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Symphony X

Live in Chicago, 2002

Review by Arnold Hablewitz

Symphony X have just put out quite possibly the finest true metal release of the year, or maybe even the ensuing decade, and now they took to their first proper U.S. tour in support of the release. In my opinion, although Blind Guardian's set was rather awesome, Symphony X owned this night. They took the stage and you could very literally just feel their presence through the music and stage appearance. Blazing solos straight out of the late '80s shred boom came out of Michael Romeo like they were nothing, and the bassist himself proved to be quite adept at his fingerboard techniques, far better at least than his recordings suggest. As far as the keyboardist and drummer, both proved themselves very well blessed by the musical gods as they unleashed very intricate, technical performances, but still held back quite a bit to let the songs speak for themselves. The real star though, was Russell Allen, quite possibly the best all-around singer in metal today. He did it all, from a slight falsetto, to soft and tender melodies not unlike Geoff Tate, all the way to full-blown anger, sounding mean, generally ticked-off, and yet still strangely melodic and powerful. Anyone in the crowd who hadn't heard them before was instantly a fan. Also, proving themselves to be quite the fan favorites, both Symphony X and Blind Guardian stuck around after the show, conversed with fans, signed autographs, and were generally very cool to everyone. Take that, Fred Durst, you've been one-upped by Europeans with three times the experience, and about one third of the record
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 3 at
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