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Symphony X - Underworld Award winner

Symphony X
by Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia at 24 June 2015, 11:25 AM

And after four years of waiting, since 2011’s “Iconoclast”, it’s time to hear a new album from the Melodic Progressive Metal kings from United States that we all know (and love), the quintet SYMPHONY X, that returns with another perfect masterpiece, “Underworld”.

What can “Big Daddy” here can say about “Underworld”?

We can say that the band didn’t turned away from their style, it’s here, but as heavy as the last two albums, but with a more clean insight of their own music. And the album was done and composed as a whole. What I mean: all tracks forms a whole experience, you can’t just take one or another track. Jason Rullo on drums is perfect, even after his problem with his heart, with excellent technique, and along with his partner Mike Lepond on bass (who is playing heavy with a very good technique once more), forming one of the best rhythmic kitchen of Metal. Michael Pinnella is still a master on his keyboards, knowing how to fill all the spaces with inspired orchestrations. Michael Romeo still rules as one of the best guitarists of Metal, playing with technique, feeling and inspiration in all moments, always heavy and melodic, being what some want to be, but never reach. And Russell “The Godfather” Allen still rules as one of the best vocalists of the world (maybe the best on USA), using sometimes melodic voices sometimes and some harsh and aggressive tunes on other ones, and putting a bit from his parallel works with ADRENALINE MOB and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, but without damaging the band’s personality. And all these guys getting along create a true wonderful experience in musical terms, with very good instrumental passages and catching choruses. So we can say: yes, SYMPHONY X is back to conquest once more!

The sound quality is perfect. Yes, again Michael Romeo did a fine work, getting a heavy and abrasive sound, but without leaving the sound fuzzy or too dirty (only the needed is present). And again, the illustrator Warren Flanagan created a fine cover for the album.

Maybe some problems on the way were so strong that Michael Romeo created a whole conception of a trip to Hell and to coming back that permeates the lyrics, something that reminds us of Orpheus tragedy, and Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno”.

And as “Big Daddy” said above, “Underworld” is as perfect as you can think, a true voyage in form of Metal music, with SYMPHONY X keeping their musical identity untouched, but giving a step ahead.

All the ten songs (“Overture” is a climatic introduction for the album) are wonderful, but besides I told above for you to hear the entire album, you could start with the climatic, technical and heavy “Nevermore” (with Mike Romeo playing very good riffs, a wonderful solo, and with Russell using multiple tunes of his wonderful voice), the abrasive “Underworld” (again with Michael Romeo creating great moments with his 6 strings axe and great moments of Russell, but Michael Pinnella is showing a very good work on his keyboards as well), the introspective and beautiful ballad “Without You” (great chorus, fine clean and distorted guitars, and Michael Lepond and Jason are playing savagely, with technique and weight). On “Kiss of Fire”, great orchestrations and a fine work on bass guitar give the initial spark for a heavy and catching song, and another great chorus is presented. A heavy and worked tempo is presented on “Charon”, another excellent song, with vocals using and abusing of very good tunes and with that final touch perfectly done by bass guitar and keyboards. The long and elegant “Hell and Back” comes, full of great tempo changes, tons of very heavy and good technical moments, and a perfect and hooking chorus, with both Michael Romeo and Michael Lepond being simply splendid on this song. The massive weight is back on “In My Darkest Hour”, with mid paced tempos and a great work from keyboards and vocals. With some Jazz and Progressive Rock influences on guitars and keyboards, “Run with the Devil” has a more technical (but catching) insight. One of the best and emotional interpretations of Russell is presented on the wonderful “Swan Song”, a song filled with great and climatic clean moments (where keyboards creates perfect orchestrations) some musical details done perfectly on bass guitar. And “Legend” is a song with a more SYMPHONY X traditional style, but with some fine orchestrations and great moments created by the guitars and bass once more (and with some 80s feeling due the riffs).  As you can see, “Big Daddy” spoke about all songs, because it’s a pity to left one of them with no comments. Again: this album is simply perfect, that’s all. And it’s truly addiction!

SYMPHONY X did one of the best albums of the year, that album that “Big Daddy” here truly recommends for you to buy.
Buy it on digital or physical format, because illegal downloads are for parasites, not Metallians.

Congratulations, guys, and welcome back!

5 Star Rating

1. Overture
2. Nevermore
3. Underworld
4. Without You
5. Kiss of Fire
6. Charon
7. Hell and Back
8. In My Darkest Hour
9. Run with the Devil
10. Swansong
11. Legend
Russell Allen - Vocals
Michael Romeo - Guitars
Michael Lepond - Bass
Michael Pinnella - Keyboards
Jason Rullo - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 22 October 2021

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