Underworld the eagerly awaited new album by one of the leading progressive metal groups Symphony X has finally arrived. Just like those prior albums by this New Jersey group Underworld is sure to find itself constantly occupying the music player of choice for their many fans, as yes it's also so very good.
Symphony X took us into quite heavy territory on their last release Iconoclast back in 2011, and now style wise with Underworld (their ninth album) the band have gone for a balanced approach catering to fans of their different sides. Inspired by Dante Alighieri an Italian poet and although Underworld isn't a concept album as such there is a theme "of going to hell and back for something or someone you care about". As expected the album sounds fantastic and Underworld's artwork is very cool reminiscent in part of their self-titled debut.
Symphony X haven't mellowed out that's for sure as they fire up for "Nevermore", and the stunning "Underworld" featuring that killer musicanship and where Russell Allen truly shines with those wickedly addictive vocals. Then the band takes a breather from the raging tempo for the totally enthralling "Without You" which has a chorus that is just magic and gets the goose bumps going. The potent metal explodes for "Kiss Of Fire", Jason Rullo's drumming is simply sublime and once again he has blown me away with his ability behind the kit, he surely is one of metal's premiers drummers. Guitar wizard Michael Romeo totally slays it also, his stunning guitar work is such a key ingredient to tracks like the super cool "Charon" and there is no discounting the contributions of keyboardist Michael Pinella and bass player Mike Lepond which are as always most welcome. Symphony X take us to "Hell And Back" on another cracking and adventurous song which is also Underworld's longest offering, and it's great to hear Russell Allen utilizing his range of vocals on this album. Taking off as Symphony X "Run With Devil" a complex tempo shifter as Michael Romeo lays down those sick riffs it's head banging/foot tapping paradise. "Swan Song" has a classic Symphony X feel with a strong keyboard presence, and this enchanting slower track is followed by the upbeat progressive/power metal number "Legend" which closes the hook loaded Underworld in style.
There's a reason why Symphony X have remained my favourite band for so long, it's because of superb albums like Underworld.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
4. Without You
5. Kiss Of Fire
7. Hell And Back
8. In My Darkest Hour
9. Run With The Devil