After the last post, I'll return to cover some more Prog Metal standards; now it's time for the probably biggest Prog Metal band following Dream Theater:
Genre: Progressive/Neoclassical Power Metal
Formed: 1994 in Middletown, New Jersey (USA), active
Sir Russell Allen - Vocals (also in Star One, Ayreon, Russell Allen's Atomic Soul, Allen/Lande)
Michael Romeo - Guitars (also in Redemption, Kotipelto)
Michael Pinnella - Keyboards (also in Michael Romeo, Michael Pinnella (solo projects))
Mike LePond - Bass (also in Distant Thunder, Heathen's Rage, formerly in Painmuseum, Sleepy Hollow)
Jason Rullo - Drums (formerly in Redemption)
Thomas Walling - Drums
Thomas Miller - Bass
Andy DeLuca - Touring Bass (also in Mullmuzzler)
Rod Tyler - Vocals (formerly in Overlorde)
1994 - Danse Macabre (demo)
1994 - Symphony X (album)
1995 - The Damnation Game (album)
1997 - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (album)
1998 - Twilight In Olympus (album)
1998 - Prelude To The Millennium (compil.)
2000 - V - The New Mythology Suite (album)
2001 - Live On The Edge Of Forever (live album)
2002 - The Odyssey (album)
2005 - Rarities & Demos (compil.)
Symphony X were founded in New Jersey in April 1994. Guitarist Michael Romeo had already been receiving a lot of praise and attention for his self produced solo-tape "The Dark Chapter", which eventually led to the birth of Symphony X.
Joining Michael at first was bass player Thomas Miller, who had played with Michael on numerous occasions in the past. Soon after that, vocalist Rod Tyler and drummer Jason Rullo were recruited and finally with the arrival of Michael Pinnella, the Symphony X line up was complete and ready to record their first album.
Their first self titled album was recorded in Autumn 1994 and was subsequently released in Japan in December of the same year, immediately making a big impression on fans of the Progressive Metal scene all over the world and achieved excellent reviews in Japan.
Only eight months after the release of their debut album, Symphony X recorded and released their second album "The Damnation Game". Before that though, the band parted ways with vocalist Rod Tyler in early 1995 and Russell Allen was soon chosen as his replacement. With their majestic vocal harmonies and classical overtones, the band pushed the boundaries of Progressive Music and spearheaded a new direction in the genre. The reactions of both fans and press alike to the album was very enthusiastic and the band were beginning to generate a world-wide positive awareness.
Towards the end of 1996 Symphony X began work on their magnum opus "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy". While the previous album had still shown a lot of obvious influences, "Divine Wings..." really showed that the band had come into their own at last. The album also made a huge impression on the European press with tracks like 'The Accolade' and the 20 minute title track poised to become classics of their genre. In readers polls of all the major rock magazines Symphony X scored high with the album and the press showered the band with praise. 'Divine Wings...' was soon regarded as one of the best albums of its genre for 1997.
Shortly before entering the studio to record the next album, Jason Rullo left the band for personal reasons, and was replaced by Thomas Walling. Entitled 'Twilight In Olympus', the album soon proved to be yet another milestone in the band's ever evolving career. Sales were incredibly strong, along with the usual excellent reviews in the rock press and calls for a European tour. However, Thomas Walling and Thomas Miller were unable to tour with the band, and Jason Rullo decided to return to the band. Andy DeLuca was brought in to handle the bass work for the tour. Symphony X crossed the Atlantic for a three week jaunt across Europe with English band Mindfeed as the supporting act. The tour proved to be quite a success, with sold-out performances in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy and France, further strengthening the band's already growing fanbase. After the tour, it was mutually agreed by Thomas Miller and the band that his departure from the band would become permanent, and after many auditions, they found his replacement in Mike LePond. In the fall of 1999, dividing up their recording time between Michael Romeo's in-home studio, 'The Dungeon' and Trax-East in New Jersey, the band was back in the studio busily writing and recording what was sure to be another Symphony X masterpiece - V: The New Mythology Suite, and then their last effort called The Odyssey.
Those last two albums are very different from each other; while "V" is very smyphonic and classical-orientated, "The Odyssey" saw Smyphony X move into a heavier direction, with a biting distortion and guitar riffs reminiscent of Pantera.
Right now, Symphony X are still working on their next album, notably the longest wait for new material the fans ever had to endure (possibly related to the numerous side projects of the members like Russell Allen's Atomic Soul, Allen/Lande, Michael Pinnella, Redemption, Kotipelto and so on, as well as Mike LePond being struck by Chron's disease in May 2006, which is an inflammatory bowel disorder and led to the cancelling of all gigs for at least six weeks.
They are now hoping for a release in Spring 2007. Let's hope that'll be the case...
Symphony X Official Website
Symphony X @ Myspace (go here to listen to 4 songs)
Videos on youtube.com:
"Inferno" from "The Odyssey" live:
"Communion And The Oracle" from "V" live:
Micheal Romeo demonstrates soloing from"Sea Of Lies" (insane technique!!!):
"Sea Of Lies" live (with a short bass solo on beforehand):
Bands already featured:
(just search this blog or look in the archive for the band you're interested in - scroll up to the top)