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UNDERWORLD discussion thread

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by EyeballKid, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Isaac_de_Moorea

    Isaac_de_Moorea Silent Member

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    Legend, Swansong and Underworld wouldn´t be the same songs without keyboards, so I think they have an important role on those songs. But Pinella is not totally present on this new album, he is not back on the role he used to have, to show the skilled musician he is, at least on SX . Ascension proofs he still got the magic, though. No offense, but all who is talking about Pinella´s comeback has a really limited perspective about keyboards. Is like saying that the guitar tone of MJR hasn´t improved or changed since V. Or like praising the whole guitar work on an album based on simple power chords with tasty solos. I would praise the lead guitar work, not the rythm guitar work.

    You wouldn´t call a "keyboard line" just a note or a simple melody in half o quarter notes doubled an octave being played for 16 bars, would you? Well, that happened on the past, but then you also had some bright percussive instrument doing an interesting melody, sometimes with polyrythym, to suddenly change to a nice lead tone for a great solo, then maybe brasses, or maybe the infrequent organ (although the church organ was a little more frequent), then back to piano, so now get back to the melody on strings but you are in a new tonality now, actually the truth is that you have been using 4 different tonalities and metrics the hole section and the song hasn´t finished...

    This is an obvious imaginary and a little exagerated or infrequent example, but that was my perspective on what keyboards were on SX. That even motivated me to be more aware to the keyboards in prog in general. For me was a really classy, measured and creative way to give an important role to such interesting instrument (Being JR of DT almost the opossite, but still interesting, depends of your cup of tea) which has the ability to transport you in an easier and more graphic way, as AsoTamaki said, to a different landscape. You hear brasses, you are in hell; now pluck bells, you can be on heaven, or maybe a rock organ, we´re back on the 70s!.

    This (insignificant at the end) issue on the keyboards of SX started in The Odyssey, where you start to find songs where you can ask yourself what the hell is doing Pinnella some of the time. Still, was present, and still, had plenty of tasteful moments, as in Accolade II, Awakenings or The Oddysey. But suddenly you are on IC, where is really limited amount of time where you can say, "well, there is a new landscape or color there. Or well, those are strings again, but at least they are introducing me a new musical idea, not just filling up the harmony or playing an incipient (but still good?) melody. thank you".

    It is also obvious that the limitantions on patches selection started with the decreasing of Pinella´s contributions on SX songs. Compositionally, SX is more stable, less experimenting, and even more mature in some aspects. MJR is the main composer on the band, his view on what keyboards should do may have changed, and affected to limit the keys at the end.

    I´m still enjoying most of Underworld, specially the songs I mentioned at the beggining of the post. I even thought making a keyboard cover video over Underworld (the song). But then I thought, well, there are parts where it wouldn´t be that interesting to see me sustaining 2 or 3 keys for some amount of time, or playing 2 or 3 times the relatively short parts of interesting keyboards it has. Nah, I´d prefer working to eventually doing some Haken, DT, or even better Communion or TtLG. There is some serious shit happening there :D

    And still, being positive, it´s really good to see that Pinella had major influence on these albums than in the last two. What is really sad is that we will have to wait like 5 long years to see if there will be even more work of him in the future of SX.
     
  2. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    One thing I am wondering is why Romeo doesn't just write all the songs with at least one other bandmate. It's not as if it'd negatively affect anything, and all but one live in the same city, so it would be extremely easy. It'd just lighten the load so much on him, and no one would stop him from putting guitar driven songs on the album. I don't know, it just seems like he is making this too hard on himself, perhaps at the expense of a chunk of the fanbase who won't even consider an album listenable unless Pinella dominates every song with choirs, strings, bells, whistles.

    I'd love to hear Pinella's opinion on his current role in the band. I want to know if he is happy!

    Also, symxjapan, what are your top 5 favorite bands atm?
     
  3. Adam Fiske

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    Why'd they chose that album cover when they could have chosen this? (phone pic)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Shyamalan'd

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    Honestly, I think the mixing is more to blame. I'd be all for getting someone else other than Jens Bogren mixing things. The guitars are so upfront that they drown out the keyboards and bass guitar. The guy did with wonders with Opeth, but he doesn't seem to grasp virtuoso keyboard playing.

    ...hmm. Even that has terrible CGI, though.
     
  5. AsoTamaki

    AsoTamaki Member

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    ^ There are definitely some cool images in the booklet. The cover art really is a bit lacking.

    I have to disagree with that completely. Any of the "older elements" they've added here seem to be purely superficial and I could as well do without them. It's either directly lifted parts or vaguely similar ideas now only explored on the surface level. I don't need a 30 second snippet from "Divine Wings" when I can instead listen to "Divine Wings" with all of it's intricacies intact. Iconoclast may have been pure metal, but it still managed to be more progressive and unique within that style. Nothing on Underworld is stimulating or inspiring from a creative standpoint. The closest would probably be "Underworld" and "Kiss of Fire" because those push the Iconoclast direction further, getting more extreme with the metal, doing things they've never done before. But those songs really have no depth. There's nothing you won't "get" by your second listen, if not the first. I'm still at a single digit play count, but I feel like I've already reached the point of diminishing returns with these songs.

    The whole idea of them needing to dumb down the material to cater to the new fans thing is a cop out anyway. As far as I know, the most popular songs from Iconoclast (the album that made them more popular than ever before), are the title track and "When All Is Lost". Both of those feature more "proggy" instrumental sections than anything I hear on Underworld.

    This I can agree with.
     
  6. proulxski

    proulxski Welcome To Kanata Eh!

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    I think it's more along the lines of, the older fans, are tired of hearing an unspired Romeo solo album. Pinella is more prominent on Underworld, but saying "he's back" is a stretch. I still feel that all the band members are so talented, and can be so creative, that its a shame they've become such a cookie cutter band.

    It's true, that no band really sounds like Symphony X. And the truth can be said about the past three albums. Which I suppose, is a good thing in it's own right.
     
  7. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    Eyeballkid, I wasn't complaining, although I agree the mix is a huge part of it. I was just noting how writing credits have changed since V, and that I think Romeo shoulders too much load for his own good, regardless of whether or not I like the end result.
     
  8. Alien Mantis

    Alien Mantis Galactic Explorer

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    First time I ever heard someone b1tching about too much Romeo shredding on an album! :loco:

    I would rather have too much Romeo, than NO Romeo!

    Here is an example of a killer song that is missing a much-needed shredding solo in the middle:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIP9Ba4qFT8
     
  9. Isaac_de_Moorea

    Isaac_de_Moorea Silent Member

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    I´m preety sure I´ve heard some of this b1tching when IC came out. I´m okay with him soloing, he has been one of the best guitar players out there, specially in the metal/metal progressive scene, so it would be odd to listen him on a song without a solo.

    I won´t say a word about his solos, past or present, I think I have moved on. But I must say that once upon a time he showed me how to compose an amazing solo.

    Lady of the Snow´s is the first example to comes to my mind.
     
  10. Liampie

    Liampie Member

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    Then you haven't been paying attention much, those complaints are everywhere in places where people care about Symphony X. And that last part is a bullshit argument.
     
  11. Durakonis

    Durakonis Zudviz

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    The thing that I liked most about the album is some really fresh and interesting vocal melodies. I mean, they are not just suitable to the compositions, but they also add to and diversify the music. Other than that, the album has a great flow. Outstanding guitar and keyboard solo work, and awesome musicianship, tighter playing than the last two albums.

    So far, my favourite tracks -together with the great intro- are: Legend, Kiss of Fire and Underworld. There's not a single song that I disliked in the album, and some songs can be added among my favourites in time.
     
  12. ToastedOveries

    ToastedOveries Stranger in the night

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    I have mixed feeling about this album, the only track that flat out blew me away was Legend, all the other stuff is gonna need some time to sink in, which is to be expected with new SX. I do think this album is going to be a big grower on me.

    I do feel like alot of the stuff in the middle of the album is just over produced filler on first listen. The melodies just don't sit well with me for now, they feel pretty uninspired.

    I really don't like the production of the last three albums, why can't they bring back the production style of V or TiO, heavy but crystal clear. When i listen to the opening riff of evolution for example and compare it to nevermore, evolution just sits better, even though they are compositionally very similar. The production is just a bit bombastic for me, everything louder than everything else, especially the guitars, they are sooooo loud. I feel like they could of dialed them back a bit and the album would of grooved a lot more, though there seems to be way more blast beats these days, which just kill the feel for me. (example: Underworld)
     
  13. proulxski

    proulxski Welcome To Kanata Eh!

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    Try not to misunderstand my statement. I love Romeo, he truly is a top notch guitarist. But, like someone else said "But I must say that once upon a time he showed me how to compose an amazing solo." I'm not knocking on his ability to play, I'm knocking on his ability to be inspired, and in turn inspire others. Just about every solo on Paradise Lost, Iconoclast, and now Underworld, doesn't provoke thought, or emotion. And even than, you can throw several songs, into the same heap, because they are mostly identical. They used to be well placed, and full of thought provoking, spine tingling emotion. Now, they are just in your face shreds, of what feels like an exercise. And trust me, I don't mind those types of solo's now and again. But there is a time and a place, and not every song requires one. Some of the solo's on Underground sound so out of place, and are not required! That is my complaint, and what seems to be many peoples complaint.

    "I would rather have too much Romeo, than no Romeo...". This...Is exactly what is wrong with the band though. And precisely why the music has gone in the direction it has.
     
  14. EyeballKid

    EyeballKid Shyamalan'd

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    I'd love to see a breakdown of the "musical references" to past SX albums/songs. I've listened 4 times now and though I hear things that remind me of other SX songs, I hear no direct references.

    Agreed. His guitars, though brilliantly played as always, are overpowering whereas they used to be the best part of a greater whole.
     
  15. Xiphos68

    Xiphos68 Member

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    I disagree. I honestly, think the reason this band does not contain the same writing as it used to be is because:

    1. They have grown older and wanted to do something new.
    2. The other band members do not contribute as much as they used until now in "Underworld."

    Underworld: Romeo & Pinella
    Charon: Romeo, Pinella & LePond
    SwangSong: Romeo & Pinella
    Legend: Romeo & Pinella

    Lyrics:
    Nevermore, Underworld Kiss of Fire, Charon, Swan Song: Romeo & LePond
    Run with the Devil: Russell & Romeo

    Literally everything else is done by Romeo on the album.

    The reason I think that Romeo is the head writer is because the other guys are spending time with their families or investing in other project (Russell) for example. So Romeo will go down into the Dungeon of his home, write and send it out to the guys. It's not like back in the day where they would fight over the songs like Russell mentioned once. I mean, I would love to hear a collaborative effort from all the guys on everything song. I bet it would be amazing. However, it may take a lot more time and who knows if would even be possible now. They all obviously interpret, however as far writing as a whole band like Dream Theater. I am not sure if we will see that for some time. It would be great! However, the guys did very well on this album too. I mean "SwanSong" and "Legend" brought me to tears. Always hopes for better and better albums from these guys each with something unique.
     
  16. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    But...Pinella lives in the same city and has no other projects going on! He really should be helping Romeo, it seems. At the very least, this gets the album out faster and keeps everyone fresh. At the most, tons of keyboards for the fanboys.

    Still have to disagree with the "too many solos" people. I have never heard an SX song and been like, "you know what, there shouldn't have been a solo in that song!" Also, Romeo used to compose more than he does now with regards to solos. I remember hearing him say he is improvising more than composing solos on later records, and keeping the first takes whenever possible.
     
  17. ElvenShadow

    ElvenShadow Guilty Gear

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    Whenever I hear the very first note of Hell and Back I think Under a Glass Moon is playing for like half a second

    Also, Kiss of Fire has really grown on me as being a standout track. It's just so f'in metal!

    After several more listens, other than In My Darkest Hour and Charon, I think every song is really good and those 2 are not terrible but some of Symphony X's less offerings overall.

    Also... main riff in Run With the Devil really reminds me of this
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l21Nv0o8HQ
     
  18. Baroque

    Baroque Active Member

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    It's pretty good. A big improvement over Iconoclast that's for sure. It doesn't have that immediate 'wow' factor that Paradise Lost had for me, but I can see some songs growing on me. Favorites so far: To Hell and Back, Kiss of Fire, Charon
     
  19. _Gentleman of_the Snow_

    _Gentleman of_the Snow_ Prog' Drummer

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    This album is pure mediocrity. It really is.
    Somebody else labeled them as cookie-cutter, and it's sadly true.
    The solos need to stop, parts need to be stretched and fleshed out, and song structures need to be less formulaic.
    I'll cherry pick tracks to listen to in my car, but once again, I'm very disappointed (though I expected it this time).
    There are so few parts I would label interesting or creative.
    Nothing develops, nothing creates feeling, nothing creates atmosphere...parts are just ripped through, cut and paste-style.
    Even the heaviness isn't menacing or raw.

    Am I the only one who really isn't a fan of the chord progressions/changes they use now?
     
  20. anonym115

    anonym115 Member

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    Why do people like you frequent the forums of a band you haven't enjoyed for the past 8+ years? It is absolutely mindboggling to me.

    I legitimately want to know, not trying to be a jerk.

    What should I be listening to instead? SX is still so much better than the next best thing to me with very few exceptions.
     

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