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A must-own for any fan of power or prog metal - 94%

panteramdeth, November 20th, 2004

Being one of the only American bands that can stack up, musician for musician, against any European power/progressive/skill act, Symphony X have been equally as consistent. They are also easily one of the most talented in all of metal right now, if their recent output, including this album is any indication. This band has received many accolades and critical acclaim for this skill, because they have a unique style of progressive metal, thanks in no small part to the songwriting talents and musical ability of neoclassical guitarist Michael Romeo. V: The New Mythology Suite continues the consistent trend for this band, as they have successfully crafted a tremendous prog album that is equal in both songwriting and musicianship.

The Highlights: Every song on this album is strong, even the occasional insturmental interludes on this album. The sound of the album brings to mind ballsier Dream Theater or maybe Evergrey, but more keyboard heavy than the latter band, with quite a bit of classical influence. The songs on here seem to run together like a concept album, though I have never seen this album mentioned anywhere as such an album. There are four songs that I think are absolute standouts, and probably only about one or two songs on here I don't love. The songs that take the cake for being the best on here are "Evolution", "Communiion & The Oracle", "Rediscovery Part #2", and "Egypt". "Evolution" and "Rediscovery Part #2" show that Michael Romeo is not just a talented flashy soloist on guitar, but also shows that he can write and play some excellent bottom-heavy riffs. Vocalist Russell Allen is crystal clear on all the tracks that actually have singing on them, but his vocal perfomances on "Communion & The Oracle" and "Egypt" are particularly moving pieces of work. "Absence Of Light" has some baritone vocal harmonies that fit the style of the song very well, and is a welcome surprise, seeing how a lot of vocals normally associated with power and progressive metal are of the falsetto variety. Many Symphony X songs in general actually seem to be a good fit for baritone, but still clear vocals, and they are one of the few bands that can achieve success doing this.

Now one might pop this disc in and complain about all the short instrumental breaks on this album, as well as all the keyboard work, but I think they fit this album very well. They offer a nice transition between songs that do have vocals, and they definitely sound like a lot of thought went into writing them. They almost sound like mini-classical pieces with good guitar riffing, but it definitely does not sound like wankery to these ears. Symphony X also has a track record of being able to maintain their heaviness without getting too disjointed, or getting light or airy, like on some of the ballads many lesser prog and power metal bands are known to write.

The Lowlights: As evidenced by this rating, I can't really see any flaws with this album. Nothing even comes close to sucking, and I play this disc all the way through, without skipping any tracks 9 out of 10 times. That is how good this album is.

Who this album is for: What more can I say? I don't see why any progressive or power metal fan would not want to add this CD to their collection after they listen to this even once. In my book, this is a must-own for any fan of any type of power metal.

The bottom line: This album will live forever as a prog classic, alongside other great prog opuses such as Operation: Mindcrime, No Exit, and Scenes From A Memory. Buy it.