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Back with a vengeance!
on 27 June 2007
It's been a long four years since the last masterful offering from prog-metal masters Symphony X and I'm pleased to say that it's been well worth the wait! Paradise Lost is a mixture of old and new styles that should keep loyal devotees happy and hopefully will be a powerful introduction to new fans.
This new offering is bristling with power, emotion and enough techno-riffs to last a lifetime. And it's delivered by a band who individually not only have astonishingly become even more proficient but are playing in perfect unity and focus. Guitar virtuoso Michael Romeo delivers the goods, as always, as the master of the power riff and sublimely-technical solos, much of which is played in spine-tingling off-beat timing. Vocalist Russell Allen continues a trend set on The Odyssey and uses his "grunge" voice to magnificent effect on much of the dark, pounding songs on the album. The title track, however features a softer side to the band and follows along from earlier offerings such as The Accolade and The Accolade II, and gives Allen the chance to wax musical and deliver a fine vocal performance, confirming to me that he's the best in the business.
As previously mentioned the band has gone up a notch in terms of technical brilliance; drummer Jason Rullo delivers an outstanding high-octane performance that places him alongside the recognised masters (such as Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater.) Keyboardist Michael Pinnella shines throughout, especially in the racy counter-solos with Michael Romeo, and bassist Michael Lepond is on splendid form. Couple all this with a modern "in yer face" production and the usual dark, thought-provoking lyrics that are the trademark of an intelligent band and you have a truly magnificent album.
At this early stage my favourite songs are "Set the World on Fire" and "Domination" but I always find with Symphony X that the more I listen to their new albums the more I come to appreciate the subtlety and cleverness of the songs throughout.
Is it the album of the decade? It is for me. Play it on an amplifier with a volume control that goes up to number 12! More a case of paradise regained!