Symphony X is an American Progressive Metal band that was formed in New Jersey in 1994. They also incorporate several elements of Power Metal, Neo-Classical Metal, Speed Metal, and traditional Heavy Metal in their music. Alongside Dream Theater, they are considered to be one of the most important bands in Progressive Power Metal.
Their music is often very fast and technical, often using unusual rhythms and meters, synth and guitar solo trade-offs, sweeping keyboard orchestrations, and long instrumental interludes. Lyrically, a lot of their songs and albums often reference or are based on classic literature, and the band has recently trended to having their albums be based on some unifying theme.
From The Odyssey onward, all of their albums have been recorded and produced at guitarist and composer Michael Romeo's personal studio, The Dungeon.
- Symphony X (1994)
- The Damnation Game (1995)
- The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997)
- Twilight in Olympus (1998)
- Prelude to the Millennium (compilation, 1999)
- V: The New Mythology Suite (2000)
- Live on the Edge of Forever (live album, 2001)
- The Odyssey (2002)
- Paradise Lost (2007)
- Iconoclast (2011)
- Underworld (2015)
- "Sir" Russell Allen - vocals (1995-)
- Michael Romeo - guitar (1994-)
- Michael Lepond - bass (2000-)
- Michael Pinnella - keyboards (1994-)
- Jason Rullo - drums (1994-1998, 2000-)
- Rod Tyler - vocals (1994)
- Thomas Miller - bass (1994-2000)
- Thomas Walling - drums (1998-2000)
Symphony X provides examples of the following tropes:
- Altum Videtur: The title of the song "Revelation (Divus Pennae Ex Tragoedia)", whose subtitle and parts of its melody are based on The Divine Wings of Tragedy. They probably just looked up each word in an English-Latin dictionary as it's not even proper grammar. For the record, the grammatically correct phrase would be "Pennae Divae Tragoediae".
- Several tracks on V: The New Mythology Suite have Latin lyrics.
- Arc Number: Five on V: The New Mythology Suite (hence the name).
- Also, nine (and three) for Underworld.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Song titles. One song has "Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia" in its name, presumably meaning "Divine Wings of Tragedy" (in reference to a previous album and song). It actually means "a rich man of the feathers tragedy out of". In other words, complete jibberish.
- Another, "Oculus ex Inferni" intended to mean "Eye of the Dead," actually says "Eye out of of The Dead Man".
- Call-Back: The main melody of The Divine Wings of Tragedy's title song returns at the end of "Revelation".
- The Chosen One: The child (Ma'at) in the story of V: The New Mythology Suite.
- Chronological Album Title: V: The New Mythology Suite
- Concept Album: V: The New Mythology Suite, Iconoclast, and arguably Paradise Lost. Underworld is looking to be one based The Divine Comedy, judging from the band's announcement.
- Continuity Nod: "Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia)", as noted above, is based on (and has many references to) "The Divine Wings of Tragedy".
- Dark Is Evil: V: The New Mythology Suite uses this heavily.
- Determinator: Used quite often throughout their discography, given the Romanticist nature of their songs, but most notable on "Accolade II", with each verse and the chorus ending with lines show casing epic macho resolve.
- Darker and Edgier: Their music became much heavier throughout their discography. Compare some of their songs from The Divine Wings of Tragedy to their newer work, such as Paradise Lost and especially Iconoclast. Underworld somehow managed to go even further in this direction thanks to prominent death metal elements on multiple songs.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: Used very frequently, especially in their longer songs
- Epic Rocking: Lots of it. Their more notable examples are:
- "A Lesson Before Dying" from their self-titled album is 12:07.
- "The Edge of Forever" from The Damnation Game is nearly nine minutes.
- "The Accolade" is 9:51 and "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is 20:42, both from The Divine Wings of Tragedy.
- "Church of the Machine" and "Through the Looking Glass" from Twilight in Olympus are 8:57 and 13:06, respectively.
- "Rediscovery (Part II) - The New Mythology" from V: The New Mythology Suite is 12:01.
- The Odyssey's title track is their longest song to date, running at 24 minutes.
- "Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia)" from Paradise Lost is 9:17.
- Iconoclast's title track is 10:53. "When All Is Lost" is 9:10 and "Reign in Madness" is 8:37, both from the same album.
- "To Hell and Black" from Underworld is 9:23.
- Filk Song: Quite a few of their songs are based upon mythological tales or fantasy stories, like "Lady in the Snow", "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", "Through the Looking Glass", "The Odyssey", and naturally, the entire Paradise Lost album.
- Gratuitous Panning: When you own your own recording studio, why not?
- Heavy Mithril: They seem to have a liking for Greek Mythology as evidenced by Twilight in Olympus and the title track of The Odyssey. Iconoclast has sci-fi themes.
- Instrumentals: Several. "Into the Dementia" from Symphony X, "Sonata" from Twilight in Olympus, "Transcendence (Segue)" and "On the Breath of Poseidon (Segue)" from V: The New Mythology Suite, and "Occulus Ex Inferni" from Paradise Lost.
- Large Ham: Sir Russell Allen.
- Last of Her Kind: The child in V: The New Mythology Suite's story is the only survivor of Atlantis. Then she dies.
- Lead Bassist: Michael LePond is a Type A.
- Lead Drummer: Jason Rullo is renowned for his technical skill and was actually called to audition for Dream Theater, though his response was along the lines of "thanks, but no thanks".
- Long Runner Lineup: Type 2; they have not had a single lineup change since LePond joined and Rullo rejoined in 2000.
- Machine Worship: A major theme in Church of the Machine and the whole Iconoclast album. Of all songs from the latter, it's most apparent with Electric Messiah.
- Metal Scream: All over the place. Russell Allen is fond of them.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: For the most part, about a 7, but a step or two higher or lower isn't unheard of. Their later work can go up to an 8 or even a soft 9 at times.
- Mythology Gag: The lyrics to "Nevermore" contain three references to their third album, The Divine Wings of Tragedy.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Not evident with their first two albums, but after The Divine Wings of Tragedy, their catalogue showed a mixture of influences ranging from the standard progressive and metal fair to more obscure influences like thrash metal, symphonic, classical and even a bit of jazz.
- New Sound Album: Starting with Paradise Lost, they began to lose some of their neoclassical and progressive influences and took on a harder-edged metal sound.
- One could even say that this started with ''The Odyssey", as their music got a bit heavier with this release in comparison to their previous works.
- One Steve Limit: Thoroughly averted with three Michaels in the lineup.
- Pendulum of Death: "King of Terrors" is essentially a musical retelling and summary of "The Pit and the Pendulum". Its second verse tackles this trope:Awake again - paralyzed
I'm shackled to this altar
sacrificed to their God
'Inch by Inch and Line by Line'
The Blade - descending lost in time
The fiends of Doom they call my name
I slip away...into black I fade away
- Power Metal
- Precision F-Strike: "Dehumanized". "Hit the switch, you son of a bitch!"
- Progressive Metal
- Rock Me, Amadeus!:
- "The Divine Tragedy" quotes Bach's "Mass in B-minor" and Gustav Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" from The Planets Suite.
- V: The New Mythology Suite contains quotes from Verdi and Mozart's Requiems, Bach's "Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor" and the cantata "Ich habe meine Zuversicht", and Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
- Rock Opera: V: The New Mythology Suite is about the fall of Atlantis.
- Rule of Seven: The song "Seven" is the seventh song on their seventh album Paradise Lost (not counting the album's intro) and lasts for roughly seven minutes.
- Sequel: Accolade II.
- Spin-Off: Paradise Lost can be seen as this to The Divine Wings of Tragedy's title track.
- Stage Names: Russel's nickname could count as he was credited under the nickname for a guest appearance on another band's live album.
- Symphonic Metal: Incorporated quite frequently, notably on "The Odyssey" which has several mostly-orchestral breaks, and "Occulus Ex Inferni".
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: For a Metal band, they pull these every now and then. They usually occur in the repetition of the last chorus.
- Examples are: "Through the Looking Glass", "Candlelight Fantasia", "Lady of the Snow", "Paradise Lost" (twice), "The Sacrifice", "Revelation (Divus Pennae ex Tragoedia)" (inverted), "Iconoclast", "The End of Innocence" (inverted), and "Swan Song".
- "Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies)" seems to do this as well since its last chorus is played half-step higher than the first two; however, the end of the song is played in the same key as the intro and the verses.
- Title Drop: While it's typical for a song's title to appear in the lyrics, it crops up unexpectedly near the end of The Odyssey in a manner reminiscent of a Title Drop.
- Uncommon Time: Used heavily in a very large chunk of their discography. Heck, there isn't a single song on The Odyssey that doesn't have this at some point.
- One of the more ridiculous examples can be found in "The Accolade", which, at one point has a 6/4 bell melody, a 7/8 chime melody, a 5/4 violin melody, a very different 5/4 piano melody, a 12/4 guitar melody, and an 11/4 drum beat and bass melody, all at the same time.
- Villain Song: "Pharao" (from Divine Wings of Tragedy), "Orion (The Hunter)" (from Twilight in Olympus), and "Fallen" (from V - The New Mythology Suite) are early examples. The later albums mostly consist of villain songs, e.g. "Set the World On Fire (The Lie of Lies)", "Domination", "Serpent's Kiss", and "Seven" on Paradise Lost alone.