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SYMPHONY X

Progressive Metal • United States


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Symphony X picture
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


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

2.84 | 208 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.33 | 253 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.13 | 586 ratings
The Divine Wings of Tragedy
1997
3.76 | 356 ratings
Twilight In Olympus
1998
4.14 | 729 ratings
V - The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.96 | 560 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.79 | 510 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.77 | 462 ratings
Iconoclast
2011
3.82 | 262 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)

4.08 | 15 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
 The Divine Wings of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.13 | 586 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
2.84 | 208 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.

 Iconoclast by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.77 | 462 ratings

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Iconoclast
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by NickCrimsonII

3 stars 'Iconoclast' by Symphony X

I did not want to review this album, at all. Not because it is that bad or terribly written and performed but because I do not think it is that groundbreaking or essential for the band and/or for the genre (Also, I didn't want to leave my ratings reviewless, so that's another reason).

Briefly about the album: It is the eighth release of Symphomy X, the follow-up to their 2007 LP 'Paradise Lost' (an album that does not fit my taste, too), and though it is not a concept album with a storyline and characters, there is a concept that goes through the record: The idea of machines taking over humanity. The album is pretty much song-oriented and is definitely one of the heaviest releases of Symphony X.

Still, after the first couple of tracks, it starts to sounds quite jogtrot. It feels like I'm listening to the same tracks, just re-played in a slightly different manner. And that, I believe, is my issue with the band's latest releases.

Sure, it is not a terrible album, nor it is badly produced, it just sounds like everything else Symphony X has done.

Despite all of the bad words, I appreciate the band's technicality and their virtuosity, the fact they are able to make complex, yet fast and powerful compositions, and the loyal fanbase that they have. Also, keep in mind that this is just my opinion.

 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.82 | 262 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by NickCrimsonII

3 stars 'Underworld' is the ninth studio album by progressive metal act Symphony X, released in 2015, it features the 'classic' line-up of the band: Michael Romeo (guitars), Russell Allen (vocals), Jason Rullo (drums), Michael Pinnella (keyboards), and Michael Lepond (bass guitar).

The band is well-known for their typical '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, grand musicianship (it seems like it is a must for a band that performs such music). However, it is nothing new under the sun for the Middleton-based band. It is the same 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 creating a 'signature sound' or being 'recognisable' in the musical scene, such as: Dream Theater, Haken, Queensryche; Don't mistake my words for blind criticism, I love most of these bands and I enjoy listening to them quite much; it is just questionable if they fit in the definition of 'progressive', as they are hardly exploring the Terra incognita of music).

Still, 'Underworld' has many great tracks (Nevermore, Kiss of Fire, Charon, To Hell and Back, Run With the Devil) that showcase the band's ability to create powerful, dramatic, and electrifying tracks, accompanied by the band's virtuosity. Another thing that has to be mentioned, is that it is a logical succession to the previous record 'Iconoclast' (which is a bit heavier, but more song-oriented, unlike 'Underworld' which was written to serve as a whole).

Also, Russel Allen's charismatic and recognisable voice is the perfect match for the music of these guys. It carries a strength that elevates the music to a new level of passion and drama.

Overall, it is an album that is an enjoyable listen from start to finish (with the exception of a couple tracks in the end), it could definitely speak to prog and power metal fans, but I believe it is not a landmark album, neither for the band, nor for the genre.

 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 510 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
3.77 | 462 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
4.13 | 586 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
3.76 | 356 ratings

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Twilight In Olympus
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog 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
3.77 | 462 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.

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

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