Symphony X

What's your favorite Symphony X album?

  • Symphony X

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Damnation Game

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Iconoclast

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Underworld

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    15

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
That was amazing. But I will say that giving an emotional performance of age-old Christmas music with melodies that have been ingrained in you since childhood is much more natural than chanting about the temples of Ma’at or crooning of robots taking over mankind. Romeo needs to step up his game.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
I’ve been in a Symphony X phase lately so the timing on this is great. Song is OK. Instrumental section is awesome but the rest is fairly bland. I wonder why he’s doing this instead of Symphony X. I’m thinking either SX is on its last legs or (hopefully) they’re going to continue the gradual shift back to a proggier/symphonic sound and he’s using this side project to satisfy his heavier side.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I’ve been in a Symphony X phase lately so the timing on this is great. Song is OK. Instrumental section is awesome but the rest is fairly bland. I wonder why he’s doing this instead of Symphony X. I’m thinking either SX is on its last legs or (hopefully) they’re going to continue the gradual shift back to a proggier/symphonic sound and he’s using this side project to satisfy his heavier side.
I think SX is on hiatus again and Romeo had an itch to create something. Hopefully this says nothing about SX's future except (as you said) that maybe Romeo's getting his djenty yah-yah's out here.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Aren’t we due new SX next year?

My appreciation for Romeo has increased in the past few weeks. I’ve had issues with his tone and he recycles a lot of ideas but he’s still a monster player and composer.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Some more Symphony X-lite, but with polyrhythms and the choirs are back!


Edit: Vocals are lame again and that part after the solo is amazing but has absolutely zero connection to the rest of the song. Reminds me of the part in Eyes of Medusa that has terrible transitions. Also, we've heard that exact solo like 4 times before, right?
 
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Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Symphony X-lite is a good way to put it. There's some really good riffing here but I miss the symphonic stuff and heavy keyboards. It just feels like something is missing. Even Iconoclast had more going on. It gets better at around 5 minutes but like you said it is totally out of place.

Solo gets pretty generic at the 4 minute mark but everything up to that was really awesome IMO and a little more groovy than what we normally get from him.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to bump this thread earlier to talk about how awesome The Odyssey is. I'm still going through a heavy Symphony X phase and I feel like I've rediscovered why I liked this band to begin with. I voted V for favorite SX album when this opened, but I think I might have to switch to Odyssey. V hasn't held up quite as well for me, while The Odyssey sounds just as fresh and exciting as when I first listened to it. Perfect balance of every element of their sound too.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I'm excited for this, even though it's vastly different than the Dark Chapter (which Romeo himself considers not an album but merely a demo). If Romeo insists on writing everything himself, I'm glad he's doing it with his solo project so perhaps the other members of Symphony X will contribute more for their next album.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Annnnnd another new one:


All of the press releases say that this album is "varied" and "cinematic" and "orchestral" and "different from Symphony X" but literally every song released so far sounds like Iconoclast.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Recently ran through Symphony X's discography. One of my local concert buddies cites SX as his favourite band, and I figured I'd try to get into them. It's mostly worked, though I am no great lover of progressive metal, I figured this should be sufficiently accessible enough for me.

Going to try to do a Diesel-style series of album reviews now, starting with 1994's Symphony X.



1. Into the Dementia: Unfortunately, this is an intro to Michael Romeo, and it sounds more like someone trying to rip off Yngwie Malmsteen than it does someone establishing their own style. Romeo eventually becomes distinctive, but not yet. It's a short intro. Inoffensive and boring. 4/10.
2. The Raging Seasons: The first thing as a casual fan I noticed about this song and album is the lack of Russell Allen. This Rod Tyler is not suited for the type of music that Romeo is putting in front of him. The drums are muddled and sound more like a constant cacophony of double-base, but I still find myself nodding my head. I get the feeling that this type of song would sound much better played live today, with Russell and a far more confident SX putting better twists on the tunes. The instrumental section is a mess, as well. 5/10.
3. Premonition: A bit slower of a track, and they aren't pushing Tyler so hard out of his range for most of this song. A nice piano intro too. I feel like this song is a bit more targeted for the Symphony X that existed at the time of this album's creation than the future. Nice instrumental section. 7/10.
4. Masquerade: This song honestly sounds like it fell out of the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack and landed on a Symphony X record. It's cheesy as hell, but I enjoy it, the nod to classic ballroom sounds. The bridge "Save this from the masquerade from lies" though...wow. That's some heavy Gouda there. Songs like this can only be handled by bands that are fully in the cheese, or bands that are past cheese and can make even dumb stuff seem magnanimous. 4/10.
5. Absinthe and Rue: This has a proper rock sound at the beginning, and I'm into it. Tyler is again outmatched by the music, but the layers vocals give me hope. It's clear what Symphony X wants in a singer. They just won't have it yet. The chorus is quite good though. I'd like to hear how this sounds today with Russell and a more mature band, for sure. 8/10.
6. Shades of Grey: Could this be an attempt at a ballad? It's fine, but a little saccharine for me and fairly boring. The vocals are over stretched, so it annoys me. 3/10.
7. Taunting the Notorious: A short little rock track, which is not the kind of track Symphony X is known for. Aggressive on the boring double-bass, and fairly straight forward. Nothing interesting, nothing offensive. A pretty plain 5/10.
8. Rapture or Pain: Interesting choice here. Good song, engaging with a nice guitar lead, and solid vocals. A fair bit more interesting than the previous track, so let's give it a 7/10.
9. Thorns of Sorrow: Cheesier intro, but not terrible. At this point, I'm starting to feel like the songs are melding together, as they have similar drum and base lines, the guitar isn't terribly different either, still very Ywngie-esque. Not a bad little track, but not particularly good. 5/10.
10. A Lesson Before Dying: Now, I know the point of prog is to push boundaries, but this has a lot of Malmsteenesque wankery in it. Some parts are interesting, but it's mostly boring and goes nowhere. Symphony X has come up with better ways to tell epic stories. It's not the worst, but it is kinda bleh. 4/10.

Final score: 52%.

Some bands start out as pale shadows of what they will become, and Symphony X is one of those bands. Clearly Michael Romeo was writing for future state, and he would get closer to that state when he added Russell Allen only a few months later. There's pearls of greatness here, but only pearls - the vast majority of this album is overburdened and underdeveloped, using too much time to say...nothing at all. The first time I tried to get into Symphony X, I didn't even make it to Absinthe and Rue, easily the album's best track. Now I know the band is worth persevering for.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Following this! I agree the debut isn’t good. A glorified demo in a lot of ways. Probably won’t revisit it for this thread but I will listen to everything else because they haven’t released a bad album since imo.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Following this! I agree the debut isn’t good. A glorified demo in a lot of ways. Probably won’t revisit it for this thread but I will listen to everything else because they haven’t released a bad album since imo.
It's rare that I think a band should re-record an album, but I feel like they should have re-recorded Symphony X in the late 90s with Russell. His sound is clearly what Romeo wanted for this album, and could not at the time find.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
They actually did redo some old stuff around the V era. Have you heard Masquerade? Pretty good.

 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
They actually did redo some old stuff around the V era. Have you heard Masquerade? Pretty good.
This already sounds infinitely better. Stronger production, for sure, but every band member sounds so much more comfortable in their roles - and Russell is clearly the man that this song was written for.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Yes! I’m gonna jump on this too considering it’s time for SX relisten.

Glad to hear you’re giving this band their due. At their best they might be my favorite metal band.
 
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