Symphony X - V: The New Mythology Suite

Year of Release: 2000
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD066/SPV 085-41242 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:42:00

So far New Jersey based Symphony X has illustrated their talent by means of their incredible combination of rock and Wagnerian classics on such albums as Symphony X, The Damnation Game, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus. Whilst working on their new epic both singer Russell Allen and guitarist Michael Romeo lend a hand on Ayreon's Flight Of The Migrator. The reason why Arjen Lucassen needed their help was crystal-clear: Arjen loves Symphony X and the way they combine contemporary metal with classical elements.

Of course names like Stratovarius and Rhapsody spring to mind, but then again Symphony X is able to add that little bit extra. Maybe it's the powerful voice of Russell which settles so damned well within this music. Maybe it's the hard hitting tactics of drummer Jason Rullo? Maybe it's the omnipresent keyboards of Michael Pinnella? Maybe it's that powerful bass of newcomer Michael Lepond? Maybe it's the hard etched riffs of guitarist Michael Romeo? Most definitely it's the combination of these different elements into one fireball of rock!

Opener "Prelude" is almost like pure opera until the drums set in taking off the veil of what can be expected throughout this album. "Evolution" really sets the house on fire as those guitar chords fly around the room like a bat on acid! And what about those drums sounding like a Formula 1 car passing by. Pinnella's synths come close to Derek Sherinian here. The same synths open "Fallen" which certainly illustrate the very symphonic arrangements which complement Romeo's pure metal approach. Here Pinnella reminds me of Erik Norlander. I really love the many, many rhythm breaks the band introduces in it's music, whilst the balance is perfect so you can hear every little detail. I should stress once again the fantastic vocal range of Russell Allen here, a guy who could be the ideal singer for Deep Purple should Gillan decide to quit once again!

The short interlude "Transcendence' is pure magic and reminds me of the best movie soundtrack you could imagine. Dunno who composed this piece but he should approach the film industry with this kind of music. An Oscar is waiting in the wings! Piano and cello introduce "Communion And The Oracle" and proves yet again that these guys should one day be given the opportunity to record with a real orchestra. Why should this privilege be reserved for the likes of Metallica and Deep Purple anyway? "The Bird Serpent War" is like a volcano erupting through your speakers with Romeo's guitar sound trying to find it's way like molted lava. Again the soundtrack thing comes to mind when I listen to the bombastic "On The Breath Of Poseidon" and once again I would like to ask for the many millionaires reading this to donate their money so Symphony X might record their next album with a real orchestra. What a treat this would be! "Egypt" obviously has a lot of Eastern influences and holds a question and answer section between keys and guitar. Once again "The Death Of Balance - Lacrymosa" sounds very classical, opera-like once the vocals set in with outstanding drumming from Jason Rullo.

"Absence Of Light" gets the closest to Dream Theater, although due to Allen's voice it's more accessible (well slightly anyway!). Pinnella adds church organ to "A Fool's Paradise" so as to create a tiny pastoral feel within the stompin' rhythm, interspersed with clavinet and strings. Now where's that orchestra? "Rediscovery (Segue)" is our final resting point before the big finale. That finale is the 12-minute long "Rediscovery (Part II)" which kicks off with more heavy guitars and synths which kind of play a melody close to the main theme out of Tubular Bells." It's full steam ahead in the guitar department whilst once again Russell sees a chance to fit his vocals nicely into the composition. I can't stop praising the superb playing of drummer Jason Rullo who really deserves to be put in the spotlight here! Nice one Jason! Towards the end there's even a snippet of Bartok-like solo piano included before the album comes to a close repeating one of the major melodies on the album in the same way the credits would start to roll down the screen after having witnessed a stunning feature film. The only sad thing is that, although this is indeed the band's fifth album, the title has been chosen as V just like the last Spock's Beard album. It's not very original for two bands ... from the same label!. Which is probably why Symphony X has added the subtitle of The New Mythology Suite. After hearing this superb album I think the time has come to start getting into mythology once and for all as I never knew it could be that interesting!

Prelude (1:07) / Evolution (The Grand Design) (5:20) / Fallen (5:51) / Transcendence (Segue) (0:38) / Communion And The Oracle (7:45) / The Bird-Serpent - Cataclysm (4:02) / On The Breath Of Poseidon (Segue) (3:01) / Egypt (7:04) / The Death Of Balance - Lacrymosa (3:42) / Absence Of Light (4:58) / A Fool's Paradise (5:48) / Rediscovery (Segue) (1:25) / Rediscovery (Part II) - The New Mythology (12:01)

Russell Allen - vocals
Michael Romeo - guitars
Michael Lepond - bass
Michael Pinnella - keyboards
Jason Rullo - drums

Symphony X (1994)
The Damnation Game (1995)
The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (1997)
Twilight In Olympus (1998)
V - The New Mythology Suite (2000)
Live On The Edge Of Forever (2001)
The Odyssey (2002)
Paradise Lost (2007)
Iconoclast (2011)
Underworld (2015)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: September 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1008
Language: english


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