|Review: Symphony X - Paradise Lost|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: October 13, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.55/5 (91.04%) (67 Votes)
The magical seventh album by the best prog band in the US proves the charm, as they put together all the elements of their sound in a powerful, alchemical synthesis to create their best album. Every Symphony X fan has their own personal favorite album, and many will hold that The New Mythology Suite or The Odyssey are their high points, but for me, I think Paradise Lost is their best work. This band has just never sounded as tight or as focused as they do here.
Symphony X have ditched a lot of the sprawling stigmata of prog with this album, going for a more unified sound. Not that there are no insane lead breaks, keyboard dialogues, or bizarre time shifts on this album - there certainly are, but this time they are all solidly lashed to really good songs. What we have here is the sound of a band who no longer feel the urge to show off as intensively as they did before. The music in Paradise Lost is just as complex as any on previous albums, but the complexity is more subtle, and you only notice a lot of it if you pay attention. Those addicted to high-wire, over-the-top musical wankering may be a bit let down, but those of us who like real music will find this album an intensely satisfying musical experience. Tracks like "Set The World On Fire", "The Serpent's Kiss", and the beautiful title track successfully combine technical richness with memorable melodies to make prog you can sing along to. The songs are all enjoyable on the surface for their heaviness and hooks, but also reward closer listening with layers of technique and depth unknown to most bands. The performances are of course amazing, and Russel Allen can do no wrong, digging here into a harder, more aggressive style.
Some have criticized this album as being a simplified or watered-down version of Symphony X, but those people are not listening closely enough. Paradise Lost is every bit as prog as any of the band's older albums, but this time around they have subordinated showboating to composition, resulting in a leaner, meaner sound. This is easily Symphony X' heaviest outing, but also, I think, their most consistently great one. A real contender for the best of 2007. Not to be missed.
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Review: Paradise Lost (reviewed by Risser)
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Review: The Divine Wings of Tragedy (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Odyssey (reviewed by Iwarrior)
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