Best of 2015: Symphony X — Underworld

The Man of Much Metal has a really great review articulating why Symphony X’s Underworld deserves to be among his top ten for 2015.

I couldn’t agree more! The MMM totally nails down so many of the reasons why I included it on my own list of the top albums for 2015.

But the MMM’s review does seem a bit rushed. Certainly, I agree with him about the epic stature of “To Hell and Back” (which is the track that really grabbed my attention for this album, because up until I heard it I wasn’t warming up to the odd numbered tracks on the album — namely: 1, 3, and 5 — but when “To Hell and Back” came up as #7, I was immediately captivated and willing to re-listen to the entire album again and again until it grew on me in its totality, odd numbers and all). But I do think the MMM missed his golden chance to mention how it is really the last three tracks of the album that take things to a whole new level.

To my ears, tracks 7 through 11 (the last half of the album) are the absolute best. After the epic-length “To Hell and Back” (9:23), we get a bit of a breather with “In My Darkest Hour” (4:22), since it is shorter than the final three tracks which follow it. But then the unexpected fun really begins.

“Run With the Devil” has a killer riff that sounds like one that The Winery Dogs would toss off when operating at their finest. When I have time to listen to only one track from this album, this is the one I pick. It is mind-blowing in its virtuosity.

“Swan Song” fooled me, with its title, into thinking it was the album’s final track. Its epic length (7:29) and epic vocals and epic sense of conclusion and finality had me thinking that nothing could top such an amazingly operatic song as an album closer. But then Symphony X pulls out an even more epic album closer…

“Legend” never fails to instantly excite me, and it’s because the way it starts off totally sounds like Rush. In fact, the last time Rush sounded this good, it was the 80s! So, it’s even Rushier than Rush.

Yes, I like how “Legend” starts and ends in that classic Rushy vein. But even better, everything in-between is totally awesome as well, as Symphony X shows off also how they are truly their own band. Yet, in my mind, I take the song as a secret tribute to Rush, because of the pinnacle lyric: “The legend never dies.”

Symphony X, in their finest hour. The legend never dies, indeed!


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