Symphony X

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Symphony X
W0927-Hellfest2013 SymphonyX MichaelRomeo JohnMacaluso RussellAllen MichaelPinnella 71542.JPG
Symphony X performing at Hellfest, 2013
Background information
Origin Middletown, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres
Years active1994–present
Labels Nuclear Blast, Inside Out, Zero Corporation
Website symphonyx.com
Members
Past members

Symphony X is an American progressive metal band from Middletown, New Jersey. Founded in 1994, the band consists of guitarist Michael Romeo, keyboardist Michael Pinnella, drummer Jason Rullo, lead vocalist Russell Allen and bassist Michael Lepond.

Progressive metal is a fusion genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock that combines the loud "aggression" and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter.

Michael Romeo American musician

Michael James Romeo is an American guitarist and a founding member of the progressive metal group Symphony X. He is one of two members to appear on every Symphony X release.

Michael Pinnella American heavy metal keyboardist

Michael Pinnella is a keyboard player, most notably for the band Symphony X. He has released two solo albums, titled Enter By the Twelfth Gate (2004) and Ascension (2014), of mostly instrumental, classical-styled progressive metal. Michael is one of two Symphony X members to appear on all nine of the band's albums.

Contents

They achieved some commercial success with the 2007 album Paradise Lost and the 2011 album Iconoclast , which reached number 76 on the Billboard 200. Romeo explained the band's name in a 2008 interview; "So, you know, the music we were coming up with had the keyboard thing and the guitar, and some classical elements, so the word ‘Symphony’ came up and, so the dramatic thing, you know? So then, somebody said ‘Symphony X’ and we were like, ‘yeah, that’s cool’ it is that kinda thing, and the ‘X’ is the unknown and all the other stuff we do." [1]

<i>Paradise Lost</i> (Symphony X album) 2007 Symphony X album

Paradise Lost is the seventh studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released on June 26, 2007 through Inside Out Music. It is a concept album loosely inspired by John Milton's 1667 epic poem Paradise Lost. The album was the band's first to chart on the U.S. Billboard 200, reaching No. 123 and remaining on that chart for a week, as well as reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers and the top 100 in five other countries.

<i>Iconoclast</i> (Symphony X album) 2011 album by American progressive metal band Symphony X

Iconoclast is the eighth album by American progressive metal band Symphony X. It was released on June 17, 2011, in Europe, June 21, 2011, in the United States and on June 28, 2011, in Canada.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

History

Symphony X and The Damnation Game (1994−95)

In early 1994 Michael Romeo (formerly of the bands Phantom's Opera and Gemini) recorded a studio album titled The Dark Chapter , which featured himself and keyboard player Michael Pinnella. [2] The tape attracted a fair share of attention, particularly in Japan. [2] Romeo then recruited bassist Thomas Miller, drummer Jason Rullo, and vocalist Rod Tyler. [3] Their self-titled debut album was recorded in the same year, and released to a positive reception in Japan by the now-defunct record company Zero Corporation. [4] The band's second studio album, The Damnation Game , followed six months later. Singer Rod Tyler had left the band by then and was replaced by current singer Russell Allen. [5]

<i>The Dark Chapter</i> album by Michael Romeo

The Dark Chapter is the first studio album by Symphony X guitarist Michael Romeo, released in April 1994 through Zero Corporation (Japan) and reissued in 2000 through InsideOut Music (Europe).

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Thomas Miller was the bassist of Symphony X prior to the entrance of Andy DeLuca, and soon after, Michael Lepond. Miller left the band along with drummer Thomas Walling for their unwillingness to tour for the support of Symphony X's fourth studio album, Twilight in Olympus.

The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Twilight In Olympus (1996−98)

The Divine Wings of Tragedy was the album that first gave Symphony X exposure in metal circles. It took a considerable time to record the album, with the recording sessions taking place in 1996, and the album was released late in the year, on November 13th. The positive feedback from the specialized press served to establish Symphony X in Europe; their success in Japan only continued to grow.[ citation needed ]

<i>The Divine Wings of Tragedy</i> album

The Divine Wings of Tragedy is the third studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released in 1997 through Zero Corporation (Japan) and Inside Out Music (Europe); a remastered edition was reissued on September 13, 2004 through Inside Out, and again in September 17, 2012 as part of a double-LP vinyl release.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

At the end of 1997 and for part of the next year, Jason Rullo, their drummer, had to stay away from the band in order to solve personal issues. He was temporarily replaced by Thomas Walling. Even with a temporary drummer, the band recorded Twilight in Olympus , released in early 1998. That year also saw the first live performances from the band, which by then had already gathered many fans from around the globe. Their first official show happened in 1998, in Japan. It was soon followed by a world tour. Bassist Thomas Miller left the band and was replaced by Michael Lepond in that year.

<i>Twilight in Olympus</i> album

Twilight in Olympus is the fourth studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released in 1998 through Zero Corporation (Japan) and Inside Out Music (Europe); a remastered special edition was reissued on January 13, 2004 through Inside Out. The album features drums played by Thomas Walling, who filled in for regular drummer Jason Rullo after he temporarily left the band for personal reasons. It is also the last Symphony X album with longtime bassist Thomas Miller, who left the band during the album's tour.

Michael Lepond American musician

Michael Anthony LePond III is an American musician, best known as the bassist of progressive metal band Symphony X. He is also the bassist of the New York-based metal band Dead on Arrival. The group issued an album – Alive and Kickin – on the independent Polo label in 1996. He can be heard on all Symphony X releases since the 2000 album V: The New Mythology Suite. He was formerly a member of the New Jersey band Rattlebone, which opened for many national acts and released a six-song album in 1997.

A compilation album, Prelude to the Millennium , was released by the end of 1998. As an extra, it featured a second version of the song "Masquerade" from the first album, with Russell Allen on vocals.

<i>Prelude to the Millennium</i> compilation album

Prelude to the Millennium: Essentials of Symphony is a compilation album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released in 1999. It features selections from their first four studio albums, although no original versions from their debut album Symphony X are included. Instead, the album starts with a fully re-recorded version of "Masquerade" that features Russell Allen on vocals.

V: The New Mythology Suite and The Odyssey (1999−2005)

Jason Rullo returned to the drums for the band's fifth album, V: The New Mythology Suite , released in 2000. It was the band's first release on major progressive label InsideOut Music. The album was their first concept album, dealing with the myth of Atlantis. The album features classics such as "Communion and the Oracle", "Egypt" and the mini-suite "Rediscovery", and includes pieces of classical music.

The band went on a European and South American tour shortly after its release and recorded their first live album, Live on the Edge of Forever .

In 2002, the band released The Odyssey , an album prominently featuring a 24-minute-long musical interpretation of the Homeric epic, the Odyssey.

In 2005 Symphony X was featured on Gigantour, a summer festival headlined by Megadeth with Dream Theater, Nevermore and Anthrax. Two Symphony X songs from the tour, "Inferno" and "Of Sins and Shadows", are featured on the Gigantour DVD and CD-set, released in September 2006. [6] [7]

Paradise Lost (2006–10)

Lead vocalist Russell Allen performing at a concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 27, 2007. Sx-russell-3-small.JPG
Lead vocalist Russell Allen performing at a concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 27, 2007.

The band's album Paradise Lost , a concept album loosely inspired by John Milton's epic poem of the same name, was recorded in Romeo's studio throughout 2006, delayed numerous times and released finally worldwide on June 26, 2007. The band claimed this work had darker themes musically. [8] The album included a special DVD of footage shot by the band throughout their history, available in FYE stores. [9] The release coincided with a 14-month world tour, including a tour through all of Europe with Dream Theater in the fall of 2007. [10] The band also revealed plans to perform in Japan and other Asian countries, as well as appear for the first time ever in Russia, India, and the Middle East. [10]

Paradise Lost debuted at number 123 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the United States, selling 6,300 copies in its first week. The record also debuted at number 1 on the Top Heatseekers Chart. [11] [12]

Symphony X released their first music video for the song "Serpent's Kiss" on July 28, 2007. [13] It was followed by a video for "Set the World on Fire," released on January 11, 2008. [14] The band toured North and South America from October to November 2008, and toured Asia in February 2009.

Iconoclast (2011–2013)

On March 1, 2010, an update on the Symphony X official website announced, that the band had recorded most of their next album and that Romeo and Allen were working on lyrics; Romeo was getting ready to start doing tracking for the album. [15] [16] [17] The album's name and lyrical concept were revealed on January 29, 2011 in an interview by DJ JC Green of Metal Messiah Radio's "Heavy Metal Thunder" show with Russell Allen: the follow-up to Paradise Lost will be titled Iconoclast and will have its lyrics centered around "machines taking over everything and all this technology we put our society into pretty much being our demise." [18] [18] On March 25, 2011, it was announced on the Nuclear Blast website and Blabbermouth.net, that the new Symphony X album, Iconoclast, would be released in Europe on June 17 and in North America on June 21, [19] as a Standard Edition as well as a 2-CD Digipack. Iconoclast debuted at number 76 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the United States, selling more than 7,300 copies in its first week. The record also debuted at number 7 on the Top Hard Rock Chart, number 19 on the Top Rock Chart and number 13 on the Top Independent Chart. [20] [21] The album showcases the highest chart position and the most first-week sales in the band's history.

On February 25, 2011, Symphony X played the first show of their 2011 tour in Stuttgart, Germany, where they performed two songs from Iconoclast: "End of Innocence" and "Dehumanized". Some days later, in Antwerp, Belgium, they performed yet another new song, "Heretic". During their show in London, England, the band debuted another new song titled "Prometheus".

On February 27, 2013, it was announced that, during the previous week, drummer Jason Rullo was admitted to hospital for heart failure. Jason spent a week in hospital, and was released after some days. He then started a rehab program that took a minimum of 3–6 months under doctors’ care. [22] John Macaluso joined them on tour for their South American and European dates, until Jason Rullo was able to fully recover. [23]

Underworld and band hiatus (2015–present)

Symphony X at Israel, 2016 Symphony X 2016a.jpg
Symphony X at Israel, 2016

The band is working on releasing a second fan club CD. Michael Romeo said it will be another collection of demo tunes and other rare material, and may also include a bit of content created just for the release, along the lines of MJR’s Star Wars tune on the first fan club CD, Rarities and Demos, which has since sold out of its first pressing. SXW, the band’s revamped fan club, has relaunched and is now active. [24]

The band began recording the drum tracks for the new album on September 9, 2014, and planned to release the complete recording by the spring of 2015. [25] Michael Lepond stated they had ten songs written and that the album would contain either nine or all ten of them. [25] He also stated all lyrics and instrumental tracks were composed and ready to be brought together, and that the album would be less heavy than Iconoclast: "If I had to compare, I would say that it's a combination of The Odyssey and Paradise Lost — something in there. It has a lot of classic Symphony X elements in it, which I think a lot of our fans were missing for a few years. So I think our fans will really like this one. It really just focuses on solid songwriting." [25]

As of December 11, 2014, recording of the drums, lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and bass were complete. With the keyboards, guitar solos, background vocals, and some miscellaneous odds and ends being done in the coming weeks. [26] On April 10, 2015 the band announced the mixing and mastering of the new album was complete. On May 18, 2015, the band announced the title of the album would be titled Underworld , and a release date of July 24, 2015. [27] The first single from the album, "Nevermore", premiered on May 22, 2015. [28] The band released the second single, "Without You", on June 19, 2015, and was made available for digital download. [29]

According to singer Russell Allen, the band entered a short hiatus during 2017 in which they did not perform, due in part to his commitment to Adrenaline Mob, [30] although it was announced during a January 2018 interview with Metal Nation that the band had plans to get together in the following months and begin writing a follow up to Underworld. [31] On July 14, 2017, Adrenaline Mob was involved in a serious vehicular accident, which resulted in severe injuries for Allen and the death of the band's bassist and their tour manager. [32] In July 2018, according to Michael Romeo, the band hopes to re-group and make another album, but also said that he was giving Russell Allen some time and space after dealing with the aftermath of the accident, and also his touring commitments with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. [33]

Solo projects

Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album, entitled Enter by the Twelfth Gate , on October 12, 2004. [34] Another solo album, "Ascension," was released in 2014. [35]

Vocalist Russell Allen's solo debut, entitled Atomic Soul , was released in the summer of 2005. With this album, Allen took a different musical direction from that seen in his work with Symphony X. It was considered by many—including Allen himself—to be a hard rock album. [36] Also in 2005, he recorded an album called The Battle with former Masterplan vocalist Jørn Lande under the moniker "Allen/Lande". [37] The two would later record follow-up albums entitled The Revenge , released May 11, 2007; The Showdown , released November 5, 2010; and The Great Divide , released October 21, 2014. [38] [39]

In early 2011 Russell Allen co-founded heavy metal supergroup, Adrenaline Mob with guitarist Mike Orlando and drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), who has since left the group. [40] [41] They have released three studio albums, Omertá (2012), Men of Honor (2014) [42] and We The People (2017). Bassist Michael LePond released his first solo album, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins on September 26, 2014. It features guest performances from guitarist Mike Chlasciak (Halford, Testament), lead guitarist, drum producer and Symphony X bandmate Michael Romeo, and vocalist Alan Tecchio (Hades, Watchtower). LePond himself played bass and rhythm guitar. [43]

Michael Romeo's second solo album, War of the Worlds, Pt. 1 , was released on July 27, 2018. The album features Rick Castellano on vocals, John DeServio on bass, and John Macaluso on drums. [44] It was Romeo's first solo album since The Dark Chapter , which was released in 1994.

Musical style

Symphony X is often compared to other progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Shadow Gallery. [45] Their music includes complex timings and odd meters while incorporating elements of heavy metal and progressive rock. [46] It also contains strong neo-classical elements reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, Cacophony, Randy Rhoads, and other bands. [47] The band have been categorized as progressive metal, [48] [49] [50] [51] power metal [52] [53] and neoclassical metal. [52] [54]

Recording studio: The Dungeon

The Dungeon is the studio located at the home of Symphony X's guitarist and composer Michael Romeo. The albums The Divine Wings of Tragedy and V – The New Mythology Suite were partly recorded in The Dungeon, while The Odyssey , Paradise Lost , Iconoclast and Underworld were fully recorded there and produced by Romeo himself.

Line-up

Current members
Former members

Timeline

Symphony X

Discography

Studio albums
Other albums

Related Research Articles

Jason Rullo American drummer

Jason Rullo is an American drummer, who is one of the founding members of progressive metal band Symphony X.

<i>Symphony X</i> (album) album by Symphony X

Symphony X is the first studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, originally released in 1994 through Zero Corporation in Japan, and reissued in 1996 through Inside Out Music in Europe; a remastered edition was reissued on January 13, 2004 through Inside Out Music. The album's release came about as a result of band guitarist Michael Romeo's 1994 solo album, The Dark Chapter, achieving success in Japan. It is the only Symphony X album to feature singer Rod Tyler, who would be replaced by Russell Allen on all subsequent works.

<i>The Damnation Game</i> (album) album

The Damnation Game is the second studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released in 1995 through Zero Corporation (Japan) and Inside Out Music (Europe); a remastered edition was reissued on September 13, 2004 through Inside Out. The album is the band's first to feature current singer Russell Allen, who replaced Rod Tyler after the release of their 1994 self-titled debut album.

<i>V – The New Mythology Suite</i> album by Symphony X

V: The New Mythology Suite is the fifth studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released on October 10, 2000 through Inside Out Music. It is a concept album dealing with the story of Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology, and astrology. The album is the band's first to feature its current and longest lineup, following the arrival of bassist Michael Lepond and the return of drummer Jason Rullo.

<i>Live on the Edge of Forever</i> live album

Live on the Edge of Forever is the first live album by progressive metal band Symphony X, which was recorded on their European tour in 2000 and 2001. The album starts like their previous studio effort V – The New Mythology Suite, but whereas "The Death of Balance" normally segues into "Lacrymosa," it now segues into "Candlelight Fantasia" from The Divine Wings of Tragedy album. Many classics are eventually played, including the neoclassical "Smoke and Mirrors" and the epic "The Divine Wings of Tragedy." No tracks from the first two albums are performed, even though the album's title references a track from The Damnation Game.

<i>The Odyssey</i> (album) album

The Odyssey is the sixth studio album by progressive metal band Symphony X, released on November 5, 2002 through Inside Out Music. The album is the band's first to be recorded entirely at guitarist Michael Romeo's home studio, The Dungeon. "Accolade II" is a sequel to "The Accolade" from The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997). The title track is the album's grand finale: a 24-minute musical interpretation of Homer's Odyssey, an epic poem about the journey of ancient Greek hero Odysseus.

Russell Allen American singer

Russell Allen is a singer and lyricist best known as the vocalist of American progressive metal band Symphony X. He has also worked with supergroups Star One, Allen-Lande, Level 10, and as one of fourteen vocalists in the progressive symphonic metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Since 2011, he has served as the frontman of the heavy metal band Adrenaline Mob.

<i>Atomic Soul</i> album by Russell Allen

Atomic Soul is Symphony X's lead singer Russell Allen's debut solo album. It was released on April 26, 2005. The album is different from Symphony X's harder, more progressive sound, and has been dubbed by many, including Allen himself, as "Hard Rock". The album was released in 2005 on the InsideOut Music label. Allen played bass and keyboards on most tracks, along with vocals, but some of the tracks feature guests Robert Nelson on drums, Brendan Anthony and Jason Freudberg on guitars, Larry Salvatore on bass and Jens Johansson on keyboards. Also Allen's bandmates Michael Romeo and Michael Pinnella, from Symphony X, are featured on the album.

Adrenaline Mob band

Adrenaline Mob is a heavy metal supergroup formed in early 2011 by singer Russell Allen, guitarist Mike Orlando and drummer Mike Portnoy. The band's current lineup consists of Allen, Orlando and drummer Jordan Cannata.

<i>Underworld</i> (Symphony X album) Symphony X album

Underworld is the ninth studio album by American progressive metal band Symphony X. It was released on July 24, 2015 through Nuclear Blast. The album's first single, "Nevermore", premiered on May 22, 2015, followed by "Without You" on June 19. They were both officially released on July 22, 2015. The band's guitarist, founder and main songwriter, Michael Romeo, said he was against releasing separated tracks of the album, since it was written to be "a whole".

<i>War of the Worlds, Pt. 1</i>

War of the Worlds, Pt. 1 is the second solo album by Symphony X guitarist Michael Romeo, released on 27 July 2018. It is his first solo album in over two decades and his first release since 2015's Underworld with Symphony X.

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