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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
Century Media 2009
$10.11
$13.14 (used)
UnderworldUnderworld
Nuclear Blast America 2015
$9.56
$3.96 (used)
IconoclastIconoclast
Extra tracks · Deluxe Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$11.77
$16.80 (used)
V: The New Mythology SuiteV: The New Mythology Suite
Metal Blade 2000
$39.99 (used)
The Odyssey (Ltd.)The Odyssey (Ltd.)
Limited Edition · Extra tracks
Inside Out import 2012
$36.99
$17.90 (used)
Symphony XSymphony X
Reissued · Special Edition
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2012
$174.33
$20.38 (used)
The Damnation GameThe Damnation Game
Limited Edition · Reissued
Inside Out Music 2012
$66.54
$61.99 (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 | 196 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.32 | 237 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.10 | 557 ratings
The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
1997
3.75 | 339 ratings
Twilight In Olympus
1998
4.13 | 700 ratings
V - The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.95 | 540 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.79 | 497 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.78 | 451 ratings
Iconoclast
2011
3.83 | 250 ratings
Underworld
2015

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

3.78 | 66 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)

4.04 | 16 ratings
Prelude to the Millennium
1999

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

2.70 | 11 ratings
Rarities And Demos
2005
4.67 | 4 ratings
Without You
2015

SYMPHONY X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 497 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.

 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 451 ratings

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Iconoclast
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.

 The Divine Wings Of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.10 | 557 ratings

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The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars This band is easily what I consider to be the absolute pinnacle of power metal, with incredible technicality that can still get emotion across, a really great neoclassical edge to them, and approximately 5 times less cheese. While clearly still overblown in classic power metal fashion, the prog elements of the music really help flesh it out much more, and the band definitely doesn't indulge in excess nearly as much as the average prog metal band. This allows for a 3 minute song by the band to be just as impactful as a 7 minute one from other prog metal bands, a highly impressive feat in itself. Each member of the band does an incredible job at their respective element of the band, with Michael Romeo being able to both shred and soulfully play the guitar, Michael Pinnella giving the music a really nice tone to it, with keyboard that still sounds great by today's standards, and Russell Allen sounding very similar to Ronnie James Dio, albeit with less power.

The first three songs perfectly show the ability to create concise songs that are still very much in the vein of prog. 'Of Sin And Shadows' starts off strong, immediately bringing in a wave of energy, with a simple, yet effective riff, and some great work on the keyboards. This shifts into a small vocal section that is extremely reminiscient of 'Queen', before breaking out into a great solo. 'Sea Of Lies' manages to be even better, having an incredible bass intro, with some extremely expressive vocals. 'Out Of The Ashes' further cuts down the song length, but is also even better than the previous two songs in my opinion, starting off with an incredible pace with a frantic feeling to it, but then instead of slowing down the relentless pace of the intro like previous songs, this one just goes for it, with the entire song keeping the incredible energy, with the chorus having a certain beauty to it, accentuated by the great vocal harmonies used. 'The Accolade' is the first instance in the album where the band gets more overtly proggy, being 10 minutes long and starting with a slower, atmospheric section. The song is structured in a much more complex way that's also more sprawling, but the songwriting still feels tight as ever, as not a moment is wasted, with a great balance between the various solos and vocals, allowing the song to remain exciting throughout. The high point is definitely near the end, with the beautiful sound of bells, violins and a piano, along with other components that build on top of one another, creating an absolutely breathtaking minute of music to cap it off. 'Pharaoh'. 'The Eyes of Medusa' and 'The Witching Hour' are all somewhat of a step back from the amazing nature of the previous 4 songs, and each sound somewhat more generic, each with their own special components however. 'Pharaoh' is definitely the best of the 3, with a really cool Egyptian sound, a fun, catchy chorus and a darker tone. 'The Eyes Of Medusa' has some really nice keyboard sections, but is definitely fairly repetitive for the most part. 'The Witching Hour' has my favourite intro on the album, as I really love the reimagining of Mozart's 'Piano Sonata No. 1 in C, K. 279', and think that it is nothing short of incredible sounding in how nicely it's played on guitar. The rest of the song manages to be good, but nothing spectacular, with the chorus coming off as quite cheesy.

The spark the the first 4 tracks reignites on the final 2, kicking off with one of the greatest songs of the band's career. The self titled song begins with some Gregorian chanting that really solidifies the sort of sound the band has. The absolute power this song has is many steps above everything else here, with powerful solo after powerful solo, with climaxes spread throughout and still not a single moment wasted, despite the 20 minute runtime. The interplay at work here is particularly noteworthy, with certain sections being downright incredible. The melody throughout is also particularly great, invoking immense power without getting too hammy at any point. 'Candlelight Fantasia' closes off the album by providing some respite after the 20 minute powerhouse of the self titled track, and what a beautiful respite it is. Everything about it is nothing short of enchanting, and definitely ends the album perfectly.

Despite this album being slightly weaker around the middle, I find this to be a very solid prog metal album. In the sense of technicality, it's absolutely amazing, but it's the amount of beauty and emotion put in that really does it for me. This is definitely a band far greater than at least most power metal bands, and represents some of the best of prog metal. It's quite a shame that the middle section happens to be of somewhat lower quality, because otherwise this would be an easy full score, fortunately, the band definitely ends up going on to surpass this album a few times.

Best Songs: Out Of The Ashes, The Accolade, Divine Wings Of Tragedy, Candlelight Fantasia

Weakest Songs: The Eyes Of Medusa, The Witching Hour

Verdict: Some of my favourite power metal ever. I'd highly recommend this to fans of prog metal or power metal, along with those who are somewhat torn about either of them, as this album serves as a great display of the high points of said genres.

 Twilight In Olympus by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.75 | 339 ratings

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Twilight In Olympus
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars "Twilight in Olympus" is the fourth album from the symphonic progressive metal band Symphony X. This album continues with the band's tried and true formula of mixing metal, progressive music with a huge tie to classical music giving it that symphonic edge. One of the things that make their music so appealing is the emotional vocals from lead singer Russell Allen, who has a powerful voice and who doesn't have to scream or growl to get the heavy feel that the band achieves. The harmonies are always welcome too. Also, the fact that it is a strong metal feel, yet they are also not afraid to utilize keyboards as more than just a supporting instrument giving them plenty of soloing time along with heavy guitars that give their music that symphonic prog sound. But don't worry, there are still plenty of heavy guitar solos to keep the heavy metal fans happy.

This album would consist of the band's regular line up, except for their drummer Jason Rulio, who left the band for personal reasons, but only temporarily. Thomas Walling sits in for him on this album, but proves himself quite capable of the tricky rhythms and the required technical playing in the rapid fire percussion such as in the first track "Smoke and Mirrors". To show their classical leanings, part of the instrumental break of this track features a quote from Bach's Mass in B Minor. Also, the short instrumental track "Sonata" is based upon Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, 2nd Movement.

The music is quite accessible, or not quite as progressive as I would hope, but it is good enough to keep me wanting to come back for more. There is also nothing groundbreaking on the album, but the musicianship is astounding anyway as all members are able to produce the technical sound they need, and all of them get plenty of room to do so.

The best tracks are the ones that get to show off their progressive skills and soloing virtuosity. The shorter tracks are aimed at attracting more fans to their fan base, but the longer tracks have the best development and instrumental abilities. The best tracks here are "Church of the Machine" with its memorable chorus, and "Through the Looking Glass" inspired by Alice's adventures in "Through the Looking Glass" and is a multi-movement work exceeding 13 minutes in length giving plenty of time for solo exploration and development. The last track "Lady of the Snow" is also a standout track especially for the Japanese style utilized in the first part of the track and the use of the sitar to sound like a Koto. The song itself is based upon Japanese mythology and that topic was chosen because the band was interested in experimenting with the Oriental scale tonality. It makes for a nice variation in the music just as it was needed in the album.

Overall, the basic sound from the band is there, and there is some evidence that the band was wanting to try new things, so I give them props for that. The basic sound does get tiring after a while, so when they deviate from that, it makes everything more powerful and memorable. It is good though, to hear a talented progressive metal band like Symphony X strive to expand their sound. Kudos also for their continued use of keyboards as more than just a supportive instrument, especially in metal music.

 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 451 ratings

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Iconoclast
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars 2007's 'Paradise Lost' is, in my opinion, one of the heaviest albums of all time, and having developed their sound over the years from a neo-classical progressive metal act to an extremely heavy, almost power metal-sounding band, it seems Symphony X have settled on a style that suits them perfectly, as 'Iconoclast', the bands eighth studio album, released in 2011, follows on from its predecessor as a possible candidate for one of the heaviest albums you'll ever hear.

What makes Symphony X so heavy, you ask? While people measure heaviness in different ways, in my opinion, it's the 'weight' of the music. The production and the sound, and in this case, the massive and beefy-as-hell guitar riffs. 'Iconoclast' is like a ten-ton hammer crushing a thousand skulls at once, and incredibly, despite the sheer intensity and brutality, the album is full of wondrous and beautiful melodies too.

Taking the energy of power metal and the songwriting arrangements of progressive metal, Symphony X's music is very upbeat and ambitious. With complex orchestrations and masterful musicianship, these guys are at the top of their game, and on par with the genres finest musicians. In particular, guitarist Michael Romeo and vocalist Russell Allen have an absolute synergy rarely seen these days, with Allen's incredibly versatile range being a perfect match for the guitar riffs.

Released on two discs, or as a one-disc edition for people not willing to spend too much dollar (I wonder how many people actually bought that one), 'Iconoclast' is an incredible album with very few flaws. With absolute monstrous beasts such as 'Electric Messiah', 'The End of Innocence', 'Bastards of the Machine', 'Dehumanized', 'Children of a Faceless God' and 'Reign in Madness', this shows that, while Symphony X may not feel inclined to do many classically- inspired prog epics these days, they've refused to relent with age, instead, getting heavier and constantly finding ways to update their sound and remain relevant.

'Iconoclast' belongs in every metal fans collection. Simple.

 Live on the Edge of Forever  by SYMPHONY X album cover Live, 2001
3.78 | 66 ratings

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Live on the Edge of Forever
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Symphony X are one of my all-time favourite bands, without a doubt. BUT... (you knew this was coming), 'Live on the Edge of Forever', their 2001 live album, doesn't really do their music justice.

Now hold your tongue before you condemn me for this blasphemy and take heed! Firstly, I'm not really big on live albums. I do like them, and if I'm a fan of a band I'll endeavour to own everything they release, but ultimately I like the slick, crisp sound of a studio recording. Everything is perfectly balanced (mostly), the sound is punchier, and it just feels more 'definitive'. Live albums can be good for jams and random nuggets of joy where the band can be entertaining through banter or crowd interaction. But otherwise... give me a studio album.

Secondly, to be brutally honest, Symphony X's music doesn't convey the same type of energy that goes down well on a live setting. Don't get me wrong, I love Symphony X, and the song choices here are fantastic! But I love live albums where there's a palpable energy flowing! Where you can really feel electricity in the air. All I imagine here is a bunch of people standing around watching a band play, and then clapping at the end.

Again though, Symphony X are one of my favourite bands, and the set list and the playing is incredible! In fact, some of the songs are played even faster than their studio counterparts, which is insane! The band are truly all masters of their craft. And with classics such as 'Smoke and Mirrors', 'Through the Looking Glass', 'Church of the Machine', 'The Eyes of Medusa' and most of the 'V: The New Mythology Suite' record being played, there's certainly no shortage of bangers.

However, there aren't really many noteworthy additions to the songs and there's no entertaining shenanigans or banter. Just track after track with crowds cheering in between. I love Symphony X, but in the end... I just prefer the studio albums.

 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.83 | 250 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by guiservidoni

3 stars Underworld is a solid record by Symphony X. It's got the prog power that gets you hooked, the symphonic elements throughout and even a bass that shines through a little bit more than in the other records. However, that's also the album Achilles' heel: it stops there.

You see, this is a safe album: vaguely conceptual, no 10+ minutes tracks, all songs structured really similarly. It's got an overture, which is nice, but that doesn't make it a five-star record by far.

This album pleases the fanbase, the first-time listener, and the guy that only knows V and Divine Wings Of Tragedy. It's a great one to stream, but not to buy.

 Prelude to the Millennium  by SYMPHONY X album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.04 | 16 ratings

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Prelude to the Millennium
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars As is always the problem with compilations, they quickly become dated, which is the case for 'Prelude to the Millennium', Symphony X's 1998 collection that nicely compiles material from their first four albums, which in retrospect, covers their mainly progressive/neoclassical phase (subsequent albums would go in a much heavier, power metal-inspired direction).

With that said, there is still plenty of excellent music here which can easily to used to convert new fans. Featuring some of the bands most ambitious and complex pieces, this will appeal to metal and prog fans alike, with a nice mixture of heavy, fast, quiet and epic songs. As is standard with the genre, the technical ability of everyone involved is top-notch, with particular praise going to the chemistry between guitarist Michael Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinnella, and of course, to powerhouse vocalist Russell Allen.

Featuring some absolutely astonishing progressive metal hits such as 'Through the Looking Glass', 'Smoke and Mirrors' 'Of Sins and Shadows', 'The Damnation Game' and a re-recorded version of 'Masquerade' off of their debut album, the choice of songs here is (mostly) spot-on! And definitely highlights all of the bands strengths. However with that said, there is one problem...

'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'.

Now, the choice of songs is mostly killer here, and although there's one or two songs I'd have left off (this is always the case for compilation CD's), the real overkill is the inclusion of the 21-minute epic 'Divine Wings...'. It's a great song, but damn, it just takes up such a huge chunk here, and really, it just seems too much to hear the entire song! If it'd been up to me, 'The Accolade', 'Church of the Machine' or 'The Eyes of Medusa' are all much more accessible songs that could have taken its place. But never mind... can't win 'em all...

Symphony X are one of my all-time favourite bands, and I strongly encourage everyone to check them out. The music is incredibly well-written and will appeal to fans of both prog and metal. Despite only covering their first four albums, 'Prelude to the Millennium' is still a great starting point for anyone new to the band.

 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 497 ratings

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Paradise Lost
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Heavy: 1. of great weight; difficult to lift. 2. of great density. 3. 'Paradise Lost' by Symphony X.

Symphony X's seventh studio album, 'Paradise Lost', is, simply put, heavy. The majestic sounds of their earlier releases are gone, and the more orchestral feel of their previous two albums have dwindled. Now, in their place, is an all-out assault of the heaviest, beefiest, and arguably some of the most aggressive music you'll ever hear.

The song structures, while still maintaining progressive characteristics, are nowhere near as complex as past efforts, and the keyboards don't have as prominent a role in the songwriting. Much of the music is based around guitarist Michael Romeo's massive riffs and vocalist Russell Allen's intense yet melodic voice, both fitting together so perfectly that it's easy to forget the bands more classically-inspired days.

'Set the World on Fire', 'Serpent's Kiss', 'Paradise Lost' and 'Revelation' are all fantastic-enough reasons to get this album, but then there's what I consider one of the heaviest songs of all time; 'Domination'. The sheer weight of its huge riffs is insane, amazingly produced to really give it the thickness it needs. You really don't know what "heavy" means until you've cranked this song out at full blast!

Overall, this is certainly not Symphony X's best album, but it's a natural change of direction for the band, and one which should help them appeal to a broader metal audience. And you'd sure-as-hell better be a metal fan if you're going to listen to this!

 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.95 | 540 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With 'V: The New Mythology Suite' being a huge hit with fans and praised as one of the bands finest releases, it only stands to reason that they'd further build upon the orchestral elements they'd implemented with that album. And oh boy, does it work, or what?!

Building upon what they'd started with their previous release, 'The Odyssey' continues to see the band become heavier and heavier, with more focus on brutal guitar riffs and vocalist Russell Allen stepping further away from the high-pitched wailing he'd been accustomed to with earlier albums.

Essentially split into two parts, the first seven songs are all absolute bangers! Brimming with amazing guitar riffs, mind-blowing solos, intense vocals and all-round top performances from everyone. Tracks like 'Inferno', 'Wicked' and 'Awakenings' are head-banging anthems, while 'The Accolade II' is an epic follow-up to its epic predecessor.

Then there's the "second half". The main event. The 24-minute title track, which is arguably one of the bands greatest compositions. Taking the symphonic elements of their previous release, the band really crank it up a level to unleash a song that takes you right into the action with Greek hero Odysseus as he sets on his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. It features some of the most insane musicianship imaginable, with some jaw-dropping interplay between the band members, as well as some of the most emotional and sincere vocals I've ever heard.

And I know that right now you're thinking how cheesy this all sounds, right? Well, cheese is good! Everyone likes cheese! And so will you!

In summary, 'The Odyssey' is a four-star album with five-star songs... and five-star songs is an understatement! Worth the price for the title track alone, get it now and go on the greatest adventure of your life!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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