Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Symphony X - Underworld CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.81 | 253 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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...

AndyJ | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this SYMPHONY X review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives