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SYMPHONY X

Progressive Metal • United States


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Symphony X biography
Symphony X is an important progressive metal band that has been born on the fertile American progressive metal scene. The band came into existence when guitarist and composer Michael Romeo recorded a demo tape entitled "The Dark Chapter" with the keyboardist, and future band mate, Michael Pinnella in early 1994. Romeo distributed the tape to various recording labels and, due to the tape's reception in Japan, he got himself a record deal in the Land of the rising Sun with the now defunct Zero Corporations Label.

For Symphony X's first album, the 1995 self titled, Michael recruited bassist Thomas Miller, drummer Jason Rullo, keyboardist Michael Pinnella and vocalist Rod Tyler. Despite not being a bad album, Symphony X is widely considered to be the band's worst album for two reasons: 1 - the album has a relatively bad production; 2 - it does not has Russell Allen. That is because Russell not only has better singing abilities than Rod Tyler, but also because Russell Allen is one of Symphony X's main composers (alongside with Michael Romeo), so the lack of his presence is really something to be noted. In addition, the self-titled debut is the only album that features Rod Tyler as the band's singer.

Only six months after the release of the debut, the band releases their second album, called Damnation Game. Tyler had to leave the band, so Russell Allen was recruited as a replacement. He has stayed as the band's singer ever since.

Damnation Game represents the start of the current band's style for the same reasons why the majority of the fans do not like Symphony X: with Allen in the band and the start of his collaboration with Romeo, there were set the foundations for the band's "traditional style". On the other hand, Damnation Game is still something of a raw album, specially when compared with subsequent releases.

In 1997, the band released their third output, entitled The Divine Wings of Tragedy. This album can be considered their breakthrough album, as it was with Divine Wings that they managed to reach a wider audience than before. The feedback from the specialized media also helped the band greatly to get a foothold in Europe as well as keep growing in Japan, their biggest market so far.

The Divine Wings of Tragedy also can easily be considered the band's first full progressive metal release. Not that their other albums so far didn't had any progressive hints, but this was the first one to fully embrace such tendencies...
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Symphony X official website

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OdysseyOdyssey
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$6.85
$6.45 (used)
Paradise LostParadise Lost
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$7.22
$7.70 (used)
V: The New Mythology SuiteV: The New Mythology Suite
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$11.97
$9.99 (used)
UnderworldUnderworld
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$7.99
$6.46 (used)
Divine Wings of TragedyDivine Wings of Tragedy
Limited Edition
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$16.86 (used)
IconoclastIconoclast
Extra tracks · Deluxe Edition
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$11.40
$7.99 (used)
Twilight in OlympusTwilight in Olympus
Import
Inside Out U.S. 2002
Audio CD$24.95
The Damnation GameThe Damnation Game
Inside Out U.S. 2002
Audio CD$69.97
$9.00 (used)
Live on the Edge of ForeverLive on the Edge of Forever
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$19.98
$15.99 (used)
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SYMPHONY X discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SYMPHONY X top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.88 | 186 ratings
Symphony X
1994
3.36 | 226 ratings
The Damnation Game
1995
4.12 | 524 ratings
The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
1997
3.77 | 320 ratings
Twilight In Olympus
1998
4.15 | 647 ratings
V - The New Mythology Suite
2000
3.94 | 515 ratings
The Odyssey
2002
3.79 | 476 ratings
Paradise Lost
2007
3.78 | 433 ratings
Iconoclast
2011
3.86 | 227 ratings
Underworld
2015

SYMPHONY X Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 62 ratings
Live on the Edge of Forever
2001

SYMPHONY X Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SYMPHONY X Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.26 | 13 ratings
Prelude to the Millennium
1999

SYMPHONY X Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.58 | 10 ratings
Rarities And Demos
2005
4.00 | 4 ratings
Without You
2015

SYMPHONY X Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paradise Lost by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.79 | 476 ratings

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Paradise Lost
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Heavy: 1. of great weight; difficult to lift. 2. of great density. 3. 'Paradise Lost' by Symphony X.

Symphony X's seventh studio album, 'Paradise Lost', is, simply put, heavy. The majestic sounds of their earlier releases are gone, and the more orchestral feel of their previous two albums have dwindled. Now, in their place, is an all-out assault of the heaviest, beefiest, and arguably some of the most aggressive music you'll ever hear.

The song structures, while still maintaining progressive characteristics, are nowhere near as complex as past efforts, and the keyboards don't have as prominent a role in the songwriting. Much of the music is based around guitarist Michael Romeo's massive riffs and vocalist Russell Allen's intense yet melodic voice, both fitting together so perfectly that it's easy to forget the bands more classically-inspired days.

'Set the World on Fire', 'Serpent's Kiss', 'Paradise Lost' and 'Revelation' are all fantastic-enough reasons to get this album, but then there's what I consider one of the heaviest songs of all time; 'Domination'. The sheer weight of its huge riffs is insane, amazingly produced to really give it the thickness it needs. You really don't know what "heavy" means until you've cranked this song out at full blast!

Overall, this is certainly not Symphony X's best album, but it's a natural change of direction for the band, and one which should help them appeal to a broader metal audience. And you'd sure-as-hell better be a metal fan if you're going to listen to this!

 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.94 | 515 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With 'V: The New Mythology Suite' being a huge hit with fans and praised as one of the bands finest releases, it only stands to reason that they'd further build upon the orchestral elements they'd implemented with that album. And oh boy, does it work, or what?!

Building upon what they'd started with their previous release, 'The Odyssey' continues to see the band become heavier and heavier, with more focus on brutal guitar riffs and vocalist Russell Allen stepping further away from the high-pitched wailing he'd been accustomed to with earlier albums.

Essentially split into two parts, the first seven songs are all absolute bangers! Brimming with amazing guitar riffs, mind-blowing solos, intense vocals and all-round top performances from everyone. Tracks like 'Inferno', 'Wicked' and 'Awakenings' are head-banging anthems, while 'The Accolade II' is an epic follow-up to its epic predecessor.

Then there's the "second half". The main event. The 24-minute title track, which is arguably one of the bands greatest compositions. Taking the symphonic elements of their previous release, the band really crank it up a level to unleash a song that takes you right into the action with Greek hero Odysseus as he sets on his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. It features some of the most insane musicianship imaginable, with some jaw-dropping interplay between the band members, as well as some of the most emotional and sincere vocals I've ever heard.

And I know that right now you're thinking how cheesy this all sounds, right? Well, cheese is good! Everyone likes cheese! And so will you!

In summary, 'The Odyssey' is a four-star album with five-star songs... and five-star songs is an understatement! Worth the price for the title track alone, get it now and go on the greatest adventure of your life!

 V - The New Mythology Suite by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.15 | 647 ratings

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V - The New Mythology Suite
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars With their fifth studio release, Symphony X finally cave in to the common trend amongst progressive rock and metal bands... the concept album.

Having already established a style that incorporated elements of progressive and power metal with a neoclassical flare, the band have now implemented more symphonic arrangements, which gives the music a much bigger and more grandiose sound.

It would be tough to follow up the incredible 'Twilight in Olympus', an album I consider one of my all-time favourites, and for a band to thrive and avoid stagnating, it's good to try different approaches to their songwriting. In this regard, the orchestrations really add a new depth to Symphony X's music. It does add a certain level of pomposity too, but then, this is already a genre rife with musical indulgence, and seeing as this is a rock opera about the rise and fall of the city of Atlantis, it really gives a majestic atmosphere to the story being told.

(Or something like that).

As always with this band, the musicianship is astounding and really puts these guys above everyone else. Special praise as always goes to Michael Romeo's blistering guitar work, and vocalist Russell Allen starts to step away from the high-pitched wailing of previous releases and adds a new level of aggression to his already incredibly versatile voice. Songs like 'Evolution', 'Fallen', 'Egypt', 'Rediscovery (Part 2)' and one of the bands best compositions, 'Communion and the Oracle', are all fine examples of the talent of everyone involved.

Regarded as one of Symphony X's best albums, 'V: The New Mythology Suite' is another top-notch concept album for progressive metal enthusiasts to sink their teeth into, and non-metal prog fans might just find a few things in here to pique their interest too.

 Twilight In Olympus by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.77 | 320 ratings

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Twilight In Olympus
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars It would seem a near-impossible task for a band to not only match, but surpass 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy', but if anyone can do it, it's the albums creators themselves, for with 'Twilight in Olympus', Symphony X have unleashed a pure masterpiece of progressive metal upon the world.

Comfortable and confident with their sound, the interplay between all the musicians on this release is breathtaking, with each member given ample time to shine. Michael Romeo's guitars are at their neoclassical best, with keyboard player Michael Pinnella matching him note for note. The rhythm section, despite the long compositions and intricate structures, are as solid as ever, and Russell Allen's vocals are truly at their peak. From aggressive to melodic, from deathly growls to the highest wails, this truly is one of the most versatile singers in the world, fronting some of the most technically proficient musicians in the world.

Despite being a continuation of the style they'd honed and perfected over the last few albums, nothing on 'Twilight' sounds forced or stagnant. The band sound more focused and driven than ever. While every song here is a true highlight in the bands discography, it's the first half of the album that deserves particular attention. 'Smoke and Mirrors' and 'In the Dragon's Den' are relentless in speed and technique, and 'Church of the Machine' and 'Through the Looking Glass' are two of the greatest "epics" the genre has to offer.

With its blend of metal, progressive and neoclassical elements, virtuoso musicianship and solid production, Symphony X's 'Twilight in Olympus' is an absolute beast of an album, and is without a doubt one of progressive metal's finest offerings.

 The Divine Wings Of Tragedy by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.12 | 524 ratings

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The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Symphony X's upward spiral continues as their third album, 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy', builds upon every improvement made over their previous two albums, to make this one of their finest and most ambitious releases to date.

The music and sound is pretty much similar to its predecessor, yet, everything just seems more accomplished. The band have really hit their stride in regards to songwriting, especially guitarist Michael Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinnella, who's neoclassical dueling perfectly encapsulates the essence of the band. And vocalist Russell Allen's incredible voice fits the music perfectly, able to shift from melodic to aggressive singing with ease.

After 'The Damnation Game' set the blueprint for a Symphony X album, this is where the New Jersey quintet really started to refine their sound and become the band we all know and love. And with some of their strongest material in songs such as 'Of Sins and Shadows', 'Out of the Ashes', 'The Accolade', 'The Eyes of Medusa' and the 21-minute title track, it's easy to see why this album is held in such high regard by fans.

 The Damnation Game by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.36 | 226 ratings

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The Damnation Game
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Symphony X are back with their second album and a sound that will quickly distinguish them as one of the top prog metal bands in the world.

The differences between this and their self-titled debut are noticeable immediately. Besides the addition of powerhouse vocalist Russell Allen, who's incredible voice can easily switch between both melodic and aggressive styles, the production has been vastly improved and the songwriting is a lot more confident and refined.

The songs on 'The Damnation Game' flow so much fluidly than before. Michael Romeo's intense riffs and exotic solos are much more tasteful, and Michael Pinella's keyboards never sounded this beautiful on 'Symphony X'. While this is far from the bands most ambitious work, it's still a solid blueprint which the New Jersey quintet would build upon with future releases.

Featuring highlights such as 'The Edge of Forever', 'A Winter's Dream', 'The Haunting' and the title track, the reason this only gets a three-star rating is because, despite being a really good record, honestly, it just pales in comparison to what's to come. Such is the strength of the bands later output that I find myself very rarely listening to this one. Still, if you're a fan of Symphony X, then this is definitely an album worth owning!

 Symphony X by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.88 | 186 ratings

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Symphony X
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars After his 1994 solo release, guitarist Michael Romeo was met with a proposal from a record label to form a band and record an album in the similar vein to his solo material. "Sure, why not?"... and thus was born one of progressive metals most popular and influential bands.

Borrowing heavily upon the neoclassical style of shred made famous by Yngwie Malmsteen, Symphony X's self-titled debut release is a humble album that shows a band with the potential for big things, with the only major setback being the rather subpar production. While it's certainly not terrible, it just lacks that little bit of punch that the music really needs. It's a punch that would be added to future releases, and the difference is immediately noticeable.

As for the music itself, it's nowhere near as ambitious as the bands later releases, which would go on to utilize massive orchestrations, but it's still pretty good, and lays down a solid foundation upon which the band would establish their defining sound. As expected, Michael Romeo's guitar playing is the star of the show here, with his neoclassical virtuosity matched perfectly by keyboardist Michael Pinella, both displaying enough talents to secure their careers in a post-grunge metal scene. Vocalist Rod Tyler does a good job, and is vastly underrated for his work on this album, but it's his only appearance with the group and he will soon be overshadowed by his replacement, powerhouse singer Russell Allen.

'Symphony X' overall is a good debut, with early signs of greatness evident. 'Masquerade', 'The Raging Seasons', 'Premonition', 'Thorns of Sorrow' and the ballad 'Shades of Grey' are all notable reasons why this should be in your collection, and if you're a collector like me, it's certainly not one you'll regret having to own.

 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 227 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I'd always found that consistency was a bit of a weak point for Symphony X, with only V: the New Mythology Suite being much of a keeper among their early work. Then Iconoclast made a very positive impression on me, and now I actually think Underworld has all their previous work beat, offering a true classic of their power-prog metal style. The band have developed a really nuanced sense of when to be a bit more restrained and when to let forth with full force, having learned that cranking things up to 11 for the entire album isn't always the best way - sometimes your assaults hit harder when you give people a bit of breathing space between them.

Whilst Iconoclast was fantastically heavy and Underworld is no slouch in that department, I sense some of their prog inclinations returning to the foreground this time, and I'd be really interested to see where their sound evolves next. To my ears, at least, Symphony X seem to have hit the most consistently high levels of quality they have achieved over their entire career, and I sincerely hope they can keep it up.

 Underworld by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 227 ratings

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Underworld
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Symphony X continues their winning streak of excellent metal releases with Underworld, an album of monstrous hooks and savage riffing that checks just about every box you could want in a prog-metal album. It's conceptual, features brain-twisting instrumental moments, outstanding vocals, and memorable songs; however, one thing that Symphony X continually brings to the table more than many of their peers is a good old fashioned heavy metal style that is simply irresistible.

I had a gushing review of their previous album, Iconoclast, and much of that praise carries over here as well. This band is refreshingly consistent, crushing it from a songwriting and instrumental perspective. Songs are dramatic and ambitious, but not so much so that the album is weighed down in pretense or narrative baggage. The momentum doesn't let up, and the group strikes a fine balance between "normal" metal riffing and prog-metal scope. Every one of these songs has musical moments that will get in your head: maybe it's a soaring metal solo from guitarist Romeo, smartly integrated keyboards from Pinella, or the excellent rhythm section - which, by the way, is masterfully produced, sounding crisp and clear throughout; how nice to hear every member of a metal group! Likely though, you'll be drawn to the rugged and varied vocals of Russel Allen, who with each release becomes nearer and nearer to the top of my list of metal vocalists. The guy is a champ, delivering the often evocative (i.e., tongue-in-cheek) lyrics with gusto and machismo.

My only criticism is that Symphony X is beginning to tread familiar ground here, but when they produce melodies and hooks, and metal moments so epic, it's hard to argue that it's a bad thing.

Bottom line, Underworld is a ton of fun that should absolutely be checked out by metal fans. The "old" Symphony X was great, but the approach that the band has taken in the past three releases hits harder and aims to please, which it absolutely does. I still recommend Iconoclast as the current entry point to this excellent metal group's library, but Underworld is probably right behind it. Check it out, get your fists pumping, head banging, brain twisting, voice crackling, and emotions satisfied with this excellent prog-metal album.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 Twilight In Olympus by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.77 | 320 ratings

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Twilight In Olympus
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First, a little bit of context. This is the first review of this album on the archives in close to 5 years; moreover, just as much time has transpired since the release of the band's mega-epic Iconoclast (to which I gave an enthusiastic 5-star review). So there's bound to be a bit of revisionist bias in my feelings, but I'm trying to my best to be objective. With that said...

Twilight in Olympus is a lot of fun. It follows the prog-metal template of the times, thematically and sonically, but is played very well and leaves very little to be critical about. Symphony X is a crazy talented group of musicians, and their take on that prog-metal template is sophisticated. This is not an "every thing and the kitchen sink" metal experience; neither is it a overly thoughtful work of art. Its blend of melodies and metal and nuance sort of sifts its way perfectly into the "good but not essential" rating. It does everything good, but nothing great.

For fans of the band, Twilight in Olympus sounds very much like a slightly more metal take on the same sort of scope we heard in Divine Wings of Tragedy. The band is still growing, still flexing their muscles, and it shows mostly in their song writing, which isn't as sticky as later albums.

For newcomers, Twilight in Olympus is a blend of outstanding metal riffing and faux-symphonic stylings. Symphony X sounds more grandiose in scope than that "other" prog-metal group whose heyday was during the late '90's/early 2000's, thanks mostly to their fantastic lyrics and use of keyboards. Pinnella is a fine player, no doubt; his keys come across as less busy as other prog-metal groups though, in the sense that he's mostly filling space or textures as opposed to jumping into the foreground soloing. He also selects a palette of sounds synthesizing reconnaissance-era organs or harpsichords or whatever (at least that's my take; I'm not a historian of keyed instruments!). This gives the album more of a neo-prog feel. Depending on your outlook, that's pretty cool! You've got crazy metal chugging and bass lines sitting alongside tinkling or symphonic keyboards. Again, I'm sort of middle of the road on this. It works, but doesn't connect with me as much as we'll hear on later works.

In the end, Twilight in Olympus is a perfect example of a 3-star release. Get it and you won't be disappointed, but you probably won't place it at the top of your prog-metal playlist. Great stuff for those having experienced the band's later works, or who like Symphony X's voice, but not the heavier style of those later works.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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