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Top 10 Michael Romeo SX solos

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by anonym115, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    Yay, another top 10 thread. Been working on this list and discussing it alot with other people lately irl.

    In no order:

    Out of the Ashes (solo 2): Holy phrasing batman. This solo's biggest plus is that it just has it all.

    Domination: This solo just kicks me in the teeth. The first tapping section and the ending legato lick in particular just ice the big, beautiful cake so well.

    Smoke and Mirrors (both): This is another one that just has it all. The transitions to and from the keys are smoother than any dueling section I can think of in the SX discography. Again, the phrasing here is just so spot on.

    Underworld (both): The main minor/diminished run in the first half just absolutely devastates me, and it is led into and out of perfectly. The second half is just pure cool factor, and I LOVE the outro bit.

    King of Terrors (my second favorite SX Romeo solo): I think I actually need no explanation here. Just wtf.

    Swan Song: Beautiful use of pauses, and some great transitional work between the already cool chords. Just beautiful.

    Masquerade (Odyssey version, my favorite Romeo SX solo to date): I don't know exactly what it is about this solo, but it just slays me. The lick at 4:08 is so unique and clever, and the seemingly simple run at 4:27 just fits so well into place. The intro/outro are the best Romeo has done as well, IMO.

    Kiss of Fire: I die inside when I hear this, honestly. It is just cool. I have no other words besides "cool" really. The last tapping run, with the muted notes (whether or not they were on purpose) just destroys me.

    Awakenings (all): The phrasing and sustain used throughout each of the solos in this song are just glorious. Perfect blend of shred and feels. Ethereal and glorious.

    The Odyssey (second solo starting at 14:09): Unique phrasing and clever use of bends and sustain. Love the mutes mid shred too. The ending seals the deal because it is just so "metal".



    I know these are my favorites, but with the exception of my top 2, it's impossible to order them. Odyssey and UW dominate this list, taking 7 spots.

    I think another solo of Romeo's that is in my top 3 overall is his Gaia solo on Russell's solo album. That is one monstrous piece of work, particularly the phrasing and that crazy sliding, pinched harmonic arpeggio. Alas, it is not SX.

    What's your list look like?
     
  2. Sabin17

    Sabin17 Member

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    Accolade II for best SX solo
    Ayreon's Dawn of a Million Souls for best non-SX solo
     
  3. Detective Beauregard

    Detective Beauregard Hammer of Serious Anger

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    I honestly have trouble picking just one, because to me, Symphony X (and MJR in particular) is simply a better songwriter than he is a creative soloist. And that's a GOOD thing.

    I'm honestly over the days of where a guitar solo is the centerpiece of a song. Dream Theater is a perfect example of this - take The Spirit Carries On or Lines in the Sand, for example - solid songs with AMAZING solos. But to me, a song needs far more than a great guitar solo to be excellent. At the end of the day, a solo is the LAST thing that is written for a song - it's an afterthought that is played OVER the song's groove. Very few solos come to mind in Symphony X's catalog that "move" me, but I'll list them below.

    Communion and the Oracle
    Of Sins and Shadows (the whole section, both guitar and keys, is probably the best duel I've ever heard)
    Masquerade '98
    Swan Song
    Accolade II

    The last, Accolade II, is by far my favorite. There's almost no wank in this solo - just pure emotion and feeling, which to be honest, isn't typically Romeo's strong suit. But this solo just does it all without ever being flashy, which enhances the song and really brings me into the mood.
     
  4. ToastedOveries

    ToastedOveries Stranger in the night

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    I looooooove the solo to whispers on damnation game, check it out if you've forgotten it. It's super tasty, great tone too
     
  5. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    I wasn't asking for you guys to pick just one! Pick up to 10!

    I will say, even though Accolade II is not in my top 10, it has one of the best closing constructions of any solo in the discography.

    @Toasted: Yes, that is certainly a good one. Most SX solos are, though. :)
     
  6. Drunc

    Drunc Member

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    I love a good guitar solo and Symphony X have many great solos to choose from. One of the things I love about the band.

    This is an extremely difficult (and great) question, and one I will have to ponder upon before I can answer. I also have some listening to do.

    Actually, since the release of Underworld I have neglected the other Symphony X albums and I am in the process of playing them all now in chronological order.

    I'll get back to this
     
  7. Durakonis

    Durakonis Zudviz

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    Michael Romeo is my favourite metal guitarist, so I like or love almost all of his solos. My favourite SX guitar solos (the ones that initially popped into my mind) are on Egypt, Sea of Lies and The Edge of Forever.
     
  8. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    Yes, this list took me alot of time and listening and narrowing down to achieve, and I imagine it will change at a relatively quick rate.
     
  9. AsoTamaki

    AsoTamaki Member

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    Hmm. Yeah, it's impossible to definitively pick ten.

    Many of the best ones are shared guitar/keyboard solos or duels or otherwise long instrumental sections with multiple things you could call solos, but I excluded those and only focused on individual guitar solos. That made it slightly easier to choose...

    Accolade II
    Communion and the Oracle
    The Odyssey ("Daughter of the Sun" part)
    Sea of Lies
    Lady of the Snow
    Awakenings
    Dehumanized
    Shades of Grey
    King of Terrors
    Heretic

    And thinking about some of my favorites and looking at everyone else's lists, I really wonder why Romeo decided to stop using the wah pedal on the new stuff.
     
  10. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    I have to disagree that solos are an afterthought. They certainly aren't the most important thing in a song, but they are, in essence, the melodic potential of the foundational riffs captured in an succinct, short span of time. They can be beautifully built up to, and transition seamlessly into the next part with finesse.

    I wouldn't listen to SX nearly as much (in fact I'd listen sparingly) if they didn't do solos, and I would like SX less if Romeo started putting 2-3+ solo-less songs on each album. I just love letting the song build to the solo, and then building to a climax afterward.
     
  11. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Shyamalan'd

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    I don't think he was arguing that the solos don't enhance the songs, just that they aren't the central part of the song. Romeo writes riffs and melodies and grooves and changes and THEN writes a solo. It may be a beautiful, perfect solo that fits the mood of the song and enhances the overall product - but I highly doubt he sits down and writes a solo then comes up with the entire song that surrounds it.
     
  12. Detective Beauregard

    Detective Beauregard Hammer of Serious Anger

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    Yep, that was what I was trying to say. Thank you!
     
  13. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    Of course he doesn't write it first. But "afterthought" just seemed like a connotatively negative word in that instance. The solo is often the highlight of the song for me, and many others I know.
     
  14. ToastedOveries

    ToastedOveries Stranger in the night

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    I'm not a fan of the accolade II solo, why? because the end phrase sounds out of pitch in my opinion, sounds like hes using the whammy bar instead of his fingers to bend the strings up, doesn't work for me in that particular passage.

    Another great underrated solo i'd like to point out: In the dragons den

    On the topic of solos being an afterthought, alot of the older solos are more composed than his recent ones. They are obviously alot more "spontaneous" these days, whether you like that is personal taste.
     
  15. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    It's funny, the only part I really like in the Accolade 2 solo is the end, haha. I really like the Dragon's Den solo. Probably my 11th favorite. The ending is a little tonally weird, so it doesn't quite make it into my top 10. Very blistering and cool, though.
     
  16. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

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    The solo around The Eye section of The Odyssey, and Swan Song come to mind.
    Edge of Forever is also great. The ones that have feeling.
     
  17. AsoTamaki

    AsoTamaki Member

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    I would say the vast majority of Romeo's solos have feeling. That's what made me prefer his stuff over other neoclassical or prog virtuoso guitarists. I guess only the solos on ballads or songs with slower tempo rhythm sections lend themselves to the kind of playing that people normally associate with "feeling", but most of his playing has it.
     
  18. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    I agree. I even "feel" his shredding licks, in general. This is something that no one else besides Mats Hagen and Guthrie have accomplished in my mind. And I actually don't think Guthrie is a great shredder (though his bends/slides/vibrato/phrasing are incredible.) Romeo is still easily my favorite guitarist, taking into account all genres and guitarists of which I am aware.
     
  19. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

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    Hmmm... although I do think Romeo is incredible, including his ability to have feeling in his riffs and solos, most of the solos on the last few albums definitely lack feeling.
    Romeo's use of legato as opposed to alternate picking during big runs is why I'd say his solos sound better than most guitarist's. I am not a fan of the vicious alternate picking attack for every run.
     
  20. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    I think he has kept the feeling just fine. If anything, him straying toward the more improvisational side of things has helped with that, though I do very much wish he would keep combining composed and improvised solo work. I agree with you about his use of legato, though. It is a good plus for him. I even find myself liking his alternate picking, too, but I think it's because when he does use fast alternate picking, he uses a very light picking technique, so the attack per note isn't very high, which is sweet. I also think using too much legato is a cop out, so I am very glad he mixes the picking in when need be.
     

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