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I love the book the Odyssey, so when I first discovered Symphony X and saw that they had an album named after it I just had to get it; and let me tell you, I'm glad I did, this is a phenomenal album. Everything about it is very enjoyable and many parts greatly resemble parts of The Divine Wings of Tragedy though a little heavier. The style is definitely heavier and more intense than previous Symphony X efforts, but it fits very well and almost seems to me, what they were meant to do in the first place style wise. It's very heavy, but manages to throw in the symphonic and progressive elements that we know and love Symphony X for and enhances this album so much.
The highlights of this are Inferno, King of Terrors, The Accolade ll and, of course, The Odyssey. Inferno is a great opening song and it really represents the slight change in styles that Symphony X adopted in this album. It makes a great live song and if I had to pick one this would be the big hit of this album. It doesn't really have a very eminent chorus or catchy lyrics, but it's got this great metal groove that just makes it a lot of fun to listen to. King of Terrors is another good one with a solid chorus and some great riffage. It's also got a little narration towards the end that pretty much gives the song it's title, fortunately it's not too cheesy. This song has a really good chorus, and once you really pay attention to this song I bet it'll stick in your head like it did for me. In general King of Terrors, is kind of similar to Inferno with the raging guitars and the still progressive side. It's like thrash metal combined with progressive metal (awesome). The Accolade ll is really good, I've always really loved Symphony X's ballads and I kind of wish they would make more of them. See usually their ballads become either half ballads or mini epics; songs like Paradise Lost and The Sacrifice from Paradise Lost (the album) are examples of the whole half ballad style, while When All is Lost from Iconoclast is one of those mini epics. The Accolade ll is obviously very similar to the first Accolade (which of course you all remember) in that it stays slow, but manages to be very powerful. It's amazingly well written and probably one of my favorite ballad/epics.
Now I'm going to devote an entire paragraph to The Odyssey (the song). This song is a true masterpiece and my personal favorite song of all time. It starts off with an orchestral section with some really cool rhythms and meter changes. This transitions into a slower part with some really good vocals, probably the best I've ever heard from Allen. The whole song is split into seven parts and while the middle part kind of blurs together a bit, if you pay really close attention you will hear some absolutely amazing stuff. The orchestral parts really blend well with the metal stuff for some really well done and atmospheric music. The absolute best part of the song is part seven: The fate of the suitors/champion of Ithaca; this part is really, really good. It's fast catchy and really fun to sing. The chorus is great and in general it's just a good way to end one of the greatest songs/albums I have ever heard.
I love the progressive feel of this whole album. It's not power metal because it relies on short bursts of rapid fire drumming and more complex drum beats which really makes listening to it very enjoyable. I also enjoy the combination of progressive metal with thrash metal, but with good vocals. This is a very complex album that somehow manages to be fairly accessible.
Even though it's heavier and more thrashy the old Symphony X, their new sound is still great and really adds a fresh perspective to the band we know and love. This is definitely, in my opinion, Symphony X's magnum opus and is a must buy for all metal fans ever.