Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 6/26/2007
posted on 8/2007 By:
After a looooong wait that included postponing the album's release due to a stint on Dave Mustaine's Gigantour, we finally have Symphony X's seventh full-length, Paradise Lost, and what an album this is!
Giving a simple "this is a continuation of The Odyssey" summary would be all too easy...and just a tiny bit accurate. Guitarist Michael Romeo shreds, Russell Allen (sorry, I refuse the "Sir" title, fanboys) reaches seemingly impossible tones and Michael Pinnella gives this lengthy album a classy feel not usually heard from a band that embraces keyboards. As Symphony X fans, we come to expect this, but we're not always so sure the songwriting is going to be there. Fortunately, the band took some serious time, some might complain too much time, assembling what I would easily call their best album to date.
What many noted right off the bat about The Odyssey was that it was much thrashier than anything they had released to that point. While not quite as progressive as V, The Odyssey's charm rested in its heavy feel, tasteful licks and vocal hooks. It wasn't quite a 180, but it certainly represented a sharp enough change in sound to elicit a diverse range of reactions from band loyalists. If you weren't on board for The Odyssey, chances are that you won't like this album either, because Paradise Lost amplifies everything that made The Odyssey so great, while tightening the songwriting.
The first thing you will notice is the lack of some epic 20+ minute track. Honestly, I don't care. Admittedly, I loved the 24-minute long "The Odyssey," but it could have easily been divided into the seven individual parts that comprised its whole. I get wanting to tie a theme or story together, but I don't think it's always in the best interest of an album to assume that most listeners have that kind of attention span, Rush's "2112" and Sleep's "Dopesmoker" being two of the few exceptions. Instead, what we get on Paradise Lost is a collection of 10 dense tracks, not one existing as filler.
The second thing you will notice is the well-constructed layering in each song. For example, the title track takes you through a series of passages, all of which have their own respective layers that elicit different reactions while riding the same emotive wave unique to each song. It's got a very fantasy-based acoustic opening with heavy keys, a sing-a-long chorus, and a smooth finish. The next track, "Eve of Seduction," takes the band in a heavier direction with Romeo proving why he is one of the more underrated shredders. He never gets too carried away, as I would argue he was apt to do pre-The Odyssey, but he makes his present felt with a few well-placed solos that build on the song's natural momentum. Just wait for the song's 2-minute mark and you'll know what I am talking about.
I am not going to bore you with track-by-track analysis. This could be the peak of Symphony X's very respectable career, and that alone should persuade anyone interested in progressive, riff-heavy metal to pick this one up. In a year gifted with enough quality metal to be spread quite liberally over a decade, Paradise Lost stands alone as its most prized progressive possession.
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