Monday, July 10, 2006

It's Not Just "Smoke and Mirrors"

I may have been harsh in my statement about Symphony X being a Dream Theatre clone. I'm sorry. There are definite influences, but upon refreshing myself with Symphony X' "Twilight In Olympus" I realize that they are very much their own sound. If I can justify my statement briefly, I did think Symphony X was exactly like Dream Theatre when I first heard "Twilight In Olympus". This was the first album of theirs that I bought and at the time I was quite the hardcore D.T. fan and in such very defensive. That's not to say that I did not enjoy this album, I did very much so, but I did think they were copying Dream Theatre. Well enough about that.

Symphony X' music is far more accessible than D.T.'s for one thing. The songs are shorter and tighter (with a few exceptions, I mean they are progressive). Lyrically they deal with a lot of fantasy/mythology and classic literary works, but they pull it off without appearing cheesy. Musically they bring a lot of melody and classical influences, but never compromise heaviness. I find Russell Allen's vocals to help make their music more "real". It's easy to become silly especially with the subjects Symphony X deal with, but Russell's vocals are powerful with a wide range of emotions and the appropriate amount of gruffness, no wailing here and I like that. I sense a bit of Matthew Barlow of Iced Earth in his vocal stylings.

"Twilight In Olympus" is a good album (though not their best) and as I said it is the first one I owned by them. It starts off with the blazing opener "Smoke and Mirrors" which is good and heavy and then continues on with "Church Of The Machine" which I would say is my favourite track. "Church ..." has it all, fast and heavy with a lot of melody and a good sing along chorus. The keyboardist Michael Pinnella is fantastic and is responsible for a lot of the melody in the music. Especially on tracks like the epic (13+ min.) "Through the Looking Glass (pt.1,2,3)", "Lady of The Snow" and "Church Of The Machine".

The heaviest track (or more appropriately riff) is "Orion - The Hunter" which is a good example of Michael Romeo's fine guitarmanship. He is often compared to Yngwie Malmsteen in shredding capabilities, but he doesn't get showy. Romeo has a great sense of song structure and keeping them strong without flights of soloing fancies. I actually think "Lady of The Snow" is the heaviest track.

Overall I really like Symphony X, and their other releases are equally brilliant. What I especially like is that unlike Dream Theatre (who I think have mellowed out a bit) They have stayed heavy and continue with strong albums. They make fantastical/mythological metal cool! And truly shine as a unique progressive metal band.

Up next with me 'X' theme is hardcore greats xDisciplex A.D. stay tuned!


Blogger Carol said...

Talking about heavy metal; the FFMB has a gig for a birthday party. Check it out, we could use a triangularist on this one.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

What's all this then? A heavy metal blog? Where's the lead?

1:49 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

it seems we were away for a similar amount of time. hope you had an enjoyable and restful time away.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Man, it's been to long since I was here to check your shit man. My Mom blew our Internet money on beer and booze for her new ass wipe Boyfriend. They get drunk everynight, but thats okay, I just blaze my Metal to get away from this hell. Man the guys from this band look so cool, real men have long hair!! Thats what I tell my idiot family when they tell me I should cut it off and look respectable. F&*k them! Keepin the hair man, it's a statement!! I know a hard core dude like you gets it! I bet your hair is long to right?

6:28 AM  

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