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Symphony X - The Odyssey CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.95 | 526 ratings

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5 stars The Odyssey is the sixth studio album from american progressive/ power metal band Symphony X and it was released in 2002. After what I think of as a disappointing previous album (V - The New Mythology Suite) Symphony X really grapped themselves by the balls and said to themselves: Weīre gonna make one hell of a heavy album for our fans. And thatīs exactly what they have done with The Odyssey. They have of course maintained the melodic and more sophisticated side of their music but this album is up until this point their most crushingly heavy effort ( thatīs excluding their next album Paradise Lost which I havenīt heard yet).

Michael Romeo is as always the leading force as his composisional skills and guitar playing style is defining for Symphony X sound. His style is a cross between the edgy and thrashy metal style of Dimebag Darrel ( Pantera) and the neo classical power metal/ traditional heavy metal style of Yngwie Malmsteen. This is a great mix IMO. I usually get bored with neo classical bands if the neo classical style is all they got up their sleeve, but Symphony X is so much more than a normal neo classical power metal band.

The Odyssey consists of eight songs. Seven songs between 4 and 8 minutes in length and the 24 minute long epic title track.

The album starts with the crushingly heavy Inferno. There are some incredibly heavy riffs in this song and Russel Allen has never sounded more angry than on this track. If youīre looking for progressive tendencies in this song just listen to the opening riff or the epic chorus. Note the sharp and edgy riffing from Michael Romeo. Just beautiful.

The two next songs Wicked and Incantations of The Apprentice are great Symphony X tracks even though Wicked is probably one of the weaker spots on the album ( not weak at all compared to other metal bands in this style, but weaker than the other songs on the album)

After three very heavy songs weīre now treated with something quite different on the fourth song of the album Accolade II ( the II refers to the fact that number one appeared on the album The Divine Wings of Tragedy from 1997). Accolade II can be compared to other power ballad tracks from Symphony X like Candlelight Fantasia from The Divine Wings of Tragedy and Lady of the Snow from Twilight on Olympus ( albeit a bit heavier) which means that this song is very beautiful. The vocal melodies are composed so well and there are multible melodic guitar solos from Michael Romeo. This is one of the best tracks ever composed by Michael Romeo IMO. Very majestic and with some beautifully arranged keyboards.

King Of Terrors is probably the most heavy song on The Odyssey and I mean crushingly heavy. I can see a couple of AOR/ heavy rock oriented progressive metal fans being scared away here. Again Russel Allenīs vocals are aggressive yet still controlled and melodic.

The Turning is a faster paced track. very heavy and fast. Note the incredibly fast guitar riff that opens the song. This is the kind of guitar playing I love.

Awakenings is one of the most progressive songs on The Odessey and strangely enough the song I like the least. Itīs not bad of course but it just doesnīt seem to fit in. The jazzy piano part in the middle of the song have always annoyed me too. As I said itīs not a bad song just not as good as the others.

The final song is the epic title track and itīs a really impressive work to say the least. The overture which starts the song were planned to be played by a classical orchestra but Michael Romeo ended up programming an orchestral synth to play that part of the song ( and a later part in the middle) and it works remarkably well. The lyrics are taken for the ancient greek work The Odessey isabout the great warrior Odysseus troublesome 20 year journey to his home island Ithaca where he finds that his wife is being courted by many wooers who wish to take his place. His revenge towards those wooers is classic and youīll have to read the book or listen to the album to get the ending. A great classic greek tale. The song has many different styles and moods and itīs a very eloborate and beautiful composition. Itīs one of the most melodic songs of the album and itīs generally not as heavy as most of the other compositions ( there are of course some very heavy parts, but not as many as in other songs on the album). Be sure to check this one out even if you donīt enjoy the more heavy songs on the album.

The musicianship is excellent and this time around Iīm not as annoyed by Jason Rulloīs drumming as usual. Everything seems to work. Michael Romeo and Russel Allen is the most prominent musicians on the album but the three others are also accomplished musicians.

The production is the best sound Symphony X had achieved up until then. Very heavy and crisp.

This is without a doubt the peak of Symphony X career and they will probably never top this one ( as I said I havenīt heard Paradise Lost yet, but I doubt if they can make a better album than this one). I really think Symphony X is something special in the neo classical power metal genre as they also employ a much heavier sound than many of their contemporaries. Something I greatly miss in the sound of other bands in the genre. In this genre this is a masterpiece album and it deserves the 5 stars I will rate it. Be aware that this is not Dream Theater progressive metal. Symphony X rely much more on a traditional heavy metal style with progressive tendencies than progressive metal from the Dream Theater school.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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