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
    20

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
The Edge of Forever
The most unfortunate thing about this song is that it lives in the shadow of The Accolade. Pretty much all the ideas they present in this song have shown up in The Accolade or other similar ballads and are more refined. The main melodic motif at the beginning is even very similar to The Accolade. I always consider this song a prequel of sorts.

The way the song builds is fantastic. I love the melody throughout the tune and the way it slowly gets heavier. It feels very gentle and fluid. The shreddy moments are earned and when this song gets thrashy, it rocks hard. I also really the guitar duels, another fine moment for Pinella/Romeo. The dance-y keyboard line after the solo section is fantastic, I wish they would’ve spent more time with it. But the neo-classical guitar verse that follows is pretty nice too. One thing Symphony X has that other prog metal bands don’t have is very classically influenced guitar playing. Great finger style guitar playing and Romantic style voice leading harmony.

If i had to choose a flaw with this song, it’s that they don’t spend enough time letting any of the sections really develop. Sometimes it feels like we’re building to something, but then it shifts gears. This can be effective (Scarred by Dream Theater is a great example of “disjointed” buildups working well) but in the case of this song it leaves me wanting a little bit more. I love all the different sections individually, so it is not like they’re leaving great material to give us lesser material, but I think this song could’ve had a lot more. It also feels like they’re throwing in a lot of ideas but aren’t entirely sure how to string them together. Symphony X excels at the ballad epic and it only gets better from here. There probably isn’t a single idea in this song that they don’t do better on other songs in the future, but as a foundational point this song is fantastic. I also find that if I’m not comparing it to later work, I really have no complaints.

Love the chromaticism in Romeo’s second guitar solo. Very jazz meets classical, something that we get fairly frequently with Romeo’s playing. Fantastic chorus. I love how they deliver it differently each time.

Russell Allen is still developing as a vocalist and that shows the most here IMO. He has some powerful vocal moments but we never really get him in full force.

Savage Curtain
Definition of a filler song and easily the weakest on the album. A lot of people say a song lives and dies by its chorus and this is a great example. A lot of it is standard SX fare but the chorus is so weak that it makes the rest kind of pointless.
 

Jer

Fool! Doctor Doom does as he pleases!
“Savage Curtain”:

Drum fill and we break into a 90s-Yngwie-style muted riff. Some of the notes he hits here feel like they clash with the synth tones in the background a bit. Then we open up into a nice space with ringing guitar arpeggios and bass fills before rolling into the verse.

The verse itself has an OK riff and an OK vocal line. The chorus is a bit of a mess, with backing vocals that don’t quite work and a solo vocal finisher that doesn’t pay off.

Another verse and then we get an unexpectedly cool pre-chorus. Nice roller coaster of a vocal melody, and I really like the neoclassical guitar progression serving as the rhythm underneath. Kind of an awkward transition back into another weak chorus.

Mmm, gratuitous scaley neoclassical soloing. This is musical comfort food for me. The next solo starts and ends with a little more rock feel, but goes back to the scaley goodness in between. The third solo section is pretty cool with its tradeoffs of guitar vs. bass, then guitar and bass vs. drums, before returning to that unfortunate chorus. The outro feels a bit out of place — I guess it’s trying to play off the solos, but it doesn’t fully work.

A very mixed bag overall, but the good parts are good enough to round up to a 6/10.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Whispers

LYRICS
[Guitar Solo]

When all the angels cry
Sadness reigns upon us all
White doves fade to black
With the absence of the heart
We could never smile
We can feel the bitter tears

CHORUS:
Whispers from you, calling out from above
Visions I can't see, like the wind and your love
Whispers to you, carried on through the night
Words I can't hear, graceful figure in white

[Another guitar solo]

And when you watch over me
Please guide me all the way
You're my judge and my jury
As I lay my head to rest
Your absence will surround me
And I'll die another death

CHORUS

[More guitar solos]
[Some more guitar solos]

CHORUS x2

  • This is definitely not my favorite song on this album, but I do think it's the most interesting (while simultaneously being one of the simplest). The production here is supremely well designed. It might not be the best sounding recording ever, but it's very intriguing.
  • Obviously meant to fill the void that was left by 7,000 repetitions of the Shades of Grey chorus.
  • Romeo's playing throughout this song is incredibly emotional, structured, and truly quite beautiful. His opening licks are great and move perfectly into the arpeggio'd, piano-driven verses.
  • Russell sounds great, but the lyrics and melodies still aren't there. He sounds good, though.
  • Romeo does his best three chord transition into a different mode for the chorus.
  • ...and it's a good chorus! It's moderately catchy, Russell sounds good, the backing vocals pan left to right and accent certain words in a truly engaging fashion.
  • Romeo's post-chorus solo is awesome and drives us into a really cool, more minor-key section. The next vocal section is Russell's best in the whole song. The double-tracking on "I'll die another death" is fucking awesome.
  • The whole song transitions nicely, with Rullo adding some little fills to bring us back to the guitar-driven intro melody.
  • Then we get into the bridge/main solo section of the song: which is truly remarkable. Pinnella guides us, Miller and Rullo groove out all their shit, and then Romeo has some super interesting panned guitars (including an overdubbed swell at 3:11 that's the 808 drop equivalent of a lead guitar). I think this is easily one of Romeo's most emotive, well-written solo sections in any Symphony X song. The sliding harmonized section at 3:13 is so catchy. He goes off into Romeo Shred Land a little bit, but the culmination into a neoclassical run is really cool.
  • The palm-muted chord additions in the final chorus are really cool. As usual, I wish this song didn't fade out. The music gets heavier and literally the final second before the song fades to nothing Russell unleashes a pure Dio-inspired "ohhhhhhhhooooooahhhh" and I really want to fucking hear where he was gonna go after that!
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I noticed that but these little solo endeavors that Miller does are just so... tasty. It may be that I'm spoiled because bands that got me into heavier music have distinctive bass players. Recently when I was listening to Powerslave, I remembered how I admire Steve's bass lines on 2 Minutes to Midnight (just listen to isolated track on YouTube, I mean, you could never tell that is a bass line for such a "simplistic" song.) I admire when a bassist has great technical skills but in my opinion, it's what he brings to the table (song) that differentiates him from the rest.
I think Steve's bass drives that song. Yeah, Adrian's riff is good, but without the bass it's really just a (long) straight-up rocker. Those constant bass fills bring the song to the next level.

I never had patience and/or persistence to just sit down and learn. For 10 years or so it was like: "Oh, I like this song or that song, I'll find the tabs and learn that." So, it was just me playing along with the song or doodling something on my own. At one point, I felt stuck due all these techniques I was supposed to learn i.e. I was lacking proper learning routine.
Anyway, at the same time, some major parts of my life started to drain more and more time I had for playing, so I decided: If I don't have time to do it properly, I'm not going to half-ass it. I packed all my equipment and put it away until better days. I still have a plan that in 10 years or so, I'll buy a new electric guitar, Fender Squier or something similar (I have this old second-hand Epiphone by Gibson which is so heavy and sturdy) and start from the beginning, this time more tenaciously. (I also have Cort Action bass and Behringer amplifier for it but I'm quite satisfied with them).
I can understand that. I've lost the motivation to play and practice on numerous occasions, but then some new album or band will come along with a sweet riff or section that makes me want to pick my bass up and start grooving. Or sometimes something major will occur in my life that I get the urge to write about. It was in the early '2000s when I discovered progressive stuff like Dream Theater and Symphony X that I started to see playing as more than just picking up an instrument and jamming on a riff, and more of something to challenge myself with. Sometimes it's just about getting inspired enough to pick it up in the first place. I wish you luck.
 
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Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
While I don't think Savage Curtain is as weak as others here do (probably because I put Symphony X on a pedestal), it's definitely not one of the album's highlights.
  • The opening riff is paint-by-numbers Symphony X. Palm-muted noodling that goes nowhere with a random tail for complexity's sake. Don't get me wrong - the band will go on to use this riff style in amazing ways in the future. But this isn't one of those examples.
  • The bass groove in C#m is one of the tastiest riffs Miller has played yet. It's almost funky, which isn't an attribute normally associated with Symphony X. I like that Romeo hangs back here. Man... what a juicy groove. I think this is the apex of the song right here.
  • The first verse is a slight variation on the bass groove, but now back in the original key of Em. I actually think that this first verse has a great overall flow (including the vocals) up until the final quarter, where the melody loses steam and falls apart.
  • I agree with @Spambot about the chorus - the first half is solid (not catchy, but solid), while the back half is simply bad. The choir vocals on the first half are just ominous enough to keep things interesting, but like the first verse, it soon falls apart. It's not Russell's fault - it's just a weak melody. The underlying riff here is the same as the intro, by the way. The band used a similar style on Rapture or Pain from their debut (alluding to the chorus with the intro), and will do it several more times in the future - all with greater songwriting.
  • The second verse is not as strong as the first, but I'll give Romeo credit for being proggy and switching the riff and feel up a bit. A repeat of the cool groove from the C#m bass lick and the first verse would have actually worked better, but I see why his mind went where it did.
  • The pre-chorus/verse variation modulates up to Cm and contains probably the strongest vocal performance of the song. It's not great, but neither is this song, so I'll take what I can get. It again falls off a cliff with its final line. It's like the melody just gives up.
  • The interlude is classic Romeo showoff time. It fits, but the band will do this so much better on future songs.
    • The guitar solo starts off really nice, with MJR using a few bouncy licks that play off the rhythm before "devolving" into the obligatory legato string-skipping tapping. What a cop out! Bad ending, too.
    • The fills are clearly written as showoff pieces, and it's Miller who steals the show here. Physically speaking, when compared to a bass, a guitar can play those lines effortlessly. Miller could have just played boring root notes here or held notes out, but he challenged himself, stepped up, and hit a couple of home runs. The legato tapping unison style between the guitar and bass was used in the previous song, and this is far from the last time the band ventures into these territories.
    • Rullo's fill is nothing crazy, but it's only fair for him to get a showoff moment, too. Hell, Pinnella doesn't even get one in this song! It's not difficult to imagine many a drunken night of card games amongst a pirate shirt-clad Symphony X, with the loser sacrificing a solo section in whatever song they're working on at that moment.
  • The ending is just bad. I think bringing back the riff from the first verse for a couple measures and ending on a punchy note would have worked better.
This is not a highlight of Symphony X's discography, unless you're into the technical "wow" factor. There is one upcoming song on this album that I recall being weaker (read: more filler) than this, but I'll make that call once I break it down in the coming week or so.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
The album switches gears now and bestows upon us the beautifully emotional Whispers. This is one of Symphony X's simplest songs to date, but it still retains excellent playing and neoclassical elements.
  • The intro theme sounds optimistic and almost happy, especially for Symphony X. The progression is somewhat classical, with the unusual switch to the G# in there.
  • The verse is simplistic but effective. I actually think this song could have spent more time building up to the first vocal section, but oh well. Pinnella's piano blends very well with Romeo's guitar.
  • The chorus modulates down to Em and is very powerful, drawing from the harmonic minor mode. It's quite catchy, with the first half being dark when compared to the second, more uplifting half.
  • Romeo's solo after this chorus is full of feels, and is insanely tasteful for him. There's not much going on with the rhythm section in this song, but I like how Rullo and Miller sync up the kick drum and bass line. That kind of synchronized staccato playing always gets me.
  • The second verse is (oddly) in the same key as the first, and is the same theme - but with added chunky guitar now. There's a lot of meter changes in this song, but the band's songwriting is so strong that it's tough to even notice. Russell kills this song, and that final harmonized line is a fine example of this.
  • The angelic choir transition back into the intro theme (now modulated up a whole step, of course) is a nice addition.
    • Romeo's first solo here is gorgeous. This is probably the most tasteful I've ever heard him play, and some of the licks in here (like the classical sliding harmonized one and the jazzy almost Petrucci-ish one leading into the second half of the solo) are something I wish he'd do more often. Let's not forget the beautiful piano leading us into this section, or the synchronized rhythm section groove.
    • The second solo (over the verse theme in Em) is a little more typical, but a necessary build-and-release moment. The end of this solo, with its classical lick, is very well done.
  • I do wish this song didn't fade out (I really don't like full-band fadeouts on anything other than perhaps the ends of albums), but it makes a certain amount of sense for a ballad like this. The fade is a bit too quick, though. I think if the song brought back the choir interlude after the second chorus and ended on a ring-out with some piano, it would have been more unique and effective. Oh well - it's not like it destroys the song's integrity or anything.
Symphony X will go on to write ballads that are similar in tone and stronger than this (Candlelight Fantasia and The Sacrifice come to mind), but Whispers is the first song in this style, and it's a solid one. Romeo is the clear standout here, as his performance is wonderfully emotive and restrained.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Following-up "The Edge of Forever" is tough, and "Savage Curtain" decides to take a couple of steps back instead of topping the epic. Rullo kicks things off with a cool drum intro, then Romeo jumps in with a nice chunky riff that is further supported by Pinnella's atmospheric synths. The verse is a typical Symphony X fare, and the vocal melody is a bit off (Russell deserved better), but as a whole it isn't bad, just slightly weird. The chorus is pretty solid. I like the backing vocals jumping in for the first half (which is somehow louder than the music, weird production gaff) and Russell taking the second half on his own. Quite nice. I also did the change-up in the second verse, that's pretty cool.

The solo section is also typical Symphony X. Noodly in the first half, noodly in the second half, and at the end we get a cool bass / guitar duel which is always fun to see. The outro is also noodly and allows Rullo to get another chance to shine. I love it when he goes all-out and this is easily one of his early highlights.

It's definitely a safe rocker, but I actually quite enjoy it. Not among their best, but better than most of the debut and I also prefer it to the title track on this record. By-the-numbers, but very fun.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
"Whispers" opens with a really nice, lush intro. Romeo's showing that when need be he can reign himself in and put greater emphasis on melody and emotion (even though he clearly sounds like he's still chomping at the bit). It gives me '80s ballad vibes, done the Symphony X way. The acoustic verse is pretty nice, but Russell reminds me of Stu Block's more emotional vocals from latter-day Iced Earth and I don't really care for that?

The chorus is really well assembled. Probably the best execution of the backing vocals yet. The way Russell takes the center and the rest prance around him - just a really nice construction. The second verse, with heavier guitar this time, is better than the first, and Russell really gets to push himself more. That multi-tracked final line is awesome.

The melody from the intro returns at the beginning of the instrumental section, but this time we also get Pinnella playing straight piano which is always a huge win from me. Romeo gets noodly as the solo progresses, but it's more subdued and has a great sense of style he usually pushes away in favor of wankery. Thus I think it's a quite nice solo overall. And I also don't mind the fade-out, it works the way it's intended.

This song is pretty solid overall and I think the good moments are quite great. Don't really have many negatives to point out here, but it also doesn't grab me enough for it to become a favorite. A good classic Symphony X ballad.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Who said prog lacks emotion or feel? Whispers is a great little track. It’s not the sort of thing you would revisit often, but it’s a nice break in the action and contains some fantastic melodies and playing. I love that Romeo is able to use technically challenging guitar work in such an accessible context. The space in his solo is also fantastic. 5 minutes of musical bliss.
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
Whispers

Maybe I wouldn't give this song a thumb down, but it definitely isn't a thumb up also.

Intro is good, has this Dream Theater aura that I like and I like how it transcends into the first melodic verse. Vocal melody is a bit more balanced than the previous one, but then comes the chorus. First of all, I can't explain why, but to me it just doesn't fit well with the rest of the song. It comes kind of suddenly with a more cheerful feel than the rest of the song. Back vocals are no-no to me, like a bored church choir doing a rehearsal. This is just me of course, but the whole chorus sounds too Christmas-y and that's like an immediate letdown.

I have to highlight the line "...and I'll die another day" in the second verse - I'm beginning to see what you guys mean when you talk about Allen. Second chorus is the same as the first one and again, in my ears - Christmas waltz. Solo is great tho, again, the start of solo sounds really Petrucci-like and at this point, this is the most memorable solo I've heard from Symphony X. I also have to highlight those double-line melodies at 3:13 and 3:46. Actually, I'd take this whole solo section over any other scale Romeo has done on the album. Another chorus in the end and it looks like they haven't faded out for some time now, so why not on this one?

So, to conclude, there is a lot I like in this song, but the chorus puts me off so bad I can't really say I like this song in general.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Who said prog lacks emotion or feel? Whispers is a great little track. It’s not the sort of thing you would revisit often, but it’s a nice break in the action and contains some fantastic melodies and playing. I love that Romeo is able to use technically challenging guitar work in such an accessible context. The space in his solo is also fantastic. 5 minutes of musical bliss.
"Space" is my favorite thing about these early Symphony X albums (up through V for the most part). Though I don't dislike their later direction as much as others, that sense of openness and the emotional breadth that it affords was a true highlight of their sound.

Whispers
This is just me of course, but the whole chorus sounds too Christmas-y and that's like an immediate letdown.

I have to highlight the line "...and I'll die another day" in the second verse - I'm beginning to see what you guys mean when you talk about Allen. Second chorus is the same as the first one and again, in my ears - Christmas waltz.
Glad you're starting to hear the true Russell!

Also: Christmas-y is one of the reasons I love older Symphony X material. I literally start listening to this band at the first snowfall of the season. It's like a musical compulsion.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
A lot of it is the separation of instruments. The production can get muddy, but SX has always had a pretty clean low end, especially when there isn’t rhythm guitar mucking things up. Sometimes it’s just bass and kick down there and sounds crystal clear. I love it.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Haunting

LYRICS
[...solos...]

Lightning flashes across the skies
The hands of time keep falling like the pouring rain
Soft voices call my name; I've seen this place before
This whole thing is mad and still I can see
He awaits for me

CHORUS:
As the knife cuts to the vein
Am I going insane? Have I lost my mind?
Ten years gone by, my friend haunting me
Scars will fade but never die

Prisoner waiting out my time
Looking back through years gone by
My mind is always wondering what will I do
To seal a different fate can I undo the things I've done?
I lie on the ground without making a sound
And cry for my life again

CHORUS

Staring down at me
Through my eyes I can see
All the terror and pain still lives on
I can't leave
Silver strand is pulling me back to mortality

[Neoclassical Guitar Solo]
[Traditional Guitar so....nope, more neoclassical guitar solos]
[Additional Guitar Solo]

CHORUS x2
  • I love the intro. The creepy keyboard work, the bass and drum pattering, the buildup with the guitar...it's all gravy. Even if Pinnella's keyboard sounds more Casio than ever. Honestly I think the cheesy keyboard might help this song due to the subject matter.
  • The transition seems to work but then we go down to a single guitar and build back up into a totally different, wonky-sounding section before Romeo's first (of many) solos. I kinda wish they stayed in the faster-paced turnaround following the intro before breaking it down. Sounds like they cut Rullo off just before he wanted to start doing some running double bass.
  • Pinnella's keyboard sound here is...interesting. I still like all the music, it's just pieced together haphazardly.
  • The first verse is alright, Russell sounds fine, but not spectacular.
  • The chorus is also fine. I like the energy and dark atmosphere of this track. So far it's very enjoyable. It's not the best I've heard (or even close to the best they'll do), but it's fun. I don't think Pinnella's intro keyboard part works over the heavy riff coming out of the chorus from 2:13-2:18.
  • Russell sounds way better on the second verse. I still think the third line of each verse (screechy high vocal part) doesn't work.
  • The bridge is strange. The band will use this Broadway-esque chug guitar/puppet master vocal thing to better effect on future albums (V comes to mind, but I can't remember which song). It's interesting, but still feels a bit unconfident. As with the rest of the song, the transitions here are the biggest detriment.
  • I like the neoclassical section immediately following it, though. After that Romeo just goes off the rails and wanks a lot. There's a couple of sliding or bluesy licks throughout this solo that are really cool but undeveloped. The best part starts at 4:01.
  • The outro is an absolute fucking train wreck. They literally try to combine the "heavy riff ending" with the "drums go apeshit ending" with the "fade out ending". It's massively stupid and does not help the song.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I actually think The Haunting is the "hidden gem" of this album. It's far from perfect, but it has a lot of great ideas, and even some soundscapes that the band rarely ventures into.
  • The intro is excellent. It starts in the metal-friendly key of Em but then modulates up to F#m, while also being in 7/4 and 6/4. This may be one of the few times that the entire band minus the guitar starts a Symphony X song! Pinnella's keyboard sound is cheesy, but the notes aren't. This is dark stuff. I also have a weak spot for syncopated rhythm section grooves, and as @Mosh said above, this is clean andtight.
    • The transition into the solos is a bit forced (especially that run at the end), but I don't mind it. This song is like a really dark musical theatre performance.
    • Romeo's riff is nothing complicated, but it's punchy and evil. The notes at the tail and the fact that it's in 7/8 make it sound like it's rushing forward, which I love. We've also modulated again, to Am.
    • I also have a soft spot for songs that have solos before the vocals even start, like the musicians just can't restrain themselves and dare to break traditional song structure. It makes me laugh. Pinnella's solo here is actually one of his better ones to this point, although like always, he could have splurged on some better patches.
    • Romeo's solo is full-on wank, which is fine since it works over the hectic riff. I really like the intensity of the ending, although it would have worked just as well going straight into the verse (which is also in Bm). Yes, the solos modulated. They almost always do such crazy things.
  • Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I really like the verses of this song. I actually think they're among the catchiest vocal melodies of the album. I love the way Pinnella's piano accents the melody at the halfway point, and how Romeo's guitar hits those Bm chords on the backbeat. These are subtle things, but they really bring out the emotion in the vocals. The only thing I don't care for is the "thrashy" 16th note chugga-chugga; this band is far more creative than that.
  • The transition into the chorus is spaced kind of weird, but I don't mind it. It adds to the musical theatre of the song.
  • This chorus has always confused me. I don't think it's particularly memorable, but it's one of those things that will be stuck in my head for days in the back of my mind, so I guess it is catchy?
    • Following the chorus, there's a brief reprise of the intro that Russell wails over - but of course we're now lower (in Dm). Again, this is a small thing, as casual listeners probably wouldn't even notice that it's in a different key. I love this stuff. We soon modulate back up to the second intro key of F#m for a brief vocal break.
  • The bridge, as @MrKnickerbocker said, has a Broadway-ish feel. The music changes from 4/4 to 6, but Rullo (of course) isn't playing it straight. I love that. The music here, aside from the drums, is insanely simple - but it works because the vocals are the clear focus.
  • The chromatic neoclassical section is nice, if not predictable. It's moments like these that I took for granted as the band moved to a more classic heavy metal sound.
    • The solo is a Romeo solo. The chords underneath are constantly changing, so at least there's some tonal movement (not just chugging away at one note like the verse) for those who are annoyed by flurries of high-pitched notes whizzing by.
    • The second half of the solo is far stronger, as MJR spaces things out a bit more and goes for the feels. The last few bars before the final chorus are classic Symphony X, with a big scalar run closing things out.
  • The outro certainly is bizarre. I think this is a rare occasion where the song's intro melody sounds good fading out, and the bridge "groove" in 6 with Rullo's Portnoy-ish fills work, too - but not together. They're simply trying to do too much here.
All in all, I think this is one of the better songs on this album. I actually think it's catchier than the title track. The intro theme has such an eerie vibe, combined with a restraint not normally heard by this band. This is also a very keyboard-heavy song, which I adore. I just wish Pinnella's patches were a bit more... good-sounding.

The band will use this Broadway-esque chug guitar/puppet master vocal thing to better effect on future albums (V comes to mind, but I can't remember which song).
Rediscovery Part 2.
 
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Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
“Absence of Light” does this too. So much fun.
"The Walls of Babylon," too, which is my favorite from Paradise Lost (not for that reason, but it helps). It's just cool to expect to hear a vocal and then all of a sudden there's keyboards and guitars wailing away, as if to mock you. I can only take so much of the verse/chorus structure, anyway.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
"The Walls of Babylon," too, which is my favorite from Paradise Lost (not for that reason, but it helps). It's just cool to expect to hear a vocal and then all of a sudden there's keyboards and guitars wailing away, as if to mock you. I can only take so much of the verse/chorus structure, anyway.
Completely forgot about that one! I do enjoy the structure of “what if the intro was half the song” lol. Although I don’t think it’s a real fave of mine and last I heard it I thought it was decent and nothing much more. Maybe the reviews will change my mind, lol.

If I had to pick a favorite from Paradise Lost right now, it might actually be “Eve of Seduction”. Russell sounds amazing on it. But this could change. It’s a pretty nice record overall, even though it’s (IMO) a shift in the wrong direction for them.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
If I had to pick a favorite from Paradise Lost right now, it might actually be “Eve of Seduction”. Russell sounds amazing on it. But this could change. It’s a pretty nice record overall, even though it’s (IMO) a shift in the wrong direction for them.
That's a great tune with one of their better choruses, but I agree that the entire album was a prelude to heading in the wrong direction. Strangely, Iconoclast brought back the more traditional Symphony X sound in terms of songwriting; polymteric stuff was everywhere and a lot of the songs were less straightforward. However, largely in part due to the lyrical themes, the magic of the pre-Paradise Lost days was gone. Underworld, while solid, is a pretty good mashup of the two albums that came before it.

Paradise Lost may be the most consistent of the three, but it is by far the most un-Symphony X album they've ever done in terms of songwriting.
 

Jer

Fool! Doctor Doom does as he pleases!
“Whispers”:

A bright opening that sounds like a config screen theme out of some late 90s Sega driving game rolls into a pleasant acoustic guitar and piano groove for the verse. Nice vocal line and singing here.

A brief interlude and then we get an interesting chorus with layered backing vocals that stood the risk of sounding cheesy, but I think they actually work out well here. Maybe sort of a Styx feel?

The chorus ends a bit abruptly and cuts into a nice melodic solo, which carves an appealing line but then also ends abruptly. A pretty good vocal bridge builds back the chorus, which continues to work well.

A reprise of the intro rolls into a great multi-part solo. Love the layered guitars near the beginning, love the change in feel going into the rockier section, and of course the neoclassical bit that follows presses my buttons. Nice build-up back into the chorus, and I like the subtle rhythmic change as the chorus repeats. Not a big fan of the fade-out, but it’s fine.

This one’s really strong and flirts with greatness in a number of places with only nitpicky weaknesses. I could probably round this up to an 8/10.

“The Haunting”:

An ethereal, odd-rhythm synth lead is joined by some pulsing bass accents and guitar chords before a quick synth & guitar solo descends into a chunky riff that underpins a synth solo and another guitar solo.

A brief intro reprise rolls into a simple and driving rhythm for the verse. The verse vocal line is pretty good, and the chorus that follows makes some interesting melodic choices, though the phrasing suffers a bit.

A brief interlude leads back into another round of verse and chorus, then a nice dark vocal bridge. This cuts into a pompous meat and potatoes neoclassical interlude, then an extended solo with some interesting melodic and rhythmic choices, some of which work better than others.

We return to the chorus for a couple of rounds, ending on a nice high note and a reprise of the synth lead from the intro, this time with a chunky guitar rhythm and progressively more assertive drums pushing a different agenda, but it works well. Another fade-out ending when it seemed like things were building toward something more climactic, but it’ll do.

Lots of cool parts in this song, especially some of the unusual chord progressions and melodic choices, but the vocal phrasing suffers a bit and I don’t think all of the odd choices work well. Still a pretty strong 7/10 overall.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I really like The Haunting because it deviates from the typical Symphony X formula a bit. There’s always one or two songs per album that kinda go off the beaten path and I tend to enjoy those, although they don’t get discussed as much. I forget about them myself, but I enjoy them when I hear them.

The song has a lot of dynamic and tempo twists and turns which I quite appreciate. The neoclassical shredding is pretty awesome and Pinella has a lot of great keyboard parts. I love the halftime breakdown in the bridge. The intro is also really cool and sets us up for something unexpected. I agree that this song serves as a sort of hidden gem.

I actually love the outro. The polyrhythms of the guitar riff and keyboard mixed with the drum solo is a really cool touch and is, well, haunting. The only criticism I have is that I don’t care for fade outs.
 
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