SYMPHONY X Albums Ranked From Worst to Best

SYMPHONY X Albums Ranked

There’s something to be said for a group who’s grown as much as Symphony X. They started out as a more straightforward power metal bandbut have evolved into something much more. Combining power metal, progressive metal, neo-classical elements, and even some speed metal here and there, Symphony X have put forth numerous classics worthy of any progressive fan’s household.

The band from New Jersey, in my experience, appears to be a rather well-liked band. I have yet to meet someone who absolutely disdains them, much like Iron Maiden or Blind Guardian. There are plenty who don’t have a taste for them, but it’s difficult to deny their chops. Russell Allen is a undeniably outstanding vocalist, alongside prominent shredder Michael Romeo. While these two tend to carry the band beyond a bland rhythm second, Symphony X has proven to be a thoroughly solid act throughout the years.

We looked at the band’s discography and ranked their albums. Check it below.

Please note that these rankings are based on our opinions, and as you know opinions vary. What is our best may be worst for you, the combinations are endless.

09. Symphony X (1994)

Symphony X managed to put down a very decent debut album. It is underrated, mostly due to the poor vocal delivery, 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.

08. The Damnation Game (1995)

Russell Allen joined Symphony X before the band started working on their second studio album. The result is an album that is a vast improvement over their somewhat underwhelming debut, in terms of both songwriting and aesthetics. With a strong production, a powerful new vocalist, and songs that overflow with both memorability and sophistication, it’s hard not to be impressed with what The Damnation Game has to offer.

07. Underworld (2015)

For the most part, Underworld‘s style is about the same as it was on Paradise Lost and Iconoclast. The tone is as dark as ever and the instrumentation is still largely driven by Romeo‘s aggressive, downtuned riffs with the odd symphonic flourishes here and there. However, there is a sense of restraint that hasn’t been seen on the album before it as the vocals aren’t as rough and the songwriting is more melodic. The aim may have been to make a more accessible effort but the approach ironically keeps even the heaviest of songs from hitting as hard as they could.

06. Iconoclast (2011)

The concept of the album is the good ol’ sci-fi plot of technology being the downfall of mankind; while very intriguing the first time, it has since become overused and comes off as uninspired. Musically the album runs parallel to its conceptual aspect. Symphony X does write pretty good music on the album, with several standout points that really make the record worth revisiting multiple times. Instrumentally the album is executed by a quintet of some of the most technically virtuosic musicians in the metal world today. Lyrically the album is anything a fan of power metal or progressive metal would really expect with enduring themes and the occasional cheese. All of these things put together seem like they would amount to a great album – and they do – but the record feels stagnant when put into perspective by the rest of the Symphony X discography.

05. Twilight in Olympus (1998)

Twilight in Olympus: one of the more overlooked and if you ask me underrated Symphony X albums. After The Divine Wings of Tragedy Symphony X had left themselves quite a legacy to live up to and Twilight in Olympus does and doesn’t live up to the standards arrayed against it, it all depends on how you look at it. Twilight isn’t as good or better than DWOT just a disclaimer; it’s a good album, but it doesn’t quite manage to dazzle the listener as much as DWOT did. After the immediate success of the titanic title track “The Divine Wings of Tragedy” Symphony X was pressured (or at least felt pressured) to deliver yet another magnificent, towering progressive epic. Sadly due to time constraints they were unable to complete such an epic for this album; according to the band they took the individual parts of “Twilight in Olympus” (the song) and divided it up amongst the songs in The New Mythology Suite. Instead, we got “Through the Looking Glass” which is only 13 minutes vs the 20 some-odd minutes the title track was supposed to be, but don’t let that discourage you “Through the Looking Glass” is amazing.

04. V: The New Mythology Suite

V: The New Mythology Suite has both a lot more of a power metal style and a lot more progressive influences than previous albums (“The Bird-Serpent War” and “The Death of Balance” in particular), but manages it well and at no point sounds over-the-top just for the heck of it. Although not explicitly mentioned in the album credits, the band members have stated over the years that several parts on this album (never actually mentioning which parts) were originally one long song that was meant to appear on Twilight in Olympus but was cut do to time constraints. It makes sense to me that this album was the last that had music written by Michael RomeoMichael Pinnella and Tom Miller writing as a “team” of sorts; the same team that wrote the first albums (as opposed to their most recent outings which are basically The Michael Romeo Experience). And Miller doesn’t actually play on the album; by then he’d been replaced by Michael LePond.

03. Paradise Lost (2007)

With their seventh studio effort, Paradise Lost, Symphony X has decided to place more focus on writing lean, refined and strong material throughout, with not so much as an instant of filler present. This is perhaps most evidenced by the fact that not one of the compositions reaches the ten-minute mark. Yet the songs are not short either, ranging from just shy of five minutes to well over nine minutes with the exception of the introductory instrumental track. It’s simply that, as is the case with all Symphony X compositions and especially so here, the songs are not a second longer than what is necessary. This trait of tightness would continue to be prevalent in subsequent releases as well. Beyond the refined approach to the music, another aspect that sets the album apart from others is its intensity. The tracks are powerful, aurally and emotionally. I would even go so far as to say that I have seldom, if ever, experienced music with the level of ferocity and excitement heard here. The power metal elements of the band’s music have rarely been as pronounced as in “Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)”, “Seven” and certain sections of “The Walls of Babylon.” The groove metal sound that was initially introduced in The Odyssey is developed further and utilized with “Domination” as well as in some segments of “Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)” and “The Serpent’s Kiss.” Symphony X has also composed more songs of the softer variety with the beautiful ballads “Paradise Lost” and “The Sacrifice” for the audience to delve into.

02. The Odyssey (2002)

The Odyssey is musical, technical, emotive, energetic and intelligent. As a matter of fact, I have come to view The Odyssey as somewhat of an informal successor and / or sequel to The Divine Wings of Tragedy. Both albums are remarkably cohesive despite being comprised of individually dissimilar songs that range from beautifully light to dark and heavy. Also, another common trait is their twenty-plus minute title tracks. Most obvious though is the “The Accolade” and “Accolade II” connection that they share, both being their respective record’s fourth track. The similarities end there however, with each album’s sound being distinct and The Odyssey is certainly no rehash of The Divine Wings of Tragedy. Instead, it is an excellent addition to Symphony X‘s discography.

01. The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997)

What’s very nice about The Divine Wings of Tragedy is that the band don’t have to sacrifice songwriting for virtuosity (at least most of the time). Unlike contemporaries Dream Theater, Symphony X stick to shorter structures and song-lengths throughout, creating a more cohesive sound. Take “Out of the Ashes” for instance; the song is more of a neo-classically-inspired speed metal song, and is only 3:40 long. However, in that time, so much whirls by the listener that it warrants many more listens. Opener “Of Sins and Shadows” is also intent on this, only being 4:58 but having so much music sandwiched into those 5 minutes. Both songs never sacrifice quality either; each instrument complements the other well, and the vocals are layered really well over the top.

Another thing about this album is the variety. You have the aforementioned power/speed metal songs, but then there are songs like “The Accolade” that opt for a more personal-sounding, acoustic touch. The track is very reminiscent of Kansas‘ 70′s material, like Point of Know Return or Audio-Visions (although obviously with more or a metallic input). However, the biggest example of variation on the album is the penultimate title epic. Clocking in at 20:43, the song begins with a Gregorian chant which lasts for about a minute and a half. With such a perfect and epic beginning, you’d hope the song could evolve and become even more amazing right? Well, it does. “The Divine Wings of Tragedy” might be one of the best epics I’ve heard in progressive music.

Essentially, this is the pinnacle of Symphony X‘s career. Every song is a metal classic in its own right, and the album doesn’t burden its songwriting with unnecessary virtuosity.

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