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Flogging a dead horse - 17%

Human666, April 24th, 2016

In terms of creativity and inventiveness, Symphony X is more or less done. Since The Odyssey, Symphony X's musical output has been a dull array of uninspired heavy metal songs, with a growing emphasis on the heavy side of things and a gradual deterioration towards the generic realm of boredom and meaninglessness. Underworld is no surprise.

This album is a collection of predictable and tramping songs that reach no destination. After a humdrum overture of meaningless Latin chants and casual strings, that just fail to reach any level of excitement in spite of the hard effort, we are being thrown straight to the first real track, which bears the extremely unoriginal title of Nevermore. As usual for the last decade, Russel Allen mumbles some hackneyed lyrics over a monotonous vocal melody that fits perfect with the dull, characterless fast guitar riffs. Once in a chorus, Pinnella will play some static chords with his keyboards, so that the lifeless vocal melody won't sound completely numb in spite of Michael Romeo's endless attempts to break the speed of light with his superficial arpeggios, as if we haven't already heard that shtick for an endless amount of times since Malmsteen discovered the harmonic minor scale and a tape recorder.

Without You is the band's most desperate attempt to write a pop song with heavy metal arrangements, even though they are just unfit for such a task. This song is probably the most forced song they ever written, each vocal melody and each guitar riff sounds just so trite and spurious that I really wonder how they haven't cut this track out from the final product.

The rest of this album is just the same. Everything is just going through the motions and sounds superficial, as if the only reason for creating this album was to fill contract obligation. Each song has its own extremely unoriginal title ('In My Darkest Hour', 'To Hell and Back' and 'Legend', just to name a few), its own pile of heavy and characterless guitar riffs, the same banal choruses that could be replaced with each other with no one will ever noticing, and the same half assed fast guitar solos that one wants to hear. I couldn't find any outstanding moment in this album, nor any catchy riff or semi interesting moment of inspiration. Underworld is just another Nuclear Blast product that will satisfy these who'll get orgasm just by any disposable CD with a sound of electric guitars and superficial vocal lines, all wrapped in a dark and "cool" cover art.

In conclusion, this album is a joke. Move on.