Rating:
9.0
Symphony X - The Odyssey
2002


01. Inferno (Unleash The Fire)
02. Wicked
03. Incantations Of The Apprentice
04. Accolade II
05. Kings Of Terrors
06. The Turning
07. Awakenings
08. The Odyssey
    1 - Part I: Odysseus Theme / Overture
    2 - Part II: Journey To Ithaca
    3 - Part III: The Eye
    4 - Part IV: Circe (Daughter Of The Sun)
    5 - Part V: Sirens
    6 - Part VI: Scylla And Charybdis
    7 - Part VII: The Fate Of The Suitors / Champion Of Ithaca
09. Masquerade '98 [Japanese bonus]
10. Frontiers [Japanese bonus]


Here it is! The new Symphony X opus has finally been released! After the live album Live On The Edge Of Forever, The Odyssey is finally in my hands. First thing to be noticed: the artwork is excellent with a complete booklet including pictures of the recording and lyrics, of course. But the important point is that from the first note to the last, The Odyssey appears to be the heaviest release of the band! If Michael Pinnella's keyboards are still the basis of Symphony X's music, the guitar parts are now more aggressive and the result is even better! But the big improvement on this album is due to Russell Allen's vocals. On some songs, he sounds close to Ronnie James Dio and without this change, I think that The Odyssey would have remained a classic Symphony X album. Russell Allen shows us once again that he is a complete singer and the music is the best they've ever played.

So now, let's see the details of such an incredible album! Unlike V: The New Mythology Suite, The Odyssey does not start with an instrumental piece but with the very heavy song "Inferno [Unleash the Fire]" and even if I looove their previous album, I must say that the opening of this album kicks asssssss! The melody is gorgeous and the riffs are heavy as hell. A very good song. "Wicked" is even better in my opinion. More guitars, more melodies... Then, "Incantations Of The Apprentice" is a pure metal jewel, "Accolade II" is a song based on the melody of the "Accolade" from the album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy - wonderful - "Kings Of Terrors" is almost brutal for Symphony X [reminds me of "The Eyes Of Medusa" from the album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy again!] and I think it would become even better on stage due to its heaviness. "The Turning", well, heu... still heavy!!! With "Awakenings", we encounter again old Symphony X recipes of marvelous music: sweet intro, amazing vocals and a huge melody in the first part and then... unleash the fire! Loud riffs, wonderful solos - with Michael Romeo on guitars, fire becomes a firework.
Finally, how to describe the undescribable? Track 8: "The Odyssey", 24 minutes 09 seconds. Everybody has to listen to that song and form his own opinion about it. But if you can't see beauty looking at paradise, that's probably because you listen to too much black metal. No, just kidding. To be noticed too, the presence of a bonus track but only on the limited release: a new version of "Masquerade" [from their first eponymous album], which now sounds better...

Anyway, The Odyssey is one of their best albums and I wonder why I waited to buy this album...

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Band profile: Symphony X
Album: The Odyssey


 


written by Demonic Tutor | 22.09.2003

Guest review by
HugeTheConqeror

Rating:
7.0
There is an undeniable affinity among many metal fans and musicians for things fantastic and medieval in nature. From the imagery (costumes, album covers), to the instrumentation and style of the music (folk, symphonic), to the lyrical subject matter, the metal community is enamored with things ancient. Many musicians use their music as a vehicle for creating milieus similar to the ones that they grew up with, and some go a step farther and set their favorite tales to music. The danger with this is that many metal fans, having grown up reading J.R.R. Tolkein, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert Howard as well as the classic epic tales, know and love these works as well, and will be let down if the music does not stand up to the story. Unfortunately, it is this trap into which Symphony X stumbled with its release "The Odyssey."
The individual members of Symphony X are definitely talented musicians. Guitar wizardry and keyboard flair permeate the entire disc. Vocalist Russell Allen has strong pipes, and is able to belt out some fine Power Metal. The problem here is not with the musical dexterity, but rather with the composition. The music just does not fit with its lyrical content.
The Greek poem on which the title track is based is an epic of a man's struggle, with the gods, with the elements, and with the unscrupulous men who would steal his wife and his home. However, the music never captures any of this dark mood. The first four minutes or so of this track are an orchestral overture that frankly would seem more at home in an animated Disney film. The musical key here is high, and Allen's voice is too reminiscent of Tommy Shaw (from the band Styx) to be an effective mouthpiece for someone enduring the wrath of an angry god. The music fails to convey any of the frustration, despair, sorrow, and anger that Odysseus felt throughout his ordeal.
This phenomenon appears elsewhere as well. "King of Terrors," which appears to be based on "The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde," and which I have seen praised by other reviewers, is similarly upbeat. Contrast this with other metal interpretations of classic tales, (for example, Iced Earth's take on "Dante's Inferno"), and the disconnect here becomes more striking.
I truly wish that I liked this album more. The music is good; the lyrics are good - they just don't work well together. I listened to "The Odyssey" expecting anger, and I got happiness and hope. I looked for testosterone, but was given saccharine.
published 05.06.2008 | Comments (5)



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Kanon - 25.11.2006 at 22:51  
this is a really masterpiece , one of the best albums of symphony x,damn is really amazing specially The Oddisey song

Highlights: King of Terrors, The Oddisey, Inferno and Awakenings
Adanedhel - 04.12.2006 at 13:40  
i agree wif u Kanon, this is a real masterpiece! Its in my top3 albums at the moment (after Dream Theater - Scenes From A Memory and Symphony X's V - The Mythology Suite). When i first time listened this album it was good, now its almost perfect
The best song of the album is The Odyssey which is my favorite song (u can see it in my profile), the best song ever in the world! Right after The Odyssey the best are Awakening, Accolade II, Inferno.
Well symphony x is kicking ass, now we just have to w8 next album Paradise Lost....
BlankFile - 15.07.2007 at 00:39  
Another Masterpiece! All the words aren´t enough to describe this band. The song "the Odyssey" is one of the most perfect compositions i´ve heard all my life. Im stunned... :O Long live SX!
Talvi - 15.11.2007 at 00:09  
Very good album, but really BAD production. not 10, like 6 or 7 I'd say. The drums sound so awful...
Raziel X - 31.12.2007 at 03:57  
Blasphemer ! 6 or 7 ? WTF ?!?
This album is a sure at least 9,5/10 !
The song Odyssey is my fav song
And Masquerade is a shining example, that if SX had Russell Allen from the beginning, even the first album would be great!
MetalMac - 12.01.2008 at 11:43  
10 10 10 10 10 This album never gets old for me... every song is a GEM thru and thru, but will it ever pass up Master Of Puppets?

-MetalMac
Mountain King - 16.02.2009 at 16:02  
Inferno is enough to raise this album to brilliant status!
Paradox0 - 31.05.2009 at 05:59  
I must admit I wasn't too thrilled by this. Sure the mentioned "heavy" songs where OK but just didn't get my blood pumping. Even the title track, although pretty epic, just seemed to go on without any real direction. The only track that really caught my attention was the bonus track masquerade, but even that kind of grinds down to generic riffs (but the keyboard and drums interplay is just wicked if I must say though).
I'll admit the album kept my attention but just didn't deliver for me.
JÄY - 18.11.2009 at 17:13  
How is this album not on MS's top 100 albums?

At least one SymphX album needs to be....theyre an incredible band and this album is a masterpiece.....along with the divine wings of tragedy and paradise lost IMO
JonSnow - 21.12.2009 at 23:17  
Written by Paradox0 on 31.05.2009 at 05:59

I must admit I wasn't too thrilled by this. Sure the mentioned "heavy" songs where OK but just didn't get my blood pumping. Even the title track, although pretty epic, just seemed to go on without any real direction. The only track that really caught my attention was the bonus track masquerade, but even that kind of grinds down to generic riffs (but the keyboard and drums interplay is just wicked if I must say though).
I'll admit the album kept my attention but just didn't deliver for me.


The title track is based off the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer. So, it goes in whatever direction that does. If you've read it, it's very cool to make the connections between the (huge) poem and the (huge) song.
DoomGuard - 20.01.2010 at 07:20  
Genius album, great songs and is actually the album that got me hooked onto this band. I looked them up, took a listen to Inferno, and I immediately thought "Gold!!! Gold i tell ya!"
macraigma - 20.01.2010 at 20:21  
Written by Talvi on 15.11.2007 at 00:09

Very good album, but really BAD production. not 10, like 6 or 7 I'd say. The drums sound so awful...


I agree that the drums do sound bad : /
StratoDan1990 - 09.03.2010 at 19:46  
This album is fucking great. The production...where do I begin, it's perfectly captured. 'The Odyssey' is such a big musical journey and at the same time stays well performed and unique. 'Inferno' also notably has some seriously great guitar work... I recommend this Symphony X release as the first album to buy if you want to listen to them. Buy this album!!!! Especially if you are a prog fan.

I disagree to whoever said the drums are bad. The instrument production has had full attention imo. You can hear it in every song!
LEOdrake - 06.11.2010 at 23:41  
I don't know why no one has mentioned the turning,I loved that song ,I even learned all the lyrics just to sing along
Luneth - 05.12.2010 at 13:48  
'Acolade'; 'Awakenings' and 'Odyssey' are the best for me, brilliant album.
Sword_Chant - 24.03.2011 at 23:52  
'The Odyssey' = the best Symphony X song EVER.

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