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SYMPHONY X

Progressive Metal • United States


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Symphony X biography
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 progressive hints, but this was the first one to fully embrace such tendencies...
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Paradise LostParadise Lost
inside out 2007
Audio CD$10.79
$3.00 (used)
IconoclastIconoclast
Extra tracks · Deluxe Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2011
Audio CD$6.99
$5.99 (used)
OdysseyOdyssey
Limited Edition · Extra tracks
Inside Out import 2002
Audio CD$17.00
$4.96 (used)
V: The New Mythology SuiteV: The New Mythology Suite
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$11.29
$2.97 (used)
Divine Wings of TragedyDivine Wings of Tragedy
Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$31.98
$14.99 (used)
The Damnation GameThe Damnation Game
Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$10.98
$8.01 (used)
Symphony XSymphony X
Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$9.48
$8.00 (used)
Twilight in OlympusTwilight in Olympus
Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$23.92
$7.02 (used)
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SYMPHONY X shows & tickets


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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)

2.89 | 153 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.37 | 185 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.06 | 432 ratings
The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
1997
3.73 | 259 ratings
Twilight In Olympus
1998
4.14 | 529 ratings
V: The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.92 | 442 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.79 | 405 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.78 | 379 ratings
Iconoclast
2011

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

3.73 | 56 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)

3.93 | 19 ratings
Prelude to the Millennium
1999

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

2.61 | 9 ratings
Rarities And Demos
2005

SYMPHONY X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 V: The New Mythology Suite by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.14 | 529 ratings

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V: The New Mythology Suite
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by FragileKings

5 stars I was a bit wary of buying a symphonic metal album. Though my musical roots are in metal and I enjoy symphonic music in rock, I was concerned that it would sound too much like stereotypical power metal with its grandiose musical productions backed by an orchestra. An initial sample listen to something by Symphony X only seemed to confirm my suspicions. However, after picking up a few progressive metal bands like Dark Suns, Disillusion, and Suspyre, I became interested in getting some more prog metal into my collection and I saw that this album has received high ratings on both Prog Archives and Metal Music Archives (granted many of the reviewers are the same people).

It was actually surprisingly difficult to get this CD. On Amazon Japan it was only available as an expensive import and even though it was on Amazon.com for under $12, it took almost four months for the item to become available. The wait was well worth it, though.

From the opening track, my ears were pricked up as symphonic sounds mingled with metal for a very dramatic introduction. The first real song, "Evolution (The Grand Design)" has a fantastic riff and canters along with an abrupt halt after the solos and an instantaneous return to that great riff. Musically, much of the album explores various metal moods, some near thrash, some mellower and even gentle. Were it just for the guitar, bass and drums, it would be a pretty decent metal album.

But it's the keyboards and the symphonic approach that enrich the soundscope of this album. There's synthesizer and piano often steeped in classical vibes and even borrowing from well-known classical compositions as if to authenticate the symphonic conjecture in the band's name. The actual symphony parts come in mostly during the few "segues" between the longer songs, though sometimes I can't quite be certain whether the instrumentation is an actual orchestra or if some instruments aren't just a very good-sounding synthesizer. No matter, these boys aren't just trying to fake being cultured and sophisticated. They made the musical adaptions themselves.

Vocalist Russel Allen sounds like your average decent metal vocalist with clean vocals that can sport a rough edge a la Fates Warning, but he can also go a bit Dio at times. I also find myself thinking of Joe Lynn Turner at certain moments, perhaps when the songs sound a little Y. Malmsteen-ish.

The first half of the album really had me interested with a plethora of sounds and approaches. The longer tracks 5,6 and 8 offer up some captivating music and the segue "On the Breath of Poseidon" sounds fit for a concert hall. There's some wonderful rapid bass playing in a couple of songs too which I love, especially when it's contrasted with a mid-tempo beat and some atmospheric keyboards and guitars, like on "Egypt". But after a while I felt that the road had been paved and there was nothing new to come. The band had pulled everything out of the hat during the first 8 tracks and were now rehashing established themes. Yet before the last few songs had finished, there were still some pleasant surprises to crop up. Yes, the road had been paved but some new twists on the established themes were to occur and I felt the album had enough "favourite moments" to last through to the end.

Among the several albums I received around the same time, this was one I really felt like listening to a third and fourth time before I had properly listened to some of the others. That's a good sign. In the end, I have to conclude that as a progressive metal album it is really well worth listening to.

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 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.92 | 442 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by King Manuel

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.

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 Symphony X by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.89 | 153 ratings

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Symphony X
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars This was not a bad start for Symphony X. In the mid-nineties, when this album was released, prog- metal was not really in style, and I commend them for getting it out there.

The album seem to do best when the band gets closest to classical riffs (appropriate to their name). Michael Romeo stands out, with his precise guitar technique, giving a clear impression of what Bach may have done had he lived in this age. Other pieces do not fore quite as well, with some prog wedged into all too familiar metal sounds.

Singer Rod Tyler, who left after this album, does a decent job. His voice often approaches Freddy Mercury's range, and the vocal overlay production adds to the Queen-like effect (which I enjoy).

All in all, while nowhere near the best of Symphony X, this has quite a bit going for it.

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 V: The New Mythology Suite by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.14 | 529 ratings

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V: The New Mythology Suite
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What if Dream Theater never existed?

These guys would probably be Prog Royalty. Although Dream Theater's technique is phenomenal, Symphony X is a well kept secret weapon for someone who wants a musical challenge. I can say it's been a while since I gave them a try, and their latest left me somewhat cold due to an overdose of aggressivity.

Luckily for me this album has more nuances and the rendition of the story is interesting, and might I add, very interesting. Musically the band is border insane: Romero is an absolutely gorgeous (not physically) guitar player. He shreds old school a la Malmsteen, sporting also the look of the Sweden Strato God. Pinella on keys is becoming one of my favorites fast and Allen is extraordinary as the front man; Allen becoming a safe value in Ayreon albums, I am impressed by his personnal style (even the backing vocals are great), not rending another Labrie imitation.

Let's not forget the visual side of the band! I'm not talking about their ugly mugs but of the artwork. I admit, was the first thing that attracted to me. I think the cover is easily one of the most memorable of the metal world, making the whole package even more attractive. My only (and minor) critic would be that band is not really visiting other roads than the Power Metal; t's a well oiled machine, but only giving us a full serving of neo-classical Crunch.

All in all a dead serious album, not giving you a moment to breathe and full of cinematic imagerie.

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 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 379 ratings

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Iconoclast
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Symphony X is getting tired of the symphony. They have been stripping away classical influences in recent albums so all that remains is basically a thrashy power metal with some keyboards. There is nothing wrong with this approach (not original but at least a change) , as long as the riffs are good. And they are. But everything else is perfunctionary. The same old overpowering gruff bellowing gets tired after many songs (Russell Allen seems to be reserving his melodic side for his side projects), the lyrics are bad, the obligatory ballad is a carbon copy of their previous ballads, and don't even get me started about the concept. Rule of the machines. Come on. Guys, you remain a talented and often imitated band, but if you want to stay relevant, you gotta try better, in my opinion.

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 The Damnation Game  by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.37 | 185 ratings

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The Damnation Game
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although 1997's The Divine Wings of Tragedy is where most fans see American progressive metal act Symphony X hitting their stride, I think the band also had a major success with their previous album, The Damnation Game. Released in late 1995, Symphony X's sophomore observation may often get ignored by more casual fans of the band, but some of the tracks here rival their best material. Whether its the hard-edged neoclassical power metal in the title track, the progressive nuances in "The Edge of Forever", or the anthemic chorus in "Whispers", everything about The Damnation Game just reeks of sophistication and class.

The result is an album that is a vast improvement over their somewhat underwhelming debut, in terms of both songwriting and aesthetics. With a strong production, a powerful new vocalist in the form of Russel Allen (just listen to some of the notes he belts out and tell me he's not one of the most commanding voices in metal!), and songs that overflow with both memorability and sophistication, it's hard not to be impressed with what The Damnation Game has to offer. This is an album that I have been frequently enjoying for the past year or so, and even after quite a few listens, I'm still blown away. If you like progressive power metal, this isn't one to forget about!

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 Symphony X by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.89 | 153 ratings

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Symphony X
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Like a lot of debut albums, the first observation from Symphony X is often overshadowed by the rest of their discography, largely due to its mediocre production values and lack of dynamic frontman Russell Allen (who would join the fold with their next album, The Damnation Game). Both of these flaws, particularly the powerless production, prevent this self-titled 1994 release from reaching its full potential, but I wouldn't say that it's as non-essential as most others tend to believe. Especially considering its 1994 release date, Symphony X is quite an ambitious release - I can't think of any other albums that blended heavy-edged US power metal with neo-classical, symphonic, and progressive stylings before this one. It's a unique album when examined historically, and although Symphony X would tighten up the formula on future releases, this observation is still pretty enjoyable.

There are plenty of killer tracks like "The Raging Season", "Rapture or Pain", and especially the highly progressive "A Lesson Before Dying" here, so even though Symphony X is not as memorable as the band's future releases, it isn't anything to scoff at. It's an interesting debut that was unfortunately marred by a powerless production, but it still is a recommendable listen to fans of Symphony X.

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 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.92 | 442 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

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.

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 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 379 ratings

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Iconoclast
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by The Mystical

4 stars Incredible.

On first listen, this album didn't strike any major chords. But this album is a grower. After a few listens, I realised that this album is something really special.

The album is a concept album, which singer Russell Allen said in an interview was based upon "the idea of machines taking over everything, and all this technology we put our society into pretty much being our demise." He also said that the album didn't really have a storyline, instead a concept. The listening experience for me is quite an adventurous one, and I think many will agree with me.

What has made me sceptical of the reviewers of this album more than anything else, is the fact that they say this album is lyrically flawed. This album has a stronger theme than any of Symphony X's previous albums, and the lyrics brilliantly communicate it with anger and emotion, and they leave the story open to interpretation, which I think is a great way to make an album really speak to someone. I think they musically hit the theme spot on, with the music being heavy and angry, yet emotional with hints of hopefulness.

The opening title track is probably the greatest track on the album, but this in no way detracts from the rest of the album. In fact, if you are a real fan of this album, it will just leave you stunned. The opening riff is a summary of what i to come; unexpected, chilling, heavy, somewhat exotic, and completely crazy. The orchestral backing strengthens the rest of the track musically, delivering a powerful and unique punch. Russell Allen's vocals are spot on as ever, and I can think of no other vocalist that could bring what he has bought to Symphony X in this release.

"The End of Innocence" is a great, and the string line is something very special. "Dehumanised" is another key track and lyrically one of the best. The chorus is just incredible, Russell sings with more passion and emotion than we have seen in any prog vocals within the last few years. "Children of a Faceless God" is one of the heavier tracks, with some truly incredible riffs, and some stunning lyrics. "When All is Lost" is beautiful and heavy, and I am sure many people will find this to be the greatest track on the album. "Reign in Madness" is an epic track, a true finale. Here we see many of the previous musical motifs repeated with gusto.

I would highly recommend this album to ANY fan of Prog Metal or Heavy Metal. The digi-book packaging of the special edition is also quite collectable, and although I usually prefer vinyl by tenfold, the CD sound really suits this release. I do know that a vinyl edition is available, and is a fairly reasonable price for those wanting a collectable edition.

4.5 stars.

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 The Divine Wings Of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.06 | 432 ratings

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The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Mr. Mustard

2 stars Well, I found these guys mainly through Dream Theater, to whom they sound pretty similar. On paper this should be good, but it just falls short. It's not that the musicianship is bad, on the contrary. Allen has an incredibly strong and metal voice, and Romeo is probably as technically proficient as Petrucci. But I can't help but think their compositional skills aren't alarmingly good. I would say the album is very consistent, but nothing really jumps out at me besides the title track. Everything just sounds the same, and the terrible production (especially for the drums and keyboards) doesn't help matters either.

The highlights would probably be 'Of Sins and Shadows,' 'The Accolade,' and the title track. Even then, the title track isn't terribly amazing; much of it is simply based on exchanging guitar and keyboard solos at 200 beats per minute. Though, compared to the rest of the album, this is very good.

Suffice it to say I'm not a very big metal fan, especially of the power and speed kind. This album is the perfect example of lost potential.

4/10

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