HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Symphony X - The Odyssey
(InsideOut America)

The weapons this band has... and it is a band, Michael Romeo nevertheless the star of the show with his tapping technique across six strings in chord form, both diminished and major, the man adding a Pantera-esque rhythmic aggression that will no doubt help draw in the younger set. But as I say, the music explodes band-like, Romeo measuring his attacks, Russell Allen the consummate vocalist, a perfect match for Romeo both visually and melodically (the hair! the belly!). And I've not heard better production, better tones on a science rock album (there's another key: this is pure, calculus-calculated prog that headbangs like power metal). Definitely a band with an inconsistent recording history (main slag: derivation of Yngwie), Symphony X have created a triumphant punch-out of songs, shorter anthemic tracks well down that Dime bag, precision, machine-bolted metal beasts that build toward the epic 24 minute title track, the seven parts of The Odyssey moving well, never becoming dull, the orchestration a mind-blower worth the stormy seas alone.
Rating 8.5

Hughes Turner Project - Live In Tokyo

Voices Of Classic Rock buddies Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner go east and reunite with guitarist Akira Kajiyama and his crew for a night of smooth two-fisted singing over a nostalgia-ridden metal sound that was actually considered extreme two decades ago. The new HTP tracks dovetail well with the classics which aren't exactly that, tunes like I Surrender, Death Alley Driver, Spotlight Kid and Street Of Dreams coming from the Rainbow in the dark, and King Of Dreams being an excellent epic from Turner's doomed Deep Purple visit. Stormbringer is also trotted out, played without discipline, although this sloppy groove works well elsewhere on the record despite only acceptable recording. I really get an empty feeling when these records, which are essentially cover bands with a connection or two, happen, but I like both Turner and Hughes more with the passing years, even if this is way more of a Turner showcase. As well, there's no denying the rapid fire Rainbow-clutching heavy metal character of these songs.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3