orchestra-samples are quite convincing and hard to differ from a real orchestra. Michael Romeo made a good job. I think those orchestra instruments are really important for Symphony X's classical and symphonic vein. Sadly they can't afford a real orchestra, so luckily those samples are really authentic. In Russell Allen's solo album they are even better and I can't await their new album with the new effects. Michael Romeo said that he uses 3 computers now! In 2002, when "The Odyssey" was released, he used just 1! What I also noticed while listening to Russell Allen's solo album "Russell Allen's Atomic Soul", is Michael Romeo's new guitar effects. Some are really new and uncommon. I think he uses the usual amplifier-effects now again, after using the "POD-XT" during "The Odyssey" and I'm really looking forward for his new sounds on their new album.

What are my critics?

Well, although I have nothing against it, they should omit those growls by Russell Allen and maybe dissociate from this true metal, although they are, in my opinion, more progressive here. But the new album is coming and fortunately there are no growls and it's turning to a darker direction, hopefully not a heavier one. Furthermore the sound, while it is great, is partly bad. The keyboards are quieter, but I don't know how it would work if they would be louder, maybe that would destroy the feeling. And second, the bass and the drums are mixed up to quiet, especially the bass! And third, that it's kind of guitar driven! Most of the points are subjective and are only few marginal critics and if you once tolerated this heavy style and listen to it very often you will discover this awesome album and one of the best songs ever created, the brilliant epic "The Odyssey".

And here, for the end, there is a short description of each song :

Inferno : Great starting riff (reminds of "sea of lies"), heavy vocal performance during the 1st verse, but a nice (pre-)chorus and nice solos.

Wicked : A typical Iced Earth song, maybe a bit more progressive. Simple Metal Riff, Chorus and Solo, but afterwards a beautiful arpeggio that introduces a new verse. Very groovy song by the way.

Incantations of the Apprentice : A stunning intro, one of my favourite songs of all times, a powerful verse and chorus, very dark and heavy as well. Inspired by the story of "Disney's" incantation of the apprentice! As I mentioned before the idea developed when Russell Allen and Michael Romeo saw "Disney's" "Fantasia"!

Accolade II : Fantastic harmonic song with powerful, atmospheric refrain, more keyboard/piano use and a fantastic solo as well as wonderful melodies. Sequel of "The Accolade" you can find on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", Symphony X's 3rd studio album, released in 1997. A great follower, with the same wonderful feeling as in "The Accolade"!

King of Terrors : Based on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum. Through the darkness of the story the song is quite dark as well and the heaviest song ever by Symphony X (including vocals). Very atmospheric and a perfect conversion of Poe's story. The Turning : Very fast, something like a speed metal track with a long solo! Very strange vocals sometimes!

Awakenings : What a track! Starts of with a theme played with keyboard, bass and guitar, but always varied. Then a wonderful piano theme, a prelude by Chopin, with incredible vocals. After that it gets a bit heavier, but not too heavy, but dark! Very fluent it proceeds with other verses, 1 chorus and some solos and a jazzy piano intermission, changing to a neo-classical session!

The Odyssey: This track is the best Symphony X ever made. It's amazing that Michael Romeo wrote it alone. It begins with the "Odysseus Theme" (this title really fits to the part), I guess inspired by Dream Theater's Overture of their long epic "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"! Then a fantastic arpeggio with the acoustic guitar, with a very nice verse. It's played a while and then powerchords are added. After that it gets heavier (like in Awakenings), a solo-session (guitar and keyboard) and the awesome second verse begins with a nice piano. After that the vocals become heavier as well. In the further time there are more guitar driven verses, a piano & vocals sequence, an incredible solo by Michael Romeo and a classical part inspired by Wagner. For the End (Up to 20 minutes) there is a solo first, including the notes for the soon following refrain, then another verse (the accompanist reminds of the on in "Candlelight Fantasia" and "Premonition"), the refrain I just mentioned, a solo and at the end the arpeggio from the beginning played with an e-guitar and a changed text (Reprise)!

Finally you can say that they stepped on another path, a more heavier path, developed further and tested lots of new things but also remained lots of old signatures.

Earlier tended to give it 4 starts, but I in-depth thought about it. "The Odyssey" (the track) is more than a masterpiece (I have more than 3000 tracks and this is by far my favourite one). Tracks like "Accolade II", "Awakenings" and "King of Terrors" (yes, I guess many won't share my opinion, but for me it's an amazing track) are definitely masterpieces and all the other tracks are worth 3/4 stars. Furthermore it really grew much more on me with every listen and it didn't stop, even not now - still growing, especially the title track! I could listen to it one whole day or longer and it wouldn't be boring!

Inferno: 4/5 Wicked: 3/5 Inc. of the Apprentice: 4/5 Accolade II: 5/5 King of Terrors: 5/5 The Turning 3/5 Awakenings: 5/5 The Odyssey 5/5

Now you have to consider that "The Odyssey", "Accolade II", "Awakenings" and "King of Terrors" are altogether 45 minutes long, so 3/4 of this album!


3/4 = 5 Stars 1/4 = 3.5 Stars

Overall: 5 Stars!

I recommend it to (progressive) metal fans, who can tolerate rough vocals, since they are even on the trash-metal level sometimes.

Report this review (#70160)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After V-album I really waited this album. I listened King of Terrors thousands of times, because it has released in the website months before than whole album.

This is not so good than V was. But there's very brilliant songs in this album.

Inferno: I'd been amazed! I thought that if whole album is like this song, I will love it. Progressive riff and rhythm kick ass like hell! 9/10

King Of Terrors: I some kind love it, even it's so straight. Agressive! 8/10

Awakenings: magnificent jazz-part in it. Pretty long song, but works! 8/10

The Odyssey: This song is masterpiece! Little bit Queen, DT and very much absolutely new and fresh ideas. Champions of Ithaca will echoing in your head all day. 9.5/10

Get It!

Report this review (#74461)
Posted Sunday, April 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My introduction to the Symphony X was "V" album... What can I say - it changed my view on music... "V" was also my very first progressive metal record... I listen that masterpiece for weeks non-stop... Then I buy "Twilight In Olympus"... Another masterpiece... Wow... So, it was time for next Symphony X release... I had very, VERY high expetations...


At first I missed those epic, more atmospheric - keyboard oriented moments that I loved on "V" or "Twilight In Olympus", but with every next listen I slowly accepted this "new" and "fresh" approach in the Symphony X sound (little heavier and "right in your face"). Many people (fans) always compare Symphony X to the Dream Theater and I'm sick and tired of that. Both are great bands with very much different style wich is more than ever clear on "The Odyssey"! So, stop with those comparations and enjoy in awesome music!

Once again: SYMPHONY X - "The Odyssey" - M A S T E R P I E C E -

Report this review (#77673)
Posted Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is by far one of Symphony X's best, and can be placed equally alongside the incredible 'Divine Wings of Tragedy', simply because it's different. This album signalled a slight change in direction for the band,and is by far their heaviest album, with incredile, brutal riffs, without sacrificing the progressive elements found on earlier releases. The musicianship as always is breathtaking, right from the opening onslaught by the aptly named 'Inferno'. Rullo's drumming is faster and heavier than ever, and Lepond's bass excellent. Russel Allen continues to show why is one of Metal's premier vocalists, adding yet a more agressive edge to his voice, while still maintaining strong and passionate vocals such as on 'Accolade II'. This is also the first song on the album in which the symphonic, progressive elements of the album begin to take shape, brilliantly performed by Michael Pinnella. All songs on this album are excellent, but the stand outs include: 'Inferno', 'Accolade II', 'King of Terrors', 'Awakenings', and the breathtakingly, awe-inspiring, 24 minute title-track- 'The Odyssey'. A must for all Symphony X fans, and for fans of the heavier side of Progressive-Metal.
Report this review (#77988)
Posted Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is good power metal album, highly driven by Iron Maiden's influence but that is all that can be said. Rhytms and vocals are too monotone, its solid and strong sound is enugh to put this as good power metal album, but I stil think that Symphony X are not progressive metal band, or they may be, but very weak prog musicians then. Symphonic elements are just not enough to me.Keyboards do not make some music progressive. Riffs are, in my opinion driven by Pantera, vocals by Iron Maiden, keyboards by various symphonic artists. This is good to hear, but it does not make effect to my vision of progressive metal.
Report this review (#80114)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphony X is kind of like the little brother that never got the attention the big brother got, Dream Theater. Odyssey is an album that is very different, but I don't always know that the uniqueness of it is necessary or has a specific purpose. My look on the band is that they are metal with keyboards. Take out the keys and this would be more or less a metal band. This isn't to say that they aren't interesting or creative, but they've done little to develop themselves as songwriters and are pretty happy with the niche they are in. The best track here is Inferno, though its hardly progressive.

An album with several hits and strong points, but lacking the creative vision of a remarkable album.

Report this review (#82134)
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X's The Odyssey is one of the better progressive albums to come out in the last couple of years. It is definitely on the "metal" side of progressive metal in its sound and musicianship, but its composition and themes do give off a progressive vibe. Inferno, the opener, is more in the straight metal vein, but it is certainly a worthwhile track. Wicked is of less quality; Incantations of the Apprentice is much more intresting. Accolade II starts getting into the progressive spirit, it is the second part of the Accolade series (kind of a knight's tale story) and is a mini-epic. It contains some symphonic elements, with a more keyboard driven feel than the previous tracks. King of Terrors is loosely based on an Edgar Allen Poe story (the Pit and the Pendulum). It has a very dark feel, and it contains a short narrated section that is truly creepy in the musical context. Awakenings is very prog, a blending of jazz, neo-classical, and metal influences that comes off very pleasingly. Michael Pinella's keyboard works wonders for this song.

And finally we have The Odessey. Wow, is all I can write. The track starts off with a rousing horn theme, transitioning into a shorter dark guitar part, and then the very lyrical Odyseus Theme. Russell Allen gets a chance to shine with this track, and his vocals are extraordinarily and appropriately expressive. Michael Romero's guitar also is brilliant here, ranging from speed-metal blaze solos to scene-setting voice accompaniment. Other highlights of this epic include the wonderful use of time meter to accentuate feeling in Sirens and the instrumental Scylla and Charbydis. Champion of Ithaca is catchy and appropriately triumphant end theme, one that will leave you humming when the actual music ends.

The Odyssey is a very good piece of work by a band sometimes overlooked because of the established titans in the prog metal genre. The level of quality in the album varies somewhat, but overall is pretty high. I recommend this work to all prog metal fans, and even those who aren't too fond of prog metal should give it at least a try. It gets four stars, I only wish I could give it 4.25.

Report this review (#87713)
Posted Saturday, August 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ley me begin by saying Symphony X is a great band, and this is their best known album. It is definatley my favorite album from the band. The only song that does not really do it for me is awakenings. Besides that I love every song.

Inferno is my favorite song from the CD. It has an insane riff, technical drumming, and great solos from the guitar and keyboard. That is what makes the band so great, every member is very talented. Russel Allen belts out fantastic vocals, (much better than the prior singer) the drumming is amazing, the keyboards are spectacular, and of course Michael Romeo is one the best guitarists out there. While he does not shred, he is well capable of doing so and plays some truly amazing riffs and solos. A great vocalist, guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist...not too often you hear that. Oh and don't want to leave out the bassist, he is great as well but usually does not stand out in any songs.

While it is very difficult to pick out some songs above the rest, I have to say the top songs from this album are Inferno, Wicked, the Turning, and The Odyssey. I was a little worried by The Odyssey due to it's length. However, even a guy like me who only has a few songs that crack 10 minutes, thought it was great. I made it through the song and wanted more. Words really can not do it justice and Allen, Romeo, and Pinella really shine.

I saythis is a must for prog metal listeners, even regular metal fans should try it. I think this desevres 5 stars, no question.

Report this review (#88203)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In general it is a disc to which little it is possible to be attributed to him to have a deficient level, even covers with the expectation created by its predecessor V The New Mythology Suite (2000), disc that later it will review to give it of discharge, in general it is a disc of much interpretativa power and of very good sound clear this for which we pleased of the metal-prog. 1, Inferno, Is without a doubt already the classic rola of imposing sound very in the style of the band, which as in other discs it is placed in the beginning with aim to impress the listener, things that are not necessary for this formidable disc, the tremendous abilities are not made hope, the powerful voice of Allen indicates to us that we listened, the virtuosity of Romeo does not surround in a dilemma of ideas of the great purity, the rest of the opaque band not because they are great you interpret. 2, Wicked, without a doubt something that is invariable in all the development of the disc is the great coherence of the history based on the book of already the famous Homero, is without you doubt a product worked very well by the members of the band, in each sound and in each note this is very well-known. 3, Incantations Of The Apprentice, This part is like a small introduction already to the épico world of history with a symphonic beginning and continuing with a progression of sounds that are united little by little until it obtains his assignment. 4, Accolade II, the second part of Accolade that comes from the fantastic disc and most progressive of all The Divine Wings of Tragedy, without a doubt I will have here to make reference that the first version I like more than this, but not this nothing dissapointing. 5, King Of Terrors, This rola is of which but I make an impression since its sound really I cause in a terror, good in my at least obtained to its assignment very a well obtained rola. 6, The Turning, the function of this rola is to cause an aggressiveness sense to be able to enjoy plus the Odyssey, it is without you doubt a very good vocal interpretation and for anything outside place. 7, Awakenings, This rola is something that there is to be thankful being the perfect introduction with a sound of the low one which in case it only sounds or épico, to follow with an excellent piano, really something that or brings symphonic dyes. 8, The Odyssey, This in fact is very difficult to comment because before the greatness the words leave exceeding, will try to be more concise, the beginning without you doubt is almost of film, continued of the fine adjustment of the instruments gives the band, with impressive passages and a worthy interpretation of praises, continues its furtive step therefore the amazing most habitual cadences but that without losing the beauty, I have by necessity that to make a comparison that that to many it sounded a little to them imprudent or unreal, but the sound I am touched so much as when the Atom Hearth Mother de Pink Floyd listens for the first time, good I hope is not too much comparison or little according to wants it to see, but in aim it is a rola that without a doubt has left its own sign already and influences. 9, Bonustrack: Masquerade, the truth when I began to listen to this rola, is not being compulsive of the comparisons that without you doubt bother to me but I thought that I was to cover of Yngwie Malmsteen, but is not thus if not an excellent rola that finishes this fantastic CD, that lamentably only I include myself in the special edition.
Report this review (#88653)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Odyssey is the follow up to the impressive V: The New Mythology Suite and I was hoping that the band would be able to maintain the level of creativity and all round strength that they had shown to possess on that album. Sadly what I got was the most disappointing album since I bought Dream Theater's Octavarium. Effectively the band has gone backwards, rehashing what they had already done on Twilight In Olympus and The Divine Wings Of Tragedy.

The only part of this album that seems to retain the level that the band had attained on the previous album is the title track, and album closer, The Odyssey. This a 24 minute, seven part epic telling the story of Odysseus from Homer's Odyssey. A stunning track that makes use of the Orchestral samples that were put to good use on the previous album, only with added Horns, and flows from section to section telling the story, from Troy through The Cyclops and finishing in Ithica very well.

On this album, those that are familiar with the music of Symphony X will notice that the guitars have a heavier feel, and Russell Allen has a much harsher sound to his voice as Michael Romeo attempted to create a much harsher sounding album. To be honest, they failed in this. Small changes like this don't change the fact that the music is the same kind of stuff they were playing on most of their albums. As is now apparently standard on any Symphony X album, there are a number of small, essentially power metal, songs that aren't prog and three full prog songs.

On previous albums these prog songs would be very much the highlight of the album, and so they are here. Accolade II is a follow on from The Accolade, off the Divine Wings. album, even using some of the lyrics of that song. However, were The Accolade is a brilliant piece of prog metal, Accolade II comes across as being just average, with the band on in uninspired form.

Of the next of the prog songs, Awakenings is the first song on the album for bass player Michael LePond to actually show that he has some talent. Interesting fills and a creative rhythm show that he does know how to get something good out of that bass of his, its just a shame that it took him seven songs to get there. Indeed on most of the songs on this album he is completely anonymous and clearly a poor replacement for the now long departed Thomas Miller. Awakenings is a good effort, though, along with The Odyssey, showing that the band still knows how to create good songs.

Of the remaining songs, though many of them appear to have been derived from other famous books, they all sound like standard fantasy fare for Symphony X and just a rehash of what they have already done. OK, with the exception of the already mentioned Michael LePond, none of the musicians lacks for anything in the technical department. Indeed, Michael's Romeo and Pinella are both on fine form performance wise, at lest those parts that Pinella shines out of the background at least, but its just a case of "we've heard it all before, and better". And its that better part that makes the big difference, because the band is looser and sound like they have gone back 8 years to being rookies at the music biz.

I'll give this album only 2 stars as its nearly the same as Divine Wings. and Twilight In Olympus, only with worse bass playing. Most definitely for fans only.

Report this review (#89028)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the last Symphony X's album up to date. I remember, going back two years ago, when I first listened to this band, I was surfing on the Web, when I got on this band's official site and downloaded some songs: the very first ones I heard were "Inferno" and "King Of Terrors", which made me think this could be a great Prog Power Metal band, and since then I have all their albums, except for "V: The New Mithology Suite", which I have to hear soon !

Going back to the album, this is definitely the heaviest one, with a characteristic heavy, very heavy and distorted and crunchy guitar sound, that riffs directly in your face and violent drumming; not too Prog Power Metal here, it's more like Prog Heavy Metal. Another remarkable thing is the perfect sound, excellent quality, very, very powerful. Here we've a description track by track:

"The Odyssey" starts with the kick ass "Inferno (Unleash The Fire)". I was blown away by the terrible and fast guitar riff directly in your face, definitely, one of the best I've heard from 'new' bands. Catchy choruses, and I can say Allen is more free here to do more dirty vocals (more á la Heavy Metal), but obviously very melodic when needed, this is a good example of it. Excellent opener, if you like that songs that shake and destroy your head, this is for you.

To keep on with the Metal vein, then goes "Wicked", which has again a very technical and heavy riff, seems like Romeo has been working on this aspect a lot, and composed this song which is similar to the follower, "Incantations Of The Apprentice", and their only objective is to blow your head apart. As I said before, Heavy Metal fans will love this.

I need time to breath after this 3 discharges of pure adrenaline, so here goes "Accolade II", a mid - tempo song which is a continuation to the nice "Accolade" on the masterpiece "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy". Some vocal and melodic lines are repeated here, and obviously it carries the concept and goes on with the story told on "Accolade". More importance of the piano and I find some very enjoyable moments during the instrumental intermissions and solos. Nice song !

To contrast this 'quiet' moment we've, as most of you said before, the heaviest Symphony X's song ever, "King Of Terrors": again another riff in your face, very low bass lines and atmospheric keys to create a dark and 'terrific' ambient. A very catchy Power Metal chorus, some screams here and there, a very fast guitar solo (as expected) and one of my favourite songs of the band.

"The Turning" is a typical Power Metal song, with similar structure to "Wicked" and "Incantations Of The Apprentice", not very prog, but we've a kind of arabian chorus (backed with double bass drum, obviously !). This is one of the singles of the band.

"Awakenings" is (with the exception of the last song) the first epic here and the proggiest composition. In a moment I was like crazy for this song, and learned how to play it from the beggining to the end. Catchy choruses, again big importance of Pinnela's keys, specially on the solo, and lots of modulations and great solos from all members, which make this a very complex and interesting composition. Wonderful !

So, why do I really give this four stars ? The answer is simple: because of the last epic of 24 minutes long, "The Odyssey", which is comprised of seven parts, and shows again the excellent compositional qualities of this band, that not only can do straight metal songs, they can compose terrible epics like this (another excellent example is the masterpiece epic "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy") ! Comparing this to "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", it has more orchestral movements, specially on the genius intro. Pinnella shines here: the principal solo (around 16 minutes) is incredible, and with lots of classical influences. As it's expected, after the intro goes a calm part with acousic guitar and Allen singing "My journey has begun ..." (something mor epic than that ?). Then it goes getting heavier and heavier, with the use of that tremendous riffs and solos in the middle. On the final we've a memorable melody, yes, it's a little Power Metal, but it's nice ... well, I'll stop here, you've got to hear this !

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any Prog music collection, that will appeal more to (Prog) Metal fans, but anyone that has an open mind should give this a chance.

Rating: 4.0/5

Report this review (#96155)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. From "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" up to this album "The Odyssey" SYMPHONY X have impressed me big time. I love how heavy this is at times, and the 24 minute title track is something to experience. In fact this whole album takes me to another world, a place far from reality.

The record starts off like an uncontrollable fire aided by gale force winds, yeah it's called "Inferno (unleash the fire)". And not coincidently Mr.Romeo plays like his hands are on fire. It reminded me of what it's like when a mosquito is buzzing around my head. Everything on this song is done with precision and speed. "Wicked" is about an unlucky traveller who seeks shelter in a cemetary. It kicks in heavily and I love the riffs. Vocals join in. Ripping guitar before 3 minutes, synths follow. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in before it turns powerful again. I really like the lyrics on this one. Amazing tune ! "Incantations Of The Apprentice" is about this apprentice who travels to a mysterious place to learn from the powerful necromancer. The atmospheric keyboard playing is cool on this one. I like the way it builds until we're galloping along. Killer guitar a minute in. Blistering guitar late as well. "Accolade II" is an amazing tune, and one of my favourites on the album. By the way "Accolade I" is on "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" album. Pinnella says that this is really a sequel to the first one, starting off where the first one ended. It begins with some surprising violin, and there are beautiful piano melodies throughout. Vocals are terrific too. Check out the guitar melody about 6 minutes in.

"King Of Terrors" is another gem. Michael Lepond says this one is his favourite off the album, saying it's the perfect marriage of melody and metal. This song smokes with crushing riffs and the drummer is beating the hell out of his drum kit. I like when Russell screams before 4 minutes. "The Turning" is a high energy tune with relentless drumming and more great guitar. Russell spits out the lyrics with contempt. "Awakenings" has lots of time changes. It begins with piano and features gentler vocals. This all gets wiped out by an avalanche of sound. The epic "The Odyssey" is an expansive and ambitious song. It really is a journey both lyrically and instrumentally. It features orchestral movements and pastoral soundscapes and downright Heavy Metal, it has it all. Killer guitar before 15 minutes with riffs in tow. Nice. It's all incredible though.

If your into Prog Metal i'm sure you already have this album, but if you don't you need to check this out.

Report this review (#96299)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not bad at all, Mythology has to be one of the most interesting things ever. And Symphony X pulls off a great lessons teaching you about the Great Odysseus and his adventure through Sirens, Cyclops Polyphemus (I think the name is hard to pronounce and spell), going to the land of death and passing through scylla and land of the lotus eaters of such. Just to return to his beautiful Penelope. Also explains the twelve ring shot and slaughtering the suitors-which were harrasing his wife and son (Telemachus) for the royalty and money they inherited- very well. But what of the content alone? There's the music as well, great support and well put together riffs. Perfect for those metal and non-metal heads looking for a mythical lesson. The rest of the CD, however, is probably more for the metal people. Depends, I have let people who aren't into metal listen to it and they still find it good.

To me, this is probably Symphony X's hardest they dish out, or alteast it feels it as the vocals are a little harsher than normal (That's saying a lot too, they're already pretty harsh in the other albums). As the songs progress I find the solos and other features very entertaining. There's plenty of power from where these guy came from, and they dish it well. Trust me, The Turning is proof of that, awsome solo with a ton of power. You also Get Inferno too, great intro to the CD with power giving you the sense that: these guys want to be hard! Apprentice song and Accolade are decent songs as well, they've got moments to make you like the album, Awakenings is probably up there with Odyssey.

I personally, find Symphony X a little to hard for my tastes, but they deffinetly have talent. And this album is actually quite good when I'm looking for a hard mixture of music. Giving it a 3 wouldn't do justice, because I find it as an excellent addition to anyones collection. But definetly not a masterpiece. If you want hard, check the CD out. Want a lesson on Odyssues, check out Odyssey, if you want some metal with talent and musical value, then jump into the universe of Symphony X and hold on. 4/5 stars to one of the most influencial prog metal bands that exsist yet.

Report this review (#101755)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this cd' is great! symphony x is absolutly amazing,

1) inferno - great song.. wow this is a good song, so many hooks, this is a masterpiece 10/10

2)wicked - vocals are a bit diffrent in this song, but still great 8/10

3)Incantations Of The Apprentice - very dark and heavy song, i love this song, it absolutly rules 10/10

4)Accolade II -their followup from accolade I, great song, very powerful and emotional, an amazing solo, this song shows symphony x for whom they really are 10/10

5)King Of Terrors - AHH this song rules, i listen to it over and over and over and over, never gets boring 11/10

6)the turning - great song, not as good as the other songs though 8/10

7)awakenings - wow.. by this song, i look at how amazing this album gets, then it comes to this song, its amazing, its very melodic , its a softer song by them, you can tell that they have much neo-classical roots from this song.. 10/10

8)the odessy - gah damn.. this album ruless! this song is on my top 10 fav songs.. to me.. it never gets boring.. its like an epic journey... "ive been 20 years away from all i ever knew. to return will make my dreams cometrue" . lyrics such as that prove to be an epic journey, this song was a cd in it self, i would love to see symphony x live w/ an orchesta in the back playing this song, that would make my dreams cometrue.


Report this review (#106943)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best Sympony X's Work by far Very creative sound, every track is perfect.

Inferno (Unleash the Fire): very powerful and agressive, Lepond does an amazing job with the bass, Russel Allen sings with a furious and mighty voice, 100% a rebel song

Wicked: Dark lyrics, angry sound, a great heavy song, drums working at perfection and Romeo always playing as a guitar god.

Incantantions Of The Apprentice: An epic beginning, a lot of jazz sound in the drums, powerful guitar riffs. Good song

Accolade II: Better than the 1st part, Pinella shows a great melancholic riythmic piano, a lot of variations, one of the best prog songs.

King Of Terrors : Isnpired by Edgar Allan Poe, very dark and heavy, anguish and fear in every second.

The Turning : Fast song, but not much complex

Awakenings: Great mixtures of tempo. Jazz, baroque, metal, rock, all fixed with geniality.One of the best prog songs ever.

The Odyssey: A masterpiece, Odysseus tryng to return to Ithaca. Very epic, great acoustic moments, symphonic passages, great solos, just one of the most inspired Romeo's composition's.


Report this review (#116768)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars SYMPHONY X's "Odyssey" was the first prog-metal CD I had the opportunity to purchase for my own amusement (this time not for my teenager kids, as usual) and I may say that I do not regret the day. Well, some SYMPHONY X's experts say that here they are heavier than in their previous output; fine for me that I'm not an expert in anything let alone the sound of this US band and so I could enjoy (or not) "Odyssey" by myself. Ok if they're heavier, no problem for me, I've carried loads with much more weight and I can support easily this burden even not being my daily café-au- lait.

The two first tracks, 'Inferno' and 'Wicked' are nothing more than pure metal (trash? death? mortal?) tunes with fine guitar and drumming action amid desperate vocals. Ears not too much educated in the metal scene, just like mine, will probably believe we are facing the same song with some variations. The third track, 'Incantations of the apprentice', even showing the same panorama seen in previous tracks, has a progressive intro, soon replaced by the sameness heard before.

Things start to flow toward progressiveness with 'Accolade 2', a fine track provided with powerful but very catchy atmosphere: adequate vocals, nice choir and backing voices, instruments running in the correct dosing and the likes. Changes in tempo are noticeable and finally we can hear some fine keyboards playing - a song well- fitted for my breakfast, of course.

'King of Terrors' keeps an average balance between metal-metal and prog-metal although the song is partially spoiled by the somewhat frenzy vocals (and I assure that I really appreciate Allen's work but he seemed not very inspired in many of the tracks here; maybe a production flaw). 'The turning' maintains the climate of preceding track but a soft backing choir and voice contracanto make the difference now putting this song in a higher level.

'Awakenings', is a fine song where we are able to hear again Allen's plain and natural vocals which are far better than the grueling grunts heard elsewhere. The medium-size track is an ideal platform for Romeo's outstanding guitar solos and also for the band shows their musicianship and skills: good drums and bass displays, enjoyable even short keyboards presence.

'Odyssey', the title-track, is the highest point here, an epic that alone pays the CD price. The song divided in seven parts is a good panel of all effort SYMPHONY X put in this album and even not being exempt of flaws, these aren't capable to damage the epic greatness. Most important: there are no dull moments, the track grabs intensely the listener attention and we are vividly waiting for the next surprise to appear.

In spite of some tracks that won't be so pleasant for a non-metal user I dare to recommend "Odyssey" for all prog-fans mainly due to the title epic and 'Awakenings' and 'Accolade 2', both special in their own ways. Rating: 4.

Report this review (#125103)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is an impressive slab of prog metal. Like most people my favourite SX album is "Divine Wings of Tragedy" but this is up there as one of my favourite albums.

I suppose i should mention the title track, "The Odyssey" is one of the greatest opus' i've ever heard in my life, i was blown away. Everything about this song is perfect. From the orchesteral arrangements to the searing guitar melodies and everything in between, this is the greatest work of a true genius (MR). My favourite part is Champion of Ithaca for the sheer cheesiness- "Triumphant, Champion of Ithaca" gotta love it.

Other highlights include Accolade II, Inferno and king of terrors.

I am of the opinion that there are no weak tracks on this album.

Michael Romeo's guitar playing is at it's best, Russell Allen's vocals are at their best, Michael Pinella's keys are at their best etc.

While it may not be as good as V, The Divine Wings of Tragedy or Twilight in Olympus it can't be discounted.

the capitalising point for me is this album is substantially better than 6 degrees..The first time Symphony X have managed to beat Dream Theater.

Report this review (#135413)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have to say that I'm quite surprised by some of the criticisms of this album. I think that Russell Allen sounds as good as ever, and there is plenty of prog to keep me satisfied. Perhaps some people were spoiled by The New Mythology Suite, as that album had a coherence, balance, and energy that few bands are able to pull off more than a couple times in their careers. The Odyssey seems to be primarily about prog, but also includes relatively generic metal singles, possibly to appease some combination of metal fans and/or producers and execs. Either way, the epic track and the other prog tunes are more than enough good music to keep me coming back to this album.

Inferno, Wicked, Incantations of the Apprentice, King of Terrors, The Turning. Here are the five metal tunes, and when I say generic, it's because they don't have the elements that I really appreciated about songs of similar structure on The New Mytholody Suite: Rullo consistently switching rhythms (and NOT relying solely on fast double bass lines), moving and emotive piano from Pinella (and not many heavy synth arrangements either), creative background riffing, and few classically-influenced instrumental flights of fancy. These do have strong vocals, plenty of guitar and keyboard runs, and unison keyboard guitar. Here are the Dream Theater comparisons, and in this case we've heard this stuff before and done better elsewhere.

Accolade II. Just a fantastic tune. I think I prefer this over the first (only slightly), mostly for the better, fuller production (the violin sounds MUCH less cheesy here). Allen sounds especially powerful here, and although the chorus reminds of Greensleeves (anyone else notice that?), the melody and lyrics are quite powerful. The Symphony X sound is officially back at this point.

Awakenings. The forgotten gem, based on other reviews. At just before 2:30 in the song, Allen hits a note that is just perfect (ALIGN in the night), and it's just another example of his talent. Just like some opera greats, I can picture people in the front row of concerts getting a shower because of Allen's power. Great tune.

The Odyssey. This is certainly a conceptual epic, but musically it's just solid tunes linked well together. They were smart to save the best for last, though it could have had more of an impact if they had used variations of the melody as teasers throughout the song. The is adventure prog, but the cool (not cheesy) kind, like out of an Indiana Jones movie (and not Pirates of the Caribbean). I enjoy it from end to end every time, probably in my top 50 epics (though certainly no competition for the classic epics).

Ignore the straight metal tunes if you choose, and the rest is great prog metal. Don't let your expectations get in the way, and you'll be well-rewarded. No masterpiece here, but but a solid addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#138841)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars High time for a review for an album of one of the best bands ever who made probably the best song ever and it's on this album. It's of course the title track of over 25 minutes. A rare and perfect combination of prog metal and classical music meeting each other in a true epic, a real Greek epic, an amazing piece of art that will probably never be outclassed in the future (as far as I'm concerned). I even had the privilege to witness this song live (in Amsterdam), an experience I will never forget. In this performance Michael Pinella played the entire orchestral contribution on his keyboards. Unbelievable !! Already this one song would be enough for me to give this album 5 stars even if the rest of the songs would prove to be poor. But guess what, they are not ! The first three songs are somewhat alike and sound quite good but not too special. The next is Accolade II, Accolade I was from the Devine Wings album and was already a favourite of mine but this one is even better, a lot better even, brilliant song. The 5th song (King of Terrors) is the least in my opinion, an average song for SX-standards. Next is The turning, another great one mainly because of the up tempo speed of the song, great drumming by Jason Rullo. After this the runner up of the album qualitywise: Awakenings, a fantastic composition with a tremendous riff by Michael Romeo. Then of course THE SONG and at the end of the album (not in the line-up above) is a remake of Masquerade, that is in the edition that I bought (bonustrack). And even that version is better than the original on one of their older albums.

So I think I have given enough reasons to go for the full 5 here !

Report this review (#140714)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Impressive prog metal band. Another almost masterpice from this great band. Among the best from today. The odyssey is another stunning album not only in their catalog but in entire prog metal scene. They continue the manner of playing and composing like on previouses albums but with a more metalized sound, heavier than Symphony X have ever 'till that day. The last album from 2007 is even heavier than this one. It is a concept album inspired by Greek mythology. This album is an avalanche of sounds with a lots of guitars made by the master of the band Michael Romeo, stunning keys from Michael Pinella, and the drumer is super. Above all these musicians is Russel Allen, great voice, jawdropping vocals on every piece. So every track is damn good but Inferno and Wicked are my fav from here, full of aggresive guitars, complex structures and fluid keyboard lines. So if you arefan of bands like Shadow Gallery, even Yngwie Malmsteen (in places) The Odyssey is just perfect for you! 4 stars for this super album, with all that i don't consider their best, i think the Dive wings of tragedy is the best they ever done so far.

Report this review (#151839)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is easy to tell that SYMPHONY X put their focus on the song The Odyssey with this album, because the rest of the album really suffers. The complex and powerful title track has to be one of SYMPHONY X's finest accomplishments. Unfortunately the rest of the album detracts from the masterpiece song, similar to the album Tarkus by ELP. Songs like Wicked and Inferno are cool for some time, while Accolade II fails to match up to the quality of the original Accolade. Awakenings and the rest of the tracks failed to really grab me, which I find is too bad because The Odyssey is such a great song. This album is recommended mainly for the masterpiece title track, and maybe some of the other songs, depending on the listener.
Report this review (#157203)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars THE ODYSSEY was the first Symphony X album I ever listened to, and based on what I have heard, I will definately be checkling out the band's other works. A great experience on the whole. But there are weak points to it that detract that last star from my final verdict.

''Inferno'' Is a very solid heavy metal effort with some truly crunching guitar riffs and hard-hitting drumming. Russel Allen's voice is actually something I am very fond of, and am quite surprised to discover that many people find it annoying. It is very majestic and is very effective in creating the overall epic feel of this album. Even the straightforward metal songs feel alot more grand because of hus power- singing. Michael Romeo is quickly becoming one of my favorite metal guitarists, and as far as prog metal goes, he may not be as technically proficient as John Petrucci, but he comes pretty damn close, and besides, I have never been a fan of all that showoffy style anyway. While Romeo dishes out some truly finger-twisting licks, it never feels like too much, which is always great. The melody of the verses here are quite lovely and preview where the record will ultimately go by the end of it all, as it only gets more epic and more beautiful from there.

The next song, apporpriately titled ''Wicked'', starts out with some truly devilish riffage that would make any Sabbath fan proud, but the song as a whole doesn't lose any of that epic, mythic aura, which is good, since this album focuses around the epic tale of Ulysses, and speaks of a ruler of an ancient kingdom who gets lost at sea, but ultimately has many interesting adventures during his journey back . . . but we will discuss this subject matter a bit later, as the only song on the album that directly addresses this story is the title track.

''Incantations of the Apprentice'' begins with the first hist of an orchestra on the album, but soon loses that vibe completely and breaks into yet another hard-hitting metal riff. Y'know, I can headbang with the best of 'em, but when I pick up a progressive metal album, I'm looking for more originality than this. Not to say this song doesn't rock, but I don't think that is what a proghead wants to hear when he spends money on a special edition of an album by a highly-acclaimed symphonic metal band. Nevertheless, there are some really great tunes to be found here, as well as the first real metal-esque voice work from Allen. Also to note, is the first truly great guitar solo from Romeo. What makes it great? Well, it has substance, it never gets boring, it kicks ass with it's power, and it lasts only a fraction of the time it usually takes for one John Petrucci to feel satisfied with himself. Truly great heavy metal music. It just isn't progressive, that's all.

Ah, ''Accolade II''. Now we finally have something to be excited about. A truly breathtaking intro thanks to a grand piano solo accompanied by some brilliant strings. Even when the song takes off into it's heavy side, the progressive side of the song stays prominent, with the piano and strings closely flanking the powerfull guitar work, and that makes for the first truly moving track on the entire album. Again, Allen's work on vocal duties in above par when compared to most other vocalists in this overly-crowded genre. This song takes many miniature breaks along the way from the heaviness so that the listener can digest what has transpired, and the softer orchestral side of the track shines very brightly during these moments. I suppose then if I will compliment Russell Allen and Michael Romeo that a shout out to Michael Pinella is in order, as he I suppose is the one providing the wonderfull piano work found on this truly fantastic track. See, we don't see enough acoustic work from keyboardists in this genre; so often they only focus on the [%*!#]y side of the instrument, but sometimes it is just good to put some good ol' traditional piano work on a record of this caliber. The result is an awe-inspiring combination of clean and electric intrumentation. Wonderfull. Oh, and finally the song becomes just as heavy as it's predecessor's, with some great rhythmic drumming from Jason Rullo, but the truly shining moment here is the best guitar solo on the album, courtesy of the great Michael Romeo. It starts off as just another solo, but then soon transforms into a very moving experience full of emotion and power. Allen then follows it up with more epic voice work, giving this track a very uplifting, grand feel to it all. Second best song on the whole of THE ODYSSEY.

''King of Terrors'' is more-or-less the same old song, once again. Really good metal riffs, but not much originality to be found here. This to me is a shame, because the three or four really great tracks on this album are so great that had the duds on the record been removed, we could have been looking at a true masterwork, here. Instead, we get a typical prog metal elabum with some really epic moments, but not enough to save it as a whole.

''The Turning'' brings a yawn out of me quicker than I think any other song on the record, just because based on the loud, in-your-face opening, I know deep down that it will be once again more of the same. Nothing special here.

The next song is again worthy of a listen, as it begins much slower, and has a very classical music overtone to it. Oh, might I also say that this is the first time I can actually HEAR bass player Michael Lepond, who it turns out can also play his intrument very well-- who knew, huh? This song (Aside from the title track) has the most space as far as instruments go, as it leaves room to catch one's breath, and isn't nearly as ferocious to begin with, which helps the listener get more into it later on when it finally does take off. See, had more songs started out like this on the record, I may have given it a complete five rating, but even then thay would have been pushing it. Well, some needless guitar wankery from Romeo for the first time on the release, but thankfully it is still tastefull, or at least as tasteful as guitar wankery can get, as it only lasts a few seconds. Soon we get a taste of keyboardist Michael Pinella's more carnival-like sounds, as well as his very classical-style virtuostic grand piano playing. Overall, this saves the song from ending in a predictable manner, which is always nice. This song by the way is titled ''Awakenings''

Okay, here it is-- the reason this album, despite it's obvious shortcomings, recieved a four-out-of-five rating from me. This is the magnum opus, the gem, the (frankly) only real reason why you as a listener should slam your money down to buy this album. Yes, folks, this song is THAT good, and while I don't normally encourage picking up a record simply because of one song, this is an album that breaks those rules, simply because this one song, ''The Odyssey'', which has a running time of 24:09, features some of the most beautiful orchestra work on any rock album, and always leaves me feeling incredibly uplifted and ready to hear it all over again, is the reason why you got into symphonic metal. Here we go, part one: Odysseus' theme/Overture:

Well, where do I begin, the symphony work here is simply jaw-dropping, and sets the mood for the epic tale that is about to unfold . . .

Part two: Journey to Ithaca Great acoustic guitar work here, and it begins peaceful enough, whith the title character speaking of his love for his family and about how this journey he is about to embark on will only keep them apart for a little while. The lyrics here are provided by both Allen and Romeo, and they are delivered in a way by Allen that really works in the context of telling this mythical story. Soon, things get a bit for frantic and heavier, with Romeo unloading some really great guitar work that truly fits the song's purpous, and doesn't sound out-of-place at all. It then calmes down a bit for some great piano work, backing up the vocals as they sing in a beautiful tune: ''Onward we ride - nine days we brave her might, We are, we are, we are, coming home . . . ''

Part three: The Eye This is a great one, as it speaks of impending doom, yet escape. Once again the musiciansship here isn't frilly or over-the-top, it just seems to fit the song so well, it is unbievable. Though it doesn't last very long, as it gets ferocious, then dies down to a more calming experience, and that is where part four takes over . . .

Part four: Circe Keep in mind also that the orchestra is playing alongside the rock intruments, yet nothing in this composition sounds too busy or run together, it just is a perfect marriage if all of the elemts to create this amazing piece of musical art. So, this section of the epic features more Pinella mastery, as the main character of this tale says ''We sit adrift on the open sea, the gift of wind, by Zeus, so carelessly.'', and this clam cool stream lasts for a while, but soon becomes engulfed by the fiery Michael Romeo, displaying some of the best rhythm guitar work in history, accompanying the lyrics: ''We carouse with the maiden, bedneath her eyes, the madness lies in mystery . . . '' Underneath all of this, the keyboards have taken on the role of incidental music that subconsciousely adds a sense of tension, making the story all the more real. Another brilliant tasteful guitar solo from Romeo, lasting a little longer this time, but not without merit, as it really adds the power to this part of the song.

Part five: Sirens This section of the song bursts in with really awesome guitar riffs, followed closely by Rullo's power playing. ''Dire warnings - told by the sorceress in white 'False bringers of love' - Sirens . . . the lyrics say, as the song takes yet another interesting turn, towards probably the most straightforward metal moment of the otherwise symphony-clad track.

Part six: Scylla and Charybdis Well, just as the previous section went all-out heavy, this section features only a small bit of guitars, and ultimately becomes completely orchestral. This section alone is probably the greatest thing Symphony X has ever done, and certainly Odyssey the song as a whole is, but since the rest of the album is not nearly as well polished, it still doesn't get a full five starts from me, but whenever I listen to this section, it is the most beauitful thing I have ever heard, and I often hate myself for rating it only four stars, but I know as a whole album, I must, because it isn't fair to the other truly great albums I have given the same rating to include this one just because of one song. Anyway, it starts out fericious, then becomes very peacefull, and like I said earlier, as far as orchestra music goes, this is the most moving piece of music I have everheard, so yes, this song alone-- hell this SECTION of the song alone is enough reason to buy the whole album.

Part seven: The fate of the suitors/ The champion of Ithaca So, this is the second best part of the song (part six being the first), as the brilliant guitar work and godlike singing really makes my spirit soar. The main character has returned, has taken care of his enemies, and become champion of his kingdom. Great ending to a great story (you should go and read the original tale), presented in a masterful way through the beauty of music, and what better way to do so than to combine the two most epic forms of music there is: classical and metal? Now the track ends with the main character reprising a line he said earlier near the song's opening, and the guitar being played now is not acoustic like before, but clean. This gives the reprised lyric a sense of familiarity, but enough difference to conclude that things have changed for the better, and the journey is now complete.

THE ODYSSEY is one of Symphony X's greatest albums, and the title track in itself is enough reason to buy the thing, but sadly the rest of the album falls short with the exception of a couple of tracks, and while this would normally merit only three stars, the one song that is worthy is so much better than most, that I think it deserves to be considered an excellent addition to any collection, because it is. Had the other songs been as great as the title track, maybe it could have been a masterpiece, but it is still worth anyone's time-- anyone who likes the marriage of a symphony orchestra and rock intruments. This is truly an epic, four stars.

Report this review (#161187)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a Symphony X lover, I've listened to all of their albums multiple times. I must say that this one is my absolute favorite. Symphony X has a grasp on everything that makes them great. The music is beautiful, elaborate, and passionate. Songs like Wicked have wonderful imagery, and others like Awakenings and Accolade II are simply stunning. Pinnella's piano work blends naturally with Romeo's shredding guitar, not to mention Russel's vocals, Rullo's drum work, and Lepond's bass coming together as well. The Odyssey is by far their most epic track to date, and something that will be very hard to top. IMHO, this this their best album, and one of the greatest prog metal albums out there.
Report this review (#165126)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Who is more fit to tackle The Odyssey in their music? The answer to that riddle is no one. Symphony X is practically made up of the descendents of Olympians. Look at them! Listen to them! They effuse epic. Russell Allen: other than my buddy Douggy Doug, I can think of no one else who I can directly correlate to the voice of Zeus. Michael Romeo: If Apollo played guitar, he would play like that guy. Everyone else in the band: some other comparison to Greek Mythology.

This is definitely the heaviest album in the bands catalog, and right now it stands as my clear favorite. Sure, there isn't a lot of variety in the sound, and it's pretty darn heavy metal, but I'll be darned if it's not some of the best not a lot of variety and pretty darn heavy metal I've ever heard. That title in quotes sounds like it belongs to Meshuggah as well, but I don't need to tell you that Symphony X and Meshuggah are like strawberries and watermelon in that they are both fruits, but they are nothing alike. It's only partially a comparison, because I've seen pictures of those guys, and their overtly metal appearance and actions, and I find that quite fruity. I'm just kidding guys, you're awesome and extremely intimidating, please take that previous sentence as a joke!!! Moving on...

It's technical, melodic, rhythmic, and conceptual. Despite only the title track having anything to do with The Odyssey, every song sounds like it belongs under that title. All of the songs are great, but the clear highlight is the title track. Opening with a very appropriate symphony orchestra, closing with one of the most epic melodies and riffs the band has created, and filling the middle with the best material the band has to offer, this piece is a giant, like that cyclops from the story only not at all because Odysseus and Co. totally took out his eye when he was sleeping, meaning he wasn't triumphant, and this song is very triumphant.

Excellent album. Most won't recommend this one first, but it was my first experience and I loved it. The novelty starts to wear off after a little while, but, if you must own one Symphony X album, this is still the one as far as I'm concerned.

Report this review (#168248)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Contrary to some of the reviews here, this was my first Symphony X album, and it did not deter me from the band in anyway. I had purchased it on a suggestion, and received it about 1 week prior to seeing the band tour to support it. Needless to say I had little time to truly absorb the music before the show. I had not even listened to the title track more than fleetingly. All that changed when I saw the music performed live, with the band coming back and playing The Odyssey as their encore. A truly amazing piece and amazing to hear it pulled off flawlessly in the live environment.

While the album overall is not as high on my list of favorites as its predecessor 'V', it is still an album that is often played. As I write this, it's getting played once more. The high point for me is the title track, but songs like Inferno and Wicked nail you to the wall when played. Every member of the band does nothing that I would detract from or take away. Classical references are still evident, as with the nod to Chopin in the beginning piano of Awakenings.

Definitely on my short list of favorite albums overall, this is a great work by Symphony X.

Report this review (#171726)
Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Odyssey is an astounding album from start to finish. I believe this album even outdoes The Divine Wings... for these following reasons. First of all, the production has never been better and the production of a power-metal album does a lot to help or hinder it's overall appeal. Secondly, in my controversial opinion, The Odyssey(the song) is better than the 20 minute epic of The Divine Wings. It starts out with a stunning part-orchestral introduction that lasts for around 5 minutes and then proceeds into one of the greatest epics ever created. I don't want to spoil the rest of the song for any of you so I will keep the rest of what I wish to say about this song unsaid, but I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed after hearing it. And the other factor that really appeals to me about this album is the variety of Russell Allen's voice. In the first song, Inferno, he starts out by emitting growl-like vocals that fit in perfectly with the speed metal instrumentation. But when the song gets to the chorus, you get to hear another, cleaner side of Allen's voice that sounds just as good. Also, I believe that few singers can match Allen's soft voice, which he wonderfully displays in parts of the previously mentioned Odyssey. I think any fan of music would do him/herself a tremendous favor by purchasing this amazing album, so you should too!

P.S. -Michael Romeo is among the best metal guitarists out there.

Report this review (#176087)
Posted Friday, July 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Odyssey is the sixth studio album from american progressive/ power metal band Symphony X and it was released in 2002. After what I think of as a disappointing previous album (V - The New Mythology Suite) Symphony X really grapped themselves by the balls and said to themselves: We´re gonna make one hell of a heavy album for our fans. And that´s exactly what they have done with The Odyssey. They have of course maintained the melodic and more sophisticated side of their music but this album is up until this point their most crushingly heavy effort ( that´s excluding their next album Paradise Lost which I haven´t heard yet).

Michael Romeo is as always the leading force as his composisional skills and guitar playing style is defining for Symphony X sound. His style is a cross between the edgy and thrashy metal style of Dimebag Darrel ( Pantera) and the neo classical power metal/ traditional heavy metal style of Yngwie Malmsteen. This is a great mix IMO. I usually get bored with neo classical bands if the neo classical style is all they got up their sleeve, but Symphony X is so much more than a normal neo classical power metal band.

The Odyssey consists of eight songs. Seven songs between 4 and 8 minutes in length and the 24 minute long epic title track.

The album starts with the crushingly heavy Inferno. There are some incredibly heavy riffs in this song and Russel Allen has never sounded more angry than on this track. If you´re looking for progressive tendencies in this song just listen to the opening riff or the epic chorus. Note the sharp and edgy riffing from Michael Romeo. Just beautiful.

The two next songs Wicked and Incantations of The Apprentice are great Symphony X tracks even though Wicked is probably one of the weaker spots on the album ( not weak at all compared to other metal bands in this style, but weaker than the other songs on the album)

After three very heavy songs we´re now treated with something quite different on the fourth song of the album Accolade II ( the II refers to the fact that number one appeared on the album The Divine Wings of Tragedy from 1997). Accolade II can be compared to other power ballad tracks from Symphony X like Candlelight Fantasia from The Divine Wings of Tragedy and Lady of the Snow from Twilight on Olympus ( albeit a bit heavier) which means that this song is very beautiful. The vocal melodies are composed so well and there are multible melodic guitar solos from Michael Romeo. This is one of the best tracks ever composed by Michael Romeo IMO. Very majestic and with some beautifully arranged keyboards.

King Of Terrors is probably the most heavy song on The Odyssey and I mean crushingly heavy. I can see a couple of AOR/ heavy rock oriented progressive metal fans being scared away here. Again Russel Allen´s vocals are aggressive yet still controlled and melodic.

The Turning is a faster paced track. very heavy and fast. Note the incredibly fast guitar riff that opens the song. This is the kind of guitar playing I love.

Awakenings is one of the most progressive songs on The Odessey and strangely enough the song I like the least. It´s not bad of course but it just doesn´t seem to fit in. The jazzy piano part in the middle of the song have always annoyed me too. As I said it´s not a bad song just not as good as the others.

The final song is the epic title track and it´s a really impressive work to say the least. The overture which starts the song were planned to be played by a classical orchestra but Michael Romeo ended up programming an orchestral synth to play that part of the song ( and a later part in the middle) and it works remarkably well. The lyrics are taken for the ancient greek work The Odessey isabout the great warrior Odysseus troublesome 20 year journey to his home island Ithaca where he finds that his wife is being courted by many wooers who wish to take his place. His revenge towards those wooers is classic and you´ll have to read the book or listen to the album to get the ending. A great classic greek tale. The song has many different styles and moods and it´s a very eloborate and beautiful composition. It´s one of the most melodic songs of the album and it´s generally not as heavy as most of the other compositions ( there are of course some very heavy parts, but not as many as in other songs on the album). Be sure to check this one out even if you don´t enjoy the more heavy songs on the album.

The musicianship is excellent and this time around I´m not as annoyed by Jason Rullo´s drumming as usual. Everything seems to work. Michael Romeo and Russel Allen is the most prominent musicians on the album but the three others are also accomplished musicians.

The production is the best sound Symphony X had achieved up until then. Very heavy and crisp.

This is without a doubt the peak of Symphony X career and they will probably never top this one ( as I said I haven´t heard Paradise Lost yet, but I doubt if they can make a better album than this one). I really think Symphony X is something special in the neo classical power metal genre as they also employ a much heavier sound than many of their contemporaries. Something I greatly miss in the sound of other bands in the genre. In this genre this is a masterpiece album and it deserves the 5 stars I will rate it. Be aware that this is not Dream Theater progressive metal. Symphony X rely much more on a traditional heavy metal style with progressive tendencies than progressive metal from the Dream Theater school.

Report this review (#179615)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I look at this album as pretty much a Divine Wings of Tragedy #2. Not necessarily in terms of quality, but in terms of album and song structure. You have a number of shorter songs with a ten minute track hidden somewhere in there, a twenty-minute-plus epic, and a final closing bonus track. They both have a track called Accolade, and neither album is conceptual like V or Paradise Lost. Nevertheless, the music and the production is much stronger here than on The Divine Wings of Tragedy, hence the extra star.

Nevertheless, when this album is looked at, it's merely Symphony X playing their game still. Noodly guitars, fast but uninspired keyboards, a strong rhythm section, and fantastic vocals. That is, it's same-old Symphony X until the 24 minute title track comes on, which breaks the mold of Divine Wings. To be honest, out of the four CDs I have the privilege of owning by this band (Divine Wings, V, Paradise Lost, and The Odyssey), this is my least favorite all around. It's not bad, but a number of the songs just never hit me, due mostly to the fact that I'd listened to the other three first and suddenly there were no surprises or tricks here.

The vocals are again the selling point of this album. On The Turning and The Odyssey in particular, Russel Allen blows the rest of the band out of the water. The Turning features him heading a standard progressive/power metal tune about werewolves, if I understand correctly. The Odyssey, though, takes him on an a symphonic, orchestral journey that doesn't spend half its length in noodles and soup, unlike the standard sort of Symphony X track.

All in all, a good album by Symphony X's standards, with all the fast guitars and howling Russels you hope for in such a release. As far as it stacks against the progressive metal world, though, there is very little new to be found here, very little progressive. And so being fairly average as far as prog goes, an average rating it gets.

Report this review (#184010)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphony X suffers from a disorder I'd like to call too-much-fantasy-and-manowar-when-I-should've- studied-in-scool-syndrome, while being widespread in this genre, Symphony X stands as the epitome of this. Being a huge fantasy fan, and having laughed at Manowar since I was a kid, I do not mean this as a necesserily bad thing. Symphony X has really been able to bypass their rivals Dream Theater in alot of ways both due to their insanely talented singer Russel Allen and the insane riffage of Michael Romeo. This album is the point where they really took a step from the (in my humble oppinion)dreadful works of old and showed that they had alot to offer in the power metal/progressive metal genre.

The album opens with what is sure to be an heavy metal classic and from there on keeps delivering songs full of heavy and epic. So where's the flaw? If you're into this kind of music, this will be close to heaven, it is in almost every sense the perfect power metal/progressive metal album. For me as a listener(and not a big fan of the genre) the problem kicks in around King of Terrors and works its way through the album from there. While they deliver so much, and are truly monsters in their respective area, the song writing really needs work.

The constant use of heavy rolling riffs and simple song structure take alot of the heat out of this, as nothing really unexpected ever happens, and for me progressive has to offer atleast some juicy twists to bite into. Once I get to the epic ending of The Odyssey, I tend to have completely forgotten I'm even listening to music or gotten so weary of the generic guitar sound that I want to stay clean of distorded guitars for years and years to come.

The song which the album is named after is somewhat of a humerous thing for me(not dissing the song itself, it's just that it's so insanely unattractive to me as a listener), until from nowhere, 12:15 minutes into the song, the reason why I'd recommend anyone. The two parts following that mark are perhaps the best written pieces I've ever heard in this genre, true masterpieces embeded in this otherwise mediocre(at best) album.

To sum it up, if you're a fan of this kind of music you will love this album to no end. If you aren't, you'll probably find it unbearable or gruesomely boring. As for me, I feel like I'm in between these two. The diamonds found in this album makes it a worthwhile listen, but just for the period those diamonds show themselves.


Report this review (#184274)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album opens up with heavy Inferno (the first song I heard with Symphony X.) Then it continues with the feeling that the whole album is the building up for the last track, the great epic The Odyssey. So the rate for the first seven tracks would be 3 stars. There is some highlights (Inferno, Awakenings etc.) but a little to much straight forward I think. But the great The Odyssey lifts the whole album to 4 stars. It has everything. Great orchestral, stunning riffs by Romeo (the riff that starts at 15:00 is just amazing), breathtaking vocals by Allen and amazing solos from particularly Romeo (they could probably have skipped the keyboard solos.) So the rate for the whole album will be 4 stars (3 stars for the seven first tracks and 5 stars for the last)

Rate: 4

Report this review (#187260)
Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars During most of the tracks, it is true to say that the metal environment is prominent. Don't try to find any prog flavour during ''Inferno'': it would be a waste of time. This being said, while Russel Allen stops shouting and considers that signing might also be an option, things are improving.

Still, these metal lines, or riffs, or guitar extravaganza at your own best choice: they are just too much. I already mentioned why I am reviewing their discography and so far I haven' t encountered the real kick with any of their albums. But I am not of deep fan of the genre, that's true.

As I have already mentioned in other reviews of the band, the quality of the musicians is absolutely not the problem. It is more the style of music they play. While attending one of their concert, they only mentioned ''we were going to get a great heavy-metal evening''. Of prog, there were no question about. The same feeling prevails while you listen to this album (and to some other ones from the band as well).

To summarize, I would just copy/paste the introduction of MikeEnRegalia review: ''This is a really excellent metal album''. I would add: nothing less, nothing more.

The seven tracks featured on this release before the epic, are just plain heavy metal tracks with little inspiration (being ''Inferno'', ''Wicked'' or ''Accolade''). Same sort of mood and no variety in the song writing. Average music IMHHO.

The construction of ''Awakenings'' is slightly better and it is by far my favourite song from this offering. It offers some fine metal music combined with some rock ballad mood in the vein of the great ''Kansas''. It was about time, since it is the last but one song from this album.

The epic and title track holds some fine moments, but you have to overcome the poor intro which sounds as a Cecil B. DeMille soundtrack. Fortunately, the song favourably evolves into some sort of crafted and intelligent metal piece of music. Technically impeccable, this long track (over twenty four minutes) holds the necessary performance to keep the listener interested but these orchestrations are really too much to my ears. At the end of the day, there is not that much to retain about this long track.

This album is not bad but I can't really go over three stars when the rating time is due. Metal music for sure. Prog is just next door. And it is not the bonus ''Masquerade'' and the classical intro that should changed your mind. At least, it is how I feel.

Report this review (#198481)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I heard this album, I thought it was OK but nothing too special. Now, after more than thirty listens, I think its easily on a par with "V", or even better. This album definitely takes a bit of getting used to and is really "a grower"

I feel that the first track is actually the weakest, (still a good song though) and with every next track the album becomes stronger and more progressive, especially on the fourth track. The first three songs are a build up for things to come.

The vocals are spectacular throughout, and Russell Allen has one of the best voices, not only in Progressive metal, but in music in general, the range and emotion that he puts in to his singing is quite incredible. Another great thing about this album is the drum tone, Jason Rullo has an open and loud tone opposed to a lot of other prog metal drummers who have a more closed sound. Michael Pinella sweetens the hard metallic sound and really adds the "symphonic" touch, never overdoing his playing with unnecessary "noodling" The bass can be heard clearly, which is a big plus because it is a common complaint that the bass cannot be heard enough in a lot of progressive metal bands.

The absolute highlight of the album is the title track "The Odyssey" clocking in around 24 something minutes (The same time as Dream Theaters "Octavarium") Unlike "Octavarium" which borrowed from Floyd and some other bands, "The Odyssey" is original ( I love Dream Theater but I just felt I had to mention that)

The orchestral beginning to "The Odyssey" sets the scene and you can almost picture a huge ancient ship moving slowly out the harbor. Russell Allen sings softly (and in a truly natural and beautiful voice) while Michael Romeo picks on his guitar. Of course the pace of the music accelerates as the voyage turns into a nightmare, great guitar and keyboard solos, great singing, until the voyage comes to an end and a calm takes over as he reaches his home.

A masterpiece.

Report this review (#211507)
Posted Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars While progressive metal is my favorite genre, I also enjoy power, trash and death metal quite a bit. So for me, Symphony X is just perfect and this is my favorite album from them. This cd just has everything, but of course it means that overall, it's sort of a compromise and that's why many "pure" prog fans aren't entirely happy with this album. I understand that. But to me, this release is the perfect combination of progressive and power metal, with a little bit of trash.

1, 2, 3: The first 3 songs aren't very progressive or symphonic, more straight forward metal songs, but of course perfectly played and Russel Alans rough singing sounds just as awesome as his softer singing. 4: Then comes Accolade II, what a great song! The chorus is catchy, but still doesn't annoy me after hearing it I don't know how many times. Great Piano, perfect singing, beautiful melody. 5, 6: 2 heavy and fast songs with a comparable style. King of Terrors is clearly the better song of the 2 with a fantastic chorus. I can see how quite a few people would get annoyed with the heavy and dominant drumming, but I like it. King of Terrors has some great dark guitar parts, especially in the last 2 minutes. 7: Awakenings is one of my favorite Symphony X songs, I love how the different phases of the song are perfectly put together. Again, a great chorus and several short but fantastic guitar and piano solos that couldn't hamonize any better with the overall song. Love it. 8: The Odyssey: Wow. I'm definately not the guy who loves just any song thats over 15 minutes long, but this "song/story" is probably the best I know. Even after listening to it dozens of times, the 25 minutes feel like 10 minutes to me, not a single part of this song is stretched out or useless. It's just perfect.

I'm actually glad about the direction Symphony X is going, this Album is their best work and the one afterwards, Paradise Lost isn't much worse in my mind. I would rank their albums like this: The Odyssey, V, Paradise Lost, The divine wings of tragedy, Twilight in Olympus, The damnation game, Symphony X.

Report this review (#212276)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphony X is often seen as a clone of Dream Theater. While they are both heavy-ish bands with lots of progressive elements who focus on melody rather than the more brutal elements of metal, there are quite a few dissimilarities between their sounds. Quite possibly the most notable of the differences is their respective genres. While Dream Theater plays light prog metal most of the time and takes forays into other genres of rock, Symphony X tends to keep themselves almost entirely in the progressive power metal genre, with an occasional symphonic prog song here or there. This is one of the things that pulls the band down. Power metal has a tendency to create music that all sounds the same after enough listening, and Symphony X is no exception. The only difference is that Symphony X creates consistently good progressive power metal, even if their albums suffer from similarities in the music.

Another thing about this album is its heavyness. Normally lots of power metal is questionably 'metal' in terms of genre, mostly because of the huge emphasis on lots of melodies, a cleaner guitar tone, and more use of major keys. Symphony X is unquestionably metal, as the guitars are heavy enough to bring this album to a respectable heavyness, so that metalheads recognize it as a metal album.

That being said, the progressive nature of the album suffers occasionally from a more metal emphasis. Prog purists will scoff at the first three tracks, since all of them appear to be nothing but standard heavy power metal with a couple of symphonic embellishments. Although progressive tendencies brush up these songs quite a bit, the songs are pretty standard. Though they are written excellently, and every power metal fan will hugely enjoy them, as they contain a fast energy and lots of fast, albeit a bit over-the top guitar.

Of course, there is the track, 'Accolade II", which could hardly be called metal and is definetely more symphonic in spirit than the rest of the album. It bears resemblances to other more symphonic Symphony X tracks, like the original "Accolade" and "Communion and The Oracle", with soft electric guitar being backed up by wonderful chords played by piano and string synthesizers, with Russel Allen's vocals bringing another beautiful asset to the composition.

Fans will ultimately be drawn to the 24-minute epic at the end of the album, "The Odyssey". This is an excellent progressive metal track with a wonderful musical, as well as fine lyrical, illustration of the classic Greek tale of Odysseus returning to his hometown of Ithaca after their conquer of Troy. Tons of progressive elements are used in this town. Although sometimes a bit too similar to the overture section of Dream Theater's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", the beginning synthesized orchestral opening laced with metal instruments creates a wonderful introduction to a great epic track. The song goes through several energetic moods, from the longing "Journey to Ithaca" to the frantic "Sirens" section, covering all bases in terms of progressive metal. Even more spectacular than the opening is the middle instrumental section, "Scylla And Charybdis", where with no words the band gives the listener a perfect picture of when Odysseus has to brave the frantic waters between a rock and a whirlpool, ultimately ending in disaster (Odysseus' voyage, not the song). The track closes with epic vocal lines by Allen as Odysseus is crowned "Champion of Ithaca".

Overall, the Odyssey is a great album and should be looked into by fans of progressive metal and power metal. Although a bit derivative sometimes, there is still some creativity in Symphony X and there are lots of highlights to be found, but most importantly excellent progressive power metal.

Report this review (#219175)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Symphony X is one of my favorite progressive metal bands because they combine melody,technicality and impeccable performance along with sentiments. In this effort they focus on progressive metal and the result is something more than satisfying. I will not judge the extra songs that special editions may offer, only the 8 tracks of this masterpiece.

Inferno(Unleash the Fire): Outstanding beginning with very catchy and rough guitar work which is accompanied by nice aggressive vocals which turn to soft,melodic ones!The band is at top shape and this song is a classic of progressive metal of 00's.One of the best songs in this album.5/5

Wicked:Mr.Romeo continues his excellent work here and the other members infallibly accompany him in his wicked trip in a distant graveyard as the lyrics inform us. Russel Allen shows his range of voice with his a capella moment before the ending of the song. Very good song.Does not Allen remind you Dio? 4.5/5

Incantations of the Apprentice: Rullo punishes his drums as the song enters. Melody and all the other distinctive marks of Symphony X take place in this song which is the third in row almost perfect song. The album seems to be very interesting.4.5/5

Accolade II:My favorite ballad in the metal scene. It does not refer to love and the music is not so mellow as other ballads. Feelings and diverse music mix to create a very balanced outcome.Simply magnificent! 5/5

King of Terrors:The heavier track that Symphony X performed till now. The lyrics are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and they fit in this dark atmosphere. Harsh vocals and devastating riffs. Especially the piano segment is very accurate. What a song! 5/5

The Turning: And I was wondering, will this album have a flaw?The answer is this song. It is not a skip track but if you are not in the power metal mood like me, you will just tolerate or like this song. Nothing more. 3.5/5

Awakenings: The most progressive song in this album before the next one. Atmospheres that change with brilliantly executed music. I believe that many die-hard progressive fans will adore it.I am not the exception so I rate it with 5/5.

The Odyssey: The song of all songs. An epic masterpiece 24 minutes long that has very complex and various music staff that you lose count while hearing to it. Ingenious arrangements and top performance by all members. Do you discern the Rainbow part while the Champion of Ithaca part begins? Surely, Russel Allen is the son of Dio, I cannot explain it else. I do not want to render inferior this song by writting for it. Just listen it. 5/5(it deserves 10/5 but we cannot exceed the scale of course)

Report this review (#219391)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars When reviewing well known album, I do one weird thing. I roll over reviews and pick one of them and read one thing. Sometimes more, today just one thing. But this was easy catch. So to respond: Indeed, this is not album to start with, but this album's epic track could be. I would advise to start with their following one, "Mythology Suite".

I can rate these two, I've listened them again one after another and so differences are clear. By average rating, it's their best compared to their almost best. Well, this one is less melodic, but (now I'll leave Mythology and focus only on Odyssey) Ulysses (I don't like this name, in my language, it sounds like word, which has equivalent in English language with word "sleazy"), as he's on his journey (or, hehe, odyssey). This journey is more fascinating in some things, like that it uses less expected structure, melody and other things, except words. Lyrics are quite clear to guess, it's about famous tale (at least here in Czech Republic, I know it from school, good old book called "Old Greece fables and stories" - shortened Homer, about gods, Heracles...) about man seeking his home & finally redemption. Turn point of entire album is 8. The Odyssey (24:09). From first fanfare- like tones to last acoustic outro reminds me something I knew all my life, but wasn't (and I'm not) able to describe appropriately. Something of great beauty, adventurous. Mix Odyssey and metal and my memories on this story in modern, metal take and you get this. This synth (emulating instrument I can't remember which one) from 6:50-7:04 reminds me very much music of one game from my youth, Warcraft II. Also fantasy like setting. And first three minutes, do I have to say more ? However, vocals here are sometimes almost of growling type. Or at least very harsh. Not bad, but it's interesting that I actually don't mind this.

5(-) because some flaws occurs (like some unnecessary parts happens), it's not so easy (in fact, it's quite hard) to conquer my heart. Only few managed to do it and those get 5(+). This one is close.

Report this review (#239950)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I played this album a lot when I got it. I recently listened to it a few times and it still works its magic with me. There is a lot to like in this CD. I really like the mix of classical and heavy. Symphony X certainly have their sound which set them apart from other bands in the prog- metal scene.

The songs are nicely composed and have a high entertainment value! You never too sure of what's next. There are many changes in rhythm, you can't get bored. There is a lot of intensity and the sound is quite heavy at time. More specifically, I am referring to the catchy riffs of "Inferno", the choppy and heavy beat of "Incantations Of The Apprentice".

There are also some really good compositions that have a more classical approach. "Accolade II" really stands out. I really like the presence of the keyboards in the "Awakening".

There is also the pičce de résistance, the 24 min long epic title. I do like epic, as long as it keeps me entertained for the whole duration. This one certainly does. From the very pompous beginning followed by the soft and emotional "Journey To Ithaca", it does always evolve and keep you on your toes. I like the haunting vocals of "Sirens" which is followed by a very good classical and heavy portion "Scylla And Charybdis" before finally going into the conclusion of the epic. Just Grandiose!

My rating: A very strong 4 stars. An album that really balance well the classical/symphonic structure with an intense metal approach. Well done!

Report this review (#250321)
Posted Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Odyssey

Symphony X, a Dream Theater Clone? Not really. For this album, yeah. They Odyssey is some what of a concept album. The topics of the songs all deal with mysticism for the most part. The first song is a killer. "Inferno" is heavy and fast paced. "Inferno" reminds me that Michael Romeo is one of the best neoclassical guitarists I know of. There are some awesome riffs. The problem is with this album that all the other songs sound very similar. "Accolade II" Is probably my second favorite song on here, "Inferno" being my first. Its the classic Symphony X ballad. "The Odyssey" title track is a 24 minute epic, but its nothing great. There are some pretty cool symphonic passages, but i find it boring until near the end. This Album has some awesome riffs, and great vocals. of that there is no doubt. But the problem is, its repetitive. Its mostly just the same old prog-power metal, mixed with more Dream Theater than normal. besides Inferno and Accolade II there isn't any great songs but their aren't any terrible songs either. This is a good Prog-power album but its nothing new. If you like metal you will probably like this.

Report this review (#255599)
Posted Friday, December 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After making what I believe to be their finest record (V: The New Mythology Suite) Symphony X released The Odyssey. To begin with it's obvious from the track listing that album follows the same basic pattern of Divine Wings Of Tragedy which definitely doesn't show any sign of progress but let's not judge the album by it's (back)cover!

The album starts with Inferno which is the obligatory power metal opening track. Although the composition works well I can't help but draw a comparison to the previous Sympony X openers which makes me feel like their power metal well is starting to dry up. The guitar playing is still mesmerizing but the composition doesn't have the same force in comparison to the previous works.

By the time Accolade II-intro starts playing it was obvious that Symphony X weren't trying recreate the spirit of Divine Wings Of Tragedy instead this actually was a direct sequel and the album even features a follow-up to Accolade. The resemblance between the two track is almost as big as the one between the Kansas tune Icarus from Masque and its follow-up from Somewhere To Elsewhere. I guess that comparison was unfair considering the large timespan between the two. How about Rush compositions Cygnus X-1 books I and II? Hopefully you'll get the general idea here. As a matter of fact I actually consider Accolade II to be this albums highlight with its slow progression and strong delivery.

I was really looking forward to the new 20+ minute suite The Odyssey and it was great to find out that it sounded almost as interesting as Divine Wings Of Tragedy. At the same time this epic shows exactly what is wrong with the entire set-up of this album. Every time I listen to it I can't help but think that it has already been do to death by Symphony X and I basically lack any sign of progression. If the band thinks that they can get away with rehashing the same album time and time again then they definitely have another thing coming! At the same time I honestly don't know where Symphony X should go next in terms of development. Somehow I doubt that Michael Romeo would consider to add jazz elements to the next album or how about avant-garde power metal!

Hopefully they'll think of something more creative for their next release but until then this album remains a shameless clone of Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Good but unnecessary and therefore non-essential.

***** star songs: Accolade II (7:06)

**** star songs: Inferno (5:32) Incantations Of The Apprentice (4:21) King Of Terrors (6:19) Awakenings (8:21) The Odyssey (24:09)

*** star songs: Wicked (5:32) The Turning (4:44)

Report this review (#263696)
Posted Sunday, January 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
3 stars Not a Masterpiece as the actual Odyssey, but still Very Good

Is it a coincidence that both Dream Theater and Symphony X released an album with a symphonic epic the same year? Well, I doubt it was planned, but it still is odd. Anyway, to focus on the album, Symphony X's The Odyssey has some masterful material as well as easily forgettable one which makes this album hard to rate and hard to recommend.

Symphony X definitely shows a slight change in the musical direction with The Odyssey compared to the highly acclaimed V: The New Mythology released 2 years prior this one. The band seems to be playing more aggressively throughout, heavier riffs and more straight-forward power metal songs are to be found. However, Symphony X still maintains their symphonic leanings, notable proof is the album's tour-de-force, the 24 minute title track which is repleted with brilliant passages ranging from beautiful orchestral arrangements to powerful in-your-face riffs.

Then there's Accolade II and Awakenings, both also feature the symphonic leanings straight away with melodic and up-lifting passages. Michael Pinella's piano playing is splendid allthrough and it really adds a lot to the music, unlike the usual tasteless playing of Jordan Rudess which shouts 'look at me'. Also, Russel's vocals are really impressive and instantly recognisable, they remind me a lot to Kansas' vocal section.

Unfortunately, those are the only songs that are memorable and worth listening to, the rest are very heavy, straight-forward power metal songs featuring 100% aggressivity, something that is not usually found in bands like Dream Theater. The riffs are not catchy neither there are memorable solos, so it's not just that they're not Prog. Even Allen's vocals are rather bad since he's constantly delivering rage-like vocals, in this case I would prefer James LaBrie take on heavy stuff.

However, mind you that the three highlighted songs occupy more than half of the album, these are 39 minutes of high-quality Prog Metal so that's the reason why this album is difficult to rate and to recommend.

3.5 stars rounded to 3 because having only three memorable songs out of eight isn't something consistent. Yet, I'm sure you have noticed that these three songs are amazing and if you're a Prog Metal fan you should definitely check them out.

Report this review (#272007)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Symphony X embark on an Odyssey of blistering riffs and ambient orchestration; a force to be reckoned with. Immediately the riffing guitars absolutely blaze, the vocals burst out and the guitar lead breaks are as in your face as you would like. The time sigs are all over the place and there is an incessant drum beat from Jason Rullo. Welcome to Symphony X's "The Odyssey". On 'Inferno' the guitar riff is brilliantly played by Michael Romeo especially the screaming lead solo. The trade off between this and keyboards by Michael Pinella. Russell Allen has a clean dynamic vocal style. A masterful heavy metal opener.

'Wicked' features another killer riff that continues constantly and the rhythms are fractured by drums and great bass by Michael LePond. There are moments that are reminiscent of Riverside or Dream Theater. Michael Romeo trades off again with Pinella's flowing keyboards. The time sig changes momentarily before heading back to the main complicated riff. Great metal at the top of Symphony X's repertoire.

'Incantations Of The Apprentice' begins with a very ominous keyboard sound and the distorted jagged riff fades up till it breaks out with crunching riffs like Opeth. The low bass solo of Lepond enhances the mood. An angular guitar riffs with the thrashing drums. The power metal is fantastic and there is a strong melody that drives it along. There is a twin guitar solo with lots of bends and screams. Wonderful metal.

'Accolade II' runs for 7 minutes and is the sequel from the first part on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" album. The song combines violin and piano and the guitars enhance the atmosphere.

'King Of Terrors' has a crunching riff that tears you rears off and the keyboards are an ambient touch. I love the riff at 4 mins in with the piano breaks and killer keyboard playing. It is very doomy and the time sigs are extraordinary. The lead break is amazing. One of the best Symphony X tracks.

'The Turning' is a riff heavy metal blaster with more speed playing from the 3 Michaels. It is frenetic metal with very intricate riffing and staccato keyboards. The vocals are quite aggressive and dark on this, much more gravelly than usual for Allen. The blazing riffs go ballistic on this and the layered guitar solo is divine. The keyboards are again a force to be reckoned with. It is the band at their best.

'Awakenings' is an 8 and a half minute quieter track which gives some respite from all the chaos and power chords to provide a melancholy keyboard driven ambience. The intro is an intriguing time sig with nice piano motifs and orchestration. This prepares us for the big one.

The magnum opus of the band is 'The Odyssey' that clocks in at a whopping 24 minutes, the typical prog track. It is a multi movement suite in 7 parts, as good as what Dream Theater achieved on the epic 'Octavarium'. The orchestra is the real deal, a full classical orchestra opens this with a majesty and intense portentous atmosphere like a movie soundtrack. It is of course all about the Greek tragedy that is legendary. This opening section reminds me of what Therion do but it is better.

The parts are separated into distinct pieces that are easy to discern between; Part I: Odysseus Theme / Overture; Part II: Journey To Ithaca; Part III: The Eye; Part IV: Circe (Daughter Of The Sun); Part V: Sirens; Part VI: Scylla And Charybdis and Part VII: The Fate Of The Suitors / Champion Of Ithaca. That is as much as I want to divulge as it would be criminal to divulge the secrets this epic holds, suffice it to say this is a bombastic lavish masterpiece of music. I was in awe of this epic from beginning to end. As good as prog gets; it's seriously got everything.

This is one of Symphony X's greatest albums, it buries 'Twilight In Olympus' and only falls short of 'Paradise Lost' by a bee's sting. I recommend this to symphonic prog and prog metal fans without reservation. 4 metallic stars.

Report this review (#280800)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album was alot more metal and probabbly was considered as more of a band effort than a real piece of music.

I still find this album to be great with some fantastic (and one of the greatest) songs they ever made.

This album was alot more metal than V and a bit less prog, but it still had very prog elements.

But hey, it's not perfect, but it's still great.

1. Inferno (Unleash The Fire) - What a kick ass song. Amazing chorus and fantastic cathcy moments. One of Russel's angriest contrabutions. Just excellent. 10/10

2. Wicked - I do love the chorus in this song, it does have a quite eerie atmosphere to it. Furious riffing that will be drilled into your brain. 9/10

3. Incantations Of The Apprentice - Love the song title. Shame it's not the best of songs. It's pretty cool, but does not meet up to Symphony X's standards. 7/10

4. Accolade II - Has some very beautifull moments and amazing instrumental sections. Great song. 9/10

5. King Of Terrors - One of their most kick ass songs. Very metal and in your face. The guitar sound is like a planet falling on you. 9/10

6. The Turning - A pretty cool song about werewolves. Pretty cool chorus. 8/10

7. Awakenings - One of their most eccentric songs to date. Great song with some amazing instrumental sections. 8/10

8. The Odyssey - Ok, let me just say something about this song. Not many words can descibe this song. I remember downloading this song abot 4 years ago, and just been blown away by it. Every moment of this song is just epic beyond comparison. The intro is probabbly one of the most and beautifully epic things you will ever hear. Listen to this song, if you haven't listened to it yet. I would give this song a higher rating, in fact I will, it really is the one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed. 11/10

9. Masquerade - I know this is a bonus track, but it just rules so much. God these guys were even amazing back in the day. And Russels newly recorded vocals just sound heavenly. 10/10

CONCLUSION: This album does have one of the greatest pieces of music ever made in it (my opinion obvisouly).Not their best, but pretty damn good.

Report this review (#287893)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the many releases by the prolific and wonderful metal band Symphony X This one is not their best. Not even close. This album is clearly not even great for the majority. In fact, only one of the eight tracks is actually better than 'passable'. The first seven tracks are generic metal, no way around it, they barely stand out from the rest of the genre (if at all). However?

The title track.

The Odyssey.

The 26 minute wonder of prog metal.

This track is absolutely brilliant. It follows the story of Homer's Odyssey, and does it beautiful justice. Beautiful orchestral passages, ripping metal guitars, wonderful melodies?this has it all!

The track is a beautiful masterpiece, the rest is clearly not.

4 stars.

Report this review (#292849)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ancient Greece, dangerous seas and mythical creatures are the main scenarios for Symphony X's sixth studio album, definitely one of the very best efforts of the band.

"The Odyssey" is the heaviest, most technical and most violent Symphony X album yet. Compared to the previous albums, this one is much fresher sounding, and in many parts quite original. We do note though some affinities with the following album, "Paradise Lost", since even there there's a more violent and heavy sound. Even though it's not quite as good as "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", "The Odyssey" has excellent songwriting, probably the nicest collection of songs for the band; while "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" was more emotional and haunting, this one is more concentrated on headbanging riffs and crazy duels between keyboard and guitars during the solo sections. Therefore, the songs have more of an individual purpose, without being connected to each other in a particular way.

However, lyrically speaking the songs are pretty connected; "The Odyssey", like the title suggests, has all songs that involve mythology, fierce battles, werewolves, Sorcerer's Apprentices. Even though the songs, like I said, can be listened to individually, the album has anyhow a beautiful flowing, being this way a wonderful, but tense and savage journey, and that I strongly recommend you try.

Almost all the songs are amazing; the opener "Inferno", with it's in your face riffs, or the mystical tastes of "Wicked", the violent and brutally technical "King Of Terrors", or the desperate melodies of "The Turning". And then there' the mind blowing, epic title track: 24 minutes of symphonic ecstasy, moments you won't easily forget, like the orchestral opening part, or the epic finale, with Russell Allen's vocals at their highest peak.

An album that if you are a Prog Metal fan you cannot miss. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#337927)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars awesome riffs galore - that's the story of "The Odyssey" and not the Accolade sequel or the almost 25-min title track.

the riffs are what make the album and also what keep it from being a 5-rater 'coz, at the first run, they sound quite similar. i couldnt distinguish several parts of "Wicked" from "Incantations..." from "The Turning" and in fact from sections of "The Odyssey" for quite a few listens

that doesn't take away the fact that they are awesome riffs...i love the intro of Inferno - amazing energy, totally charges you up for whats to come...Accolade II and Awakenings are the only places where Symphony X slow down on this album and both of those are expectedly beautiful (the band does ballads surprisingly well, for their reputation as metalheads). especially in Awakenings, the pace changes are breathtaking.

and, after all that build up, the title-track closer doesnt let you down - its got everything - melody, crunch, power...its the whole album rolled into one song..

4 bright and shining stars.

Report this review (#463323)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

Until his debut was better.I mean, it was more interesting, while this is a boring and uninspired that did not deserve to succeed the band's masterpiece, "V".

When the opening track "Hell" began, I expected a violent music, with strong riffs and vocals memorable.But instead I was "gifted" with a disappointing track, which opens as soon as the vocals tell album.Not to mention the vocals disabled Russell - he let me down on this album.

The rest of the album did not agrada.The only exception is "Accolade II" and "Awakenings," which are large songs.The title track is a good and decent epic, but far from the quality of a song like "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" , for example.

2.5 stars

Report this review (#471121)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I make no effort to hide the fact that most prog metal doesn't impress me much. Most of the time the metal far outweighs the prog. Yawn. But Symphony X, at least on the few albums I own by them, does it right. And a prog band with the word "symphony" in the name damn well better have something symphonic in their sound. They score on that one as well.

Sure, there is a lot of that generic metal sound. Fast crunchy guitars, machine gun drums, and raspy, throaty vocals. But they never go over the edge. The guitar solos are fast, but artfully played. The synths are out front and artful. And the vocals never turn into that death metal barfing sound.

Two songs stand out from the pack. Accolade II, sounds like a blend of metal and classic era Kansas. In fact, Russell Allen, when singing cleanly, sound pretty close to Steve Walsh. And although it may disappoint metal purists, it's a high point on the album.

The other great piece is the title track, The Odyssey. This has some of the most bombastic, and wonderful orchestra use I've heard in any prog piece. and at twenty four minutes, it does some justice to the epic it depicts.

And remember, I'm not a prog metal fan.

Report this review (#488056)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Triumphant! Champion of Ithica..."

This is the sixth studio release from the highly respected New Jersey metal outfit. As the name would suggest, their music contains strong symphonic elements, which are particularly noticeable on the stand-out tracks; Accolade II and The Odyssey. The predecessor to Accolade II came five years earlier on their acclaimed record, 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'. Similarities between the two albums can also be drawn as both feature lengthy title tracks with extended orchestral intros.

Whereas The Divine Wings of Tragedy borrowed from both Bach and Holst, the orchestration on The Odyssey is entirely original, and the track itself is simply one of the best songs they have ever written! It would be better still if it was recorded with a live orchestra, rather than programmed synths, but it still sounds excellent. What doesn't sound quite so good are the 'metal' elements of the album. Whilst the production is certainly better than most releases, it just sounds a little bit tepid when compared to their latest offering, 'Iconoclast'.

But recording aside, the composition and instrumentation on this album is fantastic, and the only thing stopping this from achieving the full five stars are a couple of less memorable tracks.

The Verdict: Stands shoulder to shoulder with both 'V' and 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'.

Report this review (#562211)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars After producing what was at the time their most progressive album to date in the form of V: The New Mythology Suite, I suppose it's only natural that the Symphony X pendulum would swing back towards the power metal side of their sound. With production values occasionally fluctuating but mostly holding firm, it's all very exciting prog-tinged power metal with the perfect Homeric fantasy concept underpinning it, but it doesn't seem quite as groundbreaking and thrilling as The New Mythology Suite was, and spends a lot more time in much more traditional power metal territory. I suspect many fans of the more progressive side of Symphony X will, like me, find this frustrating, particularly since The New Mythology Suite showed us precisely what they are capable of.
Report this review (#657899)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Symphony X is the Progressive Metal band I have been following the 2nd longest, next to Dream Theater. To add to this, The Odyssey is probably my favorite album by them, though it is very difficult for me to pick one album by them that I like better than all the others (this is a common difficulty with favorite bands I guess). So, to honor this, I am going to go track by track on this album:

1. Inferno (Unleash The Fire) - This is a great way to open an album - right away they prove their chops. This is the kind of song you just HAVE to practice your air guitar on as Michael Romeo proves he is a force to be reckoned with. And the keyboards add to this way in an almost conversational way - answering back the guitars note for note during the intro. Russel Allen shows of his versatility on this one, switching back and forth between an angry growl and clean, anthemic singing.

2. Wicked - This is a nice dark and heavy piece. Backing the dark, heavy riffs of the guitar and bass, the keyboards add an air of mystery. And Symphony X throw in some nice, subtle compound rhythms just when you think they're going to stick with common time.

3. Incantations Of The Apprentice - This one builds up very nicely - starting out with an orchestral sound, adding the heavy guitars, then some almost electronica sounding keyboards and tops it off with some heavy riffing. And they keep switching up the beat on this one, but somehow I find I can keep a good head-banging going. The song tells a great fantasy based, dark magic tale and the music complements this quite nicely. Once again, Russell Allen shows just how versatile he is, switching back and forth between growls and pure tones.

4. Accolade II - Perfect example of why this is one of my favorite bands. This is an incredibly dynamic song, and the band weaves a complex tapestry, piling different rhythms on top of each other to form tightly woven poly-rhythms. I love the usage of the keyboards as well, switching from symphonic sounds to piano and back. Again, the lyrics are deeply rooted in fantasy, and the music tells the tale so very well. There are dark, sad, mysterious, and triumphant moments in this song, and some killer instrumentals to boot. What a ride this one takes the listener on, and I am completely enveloped in the tale it tells.

5. King Of Terrors - The way this one starts out kind of reminds me of the way some of the better Metallica songs start out, but then they underlay the metal riffing with Arabic sounding orchestral keyboards, and the occasional keyboard "choir sound" (I love when Michael Pinella uses that particular sound). All throughout this song, Pinella shines, adding very interesting elements to the classic metal sound of the guitars. Man, this band is so good at telling stories with their music, and there are parts of this song where I can just imagine being in a dark graveyard with dark creatures and lightning bursts. I can't describe this in a way that does the music justice, but listening to this song I feel like a dark wizard has sent me on a frightening ride.

6. The Turning - Again the band starts things off with a bang and Michael Romeo shows off his dark neo-baroque style of riffage. The chorus has an arabic sound again, and Russell abruptly switched to a very aggressive growl. Again, I get this "evil magic" type of feel listening to this song.

7. Awakenings - This is one of my favorite pieces by the band, and oh does Pinella shine on this one. The keyboards are so incredibly versatile, switching through so many sounds - Pinella is like a master composer, and the band backs him perfectly all throughout the piece. Sir Allen shows off his softer side to start off this track, and once again you know right away the band is going to tell an epic tale. Just as you get the sense that they are building to something bigger - BAM! They hit you with some awesome metal riffage, and here's where Michael Romeo shows what a perfect coupling this band has between keyboards and guitar. To top it all off, this song has one of the most fantastic, dizzying instrumentals, featuring Michael Pinella's keyboards in a big way - it's like he wanted to show off just how many sound settings he's got. It's so easy to take for granted what an amazing keyboardist he is because Michael Romeo shines so brightly as the guitarist, but in this piece Pinella proves he is up there in the rankings of the top Progressive Metal keyboardists.

8. The Odyssey - What can I say about this one? Words simply cannot do it justice. This has long been my absolute favorite Progressive epic. The band invites you to come along with them as they take you on a journey, telling the tale of Homer's Odyssey in a way only they can. The song starts out with an intro that sounds like a movie soundtrack, marrying orchestral sounds with metal guitars in a way only this band can accomplish. Then Russell Allen sings brilliantly in a metal ballad style during the first section of the tale, as the hero prepares his tale. I'm not going to go through the entire epic and talk about every section, but this one is absolutely phenomenal - it's like a Metal Action/Fantasy/Epic movie. This is what Progressive Metal is all about - music telling a story, with complexity, dynamic energy, and thrilling virtuoso musicianship.

9. Masquerade - This is like a dark baroque metal opera. The operatic vocal harmonies, and harpsichord sounds of the keyboards give the metal riffing such an interesting flavor, and the instrumental section is like Bach went on a crazy murderous rampage. Brilliant end to a brilliant album.

Report this review (#759107)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Odyssey is my second take of this band, with the first being Divine Wings of Tragedy. Unfortunately, my views still haven't changed, as this album sounds almost identical to Wings, in addition to the individual songs sounding too similar to each other. I will admit some of the riffs are killer, and musicianship is undeniably through the roof, but these songs lack direction and variation.

The highlights would probably be 'Accolade II' and of course the title track. If nothing else, the title track makes this album worth something. It is simply one of the best epics I've listened to. It flawlessly blends orchestral music with the band's power metal style. There are plenty of good ideas here, plenty of strong melodies and the arrangement is superb. The production could still use some work, especially in the weak-sounding drums. It's a shame the rest of the album couldn't be of the same quality as this.

Overall, this album has a bunch of average, repetitive songs with a very strong epic thrown in at the end. Unfortunately, the title track can only help it so much.


Report this review (#803024)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
3 stars I love Symphony X's masterpiece "V:The New Mythology". I also am a fan of "Paradise Lost", although it has more to do with the source material than with the actual album. However, I really have to force myself to listen to these guys. I'm not a big fan of power metal, gruff vocals, or the like. However, I do enjoy a couple albums.

I decided I would listen to "The Odyssey"; again, more because of the content than the music. I'd heard that the title track is an epic masterpiece. Well, this album is definitely...Symphony X. That's about it. "V" was amazing because of the melody, symphonic arrangements, amazing vox, fantastic guitars, and original drums. This album must be where the plunge started: where the descent to a less proggy power metal began.

This album is interesting and okay. There are lots of riffs, if that's your thing. The vocals are gruff and unchallenging. Any symphonic segments sound VERY cheap and VERY 90's--- almost like the badly composed keyboard music on Hercules or Xena: Warrior Princess. Amid all of this, the drums even fail to impress: Nothing new is really displayed here. The lyrics are kinda derivative and lame, something that "V" and even "Paradise Lost" did not have. I don't know. I just feel like my avoidance of Symphony X is quite justified by this album. Aside from a few enjoyable parts; corny, neo-epic filler is all I really hear here. Should I even bother listening to "Iconoclast" or anything earlier than "V"? If I do, it'll be a while.

Report this review (#951272)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is since a number of years in my collection. Haven't listen to it too much as it always left me totally cold. Today I sought lets give it another try. And I am disappointed again. Especially the first three tracks make it hard to go beyond that. Main reason for this are the atrocious vocals. It gets a bit better after that but all in all what we have here is an relatively uninspired metal album without any soul and feeling. Technically sterile guitars with really hard to stomach vocals. I am tempted to only give one star. As the album has some good moments here and there lets not be too harsh and give two stars.
Report this review (#1165841)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars return would make my dreams come true

I don't tend to write reviews about albums that hold a special place in my heart, but it is one of these afternoons that you re-discover a favourite. In "The Odyssey", Symphony X move further away from the Divine Wings of Tragedy and regress to a much more Malmsteen/speedy power metal approach, nevertheless retaining the grandiose elements and powerful songwriting that gave them a decade of top-notch releases ('97-'07).

Low-tuned, creeping, mid-tempo heavy riffs that we would later experience in albums such as "Paradise Lost" make their appearance in "Wicked" but the majority of the album is based on Romeo's speedy power metal fantasies, apparent in "Inferno", "King of Terrors" and "Incantations of the Apprentice" that seem to have been made of the same mould; the latter retains the fantasy elements of the early days of the band.

The beauty of the album lies in the sequel "Accolade II", the grandiose "Awakenings" (with a strong Kansas feel) and the unsurpassable epic "The Odyssey". The former two sum up the qualities and unique character of this band and stand up there with the best of their songs, mixing the lyricism with the power. Galloping guitars and lush keyboards, multiple vocals, odd-time signatures and uplifting refrains. The next and biggest suprise comes in the 24-minute title track that finds the band in the heights of imagination. The story of the Odyssey is very difficult to tell in 24 minutes but Symphony X achieve it using "rich pictures", excellent storytelling, music moods that fluctuate, following the dramatic events (explore that booklet), opening and closing with some of their most catchy melodies ever.

If you enjoy the power metal aspect of Symphony X, this is an album for you, up there with the big albums of this band. Others may not enjoy as much but might find their own Ithaca in the title track.

Report this review (#1431180)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars There's a lot to like in this release by prog metal greats Symphony X. The Odyssey shows the band in transition, blending the ambitious and a nuanced song writing of their early releases with the more aggressive approach that knocked my socks off in Paradise Lost. As a result one gets the best of both worlds: a metal release that focuses on composition and a "total package," while also kicking up the intensity enough for those that gravitate towards powerful metal hooks.

One thing that Symphony X excels at, perhaps more than any other prog metal band that comes to mind, is their ability to create mood and vision through their performances. Each musician is fantastic, but the combination of their talents, over which Allen's fantastical lyrics and powerful vocals reach out and grab you, creates an effect that is just plain more fun to listen to than the bathos-ridden schlock about self-reflection and catharsis that dominates the genre. Symphony X doesn't feel like a band of blow-hard "auteurs", nor a band of instrumental elitists that demand to be heard through snapshots of excellence hidden within messy songs. They feel like a group of guys who like telling awesome stories through their music, and as a result the care about every note and every emotion conveyed in their songs. This appeals to me a lot.

Of course... it doesn't hurt that the musicianship in The Odyssey is first rate. Romeo's guitar is relentlessly enjoyable, especially his memorable riffing that compliments the vocal melodies. His soloing is also great through use of dramatic builds in intensity. The metal crunch isn't quite as intense as we'll hear later on albums like Iconoclast, nor is at as filled with as many face-melting moments of awesomeness - but it's still damn good. The rhythm section deserves special attention as well. Rullo's drumming doesn't impress with a profundity of fills, but instead through support of the album's many melodies. Whereas players like Portnoy give you razzle-dazzle, Rullo feels more like he understands how his drumming fits into the tone of the composition, enhancing it's drama and effect through restraint (when called for), and complex rhythms (when needed). As usual the bass player's role in metal music is often forgotten, but The Odyssey's warm production allows us to pick out most of LePond's melodic, and very complex, playing, giving the album a more dense palette to enjoy.

Metal fans will not be disappointed by The Odyssey; it's the total package of hard riffs, fantasy cliches, soaring vocals and solos, all wrapped up in a classy package by one of the genre's best bands. A great addition.

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

Report this review (#1496442)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars With 'V: The New Mythology Suite' being a huge hit with fans and praised as one of the bands finest releases, it only stands to reason that they'd further build upon the orchestral elements they'd implemented with that album. And oh boy, does it work, or what?!

Building upon what they'd started with their previous release, 'The Odyssey' continues to see the band become heavier and heavier, with more focus on brutal guitar riffs and vocalist Russell Allen stepping further away from the high-pitched wailing he'd been accustomed to with earlier albums.

Essentially split into two parts, the first seven songs are all absolute bangers! Brimming with amazing guitar riffs, mind-blowing solos, intense vocals and all-round top performances from everyone. Tracks like 'Inferno', 'Wicked' and 'Awakenings' are head-banging anthems, while 'The Accolade II' is an epic follow-up to its epic predecessor.

Then there's the "second half". The main event. The 24-minute title track, which is arguably one of the bands greatest compositions. Taking the symphonic elements of their previous release, the band really crank it up a level to unleash a song that takes you right into the action with Greek hero Odysseus as he sets on his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. It features some of the most insane musicianship imaginable, with some jaw-dropping interplay between the band members, as well as some of the most emotional and sincere vocals I've ever heard.

And I know that right now you're thinking how cheesy this all sounds, right? Well, cheese is good! Everyone likes cheese! And so will you!

In summary, 'The Odyssey' is a four-star album with five-star songs... and five-star songs is an understatement! Worth the price for the title track alone, get it now and go on the greatest adventure of your life!

Report this review (#1782741)
Posted Saturday, September 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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