New Jersey power metallers Symphony X are back with their ninth studio album, "Underworld". Taking a step back to older albums, "Underworld" brings back some of the speed, technicality and aggression that had been sorely lacking from their last two releases.
Vocalist Russell Allen seems to be missing his typical range a bit on this and it makes one wonder if his work in Level 10 and Adrenaline Mob are beginning to take a toll on his vocals. Despite the missing soaring vocals, his performance is still spot on. Guitarist Michael Romeo is featured heavily as the band and albums are his work and creation. If you're a fan of Neo-Classical ripping a la Yngwie Malmsteen, you already know that this guy can play a guitar. At times, the guitars and keyboards become a bit tedious and overwhelming but still provide some needed groove and atmosphere. The focus was clearly back on writing quality songs with this album as tracks like "Charon", "Nevermore" and "To Hell And Back" really focus on the lyrics and the story of the song. While not being a conceptual album through and through, this one deals with the mythological Greek Underworld, hence the album title, and provides some pretty cool moments song wise.
This one will delight fans who were looking for a trip back in time for the band and is sure to pick up a few new listeners along the way.
About this Writer: Greg Watson // Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.
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