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Released: 2000, Metal Blade
I've been procrastinating on my review for this album, as I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. Try as I might, I can't find anything wrong with it. The playing is flawless, especially Michael Romeo (guitars) and Michael Pinnela (keyboards). With those two, it's like the songs are almost secondary (they're not really) while their instruments engage in an intricate dance with one another each one finding time to take center stage while the other playfully shades and colors the music. Don't get me wrong, this is most definitely guitar-based heavy metal, but it is done in such a classy way that it transcends. Beyond all of that, the band still finds room for Russell Allen's superior vocals. The man is a pro at the mic and knows exactly when to restrain himself and when to let loose.
V is an intricate concept album, the details of which I won't go into 'cause part of the fun of the CD is figuring out the story. Each song literally runs into the next, lending the album a continuous feel, like your listening to a movie unfold. While there is plenty of progressive music on this CD, the best songs are the more aggressive ones like "Fallen" and "The Bird-Serpent War/Cataclysm". The standout of the album though, is "On The Breath Of Poseidon/Egypt", a proggy centerpiece to the CD that carries the dissonant tones of the Middle East.
The best thing that I can say about this album is that I've never owned a Symphony X CD before and now I can't wait to pick up their back catalogue. Anyone who is a fan of any genre of metal should own this album! A serious contender for "Album Of The Year."
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