SYMPHONY X — The Odyssey

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SYMPHONY X - The Odyssey cover
4.07 | 79 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 2002

Tracklist

1. Inferno (Unleash The Fire) (5:32)
2. Wicked (5:32)
3. Incantations Of The Apprentice (4:22)
4. Accolade II (7:53)
5. King Of Terrors (6:19)
6. The Turning (4:44)
7. Awakenings (8:21)
8. The Odyssey (24:13)

Total Time: 73:01

Bonus Track:

9. Masquerade '98 (5:59)

Japanese Bonus Track:

10. Frontiers (4:50)

Line-up/Musicians

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

About this release

Release date: November 4, 2002
Label: InsideOut Music

Masquerade '98 taken from the "Prelude to the Millennium" and appears on the limited edition which also includes an extended booklet.

Thanks to graphix, progshine, The Angry Scotsman, adg211288 for the updates

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SYMPHONY X THE ODYSSEY reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

martindavey87
With 'V: The New Mythology Suite' being a huge hit with fans and praised as one of the bands finest releases, it only stands to reason that they'd further build upon the orchestral elements they'd implemented with that album. And oh boy, does it work, or what?!

Building upon what they'd started with their previous release, 'The Odyssey' continues to see the band become heavier and heavier, with more focus on brutal guitar riffs and vocalist Russell Allen stepping further away from the high-pitched wailing he'd been accustomed to with earlier albums.

Essentially split into two parts, the first seven songs are all absolute bangers! Brimming with amazing guitar riffs, mind-blowing solos, intense vocals and all-round top performances from everyone. Tracks like 'Inferno', 'Wicked' and 'Awakenings' are head-banging anthems, while 'The Accolade II' is an epic follow-up to its epic predecessor.

Then there's the "second half". The main event. The 24-minute title track, which is arguably one of the bands greatest compositions. Taking the symphonic elements of their previous release, the band really crank it up a level to unleash a song that takes you right into the action with Greek hero Odysseus as he sets on his ten-year journey home to Ithaca. It features some of the most insane musicianship imaginable, with some jaw-dropping interplay between the band members, as well as some of the most emotional and sincere vocals I've ever heard.

And I know that right now you're thinking how cheesy this all sounds, right? Well, cheese is good! Everyone likes cheese! And so will you!

In summary, 'The Odyssey' is a four-star album with five-star songs... and five-star songs is an understatement! Worth the price for the title track alone, get it now and go on the greatest adventure of your life!
dtguitarfan
Symphony X is the Progressive Metal band I have been following the 2nd longest, next to Dream Theater. To add to this, The Odyssey is probably my favorite album by them, though it is very difficult for me to pick one album by them that I like better than all the others (this is a common difficulty with favorite bands I guess). So, to honor this, I am going to go track by track on this album:

1. Inferno (Unleash The Fire) - This is a great way to open an album - right away they prove their chops. This is the kind of song you just HAVE to practice your air guitar on as Michael Romeo proves he is a force to be reckoned with. And the keyboards add to this way in an almost conversational way - answering back the guitars note for note during the intro. Russel Allen shows of his versatility on this one, switching back and forth between an angry growl and clean, anthemic singing.

2. Wicked - This is a nice dark and heavy piece. Backing the dark, heavy riffs of the guitar and bass, the keyboards add an air of mystery. And Symphony X throw in some nice, subtle compound rhythms just when you think they're going to stick with common time.

3. Incantations Of The Apprentice - This one builds up very nicely - starting out with an orchestral sound, adding the heavy guitars, then some almost electronica sounding keyboards and tops it off with some heavy riffing. And they keep switching up the beat on this one, but somehow I find I can keep a good head-banging going. The song tells a great fantasy based, dark magic tale and the music complements this quite nicely. Once again, Russell Allen shows just how versatile he is, switching back and forth between growls and pure tones.

4. Accolade II - Perfect example of why this is one of my favorite bands. This is an incredibly dynamic song, and the band weaves a complex tapestry, piling different rhythms on top of each other to form tightly woven poly-rhythms. I love the usage of the keyboards as well, switching from symphonic sounds to piano and back. Again, the lyrics are deeply rooted in fantasy, and the music tells the tale so very well. There are dark, sad, mysterious, and triumphant moments in this song, and some killer instrumentals to boot. What a ride this one takes the listener on, and I am completely enveloped in the tale it tells.

5. King Of Terrors - The way this one starts out kind of reminds me of the way some of the better Metallica songs start out, but then they underlay the metal riffing with Arabic sounding orchestral keyboards, and the occasional keyboard "choir sound" (I love when Michael Pinella uses that particular sound). All throughout this song, Pinella shines, adding very interesting elements to the classic metal sound of the guitars. Man, this band is so good at telling stories with their music, and there are parts of this song where I can just imagine being in a dark graveyard with dark creatures and lightning bursts. I can't describe this in a way that does the music justice, but listening to this song I feel like a dark wizard has sent me on a frightening ride.

6. The Turning - Again the band starts things off with a bang and Michael Romeo shows off his dark neo-baroque style of riffage. The chorus has an arabic sound again, and Russell abruptly switched to a very aggressive growl. Again, I get this "evil magic" type of feel listening to this song.

7. Awakenings - This is one of my favorite pieces by the band, and oh does Pinella shine on this one. The keyboards are so incredibly versatile, switching through so many sounds - Pinella is like a master composer, and the band backs him perfectly all throughout the piece. Sir Allen shows off his softer side to start off this track, and once again you know right away the band is going to tell an epic tale. Just as you get the sense that they are building to something bigger - BAM! They hit you with some awesome metal riffage, and here's where Michael Romeo shows what a perfect coupling this band has between keyboards and guitar. To top it all off, this song has one of the most fantastic, dizzying instrumentals, featuring Michael Pinella's keyboards in a big way - it's like he wanted to show off just how many sound settings he's got. It's so easy to take for granted what an amazing keyboardist he is because Michael Romeo shines so brightly as the guitarist, but in this piece Pinella proves he is up there in the rankings of the top Progressive Metal keyboardists.

8. The Odyssey - What can I say about this one? Words simply cannot do it justice. This has long been my absolute favorite Progressive epic. The band invites you to come along with them as they take you on a journey, telling the tale of Homer's Odyssey in a way only they can. The song starts out with an intro that sounds like a movie soundtrack, marrying orchestral sounds with metal guitars in a way only this band can accomplish. Then Russell Allen sings brilliantly in a metal ballad style during the first section of the tale, as the hero prepares his tale. I'm not going to go through the entire epic and talk about every section, but this one is absolutely phenomenal - it's like a Metal Action/Fantasy/Epic movie. This is what Progressive Metal is all about - music telling a story, with complexity, dynamic energy, and thrilling virtuoso musicianship.

9. Masquerade - This is like a dark baroque metal opera. The operatic vocal harmonies, and harpsichord sounds of the keyboards give the metal riffing such an interesting flavor, and the instrumental section is like Bach went on a crazy murderous rampage. Brilliant end to a brilliant album.
Warthur
After producing what was at the time their most progressive album to date in the form of V: The New Mythology Suite, I suppose it's only natural that the Symphony X pendulum would swing back towards the power metal side of their sound. With production values occasionally fluctuating but mostly holding firm, it's all very exciting prog-tinged power metal with the perfect Homeric fantasy concept underpinning it, but it doesn't seem quite as groundbreaking and thrilling as The New Mythology Suite was, and spends a lot more time in much more traditional power metal territory. I suspect many fans of the more progressive side of Symphony X will, like me, find this frustrating, particularly since The New Mythology Suite showed us precisely what they are capable of.
Pelata
With 'The Odyssey', New Jersey prog metallers Symphony X have undoubtedly delivered their masterpiece! It's heavier, more aggressive, and more "to the point" than anything else in the band's catalog. Not to mention the endless energy with which the songs are delivered.

Guitarist Michael Romeo is on fire letting loose a barrage of stunning riffs and even more stunning lead work. The more guitar intensive approach on 'The Odyssey' allows him to do more that usual in the rhythm department. Don't worry, Pinella's keyboards are still in place and as good as ever. He just seems to have taken on more of a supporting role here.

Vocalist extrordinaire Russell Allen is the absolute star of this album! I hate to say it, but without Allen, Symphony X may well be just another prog metal band lost in the vast depths of the genre. Not trying to take anything away from the band, but it's Allen's melody, and power, and charisma that defines Symphony X and sets them squarely alongside some of the best bands in the scene. He's one part Ronnie James Dio, one part Steve Walsh, two parts power and a future legend in metal! Listen to "Incantations Of The Apprentice" and try and challenge anything I have said about him.

Speaking of Steve Walsh, Symphony X at times remind me of a heavy metal Kansas with their blending of classical melody and massive guitars. And when the piano gets overlaid with the violin, forget about it. Listen to "Accolade II" and hear what I mean. Getting back to the album itself, it is heavier than the band's previous work. And while the arrangements are more solid, there is still more than enough technical ecstasy to be had. The closing 24-plus minute title track is enough of a testament to that. Fans of symphonic prog metal have an absolute gem to pick up here!
Phonebook Eater
Ancient Greece, dangerous seas and mythical creatures are the main scenarios for Symphony X's sixth studio album, definitely one of the very best efforts of the band.

"The Odyssey" is the heaviest, most technical and most violent Symphony X album yet. Compared to the previous albums, this one is much fresher sounding, and in many parts quite original. We do note though some affinities with the following album, "Paradise Lost", since even there there's a more violent and heavy sound. Even though it's not quite as good as "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy", "The Odyssey" has excellent songwriting, probably the nicest collection of songs for the band; while "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" was more emotional and haunting, this one is more concentrated on headbanging riffs and crazy duels between keyboard and guitars during the solo sections. Therefore, the songs have more of an individual purpose, without being connected to each other in a particular way.

However, lyrically speaking the songs are pretty connected; "The Odyssey", like the title suggests, has all songs that involve mythology, fierce battles, werewolves, Sorcerer's Apprentices. Even though the songs, like I said, can be listened to individually, the album has anyhow a beautiful flowing, being this way a wonderful, but tense and savage journey, and that I strongly recommend you try.

Almost all the songs are amazing; the opener "Inferno", with it's in your face riffs, or the mystical tastes of "Wicked", the violent and brutally technical "King Of Terrors", or the desperate melodies of "The Turning". And then there' the mind blowing, epic title track: 24 minutes of symphonic ecstasy, moments you won't easily forget, like the orchestral opening part, or the epic finale, with Russell Allen's vocals at their highest peak.

An album that if you are a Prog Metal fan you cannot miss. 4.5 stars.
arcane-beautiful
This album was alot more metal and probabbly was considered as more of a band effort than a real piece of music. I still find this album to be great with some fantastic (and one of the greatest) songs they ever made.

This album was alot more metal than V and a bit less prog, but it still had very prog elements.

But hey, it's not perfect, but it's still great.

1. Inferno (Unleash The Fire) - What a kick ass song. Amazing chorus and fantastic cathcy moments. One of Russel's angriest contrabutions. Just excellent. 10/10

2. Wicked - I do love the chorus in this song, it does have a quite eerie atmosphere to it. Furious riffing that will be drilled into your brain. 9/10

3. Incantations Of The Apprentice - Love the song title. Shame it's not the best of songs. It's pretty cool, but does not meet up to Symphony X's standards. 7/10

4. Accolade II - Has some very beautifull moments and amazing instrumental sections. Great song. 9/10

5. King Of Terrors - One of their most kick ass songs. Very metal and in your face. The guitar sound is like a planet falling on you. 9/10

6. The Turning - A pretty cool song about werewolves. Pretty cool chorus. 8/10

7. Awakenings - One of their most eccentric songs to date. Great song with some amazing instrumental sections. 8/10

8. The Odyssey - Ok, let me just say something about this song. Not many words can descibe this song. I remember downloading this song abot 4 years ago, and just been blown away by it. Every moment of this song is just epic beyond comparison. The intro is probabbly one of the most and beautifully epic things you will ever hear. Listen to this song, if you haven't listened to it yet. I would give this song a higher rating, in fact I will, it really is the one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed. 11/10

9. Masquerade - I know this is a bonus track, but it just rules so much. God these guys were even amazing back in the day. And Russels newly recorded vocals just sound heavenly. 10/10

CONCLUSION: This album does have one of the greatest pieces of music ever made in it (my opinion obvisouly).Not their best, but pretty damn good.

AtomicCrimsonRush
Symphony X embark on an Odyssey of blistering riffs and ambient orchestration; a force to be reckoned with.

Immediately the riffing guitars absolutely blaze, the vocals burst out and the guitar lead breaks are as in your face as you would like. The time sigs are all over the place and there is an incessant drum beat from Jason Rullo. Welcome to Symphony X's "The Odyssey". On 'Inferno' the guitar riff is brilliantly played by Michael Romeo especially the screaming lead solo. The trade off between this and keyboards by Michael Pinella. Russell Allen has a clean dynamic vocal style. A masterful heavy metal opener.

'Wicked' features another killer riff that continues constantly and the rhythms are fractured by drums and great bass by Michael LePond. There are moments that are reminiscent of Riverside or Dream Theater. Michael Romeo trades off again with Pinella's flowing keyboards. The time sig changes momentarily before heading back to the main complicated riff. Great metal at the top of Symphony X's repertoire.

'Incantations Of The Apprentice' begins with a very ominous keyboard sound and the distorted jagged riff fades up till it breaks out with crunching riffs like Opeth. The low bass solo of Lepond enhances the mood. An angular guitar riffs with the thrashing drums. The power metal is fantastic and there is a strong melody that drives it along. There is a twin guitar solo with lots of bends and screams. Wonderful metal.

'Accolade II' runs for 7 minutes and is the sequel from the first part on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" album. The song combines violin and piano and the guitars enhance the atmosphere.

'King Of Terrors' has a crunching riff that tears you rears off and the keyboards are an ambient touch. I love the riff at 4 mins in with the piano breaks and killer keyboard playing. It is very doomy and the time sigs are extraordinary. The lead break is amazing. One of the best Symphony X tracks.

'The Turning' is a riff heavy metal blaster with more speed playing from the 3 Michaels. It is frenetic metal with very intricate riffing and staccato keyboards. The vocals are quite aggressive and dark on this, much more gravelly than usual for Allen. The blazing riffs go ballistic on this and the layered guitar solo is divine. The keyboards are again a force to be reckoned with. It is the band at their best.

'Awakenings' is an 8 and a half minute quieter track which gives some respite from all the chaos and power chords to provide a melancholy keyboard driven ambience. The intro is an intriguing time sig with nice piano motifs and orchestration. This prepares us for the big one.

The magnum opus of the band is 'The Odyssey' that clocks in at a whopping 24 minutes, the typical prog track. It is a multi movement suite in 7 parts, as good as what Dream Theater achieved on the epic 'Octavarium'. The orchestra is the real deal, a full classical orchestra opens this with a majesty and intense portentous atmosphere like a movie soundtrack. It is of course all about the Greek tragedy that is legendary. This opening section reminds me of what Therion do but it is better.

The parts are separated into distinct pieces that are easy to discern between; Part I: Odysseus Theme / Overture; Part II: Journey To Ithaca; Part III: The Eye; Part IV: Circe (Daughter Of The Sun); Part V: Sirens; Part VI: Scylla And Charybdis and Part VII: The Fate Of The Suitors / Champion Of Ithaca. That is as much as I want to divulge as it would be criminal to divulge the secrets this epic holds, suffice it to say this is a bombastic lavish masterpiece of music. I was in awe of this epic from beginning to end. As good as prog gets; it's seriously got everything.

This is one of Symphony X's greatest albums, it buries 'Twilight In Olympus' and only falls short of 'Paradise Lost' by a bee's sting. I recommend this to symphonic prog and prog metal fans without reservation. 4 metallic stars
topofsm
Symphony X is often seen as a clone of Dream Theater. While they are both heavy-ish bands with lots of progressive elements who focus on melody rather than the more brutal elements of metal, there are quite a few dissimilarities between their sounds. Quite possibly the most notable of the differences is their respective genres. While Dream Theater plays light prog metal most of the time and takes forays into other genres of rock, Symphony X tends to keep themselves almost entirely in the progressive power metal genre, with an occasional symphonic prog song here or there. This is one of the things that pulls the band down. Power metal has a tendency to create music that all sounds the same after enough listening, and Symphony X is no exception. The only difference is that Symphony X creates consistently good progressive power metal, even if their albums suffer from similarities in the music.

Another thing about this album is its heaviness. Normally lots of power metal is questionably heavy enough, mostly because of the huge emphasis on lots of melodies, a cleaner guitar tone, and more use of major keys. Symphony X is unquestionably heavy enough that nobody will mistake it for metal, as the guitars are distorted and low enough to bring this album to a respectable heaviness, so that people recognize it as a metal album. Although progressive tendencies brush up these songs quite a bit, the songs are pretty standard. Though they are written excellently, and every power metal fan will hugely enjoy them, as they contain a fast energy and lots of fast, albeit a bit over-the top guitar.

Of course, there is the track, 'Accolade II", which could hardly be called metal and is definetely more symphonic in spirit than the rest of the album. It bears resemblances to other more symphonic Symphony X tracks, like the original "Accolade" and "Communion and The Oracle", with soft electric guitar being backed up by wonderful chords played by piano and string synthesizers, with Russel Allen's vocals bringing another beautiful asset to the composition.

Fans will ultimately be drawn to the 24-minute epic at the end of the album, "The Odyssey". This is an excellent progressive metal track with a wonderful musical, as well as fine lyrical, illustration of the classic Greek tale of Odysseus returning to his hometown of Ithaca after their conquer of Troy. Tons of progressive elements are used in this town. Although sometimes a bit too similar to the overture section of Dream Theater's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", the beginning synthesized orchestral opening laced with metal instruments creates a wonderful introduction to a great epic track. The song goes through several energetic moods, from the longing "Journey to Ithaca" to the frantic "Sirens" section, covering all bases in terms of progressive metal. Even more spectacular than the opening is the middle instrumental section, "Scylla And Charybdis", where with no words the band gives the listener a perfect picture of when Odysseus has to brave the frantic waters between a rock and a whirlpool, ultimately ending in disaster (Odysseus' voyage, not the song). The track closes with epic vocal lines by Allen as Odysseus is crowned "Champion of Ithaca".

Overall, the Odyssey is a great album and should be looked into by fans of progressive metal and power metal. Although a bit derivative sometimes, there is still some creativity in Symphony X and there are lots of highlights to be found, but most importantly excellent progressive power metal.

Members reviews

aiylyn
Onward metal soldiers....

You'd better believe Symphony X are standing tall in 2002. When such a band releases a landmark album - in this case, 2000's V - which reaches a whole new audience and firmly settles the band into the top position in the progressive metal arena, people soon begin to wonder - how will they follow such a monument? Will the next offering be even better? In this case, Symphony X has done probably the best thing they could have done: a departure in style. From the first song on The Odyssey, you will realize that this is a new Symphony X. New stylistic elements are coming in to place, and some old ones are fading away. The guitar riffage on the first few tracks bring to mind another popular American metal band: Pantera. The keyboard solos, which many people found irritating on past albums, are lessened here, and indeed there are more prominent piano patches employed, something I find to be a welcome relief. There is less sheer speed and more melody. From track 4 - The Accolade II, with its amazing chorus - through the remainder of the album, the band is in its finest hour. The Odyssey itself, the closing epic, is probably the best concept song the band has done so far. This overture is far superior to a certain other overture released by another band earlier this year... Be prepared for a new mix. The drums are drier than they have been in the past, and the kick drum is way out of proportion from the bass, which suffered a lot in this mix. The vocals are heavily processed and way out in front of the rest of the band. This is album's only demerit, in my view; as I prefer the older mixes over this new one. Overall, the new Symphony X have taken center stage as kings of symphonic metal, a position which probably will not be challenged for a long time to come.

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