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Guess I'm the only one not raving about this album - 79%

Xeper, May 17th, 2003

Don't get me wrong, it's a good album. I like Symphony X a lot, and I'm crazy about prog metal and old prog rock. But the problem is, they sort of went more in the metal direction than the progressive direction, and while this is not at all a bad thing, the problem is really that they sound like they tried to be overly technical to make up for the less inventive songwriting. There are lots of boring start-stop riffs like "Inferno", "Wicked", "Incantations of the Apprentice", etc. Romeo relies a lot on them on here, and they're simply not that catchy or inspired sounding. His solos are generally pretty forgettable, technically impressive but boring shredding with occasional bent notes for emphasis or something like that I guess, I can't remember a single solo he does on here that's memorable, and I've spun the album quite a few times. The ominous title track, clocking in at 24 minutes 9 seconds, is quite a letdown. The opening's pretty cool, I love the acoustic section which eventually goes electric ('my eyes have been denied...', that part), but overall it just sounds like a lot of ideas thrown together, and isn't cohesive at all. The song's just pretty poorly structured, and fails to keep my interest-after 10 minutes or so, I've totally lost interest, and I'm all for epic music. This song just doesn't grab me as epic, there are far too many passages which prove they're all sick musicians and very tight as a band but simply sound crappy. And I like technicality, I love Dream Theater, and while DT are often accused of wankery, I'm sorry to say their songwriting far surpasses songs like this. The Odyssey's title track is just a very technical but forgettable song. Give me DT's A Change of Seasons any day. And the whole album here falls into this trap too often, even though everyone sounds great (especially Russell, man can he wail, and I think Jason's a very underrated drummer), the lyrics are good, etc. This album just fails to grab me...though the reworking of their old song "Masquerade" is a thousand times better, and although it's a bonus track, it's probably my favorite song on here. I feel bad giving one of my favorite bands a bad review, because I applaud the descent into prog territory instead of their old power metalish roots, I just don't think they've quite gotten it right yet.