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Symphony X

Progressive Metal

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Symphony X Live on the Edge of Forever  album cover
3.80 | 75 ratings | 8 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1: 47:24
1. Prelude (1:40)
2. Evolution (The Grand Design) (5:18)
3. Fallen / Transcendence (6:30)
4. Communion and the Oracle (7:39)
5. The Bird-Serpent War / Cataclysm (3:39)
6. On the Breath of Poseidon (5:09)
7. Egypt (7:05)
8. Death of Balance / Candlelight Fantasia (5:52)
9. The Eyes of Medusa (4:32)

CD 2: 59:27
1. Smoke and Mirrors (6:36)
2. Church of the Machine (7:21)
3. Through the Looking Glass (14:09)
4. Of Sins and Shadows (7:22)
5. Sea of Lies (4:05)
6. The Divine Wings of Tragedy (19:54)

Total Time: 106:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Russell Allen / vocals
- Michael Romeo / guitars
- Michael Lepond / bass
- Jason Rullo / drums
- Michael Pinella / keyboards

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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SYMPHONY X Live on the Edge of Forever ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SYMPHONY X Live on the Edge of Forever reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars After five studio albums, the American progressive metal band SYMPHONY X is releasing their first live album "Live On The Edge Of Forever". SYMPHONY X is one of the best Prog Metal bands from America and a very good band in the studio, and this double-CD proofs that they're managing to play their songs live too. The album was recorded live in France and Germany in October 2000 and June 2001. The songs are powerful performed and as skillful as on the studio albums. Russell Allen's vocals are impressively strong onstage too. The last song is also the highlight of this live album. It's their 20-minutes epic masterpiece "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", what a perfect way to end the album. SYMPHONY X has come a long way and developed a lot since their self-titled debut album in 1994. This live album is a very good summary of their career so far.
Review by King of Loss
3 stars This is Symphony X's first live album and it features 15 songs (actually 16 songs considering the split song Candlelight Fantasia/Death Of Balance).

The 1st of the 2cd set features most of the concept album "V" (Tracks 1-8, and parts of track 9), part of the amazingly beautiful Candlelight Fantasia and Eye of Medusa. The live version of V is done with an almost flawless execution of vocals done by the great Russell Allen, the guitar solos are almost played to perfection by neo-Classical guitar virtuoso Michael Romeo. The part I do not like about this live album is the lack of keyboards on songs like Fallen and Candlelight Fantasia. If the other instruments had overpowered something, they definitely overpowered Michael Pinnella's extremely tasteful keyboard playing here. Overall, the first disc is a good live version of the songs shown here, with the exception of Russell's superb live vocals and Pinnella's unhearable keyboards. 4/5

The 2nd part of the 2cd set features a bunch of songs, mostly prominently the more "famous older songs". I was hoping for "Edge of Forever", but its not on here.

What is on here is:

Smoke And Mirrors- A song with a killer keyboard intro that goes downhill, Sym X sound almost the same live, so it doesn't really matter 3/5

Church of the Machine- Perhaps one of my favorite Sym X songs, it features a great riff and beautiful choral singings by Russ 5/5

Through the Looking Glass- This live version is not quite as good as the album version because I still CAN NOT HEAR MICHAEL'S KEYBOARDS VERY WELL! 3.5/5

And of course the rest of the songs almost sound similar as compared to the others minus Michael Pinnela and Russell Allen's superb vocals. In the end, the keyboards completely destroy the quality of this live album. It is a not bad live album, but could be 100 times better. SInce this is the only Sym X live album, for fans of Sym X like me, we have no choice. Hopefully a new live dvd will be recorded soon.


Review by FloydWright
3 stars This is one of the most painful reviews I've had to do in a long time. Before I bought this album, I'd heard all of SYMPHONY X's studio albums, and even in the ones I've rated lowest on here, I found something to love about them. And that's why I was so surprised and disappointed when I heard Live at the Edge of Forever. I really, really wanted to like it, but it's a real chore to listen to, and that's unfortunate. It's not for lack of effort on the part of the band--what I could actually hear of their playing was outstanding, and that's why it would be unfair of me to rate them any lower than I am, in spite of all the negative things I'm going to say. I also got the feeling that had I actually been in the venue, it probably would've been a great concert. Sadly, it may well be lack of financial resources and skills to produce a successful live recording that did the most damage.

First, though, let me talk about what there is to like about Live at the Edge of Forever.

As I said before, the musicianship is phenomenal, and when you're dealing with songs as intricate and fast-paced as SYMPHONY X's, pulling that off in a live setting is a real accomplishment. Keyboardist MICHAEL PINNELLA and guitarist MICHAEL ROMEO are an unstoppable soloing tag-team. Of the two, probably PINNELLA is the most versatile player in the band. Not only can he match ROMEO note for note during one of their lightning-fast duets, he also plays some surprisingly touching slower sections that are among the greatest highlights of the album: the opening of "The Bird-Serpent War", parts of "The Death of Balance," the solo in "Through the Looking Glass," and throughout "The Divine Wings of Tragedy." ROMEO is also impressive, though he does need to watch a tendency to show off his skills a little too much; while I do enjoy the way he transitioned from Western to Eastern styles, "On the Breath of Poseidon" was really pushing the envelope as far as how long one person should be soloing with a drone.

Drummer JASON RULLO has his moment in "The Death of Balance," and was generally a steady presence throughout the concert, and vocalist RUSSELL ALLEN was nearly perfect in the way he sang (when he stuck to singing). But the real contribution this album gives the die-hard SYMPHONY X fan is the chance to really hear what bassist MICHAEL LEPOND gives to the band. The man is outstanding--every bit the equal of my 3 M's of prog-metal: THOMAS MILLER (formerly of SYMPHONY X), JOHN MYUNG of DREAM THEATER, and MARTIN MENDEZ of OPETH. Nowhere does this show more than on "Egypt."

The setlist is one I have few complaints with...but unfortunately on the CD, the tracks from my favorite album, V: The New Mythology Suite, come off the worst. Accordingly, I will now discuss the things that went wrong with this CD.

First, and most glaringly, the sound quality throughout the whole thing was atrocious. One instrument or the other would drop out of the mix during a song, or the bass, guitar, and drums would all merge into one thrumming beat that pretty much disguised anything PINNELLA might be adding to the mix--and all of this would be turned way down and have RUSSELL ALLEN screaming over it. The tone of ROMEO's guitar tended to come off as muddy and indistinct. Sometimes the audience was louder than the band--except at the times when ALLEN was actually trying to involve the audience during the song, and then they couldn't be heard at all. One problem may have been the fact that they tried to mesh performances on different dates in different venues into one CD and it was a failed experiment. I have a feeling a fan bootleg would have offered, at the very least, a more consistent mix than this--the quality problems were so distracting that I had to split the two discs onto two different nights in order to do this review. In some ways, the sound of this album is comparable to RADIOHEAD's attempt at a live album, I Might Be Wrong.

The second problem is--this band's way of interacting with the audience might be great if you're actually there in the venue, but it's irritating as heck for somebody listening to a CD. This band actually interrupts the playing of a song, as in completely stopping, so that RUSSELL ALLEN can yell out random things. They manage to destroy the momentum in the most irritating places possible, at climactic moments in "Through the Looking Glass," "The Eyes of Medusa", "Death of Balance/Candlelight Fantasia", and...well, I can't even list it all, because the interruptions were a constant aggravation. They should have had one night where they just told the audience that they were recording a live album, and played straight through. I'm not suggesting going the aloof, audience-snubbing route that PINK FLOYD does, but it's generally best to reserve audience interaction for between songs as does power-metal band Blind Guardian.

Here are some other less important suggestions I would have for them. First, they need a second keyboardist on tours if they're really intent on reproducing the lush orchestrations of things like V. The songs from that album were easily the greatest disappointment for me, and soured my mood towards the whole disc to a point where it never recovered. The new keyboardist could just handle all of the routine or sampled stuff, and leave the real solos and improvising to PINNELLA--who's great, but just needs some help because he can't do it all at once. Second, they need to be careful about slicing and dicing songs that were never meant to have any relation with each other--"The Death of Balance"/"Candlelight Fantasia" as one piece comes off as incredibly tacky, not to mention that they didn't even finish CF after they started it. And third, ROMEO always needs to keep an eye on exactly how long he takes the spotlight or he risks coming off as self-indulgent.

This is probably more of a 2.5 than anything--good for die-hard SYMPHONY X fans and collectors, but with the musicianship I could hear, it deserved more than that. Let's hope SYMPHONY X will put together another live CD someday, or maybe a DVD that gives people more of the in-the-venue experience. There's definitely some promise here, but it just wasn't enough even for this fan of the band.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's a Fascinating Progressive Metal Live Album! - A True Adrenalin Exploder!

Thanks God! I'm blessed with the wide range of music taste that I can digest so that I have varied moods due to variety of music I listen to. Having enjoyed Frank Zappa's "Grand Wazoo" album with heavy influence of jazz - and now I'm enjoying the heavy part of progressive music, heavily influenced by metal music: Symphony X "Live On The Edge of Forever". What I have learned so far is this: Those who love progressive metal, usually hate "jazz" related music and vice versa. This does not apply to me. I love both kinds of music. To me these two kinds complement one another. There are times when I want to enjoy jazz-rock and there are times when I want to enjoy progressive metal.

Altogether with Dream Theater, I also love Symphony X with the kind of music similar between the two. Both bands are great! My first album of Symphony X was "The Divine Wing of Tragedy" (I reviewed at this site as well). Awesome! I then purchased "V" and "Odyssey". This double CD "Live On The Edge of Forever" features songs from previous studio albums before "Odyssey". The album was recorded throughout a period of October 2000 - June 2001 from the band concerts in Europe.

Whenever I listen to live album I always imagine myself being there in front of the stage watching the band on stage while doing active participation: headbanging and singing! The same case with this album: from the opening track "Prelude" - "Evolution" till the end of Disc Two "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" I seem like in the crowd who watched the concert. The opening track projects the high energy of the Symphony X music with a colossal symphonic style followed with heavy riff of guitar. Russel Allen - the lead vocalist - proves to be one of the best progressive metal singer with his powerful and transparent voice. Michael Romeo provides his heavy guitar riffs and attractive solos throughout the show. Michael Pinnela fills his work with symphonic keyboard sound. Jason Rullo on drums also plays dynamically. Michael Lepond on bass also plays dynamically.

All tracks presented here are truly excellent ones. Not even single track that is considered being 'so and so' or just good - they are all excellent tracks. They beauty of Symphony X music is the harmony created through a combined sounds of keyboard and guitar. The keyboard represents true "symphony" which resembles the band's name. You will find nice waves of music presenting high and low points performed tightly by the band and it sounds like a studio version as they play excellently. On top of that, the other musicians also contribute brilliantly throughout the show with powerful vocal and energetic drumming backed with tight basslines.

This CD has been with me for three years and so far I have already considered this as a four star live album. But having listened to it many times recently, I even think that this should be considered as a masterpiece of progressive metal live album. Not just the music and the band's performance that I can consider as a masterpiece but the live vibes of the show is truly superb. Listen to how the crowd yell and shout during the passage of the concert and also how they sing together when Michael Romeo provides his riffs. So powerful and so lively. As a matter of comparison, the crowd dynamic is missing when I listen to Dream Theater Live at Budokan even though I also consider it as a masterpiece as well.

I finally found that enjoying this live set is best when I play it from start to end in its entirety as the songs are arranged in such a way that make the listeners are not boring with the music produced from two CDs. There are parts with breaks that feature guitar solo or keyboard solo as well as drums. There are parts with staccato style which characterizes the progressive metal vein. There are parts which resemble just straight hard rock music. BTW, for those who also love ELP, you might find a vocal segment at Disc 1 track 8 "Candlelight Fantasia" which is similar with ELP's "The Only Way".

As a matter of preference, I love "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" album. I even put the album as the best album of the band even though most people tell me that their best mostly is "V" album. And, I'm very happy that the album title track is presented at the end of Disc Two of this live track.

I don't intend to write at track by track basis as it's gonna produce a long reading. If you happen to have this CD, just go to any track - you will see the beauty and the energy of this album. It's truly an adrenalin exploder album, I would say! If you don't have it yet and you love the heavy side of prog music - just buy this CD! You won't regret and I bet you that you would rate this album at least with a four star album. Prove it!

Life without music is a mistake. Music without progressive is a fatal tragedy!

Yours progressively, GW

Review by Rune2000
3 stars At the time of its release I only managed to hear Live On The Edge Of Forever a few times before returning it to the friend I borrowed it from. Fortunately thanks to Spotify I can now revisit it anytime I feel like it.

To tell you the truth I wasn't that phenomenally impressed by this live recording the first few times I listened to it. The production is below the acceptable for a live recording from the 21-century considering the technological progress. Come to think of it I've heard much better production on the live King Crimson recordings from the '70s. The weird thing is that I kind of like the sound better listening to it today. A plausible explanation might be the terrible sounding live performance that I've witnessed from the band but I'll talk more about it once I get to Paradise Lost.

Live On The Edge of Forever is roughly split up into four parts starting with the first part of V: The New Mythology Suite followed by two The Divine Wings Of Tragedy tracks to finish off disc one. The second disc starts with three compositions from Twilight in Olympus, which happens to be the album I'm least familiar with, and then finally returns to the highlights from The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. Track list-wise this is performance seems solid since I consider the second part of V: The New Mythology Suite to be inferior to the first one plus I get an introduction to Twilight in Olympus. It's true that I would also have liked to hear Out Of the Ashes and The Accolade but now I'm just nitpicking.

As it is with many live performances there aren't that many compositions that manage to add anything new to the studio versions. The slight exception to that is the amazing performance of Evolution (The Grand Design) and the much more subtle version of Egypt. The rest of material tries hard to replicate the album versions and does a decent job although I just have to point out Russell Allen's behavior that definitely ruins the mood for me on a few occasions.

At first I had no problem with the frequent shout outs by Russell Allen but it just gets annoying upon repeated listens. I'm talking about the frequent interruptions of music that happen on a few occasions where Allen shouts out to the crowd. The composition that suffers the most of this is Through The Looking Glass. I also don't understand why Allen had to scream out "Thank you very much everybody and goodnight" just where the vocals are supposed to kick it on Of Sins And Shadows. It totally ruins the whole momentum built up by the wonderful intro.

Overall it's not the best introduction to Symphony X and as I previous mentioned I don't actually own a copy of this album. Considering my expressed love for this band in the previous reviews it definitely says more about this album than any words ever could express. Still I'll go with the good, but non-essential rating since the performance, per se, is quite spectacular.

***** star songs: Evolution (The Grand Design) (5:18)

**** star songs: Fallen/Transcendence (6:30) Communion And The Oracle (7:39) The Bird-Serpent War/Cataclysm (3:39) Egypt (7:05) Death Of Balance/Candlelight Fantasia (5:52) The Eyes Of Medusa (4:32) Smoke And Mirrors (6:36) Church Of The Machine (7:21) Through The Looking Glass (14:09) Of Sins And Shadows (7:22) Sea Of Lies (4:05) The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (19:54)

*** star songs: Prelude (1:40) On The Breath Of Poseidon (5:09)

Latest members reviews

3 stars Symphony X are one of my all-time favourite bands, without a doubt. BUT... (you knew this was coming), 'Live on the Edge of Forever', their 2001 live album, doesn't really do their music justice. Now hold your tongue before you condemn me for this blasphemy and take heed! Firstly, I'm not real ... (read more)

Report this review (#1913126) | Posted by martindavey87 | Sunday, April 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Live on the Edge of Forever" ist he first live album of the progressive metal band Symphony X. It was recorded during their "V-TOUR" throughout Europe and features songs from their last 3 releases "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", "Twilight in Olympus" and "V". Although their setlist is quite ... (read more)

Report this review (#61547) | Posted by W.Chuck | Saturday, December 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an excellent album, you better hear it!! I'm fan of symphony x , especially from Michael Romeo, this guy has a fantastic technique and inspirartion, he can do anything with that guitar but, all the band show virtuosity, the vocals from Russell Allen are powerful and melodic, an extreme ... (read more)

Report this review (#7163) | Posted by | Saturday, November 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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