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Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Postulate, Jul 9, 2009.
my answer is no
I'll judge how I feel about this topic after the next album. I thought Paradise Lost was really really good, but it wasn't as good as V. But it was still better than the Odyssey in my opinion. If their next album isn't as good as say.. Twilight, then I'll agree that maybe they're coming down from their best.
I think they hit their creative peak in V, although I liked The Odyssey (at least the phenomenal title track, anyway). PL seems to be targeted to kids which, I must admit, isn't a bad strategy as they're the ones most likely to buy it. I just feel they're losing their 'progressiveness' and moving to a more me-too heavy-metal sound. That's obviously where they want to be, and it's their music - so God Bless 'em. I just long for another progressive smphonic masterpiece ....
PL was definitely watered-down in the progressive department, but at least it had all the essential Symphony X elements to a degree. I wish there was more orchestration and keyboard solos, though! I wonder if Pinnella's movement into the background was his choice or the rest of the band's.
Well you remember what he said in that audio interview, that he thought maybe it was just time for the keyboards to chill out a bit on that album as it was intended to be a little more guitar driven.
i think V is pure fucking genius, i dont think that was their peak or anything. i definitely feel they have more to offer, and there just getting into this more heavier sound so we'll see where it goes, no doubt thats what the next album will be like. but symphony x is pure genius no matter what they do
I don't recall that interview, was it P or Romeo who was giving it? Also, if this is the case, I hope the next album is less "guitar-driven."
nooooooo keyboards ftw!
i'd honestly like another damnation game, that album is really awesome in my opinion, pretty laid back to but it has a ton of great songs that are really underrated
I'd love to have something more keyboard driven, but also more 'symphonic' - kind of like V. I don't mean to suggest they should repeat themselves, but there are tons of guitar-oriented metal bands out there. To me, most of them are of no interest. It's the keyboards and symphonic elements that drew me to SX in the beginning, and I really hope they're not going to move away from that.
I really think the next album should be all about bass. Bass in the foreground, bass leads, bass intros, bass verses, let's hear more Lepond. I think we need a more low-end driven sound. While we're at it, Russell can never sing higher than 2nd baritone.
You've given me an excellent idea.
What Paradise Lost could have sounded like: http://www.divshare.com/download/7910608-f90
Of course they've hit their creative peak. They used to be progressive because they were creating music that sounded new and exciting. Now they've found a place that they're happy with and I don't think a lot will change from here on.
Symphony X have nowhere near peaked yet.
I guess it depends on the listener. Creatively do I think they have peaked? I don't know.
I have found something to love on all of their albums but I can't see myself loving any of their material quiet as much as the Twilight stuff. I know how creative V is and how much work is put into that record, but I just don't get as much enjoyment out of that album as Twilight or Divine Wings.
Obviously the band have become more aggressive and more guitar driven since V, Odyssey was more guitar driven than that and then Paradise even more. I still think those albums are creative, but despite being more guitar heavy I don't think the riffs on those albums are as well conceived or as original as on the earlier albums.
I like a lot of the songs off Odyssey and Paradise and play certain songs off each regularly, but I rarely listen to them in their entirety. I tend to enjoy the more melodic songs off each (Awakenings, Accolade 2, Eve of Seduction) more, and I still enjoy the heavier songs but I find with songs like Domination and Serpents Kiss that the guitar riffs are a little more (and I hate using this term in relation to Symphony X) generic, and thus less interesting or entertaining. Same deal for me as with Dream Theaters 'Train Of Thought', although Symphony X's heavier recent stuff still sounds a lot more inspired, well written and just a lot better in general.
I hope they havn't peaked, I hope that they needed to go in a different direction with the last two albums and hopefully they can combine their heavier material with the gracious melodic and progressive material of past. And hopefully a little something new too.
One thing that almost always happens with bands is the second they get big enough to the point that they are touring extensively, the quality of all ensuing releases goes down. Most people attribute this to aging, selling out, or an exhaustion of inspiration. I think it has more to do with the amount of time available for song writing.
When a band releases their first few discs, they are working with material they had their whole lives to work on and refine. No doubt countless mediocre ideas were discarded in that time and only the most elite ideas persisted. That's why so often you see the trend of a first album being good, but unrefined as the band is just getting down the vibe of recording together and what their sound will be. Almost always a band's best effort is the 2nd or 3rd album - when they are still working with ideas they have had ages to polish AND they are not so big that they have to dedicate piles of time to performing, PR, etc..
Once a band hits that point that they are touring regularly, the way albums are written is like an amalgamation of little noodley ideas they come up with on the tour bus when practicing. Then they go into the studio at a set time for a set amount of time, and simply have to bang out whatever comes out in that session. That means almost everything they come up with makes it onto the record, even if halfway through the recording there is a sense that a song is really mediocre.
Think about Dream Theater. Got the kinks worked out on Day and Dream, hit it out of the park with Images and Words, which was based entirely on material they had all developed over there lives and while at Berklee. Then, after Pull me Under is a hit and they have to tour more and follow the more traditional route, a period of tapering off, until finally they reach a point that they are going to take the time to throw everything into one album and if it fails break up - out comes Scenes from a Memory, a brilliant work rivaling Images. Then, after the success of that album, every album has been alright, but nothing spectacular, mostly standard stuff that has a very definite feel of 'we're going into the studio on day X, will be done on day Y, then back to touring'.
Now, consider Symphony X, who followed a very similar path. They remained in obscurity and had all the time in the world until Divine Wings, which got the ball rolling. Then V is clearly the other brilliant work - but most of that material was hold over from an epic intended for Twilight that never ended up happening. As a result that material got developed and perfected far more than it otherwise would have been (which you can hear in the intricacies of Rullo's drumming or the synth arrangements, which are FAR FAR more carefully and cleverly construed than on all the other releases. Now, X is touring a ton and getting recognition, and you can hear that they do not have the kind of time to perfect songs now. PL has a distinct 'studio album' feel - there is nothing extremely innovative or complicated to it. Oculus is the closest, but that is a relatively simple composition in form and purpose, more so impressive because it takes advantage of newer technologies for samples.
You can probably think of countless other bands where this type of thing happens.
I guess my point being, I wouldn't so much call it a creative peak as 'got to a level of success that they simply don't have time to put out a perfected, meticulously crafted album like V these days. If Symphony X announced tomorrow that they were going into utter seclusion for the next 3 years to write a masterpiece of an album, I would forgo the live shows and tip my hat to the concept.
^True to an extent, but I think there's just way more factors down to it, not just the possibly shorter time frame.
SyXified, I couldn't have said it better myself. I agree completely, except for the fact that SX aren't known for being prolific as it is. To take more time between albums would mean one every, what, 4-5 years!? Anyway, I wish DT would take a couple years off to really work on ideas - I can at least always find something to like on an SX album but the last 3 or so DT releases were horrible (IMHO).
Though I agree with most of the previous couple posts, I offer two points of opinion:
- Paradise Lost sounds no more "generic" or "studio based due to time constraints" than a third of the material on Divine Wings and Twilight
- Judging a creative slump based on one album's direction (Paradise Lost) is not really fair evaluation. If their last 2 or 3 albums were received with the same reaction than maybe it would be valid, but V was brilliant and The Odyssey would be considered a masterpiece in my book even if it only included the title track (nevermind the fact that it also has Awakenings, Accolade II, Inferno, and Wicked).