Symphony X


Written by: RD on 23/11/2015 14:13:02

There are things that we know for sure will happen. Woody Allen will release a new movie this year, Donald Trump will once again say something absolutely outrageous that upsets the entire planet except for republican voters, and winter will indeed come in Westeros. To these certainties, we can add that the next Symphony X album will be a fairly good record and will feature commedia dell’arte masks on its artwork. Indeed, it has been more than two decades since the American band started a solid discography and they have rarely disappointed their fans. Of course, there have been slight changes in their style: A bit more progressive with “V”, a bit more metal with “Paradise Lost”, but the quality of Symphony X’s releases has remained consistent for all these years.

In 2015, the new Symphony X record “Underworld” starts, in the wake of a short symphonic intro, with an excellent opening title, “Nevermore”. The rhythm section is like an army ready to crush you without mercy, the guitar riff is extremely tight and efficient and Russell Allen’s singing has not lost a single bit of its power. Without lowering the intensity, the track becomes more melodic and progressive and, in the span of one song, Symphony X sets the tone of this album, which contains all the elements we love from the American metal-prog heroes. The band carries on in the same metal direction it took with “Paradise Lost” and “Underworld” has a very strong rhythm section, inspired solos from Michael Romeo and great vocal performances by Allen. The band also displays a quieter and more subtle side with “Without You” and “Swan Song” which conjure up the ghosts of “Accolade” part I and II. This album is also the occasion for Allen to show the versatility of his range, from the very aggressive vocals of “Kiss of Fire” to the more lyrical lines of “Swan Song”. The band excels in creating rich and complex metal songs with catchy melodic lines written mainly by Michal Romeo. But there is a member of the band who is not significantly present on the record: keyboardist Michael Pinnella. Apart from a few solos, Pinnella stays pretty much in the back of the music. However, he adds some density and light orchestrations to the songs but he still pays for the more heavy orientation that the group took after “The Odyssey”, on which he was more essential.

Unlike other progressive metal bands that withered, dull record after even duller records, Symphony X manage to stay fresh and relevant. “Underworld” may appeal less to the fans of the more progressive albums, but it remains satisfying. Its lack of surprise is a double-sided coin, we fail to be blown away by new and innovative music, but the album undoubtedly has a lot of qualities. With its very memorable tunes and complex musicianship, "Underworld" shows how technical music can be best served.


Download: Nevermore, Without You, Kiss of Fire
For The Fans Of: Symphony X, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater

Release date 24.07.2015
Nuclear Blast

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