SYMPHONY X, a band more than rightfully praised amongst the greats of Progressive Power metal. Such is the quality of their records, that can turn any metalhead (the writer included) into a devotee over night. Most of their fans tend to choose “The Divine Wings Of Tragedy” as their finest hour, while all of their records are on the same high level, with their latest material incorporating less neo-classical elements, more aggression both music and vocal-wise yet not missing a single part of their identity. Just evolving with the times.
Four years after “Iconoclast” they are back with their new album “Underworld“. The album kicks off with the darkened chanting intro called “Overture”. An intro followed up by “Nevermore”, one of the first tracks published, a trademark Symphony X headbanger! “Underworld” comes up next, and sets the tone for a darker and heavier record with some almost Megadeth-oriented riffage, before turning into the ever-known melodic twists and turns of theirs. “Without You” brings something more lyrical and almost ballad-esque to the record. As for Russell Allen and the 3 Mikes of the band, do we really need to say anything more about his voice? He’s a master, no doubt about it!
The contradicting duet of the blackened mid-tempo “Kiss Of Fire” with its blastbeat-flavoured chorus, and “Charon” with its more middle-eastern melodies and neo-classical influences, comes to show that Symphony X have no limits in the feelings the can bring to the listener. And did I say something about no limits? “To Hell And Back” a 9+ minute epic, enclosing everything that this band is all about: swing of moods translated into notes, like a trip through the darkest corners of a persons’ mind, with one of the albums’ best choruses.
“In My Darkest Hour” is another fast and aggressive track never omitting a beautiful chorus, The neo-classical intro of “Run With The Devil” brings us a more Hard Rock-oriented track (or at least, as much as these guys can go) and catchy as hell. “Swan Song” and “Legend” are two songs that show the classic Symphony X side of things, the first being a moving ballad-esque beauty and the second one more of a straightforward up-tempo prog/power track, ideal to end the record.
Few will disagree that this is their heaviest and darkest offering. A strong extreme metal influence around, adding to the trademark Symphony X sound, creating a massive record, the 9nth in a row.
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