25 January 2016


0 Comment

symphony x

The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton, Friday 12th February 2016
Adv. £17.00     on Door £19.00           Doors Open 7.30pm
Box Office 01902 401211       Book On-line www.therobin.co.uk 
+ supports Myrath + Melted Space

Whether, it’s the genius writing and execution of Michael Romeo – his thoughts incubating exactly four years since the band’s slamming last album »Iconoclast« – or the richness of experience gained by Russell Allen over a triumphant run with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, or the heroic health battles of drummer Jason Rullo bounding back from heart failure in 2013, or simply the maturity of holding fast a band lineup, essentially rock-solid over 20 years… whatever the factors involved, SYMPHONY X have struck an enriched level of maturity with their ninth album, entitled “Underworld”.

Having been through the wars, voluntarily made tougher by insisting on playing intellectually and technically challenging music for fans that demand it – and then made harsh again by the evolving contours of the music industry, most notably the shift to singles and single songs – SYMPHONY X have triumphed, creating a panoramic old school “album rock” experience in an era cursed with shorter and shorter attention spans.

“This new one is about the song”, begins axe wizard Michael Romeo, chief writer in the band, and possessor of The Dungeon, the tricked-out studio in which the album was crafted, newly equipped with the latest in technology required to execute the band’s famous symphonic and orchestrated touches with aplomb. “Every element added was in service of the song, so the album flows song to song and becomes a total listening experience. Every song is to-the-point and fine-tuned, with us paying a lot of attention to the hooks, voices, riffs, and keeping the interest and the energy high for the whole record, so it can be listened to start to finish. You know, industry people have talked about how we’ll never see a »Sgt. Pepper’s« or »Dark Side Of The Moon« again, and that idea… I wanted to defend the reputation of the album, and really try to make »Underworld« an album worth listening to as a whole album. It’s what I love about »Moving Pictures« – great individual songs, but still an album experience. I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching, but it was a point I wanted to make. It was about the flow of the whole record. It speeds up here and then it dips down here. It all makes sense together, it all works together and it all flows together. And that’s me, dude. – I still listen to whole records (laughs).”

And it’s been the product of thoughtful strategy, the way »Underworld«’s inviting peaks-and-valleys sequencing was achieved, through the establishment of concept, and then a smart pulling back from it, again, in search of defiantly self-contained songs, songs that create their own eco-system, but with synergy, so that the sum is greater than the anthemic parts.

“»Underworld«’s not really a concept album”, agrees Michael, “but like the last couple of records, there’s a theme that carries through, without it being storytelling. We try to find something to key in on and get the juices flowing, and here the goal was to find something a little dark but with emotional content. I started looking at Dante, and Orpheus in the underworld, where he’s going to go to Hades or hell to save this girl. So there’s the theme of going to hell and back for something or someone you care about. So we could inject hellish imagery and at the same time there’s an emotional quality to it, where you care about someone, you’re going to go through all this, and yet trying to do the right thing. But it’s an outline, not storytelling. We had a concept and we pulled back and at the same time made it more personal and less pretentious. We found some kind of parameters to work in, where both musically and lyrically it wouldn’t be going overboard.”