Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1st, 2013 - A Spiral Jetty Odyssey

Good Friday evening!  Who's ready for another pairing?  I'm not sure about you, but this guy definitely is ready!!  Tonight I'm going "epic," and in more than one way...  How 'bout progressive/power metal band Symphony X and their 2002 album "The Odyssey" and Epic Brewing Company's Spiral Jetty India Pale Ale?  Hell yeah!!

Symphony X is known for their complex timings, interesting signature changes, and odd meters while incorporating neo-classical, symphonic elements and 1970s prog rock into more traditional power metal (similar to the work of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Blind Guardian)... and they definitely deliver that sound on "The Odyssey!"  This is Symphony X's 6th studio album and was recorded in its entirety at  guitarist Michael Romeo's home studio.  Named for the 24+ minute title track, "The Odyssey" is a progressive metal masterpiece with soaring vocals, machine-gun-fire guitars, bombastic drums and bass, and electrifying synthesizers.  And all this with songs of magic, wizards, dragons, and of course, the epic story of Homer's Odysseus.  This album, more so than Symphony X's other albums has a very strong nod to '70s prog band, Kansas, but don't be mistaken... this is definitely metal!  Romeo's tone is delicious and the blistering guitar fingering will peel the paint off your walls!  And Russell Allen's vocal style sounds at times like Steve Walsh, but there is a helluva lot more metal ferocity and range in Allen's voice!  He almost growls at times.  As always, Jason Rullo's drumming is precise, thunderous, fast, and furious.  That same power is echoed in Michael Lepond's bass work... booming!  And Michael Pinnella's piano and keyboard work is wonderful, heartfelt, and beautiful with a touch of Walsh, Emerson, and Wakeman for good measure.  Opening tracks "Inferno (Unleash the Fire)" and "Wicked" are lightning fast, metal monsters!  And it doesn't end there...  the magical "Incantations of the Apprentice" is equally as powerful.  "Accolade II," is a great sequel (obviously) to "The Accolade" from their 3rd album "The Divine Wings of Tragedy."  "King Of Terrors," "The Turning," and the somewhat more mellow "Awakenings" are all wonderful tracks as well.  And of course the epic and bombastic title track, "The Odyssey" is an epic novel for your ears.  My limited edition copy of the album ends with "Masquerade," a Japanese bonus track and a kick-ass song to boot!  I saw Symphony X this past year on their "Iconoclast" tour and all I can say is holy shit... EPIC!!

And speaking of epic... let's talk beer.  Let's talk Epic Brewing Company beer.  Let's talk IPA.  Let's talk Spiral Jetty.  Named for the 1970, Robert Smithson abstract geo-sculpture, the Spiral Jetty IPA is a fitting ale for the likes of "The Odyssey" by Symphony X.  It has depth, complexity, wonderful flavor, and bite!  The strongest of Epic's Classic Series ales, the Spiral Jetty is punchy brew with an "aggressive hop profile" from the use of 5 varieties of hops (2 are dry hopped.)  The Spiral Jetty pours a wonderful, cloudy light amber hue.  The head is thick, frothy, and bright with strong retention and lacing.  The nose is very fragrant, floral with a nice malty character.  There are notes of lemon grass, citrus, and hops.  Medium-bodied, the Spiral Jetty has a very pleasant, crisp mouthfeel.  The flavor is definitely that of a hop bomber, but it is not an assault on the palate.  There are a good amount of resinous pine, tart lemon, and bitter hop flavors, but there are notes of clover honey and sweet bread up front with some mid-range biscuity malt notes as well.  It finishes very dry and very clean.  Definitely a very drinkable IPA!

Check out Epic's Spiral Jetty IPA at and make sure you order a copy of "The Odyssey" by Symphony X from my man, Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop: and prepare yourself for an evening of epic metal and epic IPA!!

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