Symphony X

The Damnation Game

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After reasonable success from their debut, Symphony X, the New Jersey-based band returned with The Damnation Game and a new vocalist in Russell Allen. Similar in style to Ronnie James Dio, at this early part of his career he still sounds very much like Mark Boals and Jeff Scott Soto, both from Yngwie Malmsteen's band. The production value is better this time around and the songs have more variety than on their debut, but the debt to Malmsteen dominates the session once again. Guitarist Michael Romeo's licks and solos are lifted right off of Malmsteen's Rising Force and Marching Out; however, there are fleeting moments of individuality that foreshadow his later development. The monotonous selections all blend together, with the exception of "The Edge of Forever" and "A Winter's Dream," which introduce the band's more progressive side. While an improvement over Symphony X, the band was still a slave to their influences.

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