Released: 2001, InsideOut America
It should come as no surprise to anyone who read my review of DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY that I am a big Symphony X fan. (I’m still kicking myself for not making their show in DC a few weeks back!) Yet, for whatever reason, I really wasn’t all that excited about the release of this CD. I never do get excited about any live album though, since so many of them are filler for the fans who are waiting for something new. As such, most live albums are hit-and-miss affairs. LIVE ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER falls somewhere in between.
LIVE is a two disc effort, with the greater part of the first disc being the majority of their last studio release, the excellent THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE. As a matter of fact, disc one features the first nine tracks of said album in the order they actually appear on the studio version. The remaining tracks on disc one and the tracks which comprise disc two are dedicated to covering TWILIGHT IN OLYMPUS and the classic DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY. The first two albums in the band’s catalogue are left out completely, but since the afore-mentioned trifecta of CDs are Symphony X at the top of their game, the omissions are understandable. However, I do regret that they didn’t cover the song that first got me into the band, the classic “Absinthe and Rhue” which appeared on their debut album.
I think what impressed me most about this CD is that the guys execute the music almost effortlessly, especially Michael Romeo (guitars) and Michael Pinnella (keys). Bands that play music with the kind of complexity that Symphony X does are often criticized for being studio bands only. Any of those types of concerns should be laid to rest, as should any questions people may have had about whether Russell Allen can pull it off live. Allen is more than up to the effort. His voice sounds great and he sings with a bit more growl here than he does in the studio. Despite the highlights, I can’t give this album truly sterling marks because it lacks the electricity needed to make a live album truly great. However, I can and do recommend LIVE to Symphony X’ers and fans of neo-classical and progressive metal.
Official website: http://www.symphonyx.com