Symphony X have for the past years plied their trade in such a way that many see them as the contenders for the progressive metal throne still comfortably occupied by Dream Theater. Their recent two albums, "Twilight in Olympus" and "V", made their star rise to incredible heights. Last year they released the double live album "Live at the Edge of Forever", which was a faithful and representative document of their previous albums and the atmosphere they evoked when played live. They have within their ranks a fine bunch of musicians, primarily main composer ang guitar wizard Michael Romeo. Most striking, however, is vocalist Russell Allen whom I would not mind replacing James Labrie in Dream Theater. His voice carries the songs convincingly and powerfully.

No wonder the world of prog fans was waiting with bated breath for the release of their first studio album in 2 years, "The Odyssey". However, the album fails to cash in completely on the expectations. The production seems a bit shallow at the high end, and especially part 3 of their 7-part title track sounds too thin for my liking. The songwriting, also, seems to have become less complex in exchange for more of a heavy style. Now don't get me wrong, "The Odyssey" is an excellent album. I had, however, expected more. I guess that's what happens with bands like these that seem to go from strength to strength. I wasn't disappointed, really, but I had expected more.

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Written November 2002


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