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SYMPHONY X

Progressive Metal • United States


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Symphony X biography
Founded in Middletown, USA in 1994 - Still active as of 2017

Symphony X is an important progressive metal band that has been born on the fertile American progressive metal scene. The band came into existence when guitarist and composer Michael Romeo recorded a demo tape entitled "The Dark Chapter" with the keyboardist, and future band mate, Michael Pinnella in early 1994. Romeo distributed the tape to various recording labels and, due to the tape's reception in Japan, he got himself a record deal in the Land of the rising Sun with the now defunct Zero Corporations Label.

For Symphony X's first album, the 1995 self titled, Michael recruited bassist Thomas Miller, drummer Jason Rullo, keyboardist Michael Pinnella and vocalist Rod Tyler. Despite not being a bad album, Symphony X is widely considered to be the band's worst album for two reasons: 1 - the album has a relatively bad production; 2 - it does not has Russell Allen. That is because Russell not only has better singing abilities than Rod Tyler, but also because Russell Allen is one of Symphony X's main composers (alongside with Michael Romeo), so the lack of his presence is really something to be noted. In addition, the self-titled debut is the only album that features Rod Tyler as the band's singer.

Only six months after the release of the debut, the band releases their second album, called Damnation Game. Tyler had to leave the band, so Russell Allen was recruited as a replacement. He has stayed as the band's singer ever since.

Damnation Game represents the start of the current band's style for the same reasons why the majority of the fans do not like Symphony X: with Allen in the band and the start of his collaboration with Romeo, there were set the foundations for the band's "traditional style". On the other hand, Damnation Game is still something of a raw album, specially when compared with subsequent releases.

In 1997, the band released their third output, entitled The Divine Wings of Tragedy. This album can be considered their breakthrough album, as it was with Divine Wings that they managed to reach a wider audience than before. The feedback from the specialized media also helped the band greatly to get a foothold in Europe as well as keep growing in Japan, their biggest market so far.

The Divine Wings of Tragedy also can easily be considered the band's first full progressive metal release. Not that their other albums so far didn't had any progressi...
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SYMPHONY X discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SYMPHONY X top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.85 | 213 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.33 | 259 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.13 | 606 ratings
The Divine Wings of Tragedy
1997
3.75 | 364 ratings
Twilight in Olympus
1998
4.14 | 747 ratings
V - The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.96 | 577 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.79 | 521 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.78 | 471 ratings
Iconoclast
2011
3.82 | 270 ratings
Underworld
2015

SYMPHONY X Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 68 ratings
Live on the Edge of Forever
2001

SYMPHONY X Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SYMPHONY X Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 17 ratings
Prelude to the Millennium
1999

SYMPHONY X Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Danse Macabre
1994
2.70 | 11 ratings
Rarities And Demos
2005
4.67 | 4 ratings
Without You
2015

SYMPHONY X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 V - The New Mythology Suite by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.14 | 747 ratings

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V - The New Mythology Suite
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As I always say, each group usually has its own personal masterpiece. And V: The New Mythology Suite is Symphony X's one!

Perhaps the fans of the most powerful side of the group do not agree with me, but for my taste on this album the Americans achieved a perfect conjunction between the powerful guitars of Romeo, the great voice of Allen and the large number of symphonic arrangements by Pinnella.

In addition, the return of Jason Rullo was also prodigious, the new bassist Michael LePond deliver as expected and the result is a set of unforgettable songs among which it is difficult to pick one due to the great general quality that these compositions have. After Twilight in Olympus's slight derogation, it was great to see how the band not only managed to return to the quality of The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but even surpassed it!

In summary, V: The New Mythology Suite is an almost flawless album and one of the greatest works of symphonic metal ever made!

Best Tracks: Evolution (one of the best metal riffs ever composed), Communion and the Oracle (wonderful backing vocals and a final apotheosis), Egypt (my favourite song from his discography, with one of the best choruses I have ever heard) and of course Rediscovery, the suite of this album that, as usual, has an excellent quality.

My Rating: ****

 Twilight in Olympus by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.75 | 364 ratings

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Twilight in Olympus
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Twilight in Olympus is a kind of transition album in Symphony X's career! And although this is not necessarily a bad thing, in this case it did translate into a loss of freshness in comparison to the magnificent The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

In addition, it is also the only album in which the drummer Jason Rullo did not participate, being temporarily replaced by the notably less spectacular Thomas Walling. It would also be the last album in which the original bassist Thomas Miller would participate.

This whole situation, as I have noted before, ends up affecting the music leading to some pretty lackluster moments like the copy of the Tubular Bells melody that they did at the beginning of Church of the Machine, mixed with other absolutely brilliant ones like Through the Looking Glass, resulting in a record that, although not bad, it does turn out to be somewhat irregular in repeated listening.

Best Tracks: In the Dragon's Den (an absolutely killer riff and powerful instrumental interlude) and Through the Looking Glass (the typical epic composition that I like from this group, with an incredible guitar intro and some incredible vocal melodies here and there)

My Rating: ***

 The Divine Wings of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.13 | 606 ratings

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The Divine Wings of Tragedy
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Symphony X's third album definitely established them as the elite of progressive metal!

With Russel Allen fully established as the frontman this band needed, Romeo and company were able to further sharpen their songwriting skills to deliver a series of songs of almost flawless quality.

Production has also been improved to give us even more crisp guitars, and the overall sound sounds somewhat less dated than the group's first two releases. I would also like to highlight the sound of the bass, which is one of the best I have ever heard in a recording of this type.

Best songs: Sea of ​​Lies (one of his best refrains), The Accolade (orchestral, complex and 100% Symphony X) and the suite that gives the album its title, which is a masterpiece of the best symphonic metal.

My Rating: ****

 The Damnation Game by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.33 | 259 ratings

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The Damnation Game
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Dammation Game marked the debut of the most classic line-up of Symphony X!

And of course, with the incorporation of Russell Allen the group gained exponentially in strength and quality. His voice has the perfect quality and tessitura for a group of these characteristics, far surpassing the previous frontman.

In addition, compared to their debut, the compositions are much more coherent and focused, resulting in a more attractive sound suitable for the general public, which would make them great and successful on successive albums.

Best Tracks: The Edge of Forever (long and complex), Whispers (incredible instrumental interlude) and the A Winter's Dream suite, specially the second part.

My Rating: ***

 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.96 | 577 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The follow-up to the excellent "V", called "The Odyssey", could not live up to the expectations that the fans had at the time this album was published!

The production and overall sound is good, but the guitars are not as crunchy as in the previous albums, and the riffs are substantially less addictive. The album shines in the most symphonic tracks, while in the shorter and more direct ones the band sounds boring and predictable.

Nevertheless, if you like Symphony X or symphonic power metal, you will surely enjoy The Odyssey. But if you are new to the band, I suggest you to start with "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" or "V" instead.

Best Tracks: Accolade II (good piano melodies, sequel to Accolade of The Divine Wings of Tragedy), Awakenings and The Odyssey (great suite, cinematic and even touching in some sections)

My Rating: ***

 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.82 | 270 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars 'Underworld' is the ninth studio album by progressive metal act Symphony X, released in 2015, and featuring the 'classic' line-up of the band, namely Michael Romeo (guitars), Russell Allen (vocals), Jason Rullo (drums), Michael Pinnella (keyboards), and Michael Lepond (bass guitar). The band is well-known for their 'neoclassical metal' sound, with influences borrowed from prog metal, symphonic metal, and power metal.

Sonically, 'Underworld' is all that you could expect from the band: fast songs, killing tempo, fascinatingly technical compositions, grandiose musicianship (and it seems like this is a mandatory part of a band's arsenal for performing this music). However, it is nothing new under the sun for the Middleton-based band. It is the sound that they are known for and that they have been playing for years (pretty much like other bands in the genre that sacrifice originality and experimentation for the sake of pursuing a signature sound - bands like Caligula's Horse, Queensryche, or Kamelot). These words should not, however, be dismissed as blind criticism, as most of these formations are more than enjoyable to listen to but tend to fall into the trap of creative stagnation, whilst pursuing the aforementioned not-too-progressive approach to writing music.

Still, 'Underworld' has many great tracks (like 'Nevermore', 'Kiss of Fire', 'Charon', 'To Hell and Back', 'Run with the Devil') that showcase the band's ability to write powerful, dramatic, and electrifying tracks, while displaying their instrumental prowess. Another thing that has to be mentioned, is that it is a logical follow-up to the previous record 'Iconoclast' (which is a bit heavier, but more song-oriented, unlike 'Underworld' which was written to serve as a whole). Moreover, Russel Allen's charismatic and recognizable voice is the perfect match for the music of this album, as it carries a strength that elevates the whole experience to a new level of adventurous, fast-paced metal.

'Underworld' is an enjoyable listen from start to finish (with the exception of a couple tracks in the end), and it could definitely speak to progressive and power metal fans, though it is not necessarily a landmark for the genre - not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination, but the line has to be drawn somewhere (maybe when a band repeats itself so much so that they stop releasing excellent material).

 Danse Macabre by SYMPHONY X album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Danse Macabre
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
2 stars "Dance Macabre" is a demo release by US, New Jersey based power/progressive metal act Symphony X. The demo was independently released in 1994 and itīs the first release by the band. Guitarist Michael Romeo recorded "The Dark Chapter" solo album in 1992 (the album was originally recorded as a demo, and didnīt see an official album release until April 1994) along with keyboard player Michael Pinnella, and as the demo album received a lot of positive attention from labels, the two musicians opted to form Symphony X and added drummer Jason Rullo, bassist Thomas Miller, and lead vocalist Rod Tyler to the ranks to complete the lineup who recorded the material featured on "Dance Macabre". The demo worked as a last teaser to shop for the best label possible to release the bandīs eponymously titled debut full-length studio album later in the year.

"Dance Macabre" features 5 tracks and a total playing time of 23:17 minutes. "Taunting the Notorious" and "Rapture or Pain" were both re-recorded and included on the debut album, while the title track and the two instrumental guitar solo tracks are exclusive to this release. Stylistically this is neo-classically influenced US power metal, featuring anthemic choruses, and powerful heavy/power metal riffs, themes, and leads, and a solid playing rhythm section. Pinnellaīs keyboards are also an important part of the bandīs sound, but they are not as dominant as they would be on subsequent releases and only seldom take the role of a lead instrument.

The three vocal tracks on "Dance Macabre" are all decent quality power metal, and the two instrumental tracks are despite being titled "Guitar Solo" and "Guitar Solo II", not only focused on the guitar. They are both instrumental tracks featuring both guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards. The quality of those two tracks are decent too. When that is said Symphony X had not forged a particularly unique sound yet, and an even less great feature is the rather awful sounding production. I understand this is a demo, but the sound production is pretty weak, and does not bring much positive to the release or to the listening experience. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 The Divine Wings of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.13 | 606 ratings

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The Divine Wings of Tragedy
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Zeitgeist.

25 years or so ago, Progressive Metal was in a very, very good stride, a golden era maybe? Images and Words was the Sgt. Pepper of Metal (When Dream and Day Unite being Beatles For Sale), pushing the limits of virtuosity and showing that it is possible to excel and reach new ears. Then came an army of young'uns looking to get into this very select League of Gentlemen.

Enters Symphony X, a band who quickly climbed the ladder almost to the top, and stayed 'till today I guess. And with Divine Wings, all the elements are turning like a well oiled machine, light years from their first album only 3 years before. Now that's grow spurt if I ever saw one!

Divine Wings is proudly giving street cred to the Metal Prog scene, not being top dog but surely flexing every muscle possible. Yngwie...er.....Romeo being at top form, doing the impossible with his axe, litterally giving birth to some pretty intense tapping (Sea of LIes) still considered a milestone today and giving headaches to youngsters aspiring to become a master shredder.

PInella is still on his streak of Transylvanian keyboards and blending classical influences in the mix to our supreme pleasure. He deserves more credit in the musical world and it's a shame he so undershadowed by some poseurs (*cough* Holopainen).

Last but not least, Russell Allen. Arjen Luccassen once said in interview that he considered Allen as the best in world....and this record is showing Russell singing his heart out...literally. I suspect his stomach and lungs just popped out at Out of The Ashes. The guys is big and tall, with eternally wet hair and sporting lots of chest and facial hair (maybe shoulders also, I haven't check). While Labrie is more delicate and romantic, Allen is knightly in-your-face like a modern jousting Sir Lancelot, with a mace in one hand and a roasted muttton leg in the other.

Divine Wings is well sporting it's name: almost every aspect is brought with angelic ease and representing well l'air du temps that was the metal years of the second half of the 90's.

 Symphony X by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.85 | 213 ratings

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Symphony X
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Meh.

I guess you have to start somewhere, and..well...er, it's a start. It's not deprived of qualities, some neo-classical segments of synths and guitars are good and some catchy choruses are heard. If unpolished guitar shreds Malmsteen sauce is your thang, you'll get plenty of it here. Overall, the songwriting is lacking serious inspiration...at many places..in every song. Funny enough: Is the singer's trying to emulate Dio or he's just howling on the can, victim of a diet low on fiber? Hmm, that's the kind of interrogation that keeps me awake at night.

Better than Lulu but far from Dream and Day Unite, for die hard fans. Like really, really dedicated, tattooed, flag wavin' hardcore fans.

 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 521 ratings

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Paradise Lost
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by sgtpepper

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

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

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

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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