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Symphony X

Company: Nuclear Blast
Release: 2015
Genre: Power, prog
Reviewer: Greg Watson

  • A trip back in time

  • 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.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    All reviews for Symphony X:
    UnderworldSymphony X
    Greg Watson8/20/2015

    All interviews for Symphony X:

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