Symphony X
Symphony X


3.0
good

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
September 24th, 2008 | 11 replies | 8,381 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Their worst album, true, but it is underrated.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Symphony X’s first, eponymous album has a rather bad reputation, due to the not-so-brilliant vocals qualities of first singer Rod Tyler. Fortunately, he was replaced by Russel Allen, in similar fashion with the replacement of Dream Theater’s first vocalist Charlie Dominici for James LaBrie, for the same reason. But do bad vocal qualities immediately lead to a poor album? It wasn’t entirely case with Dream Theater’s When Dream and Day Unite, which is underrated for the very same reason as this album. The 2 debut albums by the respective bands are very comparable, because first of all, the bands have a similar sound, and second of all, the 2 debut albums both lacked good vocals. On Dream Theater’s first release, the obvious instrumental proficiency saved the day. And in fact, that’s exactly what saves this album too.

Well, on to the instrumental work on this album then, which is, as I already mentioned, what saves it. Most of the riffs are excellent, as are the instrumental interludes. Already on their debut, the band shines instrumentally. However, this is not the case with every song. A few examples are ‘Taunting the Notorious’, ‘Rapture or Pain’ and ‘Thorns of Sorrow’. What is the problem with these songs is that the instrumental work is good, but not outstanding. This, combined with the vocals, makes them rather average.

On the other hand, vocalist Rod Tyler does deliver sometimes, most notably on ‘The Raging Seasons’. When he does this, he lifts the particular songs to a higher level. Unfortunately, his vocals are not very good on the album’s epic: ‘A Lesson Before Dying’, which doesn’t stand out compared to their other epics.

Furthermore, the albums suffers from poor production, but that is not what a band should be judged on. After all, this is their debut, and poor production is often a problem with first albums.

So, how is the total picture? Well, the album starts off quite good, actually. The first track is just a short introduction, which then leads into one of the album’s highlights, ‘The Raging Seasons’. The next four songs are all excellent, but then, from track 7 till 9, the album makes a bit of a downfall. The last track, their first epic, is a better listen after these three tracks, and wraps up things nicely, but the first half of the album is definitely the better one.

Symphony X managed to put down a very decent debut album. It is underrated, mostly due to the poor vocals, but also due to the production. It takes a good listen, but when you examine it more carefully, you will realize that the band was already great to start with. They improved greatly after this, with great thanks to new vocalist Russel Allen, which makes this their worst album up to date. That does not mean, however, that it’s a bad one.

Pros:
+ The instrumental work
+ Quite a good effort for a debut

Cons:
- The vocals
- The production


Recommended tracks:
The Raging Seasons
Premonition
Masquerade
Absinthe and Rue



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user ratings (154)
Chart.
2.6
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Slaytan
September 24th 2008



1186 Comments


Please do comment, I’ve only written a couple of reviews so far.

You should post a comment saying this as opposed to putting it in the review. As for the review itself, I would have liked a little more information. But not bad overall.

Yazz_Flute
September 24th 2008



18734 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Ok review, the vocalist irks me on this album. It's decent other than that I suppose.This Message Edited On 09.24.08

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

ChaosTheory
September 24th 2008



102 Comments


Good review mate. I have only heard "The Raging Season" and "Masquarade" so far and i like them, but yeah the vocals blow.

Wizard
September 24th 2008



18746 Comments


Good review. I've hated eveything these guys have put out.

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Nagrarok
September 25th 2008



7946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks. I have removed the comment request from the review, I'll think about it next time. As for the 'little more information', what more should I put in?

ChaosTheory
October 1st 2008



102 Comments


You have mostly done a good job, because you let us know what to expect of this debut.

However, the points about poor production and vocals could probably have been fleshed out a bit more.

FR33L0RD
March 26th 2009



1458 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not bad for a first album.
Musically interesting & matured,
but vocally its very uneven.This Message Edited On 03.26.09

Bleak
March 27th 2009



258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad they found Russell after this.

Parallels
May 5th 2010



6640 Comments


I don't care what anyone says about it, The Raging Season is incredible.

NightmareCinema16
November 15th 2012



2016 Comments


Nagrarok, just how do you even say your name???

VermicideReloadead
November 15th 2012



1434 Comments


This is their worst effort. Just check their other albums like oddysey and more.



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