Symphony X - The Odyssey
InsideOut Music
Progressive Power Metal
8 songs (66'10)
Release year: 2002
Symphony X, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
After almost 9 years in existence, Symphony X could now officially be called veterans in the Progressive Metal scene along with the likes of Dream Theater. People are constantly seeing examples of some of the good things to come out of the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 and they may as well cite this album as one of them. Symphony X was ready to hit the road opening for Savatage when the whole tour was cancelled due to the unsettled feelings in the world in the aftermath of that tragic event. This time off was used to it's fullest in the writing and recording of this particular album, their sixth, entitled The Odyssey. What they have created here is simply, one of the best albums in this genre ever to be released and certainly rivals anything they've ever done before. Many still regard The Divine Wings Of Tragedy as being their best so far and until now, I would've agreed with that. The Odyssey may very well be the band's finest hour.

This latest release certainly sees the band experimenting with a much heavier sound than they've done before. Progressive Metal fans need not worry though, the band still stays close to it's roots and there's plenty of keyboard and guitar passages that still bear the trademark Symphony X sound. Some of the arrangements and vocal styles really give the band the sound of the classic Dio era Rainbow. The choruses are amazing on all of the tracks and I think Russell Allen's voice never sounded better. He's one of the few vocalists in the metal scene that has a distinctive sound and style, even though I still think he sounds like a demented Dio on a few occasions!! A major highlight of this album is his performance on The Accolade II (Part I can be found on The Divine Wings Of Tragedy album). A very epic sounding song with lots of rich melodic elements, some great keyboard and guitar instrumental passages, lots of thematic soloing and a very passionate and powerful vocal by Russell. One thing that is very apparent right from the opening chords of the first track, Inferno (Unleash The Fire) is that the band this time has gone for a more heavier, guitar driven sound. Most tracks feature some great chunky riffing from Michael Romeo and the lower tuning of the guitars give it an even heavier sound. This whole album is full of mind-blowing guitar riffs that are speedy, very technical and also beefy and heavy. Some of the riffing, especially on tracks such as Wicked, Incantations Of The Apprentice and King Of Terrors, border on an almost Thrash Metal sound with their speed and style and the super fast drumming of Jason Rullo to propel them. Fans of both Progressive Metal and of the Iced Earth style of metal will find lots to like about this album.

Every track on this album is unique and special in it's own way and a very high energy level is maintained throughout. There is nothing mediocre or boring about this album. Just when you thought the album couldn't get any better, they deliver a stunning 24 minute epic of all epics, the title track, The Odyssey. Based on the classic story by Homer, this song takes you on a musical journey that has an almost soundtrack like quality to it. The band throws just about everything at you in this song, everything that they're known for as far as their trademark sound, especially the keyboard symphonic elements, and the result is breathtaking.

I think this album shows the band at it's finest hour. Everything is in it's place, the sound and production is perfect and their songwriting skills have never been better. Although it's bit early to predict (but I will anyway!!), I think this is the band's best album to date and I'm certain that it will be on my list for one of the best albums of the year so far. This album will be released on November 4th world wide so run, drive, swim, crawl, whatever, to the nearest CD store and grab this one, Progressive Metal at it's finest!!

Killing Songs :
The Whole Album!!
Marty quoted 92 / 100
Aleksie quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Symphony X that we have reviewed:
Symphony X - Underworld reviewed by Joel and quoted 92 / 100
Symphony X - Iconoclast reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 88 / 100
Symphony X - The Divine Wings of Tragedy reviewed by Boris and quoted 95 / 100
Symphony X - Twilight in Olympus reviewed by Boris and quoted 78 / 100
Symphony X - The Damnation Game reviewed by Boris and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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