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Symphony X / Savage Messiah - Picturedrome, Holmfirth (UK) - 05 June 2019

London five-piece band Savage Messiah took the stage to a lukewarm yet polite reception; however, the latter was replaced by rapturous applause by the end of their nine-song set. The opening numbers 'Virtue Signal', 'Heretic In The Modern World', 'The Bitter Truth' and 'The Lights Are Going Out' were all very heavy, but alas had very little melody. The keyboard player was inaudible in the mix until the experimental cover of Country & Western star Chris Stapleton's 'Parachute', which was my personal highlight. Although unfamiliar with their material I must thank singer/guitarist David Silver for introducing each song; always a big help to reviewers. His vocals were clean and guitarist David Hruska's solos were impressive throughout. The final two numbers saw the group returning to the ferocious Metal of 'The Faithful Dark' and 'Down & Out'. I would conclude that they are better than your average Metal band, but need to continue to develop their songwriting. Live they've got all the attributes, but please let your keyboard player be heard!


Savage Messiah - live 2019

Setlist: Virtue Signal / Heretic In The Modern World / The Bitter Truth / The Lights Are Going Out / Under No Illusions / What Dreams May Come / Parachute / The Faithful Dark / Down & Out


There was an air of expectancy amongst the Holmfirth Metal brigade as New Jersey's Symphony X took to the stage. From the get go guitarist Michael Romeo was soloing like there was no tomorrow, ably supported by the talented Michael Pinella (keyboards), and the phenomenal rhythm section of Michael LePond and Jason Rullo on bass and drums respectively. Then, there was frontman Russell Allen, who is arguably the finest Metal vocalist on the planet.


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This was my first time seeing Symphony X live. I have always found them very intense on album, so was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed they all were on stage; none more so than Allen who was certainly enjoying himself following a self-imposed hiatus, due to the untimely passing of his bass player and tour manager.

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The ten-song set was taken from six of their back-catalogue albums, with three a-piece from the last studio album 'Underworld' and the classic 'Paradise Lost' opus. My personal favourite numbers of the evening were from the former, the melodic 'Nevermore' and the power ballad extraordinaire 'Without You', where Allen exhibited his immense vocal talents to the full and supported my claims of the best Metal singer in the world.


SymphonyX Live 2019 2

As usual, the Picturedrome offered fantastic sonics, which elevated songs like 'Domination', 'Run With The Devil', 'Sea Of Lies' and 'Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)' to an even higher level than their studio versions.


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I overheard a few moans and groans as the band left the stage after just eighty- minutes; however, these were soon diminished as they returned for a further half hour for a stunning rendition of the classic 'Odyssey'. The finale saw Allen and Romeo joking together with the crowd. Everyone left knowing they had witnessed a phenomenal show. Symphony X, the perfect definition of "an iron fist in a velvet glove".


SymphonyX Live 2019 4

Setlist: Iconclast / Evolution (The Grand Design) / Serpent's Kiss / Nevermore / Without You / Domination / Run With The Devil / Sea Of Lies / Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)
Encore: The Odyssey

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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