Symphony X - V: The New Mythology Suite Metal Blade - 2000 By Rodrigo The newest album by the progressive metal band, Symphony X, is an outstanding achievement of musicianship. As the title of the album suggests, V is the bands fifth album and the first album to be officially released in the US. Symphony X has gathered a very big following in Europe and Japan and now the time is ripe for Symphony X to acquire a strong following in the US. The band is composed of Michael Romeo (guitars), Russell Allen (vocals), Michael Pinnella (keyboards), Jason Rullo (drums) and Michael Lepond (bass). Michael Romeo is an excellent guitar player. His style is neo-classical like Yngwie Malmsteen but more refined and heavier. Michael Pinnella is definitely one of the best keyboard players in the progressive metal world and Russell Allen is a superb singer who has a Dio-like voice but shows more range. The music of Symphony X is operatic, orchestral and has grand choirs especially in the instrumentals. The guitars and the keyboards are the instruments that drive the music. There are fast songs with blistering guitar parts and frantic keyboard lines. But there are also slow mid-tempo songs that are atmospheric and majestic. Lyrically, V is a concept album with a very entertaining and intriguing story line. Without revealing the plot, I can say that the story involves Atlantis and Egyptian themes and mythology and how all the good and evil knowledge and information of the world came from these two civilizations. The whole concept of "five" is found in a great majority of the album. V flows together like one grand song; there are no pauses between tracks. After the short intro instrumental the first great song is "Evolution (The Grand Design)". It is fast paced and has a heavy main guitar riff, it features a catchy chorus and very cool guitar and keyboard solos. "Fallen" has a cool keyboard intro and at about the 3:19 mark there is a great instrumental part of the song; where the guitar and keyboards are featured prominently, first by themselves and then at the same time to have an incredible double solo. "Communion & The Oracle" is a beautiful slow mid-tempo song that shows the majestic side of Symphony X. The keyboard is the focus of the song and there is also some really great drumming by Jason Rullo. Some fresh and sweet solos by Michael Romeo round out the song. The next track "The Bird-Serpent War" is the heaviest and fastest song of the album and it provides a great contrast to the previous song. Another excellent song is "A Fools Paradise" which has a catchy and driving chorus as well as the best solo section of the entire album in my mind. The keyboards really shine here. The song "Egypt" showcases some eastern musical influences in the intro and throughout the song. The bass is featured with a cool solo/melody line. The final song "Rediscovery (Part II) is the longest song of the album, clocking at 12 minutes and its finishes the album in grand style. It has great time and tempo changes. At times it is fast and heavy and then it goes into slow melancholic parts. This song features the best strengths of Symphony X. With this album, Symphony X has positioned themselves as one of the best bands in the progressive metal world. They have raised the bar of what will be expected from other progressive bands and themselves in future albums. Hopefully, Metal Blade will be able to release the rest of their outstanding catalogue in the US. Right now Symphony X is scheduled to play a couple of shows in the US but there are rumors that Symphony X will tour the US extensively this year. Lets hope they do! The next time you go to the record store pick up V and enjoy a truly majestic musical experience!