I decided to get this after being impressed with V and Twilight in Olympus. Every one of the guys in Symphony X is very talented and can really play. The first CD is excellent from start to finish; songs like ‘Evolution’ and ‘The Eyes of Medusa’ are awesome along with Michael Romeos guitar solo in ‘On the breath of Poseidon’. The guy is a really amazing guitarist and although many people think he sounds like yngwie, I think he is a lot more controlled and has a more melodic sense. I also like the way S X get the crowd involved, unlike most other progressive bands. My theory on live performances is that a band is on stage to put a show on and not just to play their music. S X are really good entertainers as well as musicians and they also play their songs differently live to what’s on the studio recordings, which is great because similar bands such as Dream Theater usually just stand there playing their songs live exactly the same way as they do on the record. Even though DT are an amazing band, they can be so boring to watch and listen to live sometimes, unlike S X. The second CD however is where I found some minor problems. Some of the songs are played far faster than those on the record. Many people complain about progressive bands doing this live and I’m sorry to say in most cases; it is true! Listen to Dream Theater playing ‘The Mirror’ live for example; it is far faster than that on the record. The other thing that bugs me on CD2 is that the keyboards are too low on the mix. S X has always been a symphonic band and without the keyboards being in the shot they just do not sound the same. Russels vocals do not sound as strong on CD2, this is because I think those particular songs were recorded 6 months after CD1 so his voice is probably a bit worn from constant touring.However I can’t complain too much because `The divine wings of tragedy’ at the end of CD2 is amazing, I think the live performance of that song is absolutely stunning. Overall I really enjoyed this album and I love their music. I highly recommend it to any Power or Prog metal fans, Keep up the good work guys!!!!
New 2 CD live set recorded at various locations in France & Germany on Inside Out Records.
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If you thought Symphony X’s albums were incredible, hearing them live is absolutley orgasmic. Russel Allen has an incredibly powerful voice that catches every single note just perfectly and rarely falters. At times, in fact, his voice exceeds what it has done on any studio album. Michael Romeo shreds like a madman on his guitar while Jason Rullo thunders on his drums without skipping a single beat. Mike Pinnela and Mike LePond are also wondrous performers. Every band member is an amazing virtuso. Its almost eerie to hear the songs come together so authentically and so faithfully on this disc; every song is churned out with uncanny accuracy. The Eyes of Medusa is played at hypersonic speed, clocking in at nearly a minute-and-a-half less than the studio version. I never thought it possible that Romeo could shred any faster on his guitar, but he will likely prove your previous notion of “shred” to be wrong. But Romeo isn’t the only great performer in the group. The whole band plays so tightly together on this set and weaves every song with startling accuracy. The best example of this is The Divine Wings of Tragedy. The band plays out this epic track in its sheer entirety of 20 minutes. Nonstop. The very expierence of it is indescribable. I think it is worth it to buy this CD for this track alone. Someday Symphony X will tour stateside and we’ll get to see them in person. Until then, we have this to satiate our appetites and tide us over till that fateful day. Now my only question is : when is the DVD coming out?!
I am a rather recent convert to Symphony X my wife, bless her gave me “V – The New Mythology Suite” as one of my Christmas presents in 2000. Needless to say I flipped for Symphony X. As an encore this Christmas my wife gave me Symphony X’s “Live on the Edge of Forever”. I must say I could easily get used to that particular little tradition. As other reviewers mentioned the actual title of this CD is “Live on the Edge of Forever”.I am always a bit suspicious of live CD’s. Too many times they are put out to simply make a quick buck for the band and to keep the fans happy until a new studio CD can be released. I was doubly suspicious of Symphony X’s live CD considering the complex nature of the band’s music. Listening to this CD quickly disabused me of those suspicions. The music comes across a bit harder than their studio CD’s since all the elements of the studio recording can’t be reproduce live and are subsequently replaced by additional guitar parts. The band still manages to evoke the grandeur that their studio recording projects. Overall the band’s intricate music is executed almost flawlessly.Michael Romeo is a tremendous guitar player mixing proficiency with passion. He is definitely the key to Symphony X in being able to successfully play their material live. Michael Pinnella the Keyboard player is one of the best keyboardist around adding texture and grace to the music. The rhythm section of Lepond on bass and Rullo on drums are solid and do excellent work live. Rullo’s drum in particular sound pleasingly sharper and crisper than in the studio CD’s. The band departs from the studio version of the songs on numerous occasions. Sometimes as mentioned above due to technical necessity and sometimes just for the fun of it. I quite enjoyed these departures since they showcased the bands creativity and mastery of their musical form. The band has definite chemistry playing off each other to give a dynamic performance.Russell Allen’s vocals sound rougher and grittier though no less pleasing than his vocals on Symphony X’s studio CD’s. His vocals radiate intensity and power. He sounds like a great live frontman. Mind you my only evidence is this recording but the crowd sure does respond to him. Disc 1 is nearly entirely composed of the first nine songs of “V – The New Mythology Suite” played in its studio order. The song the “Death of Balance” off “V – The New Mythology Suite” neatly segues into the fantastic “Candlelight Fantasia” off the “Divine Wings of Tragedy” CD. The first CD is close’s out with “The Eyes of Medusa” off the aforementioned “Divine Wings of Tragedy” CD. The tracks Disc 2 are evenly split between the “Divine Wings of Tragedy” and the “Twilight In Olympus” CD’s. Its hard to pick highlights off this album since all the tracks included are prime grade material. On disc 1 “Evolution (The Grand Design)” is played with an extra bit of aggression and it certainly benefits from it. On disc 2 “The Church of the Machine” is a killer track with terrific vocals. Symphony X perform a smoking version “Of Sins and Shadows” putting the studio version to shame and that’s saying a lot. An excellent live album that should be in the collection of any Symphony X fan. As for the newcomer this is not a bad place to start although a better place to start would be to purchase “V – The New Mythology Suite” and “Divine Wings of Tragedy” and then acquire “Live on the Edge of Forever”.
I just saw them in Chicago and they were excellent except for one thing-they play their songs too fast-slow the meter of the songs down to album speed and they will sound better. Most of these songs are fast-paced to begin with. You will hear some of this on this live CD. They really can play their songs live and Sir Russell’s vocals are killer live. Jason Rullo is a fantastic drummer which adds to the band. Romeo’s guitar work is unreal as well as the bass and keybord work. This is one of the best bands on the planet-go see them live if you get a chance. If they were doing this in the 70’s or 80’s, they would be a household name. Too bad our young generation doesn’t appreciate greatness when heard. This band should not be touring with no roadcrew and only getting 45 minutes to perform as an opening act. What a shame! As being in the music business for a while-I have NEVER seen such a great band get such little recognition!!
Symphony X is one of the few progressive metal bands whose music I enjoy. Thus, my respect for them has been boosted considerably with the release of this 2CD live album. For one thing, V – The New Mythology Suite is one of my favorite albums, and the band performs a good portion of it on disc 1 (all the way up to “The Death of Balance,” at which point it segues into “Candlelight Fantasia”). V is my favorite SymX album, but in the studio the album seemed a bit more “tame” than their earlier stuff. Live, Symphony X’s trademark aggression is thrust back into V. (Fanfare!)For a relatively inexperienced live band, they put on a great show, performing their highly sophisticated music with explosive energy. I am particularly in awe of vocalist Russell Allen, who is an astonishingly good live performer. Although he is not an extremely technical singer (by his own admission), his voice fares very well, he’s a spirited & lively performer, and he often improves the delivery over the original studio recordings. On “Candlelight Fantasia,” he hits every note of the beautiful song with perfect, controlled pain. On others, he injects a great deal more aggression into the lyrics. On “Fallen,” he sings, “My Serpents plot the overthrow of your temples and shrines” with a growl so evil it makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise. On “The Divine Wings of Tragedy – The Prophets Cry” he sounds utterly demonic. Nothing is worse than a great singer who can’t perform live…Symphony X doesn’t disappoint in that regard!If you’re wondering how the band recreates their majestic vocal harmonies in the live setting…well, they don’t. Still, they do what they can. When possible, Michael Romeo and Michael Pinnella sing backing vocals (which work well). On “Of Sins and Shadows,” Pinnella runs the choral sample from his keyboards. The massive, complex a capella counterpoint choral work that opens “The Divine Wings of Tragedy” is cut entirely. While it’s difficult to recreate some of their richly textured symphonic music live, the band fares very well in other regards. Even though keyboardist Pinnella can’t support a full MIDI orchestra live, the symphonic cuts (“Prelude,” “Transcendence,” “On the Breath of Poseidon”) still possess a big sounding quality. Michael Romeo helps out by filling some of the missing textures with awesome guitar licks. For example, on the symphonic speed metal cut “On the Breath of Poseidon” he plays neoclassical runs to round out the symphonic weaves throughout the song. It’s different, and very cool. Romeo = guitar master!Many songs are altered to keep things fresh, as well. “Candlelight Fantasia,” which is shortened, is performed with nothing but Allen’s ghostly voice and pianos. Believe it or not, the song is even more ethereal and beautiful when done live. Pinnella adds a number of lovely little piano tags throughout (like at the end of “Egypt” (yes, I know there was piano there before, but this is different) and the end of “Communion and the Oracle.” Even when the songs aren’t altered in any way, the sheer energy gripping the performances makes everything sound new and more exciting. The frenzied Romeo/Pinnella soloing duels sound more wild and exhilarating than before. Romeo’s hair-pin metal riffing is burning with energy, which makes the sometimes mucky guitar tone less regrettable. It’s also great to hear Allen’s interaction with the crowd, like when he basically teases the audience before the beginning of “Smoke and Mirrors.” Good fun! Speaking of the crowd, they sure get rockin’ to the music (that makes it more exciting!). European audiences sure love their Symphony X.Rarely is anyone 100% satisfied with a live album (especially if you’re a jerk like me), so obviously I’m disappointed in a few respects. The album is called Live on the Edge of Forever, but where is the song “The Edge of Forever”? It’s such a beautiful song, and I would have loved to hear it live with the band’s thundering energy (since The Damnation Game’s production was pretty bad). In fact, there are no songs from The Damnation Game, or the debut. That’s too bad. I think it also would have been incredible to hear “The Relic” live, because it has an awesome, heroic chorus that would rock live.But no big deal. These complaints are really just what they call “small potatoes.” Live on the Edge of Forever is awesome anyway you take it. There’s been a lot of great live releases this year, but this is one of the best. The performances catch fire, and Symphony X rocks n’ stuff. If you don’t buy this, I must question your sanity.(Note: Despite the fact that catalogues title this album as Live in Europe and some of the sticky white labels say so as well, the actual album is called Live on the Edge of Forever. When wondering what the difference is between Live in Europe and Live on the Edge of Forever, know that there isn’t one. They are the same.)