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Symphony X is a band I'd always heard a lot about. Finally I decided to pick up an album, and being a fan of mythology and the like, I decided to pick up The Odyssey. Little did I know I would be blown away, much like when I had first hear Yngwie and Iron Maiden...
The first song on the album is one of my favorites. Inferno (Unleash the Fire) starts with some insane guitar licks. A good introduction to the album, I must say. The trade-off's with the keyboard and guitar sounds good as well. The main-riff of the song has some good pinch harmonics. The vocals start very aggressive, but melodic nonetheless. The chorus vocal melody is really good. When the solo comes, there is some insane sweeping; it's generally just a kick-ass solo. The keyboard solo is good competition, howeverl...this is a damn good song.
Wicked is the next song on the album. A rather catchy riff starts the song aggressive and low, until it finally bridges into the first verse. Not much aggression, but great melody. The chorus is one of my favorites on the album. There's also a keyboard part in this song before the solo that reminds me of Dream Theater a bit. The solo that follows is fairly short, as is the preceding keyboard solo. Both are decent. The soft section somehow keeps the song at it's peak...the solo that breaks out afterwards is pretty good, though fairly simplistic.The riff that ends the song is my favorite, however. Another riff that reminds me of Dream Theater.
Ever see the Mummy? The start of "Incantations of the Apprentice" reminds me of the soundtrack for some reason....except with heavy metal guitar. This is another of my favorites off the album. Sounds very mythical. The main-riff rids itself of the mythical sound, however, and replaces it with some sweet pinch harmonics and solo breaks. The vocals shine as always, and the mini-drum fills strewn throughout the verse (where there is no guitar) sound pretty good, though simplistic. The string sound in the background is great; it's not overpowering, yet it still adds the nessecary amount of atmosphere. As always, the guitar solo is great. The dual section is pretty damn sweet, may I add.
Accolade II starts off a bit different, with sorrowful piano music accompanied by what I liken to a violin. The intro piano is very good. Sets the mood for the rest of the song. The following riff is real good; inspirational keyboards ocassionaly dualed with acoustic guitar, and always accompanied by heavy chord progressions. The drums sound good as well. The vocals in Accolade II reach heights unreached from the last 3 listed. The mid-section fits perfectly, and the vocals and piano alone sounds very different...but, of course, welcome. The guitar melody that follows is sweet as well. The piano continues, but now an acoustic guitar joins in. Eventually "sweeping" piano comes in, built-up with various chords. The song ends up with more great melodies then I can count, and yet another great guitar solo.
King of Terrors is the next song. It's very aggressive, what with the doom-laden guitar and keyboard. The drumming sounds complex to this guitarists ears as well. The vocals are very good in this song; very aggressive at times, and at other times melodic. The spoken bit leads the song into a mid-section, with very low piano for but a second. The keyboard guitar dual harmony is great, and one of the best on the album. The solo in this song is blisteringly fast, and well appreciated to this guitarists (had to use that one again) ears.
The Turnings main riff is very speedy. The opening solo is one of my favorites, though it's rather short. The vocals actually remind me of the illustrious Bruce Dickinson at times, yet attain anger at seemingly unreachable degrees most of the time. The dual guitar-keyboard melody is yet another of brilliance. The guitar rhythm in the background is sweet as well, building it up very well. The solo sounds great; both the guitarist and keyboard solo at the same time, followed by a solo by only the keyboardist. The guitar joins in again for another melody. The guitar solo follows, and it too is great.
Awakenings is the next song, and it too has a piano intro. However, this piano is accompanied by strings, making it more epic. The guitar has very little gain, which is a bit strange, but it sounds good nonetheless. The vocals in this song are different in a melodic way, but still very good. Of course, that lasts for only so long, and we get another taste of melodic-aggression. The solo at the end of the song is very catchy for some reason or another, and it serves the song well.
The Odyssey is the 24 minute long song on this album, and let me tell you...every minute, every second, is amazing. Very symphonic, very epic...definitely my absolute favorite off the album. There is no denying the brilliance in this track. This song is divided into various parts, with my favorite part being Part 1, "the Overture," or "Odysseus' Theme." The guitar and symphonic elements mix well. I swear this song could make it on a movie, it's theatrical, epic, symphonic, and the mood of it changes quite a bit.