Symphony X - The Odyssey - 2002


People expected a lot this new album of the North American band Symphony X. After delighting us with a work of art (inside what refers to progressive metal) called "V", Symphony X returns with a new studio album. "The Odyssey" consists of 8 tracks of pure Symphony X style. They don't forget none of its shades and they are able surprise us evolving again and giving us new musical sensations. With the definitive return of Jason Rullo (drums) and Michael Lepond´s consolidation (bass guitar) we will be able to say that Symphony X is already a firm band ready to eat up the world market. Mainly after seeing the great sales volume of "The Odyssey" in the first weeks.


Well, as it is usually habitual we mince this album track by track. First of all we find a great epic cover with homer as the main character. In this occasion these boys from New Jersey have decided to be focus in the great and well-known Homero´s novel called "The Odyssey". The truth is that in this sense they have not surprised us much because their lyrics are centred mostly in the mythology, fables and things like that.

We start with "Inferno" where already from the first compasses we can perceive the characteristic style of this band. Michael Romeo leads the track with a complicated guitar riff (habitual in almost all Symphony X albums) going into in turn in a quite catching base in spite of being a complicated beat. I could not belive my ears when i listened the voice of Sir Rusell Allen. Once more he has been able to surprise us, this time demonstrating us his maestry on the vocals. Characterized to have a strong but sweet voice, Mr Allen let us openmouthed bordering the guttural, making of this song an real gunshot. At the beginning of In the song "Wicked" we find interrupted guitar riffs that make us think in that this album won't be as melodic as the previous ones. The rhythm mixture & the hardness is surprising in this track. In the middle part of the song we delight with the typical but at the same time surprising Michael Romeo solos and even there is time for the splendor of the voice in a reserved place only for Mr Allen in this song. Anxious we arrive to the third track. "Incantations of the Apprentice" still surprising me making me to think that we are listening an thrash metal album of the early 90s. Even so they don´t lose an melody apex getting a perfect mixture. I will highlight the understanding among bass, drums and guitar in some parts of this track. I could not avoid my surprise seeing the name of the following song. "Accolade II" is the continuation of the track included in their CD called "The Divine Wings of Tragedy". Very similar and with added touches & previously compounded parts we find one of the best tracks in this album. With one of the best melodic parts that I ever listen for a long time, “Accolade II” lead us in the typical medieval and noble environment but without touching in any moment the epic metal so worn-out today. If we had been sleeping, "King of Terrors" (the hardest song of the whole CD) reminds us to bands of the kind of their compatriots Pantera, yes!, Pantera! A great aggressiveness on the guitars as in the voices. This track also reminds me a lot to its previous album in some keyboard melodies. By the way, we had not still spoken of Michael Pinella. His keyboard solo in this song could be qualified as the best of this year. Hate, aggressiveness and, why not?, a lot of melody perfectly compacted with this hardness. Neither one second to take a breath and we already receive "The Turning". In this track they recapture its Power Metal roots with full double bass drum parts and too many melody. A very catching and interesting track in which Michael Romeo takes the leadership once again above the rest of the musicians. We can appreciate some winks to the fantastic guitarist Jason Becker (Cacophony). "The Awakening" is another of my favorite tracks of this album. This time the keyboardist Michael Pinella takes the relay and delights us with multitude of beautiful melodies making you disconnect yourself totally of what is not the song. Beautiful vocal melodies by Rusell Allen! This track is the most symphonic of the album. We also perceive some resemblance to the album called "Twilight in Olympus". Attractive atmospheres and very catching melodies. I will highlight the great piano solo that until to reminds to Keith Emerson. To finish, a great 24 minutes track (very habitual in Symphony X) dedicated to the main topic of the album, "The Odyssey". "The Odyssey" start with a good control of samplers by Mr Romeo. Getting the sound of a real orchestra we find a new part that well could classify in Country American Rock style. This mixture is strange but atractive at the same time. Again another wink to "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" ... and here comes the surprise of the night. Ladies & Gentlemen ,they have remind me to a Queen´s album called "Innuendo"!. A pleasing surprise that I had not wait for. Along the following minutes we find winks to Pink Floyd and even to Alan Parsons! Once again it returns the orchestral parts (we already are listening the part 6). To finish, very melodic and attractive parts & a great end as is habitual in Symphony X.


Summarizing I´ll say that Symphony X has been able to improve without falling in monotony again. A hard album that will make the delights of their heaviest fans. They let us with the impatience of to see them alive in April. CHAPEAU SYMPHONY X!

author - date - rating - label

Germán Villén - December 2002 -   - Inside Out