|Review: Symphony X - Paradise Lost|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: December 24, 2008
Reviewed by: Risser
Rated 4.56/5 (91.21%) (66 Votes)
Holy Toledo Batman, we have ourselves a winner. And after all these years I thought that Symphony X was doomed to writing an average of 2.5 amazing tracks per album and then filling the rest with bland guitar noodling; but oh lordy was I proven wrong! With not one bad track, this has to be their strongest effort yet; yes; even better than their previous two works. This album puts the metal back in progressive metal and rips Dream Theater and all their little spawning ripoffs a new one.
Ok enough hype, let's delve into the music here: Remember what I said about blandness? Leave that idea at the door; with really quite straightforward fresh and aggressive riffs straight from the fires of some weird proggy hell, Romeo half shreds, half grooves his way through this album with some of the smartest and, for lack of better a better term, "steeliest", riffing... well ever, really. Not to mention his amazingly cunning solos that dart back and forth up the fretboard as if he was the lost brother of Malmsteen who actually enjoys playing Heavy Metal with balls. Giant steel, demon balls. No really, this guy is some sort of freak-savior of metal soloing; pretty much none of the solos sound forced even though there is at least one solo per song; and they all are... interesting, not overly-acrobatic! This, combined with the aforementioned aggressive riffing really creates a progressive album that sounds very coherent (get THAT, Dream Theater?!) and fun.
Russel Alan's vocals are more agitated than ever, sometimes borderlining on harsh, and he can basically hit any note he wants and make it sound completely badass, but without sounding all tough guy hardcore. Lots of great, non-cheesey, melodic choruses to sing along to on Paradise Lost as well! The lyrics are great; especially if you are familiar with Paradise Lost by Milton. The bass is awesome when audible (See the intro to "Domination" for how to use bass harmonics correctly) and after looking at some of the tabs for the bass on this album, I've concluded he's a god because he plays those crazy scale-fills alongside Romeo without breaking a sweat. Drumming is awesome, especially during the chorus of the title track; not stock-prog shit at all, very unique and original.
All in all, this album exemplifies how when a bunch of awesome musicians get together and persevere through some tough times and lack of recognition from the shit-people they call Dream Theater fanboys (yeah, I think they suck), they can still blow everyone else out of the water all in one go. In a dark time for prog, when bands can be "Progressive Metalcore" and everybody and his brother quotes Yes and Rush as influences, it's nice to see somebody pick up a fun and unique double-sided axe and cut the heads off of all the posers.
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