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UNDERWORLD

Symphony X

Progressive Metal


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Symphony X Underworld album cover
3.86 | 221 ratings | 15 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overture (2:13)
2. Nevermore (5:30)
3. Underworld (5:48)
4. Without You (5:51)
5. Kiss of Fire (5:10)
6. Charon (6:07)
7. Hell and Back (9:24)
8. In My Darkest Hour (4:22)
9. Run with the Devil (5:38)
10. Swansong (7:28)
11. Legend (6:30)

Total Time: 64:01

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Russell Allen / vocals
- Michael Romeo / guitars, production
- Michael Pinnella / keyboards
- Michael Lepond / bass
- Jason Rullo / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Warren Flanagan with Milena Zdravkovic

2xLP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 3228-1 (2015, Europe)

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 3228-2 (2015, Europe)
CD Victor - VICP-65317 (2015, Japan)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SYMPHONY X Underworld ratings distribution


3.86
(221 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
23%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

SYMPHONY X Underworld reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The New Jersey Prog Metal Masters are back with their newest album "Underworld"

The album is an in between Paradise Lost and Iconoclast. It is clearly grounded in the bands new style: heavy and intense, (there are even a few blast beats thrown in one part!) darker, less progressive and less shred riffing/neoclassical insanity of their old days...however "Underworld" drifts a little more towards the style of "Paradise Lost" rather than "Iconoclast" meaning this album is a little more progressive, features more keyboard, less "hardcore" vocals and is just more varied in style.

While I am a fan of Iconoclast, I greatly appreciate the drift away from there and back to a more classic sound. Don't misunderstand, this is firmly within the band's new sound and you should not expect The Odyssey or V or Divine Wings here, but there are plenty of classic Symphony X riffs, melodies, sounds and staples to please any fan.

Style aside, all the musicianship is superb, as is to be expected, the songwriting tight and well composed, the audio quality is great and I particularly love the sound of the bass. The songwriting of Symphony X is what always struck me, their ability to create songs with great flow, surprise, technicality and musicianship but without wasting any of our time, and they have done so yet again. There are still moments that surprise you, and all the instruments, while getting to showcase the skill of the musicians, work together.

"Underworld" is not a perfect album, there are some weak moments, and there is nothing here really unexpected, but it's another great output that continues to walk the line of pleasing fans and originality, technicality and musician ship, heaviness and progressiveness, and they walk the line superbly. The vocals of Russell Allen are brilliant as always, displaying a great range, there are riffs galore, and Jason Rullo, (one of my all time favorite drummers) continues to increasingly show off his drumming prowess. Michael Romeo still solos like the best of them, and the composition is a bit more progressive than Iconoclast, with some truly beautiful movements sprinkled throughout.

Standout songs are: Without You, Kiss of Fire and Legend

Symphony X is one of the greatest metal bands of their time, and continue to prove it with yet another strong output. "Underworld" should be a great addition for Symphony X fans, and please prog metal fans. Excellent album.

FOUR STARS

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When Symphony X released Paradise Lost in 2007 it marked a shift in direction with the metal elements taking precedence over the prog making it their heaviest to date. Iconoclast, released in 2011 marked an even bigger shift in that direction. Four years later they have now released their ninth studio album Underworld and it's a killer!

Where does it fit in with past releases then? While it sits more comfortably with the last two albums than anything before ? this really kicks ass! - it marks a return to more emphasis on the melodies. This is particularly noticeable with Russell Allen's vocals who went for a harsher style of singing on the last two albums. He does that here too at times but they've clearly put a lot of effort into giving much of the material here strong vocal hooks. As usual Allen's vocals are stunning ? if there's a better metal vocalist out there at the moment I've not heard him. Don't be led into thinking they've gone soft though, this is a very heavy album ? just listen to Kiss Of Fire for proof with some stunning instrumental interplay and even some blastbeats from drummer Jason Rullo who never fails to impress me with his incredible technique. Of course the rest of the band live up to the high standards they've previously set themselves too. There are times however, like on Swansong where they lay back a bit and this could fit comfortably on some of their earlier albums like V.

This album is stunning from start to finish making picking favourite tracks futile. Back in 2011 I rated Iconoclast as their best yet, in truth Paradise Lost was just as good but Underworld is the equal of both of them making a trilogy of albums the equal of any prog metal band. While there's always a prog element on their albums fans who prefer their earlier work will still be in mourning for the old days however. Album of the year? Could well be.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
3 stars I'm sorry to go against the grain, but I did like a couple of Symphony X's earlier albums and, to my ears, this album sounds like outtakes to those albums, or like covers of "vanilla" Metal music--that is, there is nothing new or innovative here; the band sounds like they are suspended in a time warp around 1989. They remind me of an aging KISS. At times they sound like a 80s power ballad hair band (e.g. Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Poison) and others like a heavy metal-on-the-verge-of doom metal. Nothing like the still-evolving, still adventurous IRON MAIDEN.

Musically there a few songs that get the blood boiling ("Kiss of Fire," "Charon," and "In My Darkest Hour" come to mind) but they are inevitably taken down by a Tom JONES-like quality in the vocals--especially in the choruses. What's happening to Symphony X? Maybe they need to get out of New Jersey.

3 stars. Recommended only to die hard 80s & 90s metal heads.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Another triumph for Symphony X!

The band have come a long way since their early days when The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and V: The New Mythology Suite made the band a staple name among the progressive metal fans. They even managed to attract the attention of non-metal fans with The Odyssey (specifically it's opus title track) and Paradise Lost. I was personally not a big fans of those last two album since I felt that Symphony X were losing their heavy metal and neoclassical metal influences in exchange for the more straight symphonic metal. Luckily, the release of Iconoclast changed all that by featuring some of the band's heaviest material to date while toning down the symphonic metal side of their sound.

After another four years where Russell Allen managed to keep busy by releasing a bunch of Adrenaline Mob albums plus one new Allen/Lande and Level 10 release respectively, Symphony X suddenly returned with another heavy set of tracks. Underworld sounded initially as business as usual for me since the record continued their classic mix of heavy metal and power metal with a slight shift towards the latter while still maintaining their progressive metal aura.

Two differences that were very clear between Iconoclast and Underworld where the slight shift in tone from almost thrash sounding riffs, on the former, to heavy metal and the other differences being the shorter songs. After a few more spins of the record it was also clear that Underworld was a much more accessible record with most songs featuring memorable melodic hooks and choruses. The first single, Nevermore, being the only exception due to it's strong riffs and verses but completely anticlimactic chorus that ruins the momentum that the rest of the composition manages to build up.

After that weaker intro the album actually gets better with each new track. The title track, Charon and Swansong being some of the highlights in this very solid mix of compositions. It all comes to a triumphant finish with the album's final track. Appropriately titled, Legend managed to completely knock me off my feet by delivering one of the bands stronger tracks in their entire discography. Yes folks, I'm talking about the same quality as Communion And The Oracle and the title opus from The Divine Wings Of Tragedy! The only downside is that the track is merely 6,5 minutes long but I definitely respect Symphony X for not milking the track and instead making it straight and to the point.

If you're a fan of Iconoclast then this album will be an easy purchase for you. Fans of the early Symphony X will probably also enjoy Underworld since there is a stronger power metal emphasis here than what the band have had in years, still I respect them for not taking this influence too far. Hence, you won't find another Of Sins and Shadows or Evolution (The Grand Design) here. What you will find are a bunch of really awesome tracks that are extremely catchy and heavy while maintaining the band's signature progressive metal sound.

***** star songs: Underworld (5:48) Charon (6:07) Legend (6:30)

**** star songs: Without You (5:51) Kiss Of Fire (5:10) Hell And Back (9:24) In My Darkest Hour (4:22) Run With The Devil (5:38) Swansong (7:28)

*** star songs: Overture (2:13) Nevermore (5:30)

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Underworld" is the 9th full-length studio album by US, New Jersey based progressive power metal act Symphony X. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in July 2015. It's the successor to "Iconoclast" from 2011. The four years between albums have been spend touring and writing the new album, but also with the bandmembers doing other projects. Lead vocalist Russel Allen has been busy with Adrenaline Mob, the Allen - Lande project, and with Level 10, bassist Mike LePond released a solo album in 2014 where guitarist Michael Romeo was also involved, and keyboard player Michael Pinnella also released a solo album in 2014.

Stylistically the material on "Underworld" pretty much continues down the darker and more heavy road which was initiated on "Paradise Lost (2007)" and which was continued on "Iconoclast (2011)". While the music is undoubtedly US power metal (with progressive leanings, or the other way around if you prefer), Symphony X is among the heaviest and at times even brutal acts in the genre. Guitarist Michael Romeo churns out one catchy groove laden and crushingly heavy riff after another and often crosses the border into thrash/groove metal- and even death metal territory. If that description scared away a couple of power metal listeners, don't worry too much, the music is still loaded with epic guitar themes and keyboards, lightning fast melodic guitar/keyboard solos, anthemic choruses, and a rhythm section who can play both "regular" fast- and mid-paced beats, and more varied progressive inclined dittos.

It's just generally much heavier than what you usually hear in the genre. "Kiss of Fire" and the title track are especially heavy. A melodic power ballad track like "Without You" pulls in the other direction, and "Underworld" is overall a pretty varied album (also including a mini- epic in "Hell and Back"), which successfully showcases the diversity of Symphony X. Highlights are to my ears "Nevermore", the title track, "Without You", "Kiss of Fire", and album closer "Legend". I like "Run with the Devil" too, but it's mostly because it's a bit of a different sounding Symphony X track.

The musicianship is as usual on a very high level. Michael Romeo deserves a mention for his many creative riffs and solos, and Russel Allen is a powerhouse. The type of singer that most acts would kill to have in their lineup. He has a strong voice and a commanding delivery, able to sing both gruff, and higher pitched and melodic. A very skilled and versatile singer that one. The rest of the band members are of course very well playing too, their performances just don't stand out as much as the performances by the two gentlemen mentioned above.

"Underworld" is packed in a powerful, detailed, and professional sounding production, which brings out the best in the music, and upon conclusion it's another strong album release by Symphony X. It's so an so with the innovation and development of the band's sound, so it's not a revolutionary release taking their full discography into consideration, but it's a high quality release through and through and both fans and more casual listeners should be able to enjoy this one. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Symphony X continues their winning streak of excellent metal releases with Underworld, an album of monstrous hooks and savage riffing that checks just about every box you could want in a prog-metal album. It's conceptual, features brain-twisting instrumental moments, outstanding vocals, and memorable songs; however, one thing that Symphony X continually brings to the table more than many of their peers is a good old fashioned heavy metal style that is simply irresistible.

I had a gushing review of their previous album, Iconoclast, and much of that praise carries over here as well. This band is refreshingly consistent, crushing it from a songwriting and instrumental perspective. Songs are dramatic and ambitious, but not so much so that the album is weighed down in pretense or narrative baggage. The momentum doesn't let up, and the group strikes a fine balance between "normal" metal riffing and prog-metal scope. Every one of these songs has musical moments that will get in your head: maybe it's a soaring metal solo from guitarist Romeo, smartly integrated keyboards from Pinella, or the excellent rhythm section - which, by the way, is masterfully produced, sounding crisp and clear throughout; how nice to hear every member of a metal group! Likely though, you'll be drawn to the rugged and varied vocals of Russel Allen, who with each release becomes nearer and nearer to the top of my list of metal vocalists. The guy is a champ, delivering the often evocative (i.e., tongue-in-cheek) lyrics with gusto and machismo.

My only criticism is that Symphony X is beginning to tread familiar ground here, but when they produce melodies and hooks, and metal moments so epic, it's hard to argue that it's a bad thing.

Bottom line, Underworld is a ton of fun that should absolutely be checked out by metal fans. The "old" Symphony X was great, but the approach that the band has taken in the past three releases hits harder and aims to please, which it absolutely does. I still recommend Iconoclast as the current entry point to this excellent metal group's library, but Underworld is probably right behind it. Check it out, get your fists pumping, head banging, brain twisting, voice crackling, and emotions satisfied with this excellent prog-metal album.

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

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'd always found that consistency was a bit of a weak point for Symphony X, with only V: the New Mythology Suite being much of a keeper among their early work. Then Iconoclast made a very positive impression on me, and now I actually think Underworld has all their previous work beat, offering a true classic of their power-prog metal style. The band have developed a really nuanced sense of when to be a bit more restrained and when to let forth with full force, having learned that cranking things up to 11 for the entire album isn't always the best way - sometimes your assaults hit harder when you give people a bit of breathing space between them.

Whilst Iconoclast was fantastically heavy and Underworld is no slouch in that department, I sense some of their prog inclinations returning to the foreground this time, and I'd be really interested to see where their sound evolves next. To my ears, at least, Symphony X seem to have hit the most consistently high levels of quality they have achieved over their entire career, and I sincerely hope they can keep it up.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Underworld" is the ninth studio album by progressive/power metal band Symphony X. Ever since 2007's "Paradise Lost", Symphony X has gotten increasingly heavier from album to album. Their last album "Iconoclast" was a heavy slab of crushing metal, and they continue to go further with the prog/US pow ... (read more)

Report this review (#1536431) | Posted by Pastmaster | Monday, March 7, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Symphony X returns for their 9th studio record, Underworld. I could end the album here with this: If you like modern day Symphony X, don't hesitate to pick this up. I have some more thoughts that I wish to talk about though. After it's typical opening track, it begins with the first real tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#1477500) | Posted by SillyhatMafia | Monday, October 19, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On Underworld, Symphony X continues with the fantasy-themed, gothic-tinged, prog-lite power/thrash style of their last few albums, but tilted more toward power metal than the thrashy riffs of Iconoclast. This means there are better pronounced melodies and sing-along choruses (and references to 8 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1451206) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, August 10, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A MASTERPIECE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS! It's Been a Few yrs since the last album came out and this is worth the wait!! Every song is superb, not one filler on this album Right from the Opening of the "Overture" Into the song "Nevermore" you know your in for a treat of mastery fingers by Michael Romeo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1449241) | Posted by metalrob4662 | Wednesday, August 5, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars From the first track "Overture," I knew what I was getting myself into with this album: a very proggy, very technical, very heavy, and very symphonic album. With a keyboard and synthesizer introduction, the listener experiences the cinematic approach that will last throughout the entire album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1449120) | Posted by crashandridemusic | Tuesday, August 4, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the last two disappointing albums (Paradise Lost & Iconoclast) I was really very reluctant to buying Symphony X new effort. I thought it would've followed these last two and completely abbandon their unique style that completely conqured me with their masterpiece "V: The New Mythology Suit ... (read more)

Report this review (#1448883) | Posted by victor73 | Tuesday, August 4, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have been listening to this non stop, and it will remain in my heavy rotation for some time. It may be their least progressive album to date, but it may also be their best album. Everything about it is just perfect. The killer riffs, amazing vocals and harmonies, excellent song writing, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1448008) | Posted by javajeff | Saturday, August 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Symphony X's 'Underworld' is an album I've been anticipating ever since the band first spoke about it last year. Four years is a long time to wait between albums, but Symphony X have never been a band to rush releases out on a yearly basis, particularly in the later part of their career. While ... (read more)

Report this review (#1447879) | Posted by AndyJ | Saturday, August 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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