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Symphony X - 'Underworld' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ad/5b/a2/Symphony-X-Underworld-28-1441050217.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 31, 2015    
 
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This could easily be the best Melodic/Progressive Metal album I've heard this year; a spectacular triumph.

It's been four long years since the last Symphony X release 'Iconoclast'. But now I have their brand new album 'Underworld' in my greedy little hands and to tell you the honest to goodness truth, it is everything I hoped it would be and so much more.

With blistering guitar, bass guitar runs, drums that shake the walls of your house, keyboards that resonate with force and intensity along with vocals that will destroy at ten paces, you know that after only one listen that 'Underworld' is the perfect way for them to make their return. Now those few factors I've already mentioned should, on their own, be enough to make you want to part with your hard earned money. But also having ten amazing songs (eleven if you count the intro) is just the proverbial icing on the cake.

'Underworld' isn't a concept album per se but instead it builds on themes of darkness and emotion that were inspired by Michael Romeo's reading of 'Dante's Inferno'. The idea of Hell, reclamation and Dante's use of the number three (and its multiples) are all used throughout the album and you'll enjoy discovering these complexities for yourself. The songs therefore aren't easy (at first) to get to grips with, having many layers of intricacy running through them. You have to sit down and really listen to what SyX have created on this release before you truly understand what's going on. When you do, be ready for some of the most intense music this band has ever released.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The album starts with the razor sharp riffage of 'Nevermore' and the stunning title track where keyboard player Michael Pinnella puts in a master class in how to create atmosphere and depth with his playing. These precede the lighter yet truly striking 'Without You' where Russell (God) Allen shows just why he's considered one of the best singers on the planet. Then, from this incredible beginning, the band continues to build the musical drama and mood that they have begun.

You'll find the likes of 'Charon', about the boatman for the dead which keeps the 'Underworld' theme going, the ten minute majesty of 'To Hell And Back' which is just simply breathtaking and my own personal favourite 'Swan Song' where Allen, Romeo, Pinnella, Michael LePond and Jason Rullo combine to create one of this band's most complete and intoxicating songs.

There are only handful of bands working today who can make albums of such beauty and grace, who can combine great musicianship and complex arrangements with accessible songs. I'm thankful that Symphony X are one of them and this could easily be the best Melodic/Progressive Metal album I've heard this year; a spectacular triumph.

Ian Johnson

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