This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

I Want You!

Join Symphony X and discover tons of other great Metal forums, sign up today!

Song With Best Musical Prowess

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Daniè, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. Daniè

    Daniè New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    What do you guys think is the best song in their repertoire that showcases just what a beast each band member is at their instrument. NOT songwriting, just skill (the hardest song to play basically).

    If you can't decide on one, maybe choose up to 5.

    I'm thinking it must be between The Odyssey, TDWOT, Seven, maybe even The Death of Balance despite it being short. Hell, maybe even Legend?

    What do you think?
     
  2. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    There are so many factors when determining what is the most "difficult" to play; it's an interesting question.

    Shredding may seem skillful, but at the same time, it may show a lack of restraint, which is also a skill.
    Sometimes, being able to convey things with subtlety is very difficult.
    Playing something that is very slow, but requires precise timing can be harder than some vicious blast of runs.

    I have a soft-spot in my heart for The Odyssey and Rediscovery. One of those may be my answer...

    I know your thread isn't about this, but I consider song-writing abilities the most important skill, and one that many musicians, including prog artists, lack.
    This is why I think DT is vastly inferior to SX. SX never noodles. Haken is brlliant, but their brilliance is sometimes interupted by noodling, and it's a damn shame. Take their song Celestial Elixir: The middle section is downright perfection, but then it takes you to a carnival.
    DT is either at the carnival, or the music is very shallow. I find them boring, regardless of which mood they're in.

    But yes, I'm going with Odyssey or Rediscovery.
     
  3. Progbass

    Progbass Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Finland
    Considering the whole band, yea definately DWOT, The Odyssey, Church of the machine, Egypt, Walls of Babylon, Iconoclast...the list goes on.

    But as bass player, for some reason I've always struggled with the fast riffs what are scale or arpeggio based. For example: Evolution, Smoke and mirrors, Fallen. The fast runs dont neccesary give me trouble, but to get the riffs flowing good.
     
  4. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    17,892
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Hallways of Always
    The Odyssey would be my pick. But as Gentleman said, it's a subjective question.

    In my mind, it's also not a very useful one. Technical ability can be achieved artificially, while artistic merit, also subjective, cannot be reproduced by programming or via technological aid - either you see the statue in the marble, or you don't. The tools to create it exist, but defining the shape remains in the realm of 'art' and such is the same with songwriting/composition/arrangement.
     
  5. Daniè

    Daniè New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I appreciate the answers! Gentleman of the snow: Your comments are still totally relevant. This is something I've often asked myself because Dream Theater is my first prog-metal love and I would still say now that they are my favourite together with Symphony X, but for the last year or so, I've just been getting so much more out of listening to Symphony X. At first, I thought that maybe it was because I liked the epic themes instead of the songs on PTSD, and the ballads are simply superior as well. But then I realized that I got more emotion out of their songs, I could relate more and they were just more satisfying to my ears. But yeah anyway, maybe the songwriting aspect does really have to do with it. Symphony X's songs seem to flow with less "doodling", as you mentioned. And even if they do, it never seems excessive.

    On the other hand, DT have some great songwriting too, lest we forget. The Awake album and especially the song A Change of Seasons are a testament to that, no?

    As for Haken, I haven't listened to them yet, but probably should very soon.

    It really is all subjective, but that's why I ask it so it can be talked about and so people can voice their opinions on something I was curious about. So I think it can still be useful.
     
  6. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Images and Words was a revelation of its time, Awake was a great follow-up, and Change of Seasons is a great epic.
    Agreed.
    DT used to be good, but lost it.
    If you love DT, you'll love Haken. Guaranteed. Best band in this sub-genre, IMO.
    They have 3 albums, and all 3 are gems.

    SX had a spree of albums that were fantastic, and it's unfortunate that when I joined the fanbase in 2003, their last truly great album was already out.

    The drumming on Rediscovery is top-tier. As a drummer, it's my nomination. V in general was Rullo's best work by a landslide.
     
  7. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Seven as Romeo plays it on the album is the most difficult thing by SX I have attempted to play, and I have tried a huge variety of parts of songs. There are a few difficult sections, too, not just the intro/outro. The pre-solo interlude and the timing on the solo in particular. This is just my opinion without actually thinking about it. I'm sure I can find a harder song. The other thing is that SX plays at 5-10 bpm faster live usually, making songs like Seven generally even harder. This is also just an assessment of lead guitar. Will think more. Good Q.
     
  8. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Messages:
    17,892
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Hallways of Always
    I like to think of DT as a doorway through which you walk into the garden of great prog. It's there, everyone passed through it, but very few stick around the portal for long.
     
  9. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Can someone recommend me a section or song from Haken where they show serious chops? I have yet to hear a single part. Then again, I generally struggle to get past the singer.
     
  10. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Perfect analogy. I haven't even listened to a song by them in about 3 years. I've never heard the last 2 albums either.

    My tastes have changed a lot, too. I don't listen to traditional prog-metal much anymore, but the ones that are great really hit me right.
    The problem is that too many talentless musicians entered the scene and diluted it. Sure, many are stellar at their instruments, but their musicality, creativity, and feeling are non-existent. 80% of prog is just not good music, IMO.

    First prog band I ever heard was actually SX (Accolade II on Napster, to be exact), and their older material is still some of the best out there. DT came later.
    I learned what odd time signatures were by listening to The Odyssey album. I was nodding my head and air-drumming one day and I was like "WTF? What's happening here?"
    Never looked back.

    OP, also check out Adagio's Underworld for some very complex prog-metal.
     
  11. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Uh, whaaat? The singer is phenomenal.
    Hmmm... check out the song Portals. No vocals. lol.
     
  12. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Singer is worse than SX's, DT's, CM's by far IMO. He sounds like a guy who can sing, not a singer. No control, bad vibrato, weak depth/thickness. Even a mediocre range from what I've heard (5 songs maybe, but 5 of the more popular songs). I think if he got replaced by someone I liked better, and they had the technical skill of alot of the other bands out there, I'd actually really, really like them. I love that they have 2 keyboardists, for example. I like their noodling, even!

    I'll say it again though, Crystallized is sweet. I even bought it. Not sure if these last few posts are off topic???

    Let me specify: I am looking for a Haken song with good guitar chops. Portals was not really what I'm after. The most "choppy" thing about the song is the time changes (which are cool). The solos are decent, particularly the second one. What I'm more after is something like DT's Blind Faith unison, or Never Enough unison, or SX's Seven/Masquerade/Damnation Game/fill-in-the-blank-with-song technical non-solo interludes. If I had some faith these guys had the chops of my favorite bands, I could maybe ever so slowly get into them.
     
  13. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I can't think of anything at the top of my head. They don't have shredding riffs very often, but it's obvious to me that they are virtuoso players.

    Why would knowing that they have chops allow you to enjoy tracks you don't enjoy now?
    Sometimes, bands just don't click with us. Nothing wrong with that :)
    I'm one of few on here who thinks Pain of Salvation is the second coming of Christ.

    I find SX and Circus to have amazing vocalists. Labrie is okay; I'm actually not a hater.
    SX, PoS (Daniel is my fave vocalist of all time), CM, Leprous, and Haken have some of the best vocals out there, IMO.

    Russ is one reason SX stands out so much.
    He was too heavy for me at first, haha, but now I listen to Opeth and Michael sounds like Satan himself. It's wonderful.

    Wow, two references to religion in one post... from an Atheist!
     
  14. Adam Fiske

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If you like prog bands with thicker grittier (yet still melodic) vocals, check out Suspyre and Vangough if you don't already know them. Suspyre's best two albums are A Great Divide and When Time Fades, and Vangough's is Between the Madness.
     
  15. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,917
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I actually own both of those albums and they never clicked with me.
    Adagio's first two albums have a singer I think matches the description.
     
  16. Neva Kee

    Neva Kee Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Germany
    Wow - thanks for the suggestions. I listened to some of Vangough's songs and I really like what I hear so far - reminds me a bit of PoS' good times and I really like the singer.

    As far as the musical prowess discussion, I am really not in the place to judge that because while I play a bit of guitar, I am not on a level (by far) where I can really start to differentiate on how difficult some of the stuff really is to play :)

    But referring to Dream Theater vs. Symphony X, my take is, that DT was and is technically still really good, but they have IMHO mainly lost the ability to create tight and meaningful songs and instrumental parts.
    When listening to their last albums, I find that I always have two problems: Even when there is a good idea for a song, it is like they wrote the song and then started breaking it up to add instrumental sections here and there that sometimes just seem to have no connection to the song and/or to each other. Most parts/songs overstay their welcome for me and I start to get tired of the songs and the meaningless wanking just for the sake of it.

    In addition to this many of the instrumental section start to sound alike - "same old" breaks and feeling and especially Rudess seems to repeat himself quite a lot. As an example, every album has a "circus/rag" part of his and while it was a cool idea and well implemented on Scenes From a Memory, it just makes me roll my eyes when they do it on later albums, because it is just a rehashed idea repeated over and over again.

    This never happened to me with Symphony X so far. Every part of their songs has it's place and is integrated with / stays close to the idea of the song (with just very few exceptions, which is no big deal imho). I always have the feeling that every part has meaning and identity - it has an idea and a focus and plays a part in the structure of the song that serves the "arc of suspense" of the song.

    So to sum it up - while the technicality of these bands evelate them into excellency, for me its more about the song and if I can relate to it or not. And when both things come together, it creates a thing of beauty, which is what Symphony does for me constantly!
     
  17. Detective Beauregard

    Detective Beauregard Hammer of Serious Anger

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    To answer the original question, it depends on how you approach it. From a timing standpoint, The Odyssey is probably the most consistently difficult song to play. But there's some truly frustrating polymetric sections in Iconoclast (5:36) and Electric Messiah (3:37) that I still have trouble holding the timing on; the former is 17/8 with a tail/turnaround of 11/8 over a steady 6/8 drumbeat, while the latter is 19/8 over 4/4 drums. I've honestly never heard any other band play stuff as complex as this while still holding a steady groove. It's amazing.

    From a physical/endurance standpoint, it obviously depends on the instrument. As a bass player, if you can get through all of Iconoclast or Reign in Madness without your hand cramping up, kudos to you! I general, while it's one of my least favorite albums by them, I think Iconoclast is the most technically demanding.

    The title track is one of my favorite songs ever. So epic and melodic and haunting and dark...

    Agreed. I actually love that whole EP, and think it's their strongest release.

    Symphony X has spoiled me; none of those bands contain singers who I love. They fit the music, and thus they "pass" to my ears, but they're mostly too whiny and high-pitched for me to listen to a constant basis. Russell can hit the highs while also having the depth that you never really hear too much in prog.

    I've never heard of Vangough, but the only Suspyre album which really clicked with me was Silvery Image. I generally prefer prog to power metal, but the two albums that followed seemed needlessly complex and didn't flow very well. But that first album is great; I still throw Father of Hate and Serpent I Am on from time to time.

    I thought he was a great singer, too. Unfortunately, their singers have gotten worse since then.
     
  18. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Yea, never been a big Suspyre, Vang, or Adagio guy. I LOVE some of Adagio's music, but then the singer comes in a screams it all away :bah:

    Maybe we should get some kind of organization going for this thread if the OP wants a real answer. Organize first my most prowess on each instrument, then pick a song overall for the band.

    My picks for guitar:

    Damnation Game
    Savage Curtain
    Out of the Ashes
    Iconoclast
    Light up the Night
    The Odyssey
    Masquerade (instrumental sections)
    Seven
    Smoke and Mirrors
    In the Dragon's Den
    Nevermore

    Haven't tried anything on UW, but Nevermore is most assuredly one of the most blistering songs for guitar in the entire discography. I'm sure there are more, but I'd have to try and add them later once I've given them a shot.

    Also, Detective I'm not hearing any 19/8 in Electric Messiah. The guitar sounds also in 4/4.
     
  19. Detective Beauregard

    Detective Beauregard Hammer of Serious Anger

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    It's technically 9/8 + 10/8 repeated over 4/4. If I can figure out how to post an image on this forum without it being online, I can show you later today.
     
  20. Daniè

    Daniè New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Yeah, my intention was for people to list the song/s that is/are most difficult to play for all instruments in the same song... But if you wanna do lists by instrument then yeah, let's do that. Probably better. In fact, one thing I would love to talk about is the song with the best performance by Russell Allen! That would be interesting.

    Also, if you guys could suggest me some Haken songs to start off with, that'd be cool :)

    This is the first forum I've joined. It's really cool to critique and share ideas with people who also share the same love I have for SX.
     

Share This Page