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Symphony X's future

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Matt, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Matt

    Matt Active Member

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    First off, I'm an old member here, and don't post here much anymore because there isn't much activity anymore. But, I wanted to bring something up and see if I'm the only one who shares this opinion.

    I think the past two Symphony X albums have been poor (now, before you jump all over me, I'll still listen to them over almost any other band, but they've been poor by the astronomical standards in which I judge Symphony X). Paradise Lost was decent and had some great moments, but it wasn't close to a total classic like The Odyssey, V, etc. The latest album isn't good. I liked the title track; nearly everything else seems bland and boring. I'm worried about their future. I'm not informed about their record sales or anything like that, so I could be wrong, but I don't see them lasting very long if they keep making albums like that. I would be surprised if their fanbase has increased much over the past several years.

    I'm of the opinion Romeo may need some help with the songwriting. Maybe some new faces in the band as well. Or maybe their time has come and gone; Dream Theater and Opeth (my other two favorite prog bands) seem to be in a similar positions as well.

    What do you guys think? Am in the minority here or not?
     
  2. manticore999

    manticore999 Member

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    Amen on SX. I didn't even bother buying the last one after hearing it once. Actually, i don't think I even made it through the the whole album. I can't stand the 'rough' vocals and music is starting to sound repetitive.

    Disagree about DT, though. They were on a downward spiral, but the last album was a huge improvement.
     
  3. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Shyamalan'd

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    I think you are confusing personal preference with popularity. Though I share your opinion of SX's current musical state, the fact is that they are widening their fanbase and selling more albums. As far as the figures are concerned, Symphony X is more successful than ever. The main cause for future concern, in my opinion, is Russell's involvement with Adrenaline Mob (a mainstream band that was more successful out of the gate than SX has been in 15 years). I think those of us who love the old sound of Symphony X simply have to understand that their vision has changed. We can either be on board, gripe about it and listen to new material with disdain, or stop listening all together. The band's vitality, however, is hard to question.

    I do agree completely on Dream Theater, though not on Opeth, who I believe is in a state similar to SX.
     
  4. Matt

    Matt Active Member

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    Has their vision really changed, or have they lost it? I don't see enough of a style change to agree with you really.
     
  5. Detective Clarence Beauregard

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    I think their vision has changed.

    I've listened to several interviews in the last few years with MJR, Russ, and Rullo, and they all seem to think that the newer songs (PL and Iconoclast) are simply "better, tighter" pieces.

    There was an interview a year or two ago with the entire band, and when asked what their favorite record was, Lepond said V. Russ looked at him and said "really?" I get the impression that the band (and by "band" I mean MJR and Russ, since that's all who really contributes as of late) don't really care much for most of the pre-Odyssey stuff, especially V.

    There are very few moments on the last two albums which have the character and drive of many of the moments on the first six. But on their own, listening to Paradise Lost and Iconoclast as if the first six albums never existed, they are high quality. They're much stronger records than most metal bands could even dream of writing. However, for many of us longtime fans, it just isn't the same. They've lost a special something.

    I don't think the next album will sound anything like Iconoclast (with the synth stuff and cybernetic themes), but if anyone thinks for a minute that they're going to go back to proggier, more epic-sounding tracks, don't get your hopes up. To be honest, I don't think they even have it in them to write masterpieces like Divine Wings, Communion, Looking Glass, Rediscovery, or The Odyssey anymore. And with MJR hogging the songwriting show, we're only going to have more samey-sounding stuff.

    Their last two records have gathered them a lot of attention from non-prog metal camps, and their popularity in this realm has steadily increased. They'd be fools not to capitalize on it. I'm anticipating Russ saying something like "the next album will be bigger, better, heavier, and more aggressive than Iconoclast."
     
  6. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    I believe they are capable of doing something like the Odyssey again.
    I'm not expecting another V or Divine Wings though.
     
  7. Marwen

    Marwen Five Align

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    ^Agreed.

    And I too get the impression that Russell and Romeo don't like the pre-Odyssey stuff much these days. But I think Romeo is definitely still into progressive stuff, more so than Russell. I'm predicting that the next album will be a bit more progressive than the last two. Overall I think it's going to be very Odyssey-like with a couple really heavy tracks and a couple moderately heavy ones and a ballad or two and then an epic.

    This is more a prediction than an expectation. I don't really have any expectations and will keep it that way.
     
  8. ElvenShadow

    ElvenShadow Guilty Gear

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    I see where everyone is coming from but I still like the latest 2 albums. I actually like Iconoclast more than Paradise Lost though (and seem to be in the minority.) I would love for the next album to be a bit more varied though. Maybe I just like heavier metal more than some of the other posters here.

    As for DT and Opeth, I would have agreed about DT a few years ago. I think Systematic Chaos is their weakest album ever but BCSL was an improvement with some good songs and the latest album is actually really good overall IMO. As for Opeth, I have very mixed feelings about Heritage. Its not because it lacks heaviness and death growls (Damnation is my favorite Opeth album) but so many parts of so many songs are just actually really boring to listen to. There are some great tracks on there though still.
     
  9. intergalactic

    intergalactic Member

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    There are many bands more famous and worse than Sx that still keep on repeating themselves,do I have to tell you which ( Manowar,Maiden are among these) ? And they still keep on selling cd,so their fans are happy,why we not ?
    of course I don't like PL and Iconoclast as the previous ones ,but the're good album compared to other ones coming out in the same time by other bands.
     
  10. UnholyCrusada

    UnholyCrusada Member

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    I get that impression sometimes too, but I think Romeo still likes more of the elaborate, proggy stuff to an extent. He said in an interview from about a year ago that he still loves The Accolade, and they did bring back Divine Wings for the ProgPower show, after all.
     
  11. Bluefish

    Bluefish Member

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    My assumption was that the last two albums were written heavy on purpose to attract new fans. I think there is a larger pool of heavy metal fans than progressive metal enthusiasts.

    P.S. I think the latest Dream Theater album is very progressive. The preceding two albums, while they had their moments, were not as good. Maybe Portnoy's departure was addition by subtraction. I can't wait to hear what they come up with next with Mangini in the studio with the rest of the band.
     
  12. UnholyCrusada

    UnholyCrusada Member

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    I definitely agree. The newest one is like a breath of fresh air. I'd even go on record to say it's the best they've put out in about 10 years. And all it took was to lose Mike Portnoy.
     
  13. Marwen

    Marwen Five Align

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    That may be an understandable assumption but the truth is that they simply aren't that kind of musicians. They are into this heavier more metally trend of theirs and they're doing it because it's something they want/have been wanting to do and not to simply attract new fans.

    It's more popular for sure, but that's not the only factor in their getting relatively bigger recently. There are other factors like the fact that they've been getting involved with bigger labels and making better and better produced albums and improving their online presence etc. It's not like they made PL and suddenly got rich because of the heavier songs. They do have heavy riff-based tracks in The Odyssey and even in albums like the Damnation Game but it's just less obvious because of the production.
     
  14. UnholyCrusada

    UnholyCrusada Member

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    I wouldn't say that about the Odyssey (in regards to it being less obvious). In fact, I remember listening to that album for the first time (it was my second SX album after V) and being so disappointed because it sounded so much more "straight-forward metal" in comparison. I actually thought Wicked was terrible upon my first listen. :lol:

    The production from Odyssey onward gives the impression of a heavier, fuller sound, and perhaps some older songs from Damnation Game and Twilight would sound the same way if they were re-recorded with a modern sound, but the big difference I think is the way the songs are written. There's more to songs like Dressed to Kill or Church of the Machine than the heavy riffs they're comprised of; they're equal parts guitar, keys, bass, and vocals, whereas the newer stuff is primarily guitar and vocals with the keys taking a backseat most of the time and the bass just being... well, there.
     
  15. iceandfire84

    iceandfire84 The One Who Knocks

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    I'm with ElvenShadow with enjoying IC more than PL. I just don't get the same vibe most folks seem to with everything sounding the same. Every track sounds very distinct and brings something different to me.

    That being said the new albums certainly aren't the Symphony X of old which isn't good or bad. I enjoy everything in their catalog and I'm glad that I have several awesome prog albums to listen to from the early days. They definitely do the heavy metal with prog chops better than anyone in the business, and I for one will continue to enjoy the direction they are taking currently. I also would love it if they went a bit further back to their roots eventually though as those albums just so unique and without equal in the genre.
     
  16. Matt

    Matt Active Member

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    The Odyssey is so good because of its songwriting. It took a step away from the pure progginess of V, DWot, etc and got heavier while still managing to keep the elements of prog that make the band who they are. The songs are all fucking excellent, there isn't one weak track on the album. I believe that the songwriting itself is poor in the latest two albums (IC much more so than PL) I could really care less if the band gets heavier or not, as long as they write good songs that don't sound like bland wanna-be power metal with hints of their old roots.

    If they were to make another album similar to The Odyssey, I think they could get extremely popular in the metal scene. Even a remastered version of it would be a great idea. Many would disagree but I think its their best and most accessible record.

    Ultimately my issue comes down to their songwriting. If they want to go all the way to black metal, fine - I love symphonic black metal - but write unique, original songs while doing it.
     
  17. ABQShredHead

    ABQShredHead ©1970

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    After reading stuff like these comments, I'm happy I chose a career in engineering instead of a career in a band. I can't quite understand how musicians put up with the fickleness of fans. I think DT wrote a pretty darn good song about that a couple albums back.

    That said, it took many listenings to Iconoclast before I really started enjoying it. I have to hand it to the band for their change in direction to appeal to a different set of fans. Why stay locked in the neo-classical closet when you can make more money with a slight change to your songs? Overall, I dig it. But, I can't say I'm as sticky a listener as others...
     
  18. LavagesOfTime

    LavagesOfTime evangelist of Threshold

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    my 2 cents: most of the prog-metal (or even hard rock) bands that signed to Nuclear Blast, issued their heaviest records ever, I'm thinking of Rage, Threshold, Gotthard and of course Symphony X. Amorphis haven't got heavier but they got back to the growling vocals.
    Is it a coincidence or on purpose? No idea, but it seems a fact to me.
     
  19. Detective Clarence Beauregard

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    The songs being well-balanced between all instruments is something I really miss from Symphony X. In the pre-Odyssey days, the guitar didn't step all over everything, nor was it super high in the mix. Now it's practically all you hear. The keys were weak on PL (while the bass was decent). The bass on Iconoclast might as well not even be there, whereas the keys have come up a bit and have songs centered around them. They just seem to have trouble making a recent album where all the instrument levels are perfect.

    Oh, I beg to differ. I think The Turning is clear filler, and Incantations, while decent, isn't up to par with the rest of the album. Luckily, The Odyssey, Accolade II, Awakenings, and King all make up for it. Inferno and Wicked are both damn good, as well.

    I'm all for it, especially so they can make the bass tone more like it was on PL. It's so buried in the mix on The Odyssey (and V, for that matter). The whole sound of the album is just too... compressed, maybe? There's something about the tone in general that I dislike. It seems flat.
     
  20. Marwen

    Marwen Five Align

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    lol Again, they did not do that "for the money".

    I'm just trying to be fair to them because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't appreciate it either if I were a musician and did something *I* want to do and people were like "he just did that for the money".

    Absolutely agreed.

    The Odyssey is an awesome album (except for The Turnings being filler, I'm with the Detective on this one, also about Incantations not being up to par with the album, but not in a way that affects the entire album I find).

    I don't know about this as I'm not a big fan of rehashed/remixed/remastered stuff. But I think reMIXED would be better in the case of The Odyssey record. The 3 main changes I'd want to see is to make the mix (mainly the guitars) sound less "congested" and more open and improving the bass timbre and presence (perhaps these are the words you're looking for Detective? I think we share the same thoughts here), and updating the orchestral sounds making them less dry and less "samply" sounding and generally bigger and more score-like and realistic.

    Actually remixing The Odyssey album someday may not be a bad idea so perhaps they should consider it, of course only if it doesn't interfere with making new stuff.

    I wish I could hear it that way but unfortunately I don't (with the exception of two or three songs).

    I prefer PL to IC. Somehow I have a bit more appreciation for it these days than I did before. I actually think it's a bit underrated here overall.
     

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