I’ve always had very mixed feelings about Symphony X in general. I was really into V: The New Mythology and The Odyssey, but some of their other albums didn’t sit so well with me, so I was definitely interested in seeing what direction the band would go with Underworld.
The first thing I’ve gotta say is that these guys know how to start an album. If you, for whatever reason, weren’t in the mood for some progressive metal before listening to “Overture”, you sure as hell will be afterwards. With a tasteful blend of a mixed choir, a string ensemble, a fair amount of brass, as well as their own additions to the orchestra, Symphony X effectively sets the tone for this roller coaster of an album.
Something that I really appreciate about this album, is that even when the song is already super heavy, they can still find a way to hit a climax so hard that even if you aren’t paying attention you’ll stop whatever you’re doing and just kind of nod in agreement. These guys have their pacing game down, and that’s such a vital element for a style that asks for such a large amount of energy. The thing is though, they pace themselves well within the songs, but the album itself seems to be a constant flow of heaviness with the two stray speed bumps in “Without You” and “Swan Song”. This isn’t really a huge problem, except that it takes a bit of a blow to the diversity of the album. Though I suppose having a change of pace two times through the album helps it along pretty well.
I also just want to take a moment to talk about Russell Allen’s insane range and control. This is a man who carries some serious weight in this band. Throughout this album you can hear him regularly jumping full octaves and then some to find pitches that still aren’t in his head voice. Or roaring on top of the intense riff-work being done by Romeo and LePond. I’ve constantly been impressed by Allen’s voice in all of his projects, and he hasn’t done us wrong this time either.
This is most certainly a Symphony X album. If you liked them before, I feel confident that you’ll like them again. Underworld is hitting stores on July 24th, so give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
04. Without You
05. Kiss Of Fire
07. To Hell And Back
08. In My Darkest Hour
09. Run With The Devil
10. Swan Song
Playing time: 01:03:58
Release Date: 24th of July, 2015
Label: Nuclear Blast Records