/?s?mf?ni '?ks/ is an American progressive metal band from Middletown, New Jersey. Founded in 1994 by guitarist Michael Romeo, their albums The Divine Wings of Tragedy
and V: The New Mythology Suite
have given the band considerable attention within the progressive metal community. They also have achieved more commercial success with the 2007 album Paradise Lost
; the band's 2011 album Iconoclast
is the highest chart position and the most first-week sales in the band's history. Michael Romeo about the origin of their name: "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."The Dark Chapter
, Symphony X
and The Damnation Game
(1994-1995)In early 1994 Michael Romeo (ex-Phantom's Opera, ex-Gemini) recorded a studio album entitled The Dark Chapter
, which featured himself and keyboard player Michael Pinnella. The tape attracted a fair share of attention, particularly in Japan. He then recruited bassist Thomas Miller, drummer Jason Rullo, and vocalist Rod Tyler. 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 Label. 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.
The Divine Wings of Tragedy and Twilight in Olympus (1996-1998)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 beginning in 1996 and concluding in 1997. The positive feedback from the specialized press served to establish Symphony X in Europe; their success in Japan only continued to grow.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.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.
V: The New Mythology Suite and The Odyssey (1999-2002)
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.
Solo albums (2003-2006)
Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album, entitled Enter by the Twelfth Gate
, on October 12, 2004.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. Also in 2005, he recorded an album called The Battle
with former Masterplan vocalist Jørn Lande under the moniker "Allen/Lande". The two would later record a follow-up album entitled The Revenge
, released May 11, 2007.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.
Paradise Lost (2007-2010)
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 and released worldwide on June 26, 2007. The band claimed this work had darker themes musically. The album included a special DVD of footage shot by the band throughout their history, available in FYE stores. The release coincided with a 14-month world tour, including a tour through all of Europe with Dream Theater in the fall of 2007. 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.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.Symphony X released their first music video for the song "Serpent's Kiss" on July 28, 2007. It was followed by a video for "Set the World on Fire," released on January 11, 2008. The band toured North and South America from October to November 2008, and toured Asia in February 2009.
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. 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." When asked about a release date, Allen said, "We are in post-production, so the album is pretty much almost done. At this point, mixes are being wrapped up and finalized and it's off to mastering and should be ready for release in a few months, definitely first quarter of 2011. We've got the artworks all done, we're taking pictures next week... all that good stuff. So everything's on track for release pretty soon. Allen also commented that "Sonically, it's in the realm of [Paradise Lost
\] in a way, in terms of the sound of things; the guitar sound is a little different. Basically, the album is pretty intense, probably the most intense record we've ever done... "This album will contain a good body of work that harkens back to a lot of early metal, some early metal, and a lot of Symphony X standards that you guys know already, and a little bit of a newer sound too, here and there, just a newer direction."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 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, 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. The album showcases the highest chart position and the most first-week sales in the band's history.On February 27, 2013, it was announced by Symphony X's management 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, and has been told that his recovery will take a minimum of 3–6 months under doctors’ care. On March 26, 2013, the band announced that John Macaluso would join them on tour for their South American and European dates, until Jason Rullo recovers from such health problems.
Symphony X is often compared to other progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Circus Maximus and Shadow Gallery. Their music includes complex timings and odd meters while incorporating elements of symphonic metal and more traditional heavy metal. It also contains strong neo-classical elements reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, Cacophony, Randy Rhoads, and other bands.
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
were fully recorded there and produced by Romeo himself. Symphony X spent a sum of money upgrading The Dungeon and buying state of the art orchestration software and tools for the rich symphonic arrangements in their songs.