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

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
My final points on this album...

It's darker, the musicianship is tighter, the songs are generally better, and by Dio, Russell Allen has some showings of greatness and is 100000000000000x better than Rod Tyler.

It's not a perfect record by any means, but it shows some tremendous growth. The warts that were present on the debut album are not gone (except for Rod), but the good moments are far more realized. Romeo's guitar playing is also much more melodic and expressive here. I actually think he's the MVP (henceforth it'll most likely be Russell). Rullo levels up a bit as well, which is awesome to hear (and feel). Miller and Pinnella seem to take a step back here, and though I don't love that, at least the songs are still the focus.

Symphony X - The Damnation Game
1. The Damnation Game - 8/10
2. Dressed to Kill - 9/10
3. The Edge of Forever - 10/10
4. Savage Curtain - 4/10
5. Whispers - 8/10
6. The Haunting - 7/10
7. Secrets - 6/10
8. A Winter's Dream - 10/10

Album rating - 7.7/10
 

Shmoolikipod

Poison Godmachine
Savage Curtain and The Haunting are forgettable songs, Whispers I believe was the one I really liked with the incredible chorus. If that's the case than I don't remember Secrets. I love the opening trio and A Winter's Dream, that one was my favourite.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
Cause Russell said so. You were there!
Haha, I guess I missed that. I'm so happy that Russell joined this band. Could you imagine Rod Tyler singing Champion of Ithaca?

Gonna go off on a tangent and find the 10 Symphony X songs with the best choruses in my opinion:

A Winter's Dream - The Ascension (Part II)
Sea of Lies
Fallen
Egypt
Inferno (Unleash the Fire)
Accolade II
The Odyssey: Part II - Journey to Ithaca
Paradise Lost

...and upon mulling these eight over I honestly think that the best proper chorus in the whole Symphony X catalogue is "A Winter's Dream". It just flows so nicely and is like nothing they've come up with since, even though there are some real competitors for that title.
I don't think I can pick, but from a pure catchiness standpoint...

A Lesson Before Dying*
Dressed to Kill
The Edge of Forever
A Winter's Dream
The Accolade
Candlelight Fantasia
Smoke and Mirrors
Through the Looking Glass
The Relic
Absence of Light
A Fool's Paradise
King of Terrors
Accolade II
Awakenings
The Odyssey (Champion of Ithaca)
Frontiers
Eve of Seduction
Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia)
Heretic
Reign in Madness
Underworld
In My Darkest Hour

*I'm imagining this chorus with Russell singing.

... I'm sure I'm forgetting quite a few, too. Also, that's like 20.
 
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Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
Anyway, here's my wrap-up on The Damnation Game...

It's hard not to call Russell the MVP here. Romeo does what Romeo does, and he's unbeaten at it - but can you imagine this album with Rod Tyler on it? It would barely be stronger than the debut! MJR is a beast, and that is heard in literally every song here. Miller was stronger on the debut, but the songs are stronger here, so I'll give him a pass. Pinnella definitely has more parts on this album, and Rullo is stronger, as well. But this is Russell's debut with the band, and there are certain songs that he slays.
  • The Damnation Game - Flashy noodling puts Yngwie Romeo front and center. Punchy, but not amazing. 7.5/10
    • MVP: Romeo
  • Dressed to Kill - The first "heavy" song by the band that I really like. Great verses, chorus, and riffs. 9/10
    • MVP: Russell, Romeo
  • The Edge of Forever - There are no words. A top ten Symphony X track for me. 10/10
    • MVP: Russell, Pinnella
  • Savage Curtain - Overall, probably the weakest offering here. The bass groove and verse riff bump it up a bit. 6.5/10
    • MVP: Miller
  • Whispers - Simple but catchy tune that sounds like it came straight from a cathedral. The solo is excellent and unique. 7/10
    • MVP: Romeo
  • The Haunting - Underrated tune with killer music and an oddly catchy chorus. Love the entire intro and the verses in particular. 8/10
    • MVP: Russell, Pinnella
  • Secrets - Better than I thought it was. The vocals aren't great, but the creative music boosts it up. 7/10
    • MVP: Rullo
  • A Winter's Dream - Haunting prelude leads into a simple yet massively catchy second half. Beautiful. 10/10
    • MVP: Russell
Overall Rating: 81%

I'm curious to see how the band's later albums will stack up to the pure numbers of this one. I can think of one in particular that I think will be slightly weaker.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1996/7)

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Wasting absolutely no time following their sophomore effort, Symphony X returned to the studio (or, more appropriately, never left the studio) for some lengthy writing and recording sessions. The result was The Diving Wings of Tragedy, an album heralded as a cornerstone of the progressive metal genre and widely considered by many fans to be their best effort.

Divine Wings features the same lineup as Damnation Game, with producers Steve Evetts and Eric Rachel returning to produce. It was originally released in November 1996 by Zero Corporation in Japan only and would later be released in March 1997 by InsideOut.

Track 1
Of Sins and Shadows
(Music: Michael Romeo, Michael Pinnella, Lyrics: Thomas Miller)

According to Setlist.fm, this is the second most performed song in the band's touring history (Set The World On Fire is #1). Debatable, as this is a user-generated site, but most likely this song has been played at almost every Symphony X show in history.

Here's Michael Romeo playing the solo at regular speed and half-speed. It sounds even more classical at half-speed!


Also, for some reason, here's some guy doing the best karaoke version ever of this song at a Ted Talk in Brazil:


LYRICS
Passing through the void
The darkest grand illusion
Chaos riding on the wind

Destroyed in agony
They create a maddened lair
Summon all to heed their cry

PRE-CHORUS
Innocence fading away
The dying eyes of the prey

CHORUS
Desperate cries, hail of fire deciding
All our fate in the night
Tempt in sin, shadows then begin to
Gather the souls they hold within

Victims of desire
Pestilence of their invasion
Forms then take on evil waves

Paralyze, victimize
The shadows fall and enter fast from the sky (from the sky (from the sky))
Summon all to heed their cry

PRE-CHORUS
CHORUS

I've betrayed, slowly fade, I repent my inner plea
I've denied, sanctified, cannot hide from this monstrosity
I'm immersed in a curse of this jaded imagery
Realize that your cries only jeopardize this legacy

[Guitar Solo]
[Keyboard Solo]
[Guitar Solo]
[Keyboard Solo]

CHORUS x2

  • Guys, this song fucking slaps. That is all.
  • Nah, I'm joking, but seriously: this song fucking slaps!
  • The production has seriously leveled up. I love the random FX-laden, hard panned guitar intro. The crunch and absolute thrashiness that follows it is heavier than most prog or power. Thomas Miller's perfectly-timed bass slide rounds it out. There's Jason Rullo adding double bass to beef it up even more! By the time Pinnella enters with his twinkly, classical bits it's just absolute gravy. Like, fresh, homemade gravy. None of that store-bought, packaged and dried shit.
  • Choir vocals are back! And sound good!
  • Russell Allen has entered the chat. Watch out, he's upgraded to a Level 172 Enchanted Knight! He sounds phenomenal on this track. There's a repeating high note that he hits at the end of every verse and throughout the choruses and he nails it every time. It's like someone took Ronnie James Dio and just dialed him up to 11.
  • Chorus is good! It's catchy! Honestly, I don't think it's as catchy as the verses or the bridge, but it's good.
  • The only bad thing about this song, and it's very minor, is the splice into the second verse after Romeo's post-chorus run. It sounds really edited.
  • Pinnella playing those slower, melodic progressions throughout the verse really grounds the song and it keeps it from sounding like pure power metal.
  • WITH-INNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!
  • Queen, circa 1532! This might be (along with the upcoming title track), SX's best use of choir-focused sections. It's just so bombastic and well-harmonized. It's perfect and the syncopated full-band hits swirling around it are simply masterful.
  • Solos! The solos have leveled up! Romeo wanks, but memorably. Pinnella seems to have put extra work into his scales! The harmonized bit at the end of Romeo's 2nd solo is awesome, as is the unison run that leads back into the chorus.
  • I find the compositional choice in the final chorus to be extremely fascinating. They drop an octave, focusing solely on the kinda monotonous gang vocals, but it really works. At the peak of energy, after Russell has slapped his giant Level 172 Knight Sword on the table, they just go: nah, we've impressed you enough, let's chill out a bit, and somehow it's even more impressive.
  • Perfect ending, not a moment overstayed. This is the absolute peak distillation of every great, "short rocker" Symphony X trope.
  • I know this song is overplayed to death, but it's for a reason: it fucking slaps.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
First Symphony X song I heard, got me hooked on the whole album. For some reason their other albums don´t grab me as much as this one so I lost interest in the band.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
So, enter The Divine Wings of Tragedy. An album so different in quality from its predecessors that it may as well have come from a different band. Yeah, there were a few next-level tracks on The Damnation Game, but in terms of production and songwriting, this album is in a different league. That's not to say it's perfect, as there's a couple of clunkers in the middle (you can always tell which songs a band considers filler when they never perform them live). But this is a landmark album in the genre of progressive metal.

There was actually a time when seeing the band perform Of Sins and Shadows live got an eye roll, a sigh, and a "ugh, not again" from me. Now it's one of the few "golden oldies" we get.

According to Setlist.fm, this is the second most performed song in the band's touring history (Set The World On Fire is #1). Debatable, as this is a user-generated site, but most likely this song has been played at almost every Symphony X show in history.
I have trouble believing this. The band was touring since just after Twilight in Olympus was released (their first shows were in Japan), and I can't imagine them playing a show back then without including this. I've seen them like 12 times (at least) and they have always played this song. Let's not forget all those Gigantour shows in 2005 where the band played an average of five songs, including this and other short, heavy rockers.

So let's get started...
  • The fake-out intro (leading the listener to believe that the whole album would sound like this) is great. This Em riff is such a smashing metal riff, and the power here is astounding.
    • When the band kicks in, it's interesting how it's not straight balls-to-the-wall immediately. Instead we've got Rullo holding down an insanely catchy groove over Romeo's riff, whose highlights include the random reverse-galloped triplet near the end and that satisfying pick squeal. A bass slide signals the onslaught of double bass that follows. After a syncopated, descending triplet run, we're treated to Pinnella's synth, which is the main theme of this piece.
    • Symphony X modulates like it's going out of style, and here we're treated to brief jumps up to Am and back down to F#m as Romeo loosens up on the palm-muting. How glorious! I wouldn't be surprised if some of their longer songs cover all 12 keys.
  • After better-sounding choirs set the mood, the verse modulates yet again - this time up to Bm. The syncopated rhythm drives this section, but it's Pinnella's synth that once again provides the character. This is one of my favorite "riffs" of his. And Russell has indeed "leveled up." The dude is spitting fire right here.
  • The pre-chorus is very brief, but is ominous and brilliantly foreshadows the chorus proper.
  • The chorus begins with a chromatic bass line, then plays around with some interesting power chord voicings. Musically, it really shouldn't be as catchy as it is - but here were are. Russell is once again killing it, and throwing the main riff in there halfway through (with the upper-octave bass notes just beforehand) breaks up the power-metally-ness of the whole thing. That's a positive to my ears.
    • The main riff returns in a brief new key of Cm, just before Romeo harmonizes himself. This, as well as the off-time switch back into the verse, really adds a different dynamic to the song that most bands would not include.
  • The second verse, pre-chorus, and chorus are largely the same, but the second half of the second verse is wicked. The way Russell sings "Paralyzed, victimized, the shadows fall and enter fast from the sky... from the sky... from the sky" is haunting and on point. It's just so evil, and those choir vocals are used to full effect here to break up the monotony of a typical verse. Stunning.
  • The bridge is classic Symphony X done right. It makes similar sections on the previous albums sound like they were mixed by children. This is like an evil musical, complete with killer (four-part?) harmonies. It's hilarious to watch Romeo and the other guys lip sync the backing vocals to this live.
  • The solo section makes my head want to explode in the most positive way possible. There is so much chaos and intensity packed into these 45 seconds, and I love every moment of it.
    • Romeo's first solo is a little noodly (like spaghetti that you twirl around the fork but the noodles keep coming), but it really sets the tone for the section. I don't know how this man plays like this. 8/10. Yes, I'm rating solos now. Deal with it.
    • Pinnella counters Romeo with a much better patch than he's used in the past, and a catchy little arpeggiated "sweeping" section halfway through. The ending hits notes that are far too high to be played on a guitar, but since the tone of the keyboard is less piercing to the ear, it works. This is how keyboard solos can really be used to counter guitar solos, and damn if this band doesn't do that well. 9/10.
    • Romeo fires back with my favorite lick of the entire section - a fully picked, shredding neoclassical line that soon begins to string skip all over the place, like a robot going haywire. Brilliant. It ends with more fettuccine, even though the solo has already made its mark. 10/10.
    • Pinnella reenters orbit in full-on Mega Man mode with his super duper upper octaves and scalar runs. The guy really is matching Romeo in this section, and I love it. 9/10.
    • The final "solo" is a quick two-measure unison featuring ascending string-skipped tapped legato arpeggios - at least on Romeo's end. On Pinnella's end it features pressing keys. Even after all the fighting of the last 40 seconds, this shows the guys working together to bring us back into the chorus, like best buds do. I'm assuming they're best buds. "At least we're better than that Miller guy, amirite P?" - Romeo
  • The final chorus (which modulates up from the Abm of the previous three choruses to Cm) slows the beat down a bit, is more open-sounding, and features almost funky bass playing from Miller. The vocals also return to the dark Queen we heard in the bridge, much to everyone's delight. It's almost like this was done to focus more on the music, or to give more weight to the creepy lyrics about soul collecting, like Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat. Yeah. That's what this song is definitely about. Miller gets the final say here with a sweet bass run to bring us back into the main riff and earworm keyboard theme.
  • This outro is not flashy and serves its purpose well - to close the song out in a hard-hitting metal fashion. I love it when songs end in punchy ways like this, and it really adds to the dynamic live since you know the song is actually over. Ringing out and fading is for ballads, and full-band fadeouts rarely sound good in metal (unless it's the end of an album).
Overall, this is truly a perfect metal song and a fantastic blend of most elements of the band's sound. It is straight-up metal, and really only "progressive" in a few of its ideas and uses of instrumentation (choirs, keyboard solos). When metal people tell me that keyboards don't belong in metal, I point them in this song's direction and they often change their tune. The vibe of this song is heavy not only because it's metal, but also lyrically and thematically. It's difficult not to picture a demonic, possessed Queen during some of the choir parts, and the lyrics are Miller's, making them automatically deeper than the other guys' stuff.
 
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Shmoolikipod

Poison Godmachine
Very good song. I never thought of the intro as a fake-out, but I still really like it. Opeth's By the Pain I See in Others does a similar thing and it's one of my favourite intros of theirs.

I love that part when the double bass kicks in, with the delay and that thick bass note...

The riff itself is cool and the intro has enough changes to keep it interesting.

On the verse, a great and more powerful vocal performance than in The Damnation Game. I like that the gallop is no entirely on the beat. Actually when I think of SX this is one of the first things I think of. Crazy keyboard is crazy keyboard. In general it makes the song more rich.

Overall the verse is pretty nice. The prechorus is one of my favourite parts here. I love the chromatic movement on the guitar, it's so fun! And so Is the drum roll.
The chorus is awesome as well and very catchy. Best part of the song vocally. This song, as with most songs on the album, is very much about the chorus.

Nice run, and maybe a smoother transition would work better here, I'm not sure. Anyways, second verse is better than the first with the "from the sky" line.

Prechorus, chorus...
Bridge works great and transitions smoothly into the rather memorable solos.

Final chorus and then a reprise with the choir vocals. IMO introducing the voices before this chorus is good songwriting. It makes it more familiar and not sudden and out of place or unnecessary, as happens a lot with chorus reprises.

So yeah, that's Of Sins and Shadows, first SX song I've heard, and it's not my favourite but it's pretty damn, damn, damn...ation game! good :)
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
Sorry people, I've been away from my PC and my online time is limited for the past couple of days.
Don't count me out, I'll catch up with you in a week or so.
 

Jer

Fool! Doctor Doom does as he pleases!
“Of Sins And Shadows”:

A distant, distorted, busy riff suddenly pops into full view, carrying a little nu-metal twang to it. This gains some synth accompaniment and goes through a few permutations before a choral vocal stinger breaks into the verse.

Oh, the Yngwie is strong with this vocal line and guitar work. In a good way. Allen is chewing the scenery a bit here, but not to the point of distraction. The pre-chorus slows things down a hair before picking back up for an appealing chorus. Nice vocal melodies throughout.

A pair of quick guitar fills end a bit awkwardly, cutting back into a variant of the opening riff for a while before rolling back into the verse. Kind of a weird echo into the Queen-like backing vocals here. Another strong pre-chorus and chorus, then we get a pretty strong vocal bridge with Queen-like harmonies and neoclassical guitar underneath. This breaks into a great series of guitar and synth trade-off solos that build back up into the chorus.

Ooh, I kind of like how Allen disappears and the backing vocals continue the chorus here. This gives way to a reprise of the opening riff and a quick rhythmic breakdown to end the song.

A very good song with strong fundamentals and a great solo section. Can’t say I was super enthralled by the intro/outro riff, and there were a few other quirky bits throughout the song; but the vocal sections were very good, and most of the instrumental sections were great. I’m on the fence here, but I think I’ll round this up to an 8/10.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I have trouble believing this. The band was touring since just after Twilight in Olympus was released (their first shows were in Japan), and I can't imagine them playing a show back then without including this. I've seen them like 12 times (at least) and they have always played this song. Let's not forget all those Gigantour shows in 2005 where the band played an average of five songs, including this and other short, heavy rockers.
Oh yeah, no doubt it's their most played live song ever. We just don't have documentation of that because those records are incomplete. But, for instance, check out this show from 1998 and notice the lack of Sins and Shadows:

  • The second verse, pre-chorus, and chorus are largely the same, but the second half of the second verse is wicked. The way Russell sings "Paralyzed, victimized, the shadows fall and enter fast from the sky... from the sky... from the sky" is haunting and on point. It's just so evil, and those choir vocals are used to full effect here to break up the monotony of a typical verse. Stunning.
I think that section is the first time we really hear what Russell can do and will do a lot more on future releases. That tone is almost foreshadowing his later, growlier bite and bark.
So yeah, that's Of Sins and Shadows, first SX song I've heard, and it's not my favourite but it's pretty damn, damn, damn...ation game! good :)
New judgment scale of Symphony X songs: how many nation games does it damn from 1-3?

Of Sins and Shadows 'Nation Games Count: Damn, Damn, Damn!
A distant, distorted, busy riff suddenly pops into full view, carrying a little nu-metal twang to it.
This just forced me to look up the origins of nu-metal, only to realize it was alive-and-kicking (though not necessarily mainstream) by 1994. Damn, I feel old.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Sea of Lies
(Music: Romeo, Pinnella, Miller / Lyrics: Russell Allen)

LYRICS
Today I've seen the shallow face I wear
Inside this shell, a living hell endures
I'm held captive by my fear, decaying hope and wasted years
The knife of time carves another line around these eyes

CHORUS
Good and evil - lust primeval
Dragging me into a sea of lies

Losing faith in who I am
Never changing just rearranging my life again
Through eternal abyss I fall
Silent screams through paper walls
I pray someday the sun will shine on me again (shine on me again)

CHORUS

[Guitar Solo]
[Bass Solo]
[Guitar/Keyboard Unison]
[Guitar Solo]

Lies...........................................................

  • Man, this intro is so foreboding. Fuckin' MVP already goes to Thomas Miller on the bass. Perfect hits from the rest of the band. When it picks up with the full riff, it's just absolutely savage and ludicrously neoclassical. The tightness here is impeccable and impossible (literally they can't play this song live).
  • One of Romeo's most memorable neoclassical riffs.
  • Russell kicks in as soon as Romeo and Miller finish wanking all over each other. He sounds great! This is definitely his song to steal from Miller...
    • Also interesting to learn that Russell wrote these lyrics as...well...they're pretty good! It's poetic, but also pretty relatable, it's epic, yet personal without being too obvious. Nice work, Russ.
  • More wanking leads us into the incredibly brief, but catching chorus. It's all about that final "lies". As fun and singable as any "woah-oh-oh" Maiden has ever done.
  • The break into the second verse is extraordinary. Bringing it down to acoustics is beautiful and leaves so much room for Russell to really show his ability to shift tones. He goes from smooth to fierce within two lines. The ending of this verse is so grandiose (layered Russell's!) and I just love it.
    • Additional props to Miller and Rullo for just unequivocally slaying the groove and synced up kick drum hits throughout this verse. Next level stuff.
  • Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-ohhh-ahhh-eyes! Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-ohhh-ahhh-eye-aoieyes!
  • The solo section in this song is pure wanking, neoclassical shred from all of the melodic instruments and it is absolutely bonkers. It also takes up most of the second half of the song. It's also one of their most memorable. Romeo's individual solos are cool, but that fucking neoclassical unison is something to behold. Sure, it's just one pattern, but the harmony that comes in, the riff underneath...it's just magic.
    • OH AND DON'T FORGET THOMAS MILLER CAUSE HE'S BACK TO CLAIM MVP WITH AN INSANE 3 SECOND BASS SOLO
  • Another brilliant chorus choice here in that they never come back to it. They know that the "lies" chant is catchy than the chorus, so they just do that (with Russell layering himself like 4 times) and end the song on a high note.
  • In case you missed it: this song also fucking slaps so hard.
BONUS: Here's Romeo playing the solo section cleaner than he ever would at a live concert.

 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
“Sea of Lies” is the second best song on Divine Wings and almost certainly the first Top 10 Symphony X song for me that we’ve come to. More on it to follow (along with overall thoughts on Damnation Game, which is holding me up right now, and “Of Sins and Shadows”).
 

Jer

Fool! Doctor Doom does as he pleases!
BTW, this cover of The Damnation Game’s title track is terrible! Aside from the general guitar style it bears almost no resemblance to the original!


:ninja:
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
While the opening track was a full-on onslaught, Sea of Lies pulls things back a bit. It's still a fast song, but it grooves more. This is evident in the verses and pre-choruses, mostly.
  • Symphony X fans treat this opening bass line in a way that Megadeth fans treat the opening line to Peace Sells. It's a neat little pedal riff that eventually is joined by the full band.
    • Tacked onto the end of this riff is a five-measure neoclassical romp that sees Romeo take the lead at first, but who is soon joined by Miller in an impressive tapping section. Classic Symphony X right here.
  • The verse has modulated, from the intro (in Gm) down to Em. This is made possible due to the craziness of the section just preceding it. Russell sounds great here, and there's a sinister vibe to the verse even though the music is quite simple. The keyboard strings really give the section its overall mood.
  • A completely unnecessary (but still admittedly cool) solo is crammed in here before the pre-chorus. It doesn't detract from the song, and at least makes the structure more interesting - but it isn't anything we haven't heard before.
  • The pre-chorus is killer, and Russell's vocals wail. It's held together by Miller's fills and root-5th accents, but my favorite part of this section is Pinnella's subtle pad line in the background. This guy should usually be louder in general.
  • The song's actual chorus, which I hear as the harmonized "lies" vocal over the opening riff, is pretty stomping at shows. Using this riff as the "chorus" really gives the composition a nice sense of cohesion.
  • A neat break makes the listener think the song will get heavier, but the second verse is groovy and mellow - which I love. The rhythm section groove really stands out here, but Romeo's clean guitar mixing with Pinnella's pad is wonderful. The harmony on "never changing just rearranging my life again" is glorious, and Russell's wail on "shine on me again" is beyond epic. This verse is easily my favorite vocal section of the song.
  • The song wastes no time throwing the listener into a solo using a modulated (Dm) version of the intro riff. In fact, the song remains in Dm until the end, which is unusual for this band. This solo is actually solid for its brief time, although again, it's nothing we haven't heard before. Sweeping, legato tapping... yup.
    • The neoclassical section that ended the outro returns, but Romeo and Pinnella drop off as Rullo supports a sweet Miller bass fill. I like that this band gives everyone a chance to shine, even if the majority of it is guitar-based.
    • The "sweeping," bumblebee-like interlude here is probably one of the band's most recognizable moments of their early years. As seen in the video @MrKnickerbocker posted, this is not swept, but legato tapped - Romeo's specialty. If he's off life, it could be because this song is typically near the end of the set and he's tired. This ain't an easy line, y'know! Anyway, what's equally impressive to me is how Pinnella actually comes in during the second half and harmonizes Romeo. Pure madness!
    • We're three minutes into the song and we've arrived at our third guitar solo. Classic Symphony X. This is easily the song's strongest solo, as Romeo experiments with feeling by using an advanced technique known as holding notes out. I kid... but I don't. It's refreshing to hear him play this way. The bass fill near the end fills in a little gap during Romeo's higher notes, which really gives the song a sense of fullness.
    • The tapped lead is briefly back, but with the rhythm section accenting the measures as if to send the song off into the sunset. It does this job well. Romeo breaks off of the tapping with an ascending line to lead the charge.
  • The ending is simple - it's the chorus (intro riff) in Dm, like the first solo. I'm actually not a huge fan of the ending, as it kind of pitter-patters out with the drum fill... but it's not a huge deal.
This is an impressive song, but I don't think it hits as hard as the opener. It's a bit more interesting musically, with shifting dynamics and that crazy tapping part, though. I honestly think I'm one of the few Symphony X fans who think that this song is a tad overrated. It's still a classic, but it's not a perfect 10 in my book. It's missing something, but I don't know what.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
  • The pre-chorus is killer, and Russell's vocals wail. It's held together by Miller's fills and root-5th accents, but my favorite part of this section is Pinnella's subtle pad line in the background. This guy should usually be louder in general.
  • The song's actual chorus, which I hear as the harmonized "lies" vocal over the opening riff, is pretty stomping at shows. Using this riff as the "chorus" really gives the composition a nice sense of cohesion.
See, I think of these two sections as one chorus, a chorus that just completely shifts partway through in a way only Symphony X can execute with prestige.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
See, I think of these two sections as one chorus, a chorus that just completely shifts partway through in a way only Symphony X can execute with prestige.
Also a good way to look at it. To me, the opening riff in this song really defines it, so I hear it as the main "motif" more than any particular vocal section. In the intro, the keyboard also alludes to the "lies" vocal once the whole band kicks into gear. What I'm calling the pre-chorus is definitely a more melodic section overall, though.

The band uses this structure again in Domination from Paradise Lost.
 
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