Inferno (Unleash the Fire).
This song starts off with a technical sounding riff by Romeo, (though in fact it isn't
very difficult to play. It did, though, give a good impression the first time that I heard
the album around November 2002. I am not partial to the main riff in this song; it sounds
a little unlike Symphony X; a little cheesier than we are used to hearing from them. The
same goes for the singing that accompanies the verse sections too. But the chorus is
really rather good, (and it starts to feel that - as the band had decided - the album was
to be a winter one and not a summer one; i.e. one to be released around winter time). The
thing that holds the song together is really the quite technical riff of Romeos and
the timing that accompanies it. Symphony X are at their most mentally stimulating to
listen to when their use of timing is at its most interesting or technical.
This is similar in tone to the first song though has a slower pace - a little like an evil
heartbeat slowly pumping away. The singing of Russell and the synthesis of the whole song
really works well on this song. The chorus is very catchy - as are most of the choruses on
The Odyssey - and is of the type that you will happily hum to yourself all day. There are
no interesting solos to mention, and certainly not any with time changes or theme changes
to accompany them as you will here in bygone Symphony X albums, and in this respect,
Wicked doesnt differ from Inferno. Romeo has probably never been a great solo maker,
(I think that over Symphony Xs history it is Pinella that has produced the best
solos). One way that this perfectly good song could have been made a class higher in
artistic greatness would be to have had a technical solo out of theme and out of time with
the main choruses and verses. Instead we get something [pleasant, but] too straightforward
to really believe that Symphony X couldnt produce something artistically better.
Incantations of the Apprentice.
This song is perhaps the best on The Odyssey. A musical theme runs through this album and
one of the best manifestations of the theme is in this song. I visualise a forest in the
night with wind howling between the tall trees. The slightly odd timing in the chorus
where the vocals seem to clip off prematurely and start for a second time is very
effective and helps to make the song one of the easiest to listen to and least ponderous
of the album.
I dont like this song a great deal because I find that the main theme is somehow
cheesy and unoriginal, though of course, Symphony X execute it better than virtually any
other band could at the moment. Accolade II is really a heavy version of The Accolade,
though the original song was intended as a ballad-like piece, (or fairly downbeat - though
highfaluting - epic), and the metamorphosis of this light song into a louder and heavier
song means that the hybrid isnt as good as its original version - the song works
better with its original intention. I really liked the introduction section the first
couple of times that I heard it, (and I still find it nice but perhaps a little too
brief), in which a bass playing that accompanies a subtle keyboard tune reminded me of a
glacier when the sun is shining low and intensely. Then, to layer onto this composition,
Romeo does one of his signature high-string chord accompaniments to the theme, which as
ever is very effective. (For another example of Romeo using this method, listen to Shades
of Grey from Symphony Xs first album). The timing alterations that Symphony X used
on the verses of Accolade II are actually annoying when you have heard the original song,
as the chorus seemed to sound the best on the original version of the song with their
original timing. The chorus is sweaty and claustrophobic, and only good if you have a
partner and choose this as your song, as it is just too stuffy otherwise. And I
wouldnt choose this for my song.
King of Terrors.
There is a dialogue section on this song and I thought from the outset that it sounded
effective. I happened to be reading Edgar Allen Poe around the time that I bought the
album and when reading The Pit and the Pendulum I realised that the words on King of
Terrors were taken from there: The inquisitorial vengeance had been hurried by my
twofold escape, and there was to be no more dallying with the king of terrors.
Symphony X are an intelligent band, (at least they used to - and hopefully will continue
to - write fairly intelligent worlds and music), and although it doesnt indicate
intelligence immediately, it is nice to see that some of the band members read. I
dont know if Le Pond is intelligent, or if Russell is, (I get the impression that he
is a computer geek, and incidentally I would thus consider him not clever, and Allan,
please dont take any offence because I dont consider you a computer geek; you
can just do enough to give a good home to these reviews). I dont know if Rullo is
intelligent but I think that he might not be too stupid considering he appreciates jazz
music, and is such a technically accomplished drummer. But again, the former probably is
no indication of intelligence really, (it just alone isnt enough to indicate
unintelligence), though the latter would probably have to indicate some sort of
intelligence, unless Rullo is a virtuoso but stupid intellectually. Romeo seems as though
he isnt too stupid, so we can probably rely on him keeping the band intellectually
satisfactory. So overall I have hope that Symphony X arent a stupid band, but I
wouldnt guess at them being particularly intelligent. are studying a first group
theory module. The
In a way I wish that the song was called Turing because just the other day in the canteen
a friend of mind said that calculators werent introduced into Russia until the
1980s and that he was one of the first to get a calculator out of all of the people
he knew. He said that it was a very primitive model of calculator and I suggested that it
might have been a Turing machine. The song is the weakest on the album and hence warranted
not necessarily having the most relevant introduction to my discussion about it. The
chorus sounds at best like a sped-up Nirvana chorus, (which I claim is a bad thing),
though it isnt really that poor. Perhaps I got the feeling after the song that I had
forgotten what I had just been listening to that it had put no images into my head. I
would consider someone either clinically insane or to have a very particular purpose if
they searched through their CD collection to find The Odyssey specifically to play
Turning. I think that it would be more fun to even play some archaic pastime that our
grandparents may have played in their youths to pass the long boring days. That was, I
suppose, something of an arbitrary comment, but I emphasise that this song is perhaps the
weakest on the album and is weaker than almost any Symphony X song in history. I think
that the new bass player, Le Pond, is responsible for this. I think that Thomas Miller was
probably a romantic kind of songwriter whereas it seems that Le Ponds main musical
influences are from the banal heavy metal field, (what did Symphony X do to their bass
player Thomas Miller? He was brilliant and did great things for the sound of Symphony X).
This not a bad song, but I would like to leave it at that.
I dont have much enthusiasm to talk about this song much. The introduction is an
orchestral part made by Romeo that I would only really want to hear once, though I think
that it is quite good for what it is. The song then only slowly builds up with some trite
lyrics by Russell. I would have preferred the lyrics in general in the song to be much
more intelligent seeing as the song tries to portray Homers The Odyssey. I read the
book in the summer and I would say that Symphony X dont even scratch the surface in
trying to portray the epic.
Masquerade [bonus track].
This is certainly not as good as the original recording of Masquerade from the Symphony X
album. Russells voice may be classically more typical than that of the singer in
Symphony Xs first album, but the latter made songs like Masquerade work perfectly.
The sound of this song is as though it has been recorded a lot less professionally than
the other on the album, but I suppose that it is nice and sound a little more like a
personal recording, so is the sort of thing that a fan of Symphony Xs buying this
limited edition version of the album might be happy with.