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Symphony X – Paradise Lost

Label: Inside Out Music
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

After five years since the release of "The Odyssey", Symphony X returns with a record that I’m sure will surely please while surprise many as the energy and edginess levels have been stepped up and made their sound even more metallic and heavy.


After the dramatic opening instrumental alludes somewhat to the music that follows, it is the even more intrusive arrangements behind 'Set the World on Fire' and 'Domination' that will be of a surprise (and a pleasant one to this journalist). Now don’t be misled in any way because these are clearly Symphony X compositions keeping within what they are known for, it’s the harder sound and added hints of anger that propels almost every song. It is the next step after what “The Odyssey” started.

'Set the World' begins with guitarist Mike Romeo’s Neoclassical tinted riffs and a complimenting aggressive rhythm section as galloping drum and bass accompany. The guitar /keyboard solo trade offs are equally invasive in their attack as the listener is propelled further into Symphony X’s world of paradise lost. Guitars, drums and bass aside, like I said earlier its Russell Allen’s vocals that give the music an even angrier feel. Take for example 'Domination' as Russell's snarl really bears its teeth for what is possible the heaviest most aggressive track on the disc. The breakdown change is also excellent with some really deep heavy organ sounding keyboard work. See this is how I want my progressive metal, the music moves constantly maintaining a rather consistent beat and riff pattern yet with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

As Symphony X’s music is characterized mostly by Romeo’s guitars, 'Serpent’s Kiss' with its dynamic changes and gothic backing vocals also showcase the rest of the members purpose like Mike Pinnella’s insane keyboard leads, Mike Lepond’s driving bass lines (which many of the times follow and piggy back Romeo) and Jason Rullo’s exceptional drumming abilities.

Now by this point if you felt Symphony X lost some of themselves (can’t see how really but I’m sure it will come up) the title track contains more familiar classical Symphony X keyboard and vocal sounds and Russell uses a smoother more pleasant tone. The track is not heavy or aggressive with more heart felt soulful vocals Russell is known for. 'The Sacrifice' serving the same purpose offering melody and emotion in a different way than the rest of the disc.

'Eve of Seduction' followed by 'The Walls of Babylon' bring back the fire and the fury as 'Eve' contains a recognizable Symphony X guitar/bass groove and melodic double bass chorus, 'Babylon' incorporating a killer lead segment and keyboard parts to highlight the arrangement. Boy… for 'Babylon', Romeo, Pinella, Lepond, and Rullo are just amazing together. Overall this is an excellent piece of work for Symphony X. They surely do raise the bar for progressive players and have delivered something headbangers should surely be happy with.

See this is what happens when you let Dream Theater, Metallica, Yngwie, Iron Maiden, and Stratovarius become sperm donors and their swimmers all end up in the same vagina.

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