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Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by PrgrsveMetalnChains, Oct 16, 2011.
He's a good sport. He knows that we need petty squabbles to live.
To me, Portnoy just can't make a simple beat sound interesting. Groove isn't really one of his strong points.
He can't make any beat sound interesting that wasn't written for him by somebody else.
I have the same problems with Portnoy's style. He creates some interesting beats that are based on muscle/pattern memory, which is a style I'm not as fond of.
He isn't fully capable of using and taking advantage of dynamics, and he doesn't warp the feel of a groove or fully embellish what can be done within a given measure; If he does, it's very rudimentary.
I guess it all comes down to groove, like Storm said. He doesn't mess around with groove, while staying within a solid pocket.
I don't want to disrespect the guy, though, because he seems like a great person, and I can't doubt that he's still got skillz... he's just not as great as many others, or as his legend suggests.
Are you saying that Portnoy can't seem to mix simple grooves with complexity? If you are, I've noticed that, too. It's either a really simple Lars-style beat (some stuff on Train of Thought, for example) or balls-out crazy 13/8 following the guitar/bass riffs to the letter. I rarely hear him flesh things out with little tom fills here and there or ghost notes on the snare (like Rullo or the guy from Opeth do, for example).
But I'm not a drummer, so it's entirely possible I have no clue what I'm even talking about.
No, you're right on money there. His style lacks subtlety.
"groove" need not signify 4/4 simple kick snare kick snare.
Groove can imply swinging (literally) into the feel of the music, drifting behind or ahead of the beat to add flavor and feel. He NEVER does this.
Complex or simple, you could feed his part to a drum machine VST and it would sound like Portnoy.
Very true. One of my favorite grooves is the main riff of Inferno (Unleash the Fire). It's completely off-time, but there's so much movement and life to it. When I compare that to most of the stuff Portnoy does, the latter feels flat and monotonous.
The lack of grooving is one of the main reasons why I can't enjoy much of Dream Theater's work. Too much math, not enough feel. Adrenaline Mob has more groove, but it's still boring as hell.
Something I should add is that a while ago I read an interview with Portnoy where he said that DT has never had a traditional rhythm section (you know, where the bass and the drums are essentially one unit and flow together). Live, he had almost no Myung in his monitors. After I read that I listened to DT again, and he's right - the bass almost never locks into a groove with the drums, but rather just doubles the guitar or holds out notes. It's as if they're two separate entities playing on their own. Perhaps not grooving with a bass guitar for the twenty or so years he was in DT is part of his problem.
So you actually do agree then. You just don't want him to stop the screaming completely. Everyone wants more of the "clean" singing.
You really should check out the rest of the album. "Undaunted" is one of the worst songs on there. I totally get not liking it, but at least check it out. Jeez, people. It's 50 minutes of Russell Allen. And you're apparently one of the few who love his vocals "no matter how he sings."
Seriously, talk about exaggerations and over-generalizations. I realize you probably only gave this stuff a single, passing listen, but these sorts of comments and the no "feeling" thing from before make it seem like you have no idea what you're talking about. "Undaunted" is literally the only song where he uses the whammy effects to that extent. I hope you did go back and listen to some other tracks. Each one is very unique. "Indifferent" is a textbook example of how to use a wah pedal without being boring, "All On the Line" is a classic 80s hard rock / power ballad type solo (nothing to dislike about that, come on), "Believe Me" has some of that feeling you're missing and the harmonized leads in "Angel Sky" with Russell singing over the outro solo is just plain beautiful.
Portnoy is whatever. Above average performance for sure, but it's not going to be at the top of his resume. Never had any potential to be.
Yeah, definitely. That's probably why he's been so into doing this and the Avenged Sevenfold thing.
This is a perfect example of why I'm not a fan of the style of drumming he uses.
No ghost notes, no displacement...
Sometimes the easiest sounding beats are really hard to master because of the subtleties.
Detective, what you mentioned is definitely true, but not entirely what I was getting at.
Lines in the sand is one of the few DT songs where is some groovy drum parts.
You're so right on this it's not even funny. For Portnoy, there's usually no middle ground between insane fills and lines he probably composed note for note and completely trite vanilla patterns.
That's not to say he doesn't have his bright spots on most DT albums, though... take "6:00", for instance, where he beautifully plays around fairly straight 4/4 or 6/8 patterns.
Agreed. It, along with Trial of Tears, are two of my favorite DT songs. I like much of FII in general for its groove-based atmosphere.
I think his interesting parts started to gradually dwindle after FII. In fact, the only album after FII that I regularly listen to is Train of Thought; the rest (for the most part) just seems so uninspired to me.
I've listened to the album a few times now, and while I may have been a bit hard on the guy's solos, most of them still do nothing for me. It's obvious that he tries to put emotion into them, but I just don't feel it. Feeling is something that's very subjective.
After multiple listens I can safely say that the only songs that didn't outright piss me off (note that I didn't say I liked them) are Undaunted, Indifferent, All on the Line, Believe Me, and Angel Sky. The latter three of these obviously try to have feeling, but like most of the solos, I just don't feel it. Most of these songs, while not utterly terrible like the rest of the album, are just too generic for my tastes. The songs just feel so... packaged. The music never has any time to breathe.
As for the rest, I think Psychosane and Feelin' Me are absolute immature garbage. Hit the Wall has an interesting outro, but the rest of the song does nothing for me. I'm not sure what sound they were going for with Come Undone, but the chord progression is nothing I haven't heard before. Down to the Floor has a cool pre-chorus groove, but since the song is lyrically terrible (fast cars are such an original topic for this style of music), I can't get into it. And Freight Train... that's how they want to end the album? Terrible.
After a few listens I decided to throw on Russ's solo album, and was reminded of how good it was. Why would I think that, considering that the styles of music are not dissimilar? Because Russ's album rarely seems to take itself seriously; it's just good, fun music. But there's no Saucey Jack moments on Omerta; despite Russ's claim that it's just "fun rock n' roll," I instead get a serious vibe from most of it. Maybe it's the overall tonality; I'm not sure.
It's just too unoriginal and generic for my tastes. And the more time Russ spends with this band means he puts less effort (or a different kind of effort) into Symphony X. Not a good thing.
Alright, Detective. Cool, I can respect that. All I want is for people to give the album a fair shake instead of "everything sucks" or "greatest thing ever" sort of posts. Same thing with some people and Iconoclast, but that's another topic. I actually agree with just about everything you wrote. You just feel more strongly about the negatives. The songs you don't hate are also my favorites (except swap "Undaunted" for "Hit the Wall").
And right on. To me, Atomic Soul is the best Symphony X related release since The Odyssey. Not with you on the serious-vs-fun thing though. Definitely not lyrically. You probably just aren't into the sort of fun that Adrenaline Mob is out to have.
Look how much fun is being had!
But yeah, I remember being shocked at Russell's vocals on Unjustified. Seems so tame now. Hahaha.
Fun? Fun?! That bassist is using a pick!
" During our chat, the singer discussed Symphony Xs potential plans in 2012 (including the possibility of recording a classical concept album)..."
From the metal insider interview.
So does paul mccartney and chris squire
That's why this is my favorite song by that band. Easily.
Paul McCartney was never cool.
Best SymX news I've heard since that time they said they're doing a show where I live.