Symphony X - V 4.5/5

Reviewed: 6-10-05


1. Prelude
2. Evolution (The grand design)
3. Fallen
4. Transcendence (Segue)
5. Communion and the oracle
6. The bird-serpent war/Cataclysm
7. On the breath of poseidon (Segue)
8. Egypt
9. The death of balance/Lacrymosa
10. Absence of light
11. A fool's paradise
12. Rediscovery (Segue)
13. Rediscovery (Part ll) - The new mythology

Subtitled 'The new mythology suite', Symphony X returns with another CD of mind–blowing quality and dizzying musicianship. The key members of the band return with a couple of minor changes. Michael LePond is the new bassist and Jason Rullo returns on drums after a one CD hiatus. The basic pieces of Symphony X remain. Extraordinary lead guitarist Michael Romeo leads the way with constant, speed of light, classically influenced riffs while singer Russell Allen belts out the vocals in his powerful baritone voice that has no peer. Michael Pinnella again plays lots of excellent keyboards in the background and has added some Yes–influenced atmospheric keyboards for this CD.

While 'V' in some ways is more of the same from Symphony X, there are also some new facets to this CD. In addition to some of the new keyboard sounds, 'V' has a more symphonic sound than Symphony X CDs of the past. The is noticeable from the beginning with the intro, "Prelude", which sounds more like a combination of Therion and Rhapsody than Symphony X. While these new sounds are woven throughout the entire CD, they play only a small part after "Prelude". 'V' is more reminiscent of 'The divine wings of tragedy" than the more recent 'Twilight in Olympus'. It fits together better as a CD and is heavier than the latter. While this whole CD is tremendous, the highlights are "Evolution (The grand design)", "Communion and the oracle", "Egypt", "A fool's paradise" and "Rediscovery (Part ll) – The new mythology". The only low point is "Absence of light", which is a good track but not up to the standards of the rest. On this track, Russell Allen sounds a lot like John West (Artension, Royal Hunt) in parts.

Little more can be said. Symphony X has been one the best bands around for several years and 'V' is just about as good as anything they have done before. It is heavy, melodic, emotional, and played to perfection. This is yet another Symphony X CD which is at the absolute top of the heap in quality and which belongs in any metal collection.




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