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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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UnderworldUnderworld
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$7.95
$12.26 (used)
IconoclastIconoclast
Extra tracks · Deluxe Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2011
Audio CD$8.07
$5.50 (used)
Paradise LostParadise Lost
inside out 2007
Audio CD$13.99
$9.86 (used)
The Damnation GameThe Damnation Game
Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$12.65
$7.02 (used)
The OdysseyThe Odyssey
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$8.00
$7.34 (used)
Symphony XSymphony X
Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$10.25
$6.96 (used)
Divine Wings of TragedyDivine Wings of Tragedy
Import
Imports 2012
Vinyl$20.01
$16.00 (used)
V: The New Mythology SuiteV: The New Mythology Suite
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$9.93
$7.70 (used)
OdysseyOdyssey
Limited Edition · Extra tracks
Inside Out import 2002
Audio CD$17.79
$6.99 (used)
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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)

2.88 | 169 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.38 | 202 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.10 | 468 ratings
The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
1997
3.77 | 282 ratings
Twilight In Olympus
1998
4.15 | 577 ratings
V: The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.94 | 472 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.81 | 439 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.76 | 400 ratings
Iconoclast
2011
3.99 | 99 ratings
Underworld
2015

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

3.82 | 58 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)

4.26 | 13 ratings
Prelude to the Millennium
1999

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

2.58 | 10 ratings
Rarities And Demos
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
Without You
2015

SYMPHONY X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

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 80s cheese metal), although to someone who is not in love with metal, all of Symphony X probably sounds the same.

The guitarist and the singer are super-talented, of course, but I feel that most of the songs follow the same predictable formula - consisting of a, admittedly, kick-ass riff, a sing-along chorus and a show- offy solo. No one should hold against Sympnony X the fact that they toned down the progressiveness and neo-classical influences of their early days, but there are literally hundreds of bands playing the same style. And even the fact that Symphony X do it better than most doesn't elevate this album in my book.

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by metalrob4662

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 the thundering bass of Mike Lepond the Powerful vocals of Russell Allen, Jason Rullo on drums doesnt miss a beat and finally Michael Pinnella amazing playing and orchestrations gives the album the ambiance for an incredible journey of Dark n Light themes, you really need to trust me and purchase this album/CD/mp3 .

Michael Romeo has done an excellent job mixing and mastering this masterpiece, very clear and powerful mix , actually sounded really good in my car! I wont go over each song, but my Faves are: Nevermore Underworld Kiss of Fire Charon Hell and Back Legend

If you Love Melodic Rock/Metal and Prog then you have to put this in your collection, I can't stop listening to it!! \m/

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by crashandridemusic

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. It's a familiar sense to fans of the genre, characterized by its soaring vocals, aggressive guitar sections, and a dramatic keyboard presence. Unfortunately, it's one of those sounds that's present in most progressive metal albums.

With that said, "Underworld" is still a very enjoyable album. Within the first few songs on the album Symphony X is able to jump between different genres of metal as influences. The symphonic "Overture" blends into the power metal sounding "Nevermore." After jumping into another symphonic "Underworld," the direction completely shifts towards an almost ballad- like "Without You," a song that sounds like a Rush cover. The incorporation of acoustic guitars provides a necessary tonal change, especially after the bashing received in the previous two songs. I thoroughly enjoyed this track, and consider it one of my favorites after my first few listens.

The album's longest song "To Hell And Back" is perfectly titled, and although contains the finest performance by each individual member of the band, is probably one of the album's most repetitive songs. The listener is brought to hell and back as the soft introduction shifts to a very metal rhythm section. Sprinkle in some tasty guitar and keyboard solos, and the listener is locked into ten minutes of bashing and thrashing. Guitarist and main songwriter Michael Romeo guides the band through twists and turns, providing quick paced rhythm sections riddled with time signature changes. Teaming up with keyboardist Michael Pinnella halfway through the song, the two perform an amazing solo battle, one of the more memorable moments of the album.

The rhythm members, consisting of drummer Jason Rullo and bassist Michael Lepond (how many Michael's are in this band?), are experts in setting the tempo for the rest of the band. Although I didn't recall a single drum or bass moment that stuck out to me, both of them perform admirably behind the rest of the band. Suffering the fate of most progressive metal musicians, Rullo and Lepond are shadowed by the front men, being the lead guitar, keyboards, and singer. I will say, though, that "Run With The Devil" contains some of the most technical drum and bass fills on the album, using the signature double bass pedal and tremolo picking sound.

The second to last "Swansong" feels oddly place to me, but contains the most personal and moving vocal sections in "Underworld." With a voice similar to the likes of Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden and Brent Smith of Shinedown, Russell Allen is able to invoke so much emotion and sadness in this song, especially the song's chorus:

"With you, I wouldn't change a thing / Just for you, I'd do most anything / But now you´re gone / And my swan song echoes on"

The album closes with "Legend," a barbaric piece with continuous shredding reminiscent of the Dream Theater album "Train of Thought." It is fitting that the album's final words are "the legend never dies," befitting of the status and popularity of their own band.

For my first dose of Symphony X, "Underworld" was a great listen and introductory album to the band's discography. I will admit that much of the material sounds very similar to every other progressive metal band out there, with very little deviation from the genre. Although there isn't much originality in the album, I was still impressed with each musician's performance, especially the amazing speed and skill of Michael Romeo.

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by victor73

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 Suite" and epic "Odyssey". Sure Underworld is not even near these last two, but there is something special in their last album: it is sung "I think" perfectly! Yea, that is what completely astonished me and that is the secret here: Russell Allen!!! In the last two albums his voice took was quite misarable! That disappointed me the most. I like the fact that bands try to change their style but when the result is like the last 2 albums then I have to take a step backward and say: wait...I don't like this at all!! But, guys Underworld, despite not being "Typical Syhphony X" old style, it KICKS AXX!! There is only one song that didn't seduce me: Kiss of Fire ... in fact it is Iconoclast style. All the other songs are great, some better than others, but they are all captivating. In particular, Nevermore, Without You, To Hell and Back, Swan Song & Legend. This is based on my modest opinion one of their best beside V: The New Mythology Suite. 5 stars - without Regret!!!!!

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

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 that instant classic appeal is all present in this new release. From start to finish, it is a ride worth taking, and I am blown away with each listen. The musicianship is just amazing, and tracks like Nevermore showcase the talent of Symphony X. if you like Progressive Metal, Progressive rock, or Metal, this is a must buy. Any rock fan will find something to love in this new release, and it really is an instant classic.

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

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.

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by AndyJ

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 I've been really anticipating this record, I've also been a little bit worried about what it might contain, particularly after hearing the two pre-release songs ('Without You' & 'Nevermore'). Not that those songs were bad, far from it, but it confirmed that the band were continuing on with their newer song writing style.

My favourite Symphony X albums are their earlier ones - there is no denying that starting with the 2006 'Paradise Lost' the band underwent a fairly massive change in their style and song-writing approach, moving away from longer symphonic progressive works to faster and much heavier 'progressive thrash' style. A lot of the songs and riffs from the band since 2006 could easily fit into a technical thrash or melodic death metal band. This 'heavier and faster' approach was really solidified with the 2011 album 'Iconoclaust' and is definitely carried forward with much of the music on 'Underworld'.

So what about this album then. Don't expect to hear 'The Odyssey' or 'Divine Wings Of Tragedy' on this disc. There aren't any 'epic' old-school Symphony X tracks on here, which is a shame but not unexpected. Frankly I don't think the band will ever write material like that again. To be honest this album isn't even all that progressive - its actually quite a straight forward metal album most of the way through.

What you get on 'Underworld' is utterly sensational guitar playing from Michael Romeo, one of the absolute finest modern guitar players on the planet today. Some of his riffs are utterly mind-bending - as a guitarist myself I can't even fathom how he's able to play some of the parts on this album, such is the precision and speed of his riffs. Russell Allen sounds great as well - he couldn't sing poorly if he tried, so good is his voice! The music is mostly of the fast, thrashy melodic-death metal style, without the death metal growls. There are some softer moments, but actually they are pretty few and far between, as are the bombastic keyboard solos that were so prevalent in the earlier Symphony X releases.

If you like their newer albums you'll love 'Underworld'. If you consider their old work to be superior then 'Underworld' isn't going to change your mind one bit. I've only given this album 5 or 6 listens since buying it last week - its brilliant quality and for the guitar playing alone I would recommend it - but just don't expect 'The Odyssey', 'V' or 'Divine Wings' because you'll be disappointed! Rating wise I'm somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for this. I'll stick with 3-stars for its progressiveness, as a pure metal album its probably 4-stars...

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 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 99 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

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

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 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.76 | 400 ratings

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Iconoclast
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Symphony X's 'Iconoclast' is an album which sees the prodigious American metal band continue with the style established on 'Paradise Lost' and move further away from their earlier symphonic sound. I commend any band which seeks to evolve and try out new approaches to their music but unfortunately, for me, this new direction Symphony X have taken is the exact opposite of what I wanted to hear from them. They have become a bit more straight-forward in their compositions, and a bit more hard edged.

What I have always loved about this band is their utterly bombastic melding of progressive metal with symphonic classical music. That style has been largely replaced on this album with a far more aggressive style and reduced classical influence. For me they have lost a little bit of what made them such a special band for their earlier career.

But focusing on the music and songs on this album there can be no doubt that this is fantastic quality, both in composition and musicality. Michael Romeo and Russell Allen get better and better with each album. The pair of them are an absolute force to be reckoned with. The songs are exciting and varied, but they don't carry the same weight as previous efforts. Some of the riffs and drumming on this album could easily be found in a melodic death metal band rather than Symphony X, such is the ferocity on display here.

What really fills me with fear is that we may never hear another 'The Odyssey' or 'Divine Wings Of Tragedy' from this band. I keep hoping with each new Symphony X release that they will re-discover their epic song writing style - but if anything they are moving further away from that.

Final thoughts are that the music on 'Iconoclast' is extremely talented and well composed, but when I compare this album to 'V: The New Mythology Suite', 'Twilight In Olympus' or 'The Odyssey' I find it less enjoyable. Fans of progressive metal will still enjoy this album though, myself included. 3-stars.

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 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.94 | 472 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars ...to 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.

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