# CCCXLV…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXVI…”Underworld”, Symphony X…

{AUTHOR’S NOTE:  With all due respects to anyone reading who knows what’s going on behind the scenes, I talked about this last weekend on this blog…I must do this as it is MY way of dealing with things…}

As I said when I wrote last week’s Spotlight, I have a lot of new material in my collection…most of which is a million times better, musically, than your current “bubblegum” nonsense on the airwaves.  That having been said, it is my privilege to introduce you to a bit of symphonic metal genius…the Middletown, NJ quintet known as Symphony X.  This band has become a more recent addition to my collection, although they’ve actually been around for quite some time (1994) and their most recent release, “Underworld”, is an album that must be listened to old-school style, on a turntable, which is why I am presenting the track list as such.

This album, which is a concept album dealing with the ups-and-downs of addiction (although what particular one escapes me, I am dealing with one myself, thankfully) and the reason that I love this particular band is that they are like my Number One, Dream Theater…you know, the AWESOME symphonic metal band that THEY are…and this particular release from Symphony X is nothing short of brilliance.

From the awesome opening track, the only instrumental “Interlude”, to the end of the album, the up-tempo and heavy “Legend”, it deals with the joys…and pains, natch…that come with owning up to, and therefore conquering (one day at a time), your own personal demons and addictions.  This album’s mastery of symphonic metals use of keyboards and pianos, just accelerated this group to near the upper echelon with its’ awesome flow changes and mood enhancement, as you could really “feel” the pain and anguish that comes with overcoming these things.

Other highlights on the album are; the titular third track, which is just magnificent with the constant signature changes that the band is known for but still flows wonderfully; the fifth track, “Kiss of Fire”, which could be described as a “heavy metal romp” through addiction’s grasp; the sixth track, “Charon” (like the Ferryman to Hell), which is a six-plus minute awesomely constructed composition that even I was impressed with; and the ninth track, “Run With the Devil”, another heavy-style trek dealing with the hazards of the “disease”.

On the whole, with their awesome “Dream Theater-like” composition, even a novice musician can appreciate this album’s melodic nature, as it’s about 150,000 or so “notes”, all coming at you in ways that you’d never BELIEVE were possible in human history.  Take it from someone who appreciates mostly all music…this is something that, if you listen to it, you might actually enjoy.

I am listing the times of the tracks for one reason; if you don’t listen to it, in order, it doesn’t work…they are this long because they tell a story from one end to the other.  ‘Nuff said…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

Side A:  1) Overture [2:13]; 2) Nevermore [5:30]; 3) Underworld [5:48]; 4) Without You [5:51]; 5) Kiss of Fire [5:10]; 6) Charon [6:07].

Side B:  7) To Hell and Back [9:24]; 8) In My Darkest Hour [4:22]; 9) Run With the Devil [5:38]; 10) Swansong [7:29]; 11) Legend [6:30].

OVERALL RATING:  *****

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