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Symphony X - The Damnation Game CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.35 | 231 ratings

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3 stars The Damnation Game is the second album from neo classical progressive metal band Symphony X. I liked their debut a lot even though the production was really weak which is something they have corrected for The Damnation Game. The album introduces Russel Allan as the new singer in the band and even though I think the former singer Rod Tyler was a pretty good metal singer Russel Allen blows him away. Russel Allen is the perfect match for Symphony X. He is one of the best singers in metal IMO. He masters both melodic singing which spans over several octaves and deeper more guttural angry vocals which is great for the diversity of Symphony X music. You can say that Symphony X grew a couple of balls with the addition of Russel Allen.

The music hasnīt changed a lot since the debut even though the sound is a bit darker and because of that some of the riffs seem a bit heavier. There are even some agressive parts. This is something I absolutely love being a ( Extreme) metal head as well as loving progressive rock. The music is neo classical progressive power metal but with the emphazis on metal. Personally I wouldnīt call this progressive but of course there are tendencies. The guitars from Michael Romeo are besides Russel Allenīs powerful voice the dominant instrument on The Damnation Game. The keyboard is pretty dominant too but bass and especially the drums donīt seem to have much to say. The drums even border simplicity at times. I have never really enjoyed the drums from Jason Rullo.

The songs varies between hard edged metal tracks like The Damnation Game and Dressed to Kill to more thoughtful semi- ballad/ progressive songs like The Edge of Forever and A Winter's Dream. What is common to all songs are the brilliant riffing from Michael Romeo. That man is on fire and he has no intention of putting it out. His rythm guitars are hard edged or fast and furious while his solos can be both beautiful and melodic or shredding madness which by the way also maintains a melodic edge. He is without a doubt one of my favorite solo guitarists in metal. He has such a special touch and he reminds me of a mix between Yngwie Malmsteen and the now deceased Dimebag Darrell ( Pantera). The Damnation Game is the first album where his unique style is fully displayed and what a thrill.

The production is much better than on the debut album but itīs not as good as on later albums but still fully enjoyable.

Even though there are some masterclass playing on The Damnation Game there are also some weak spots. The drumming is as mentioned pretty simple and boring and some of the compositions donīt quite stand up to the rest and best songs on the album so this is a 3 star album in my ears. Itīs worth having both for fans of the band and fans of progressive metal in general though. Symphony X is a much better band than many other bands in the somewhat overcrowded genre and even their least exciting albums are much better than most albums in progressive metal.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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