Local Wire

Symphony X @ Marquee Theatre

There's no "secret formula" for success in any music genre, but finding an audience as a prog rock band seems especially tricky. Prog rock's biggest success stories range from the legendary (Pink Floyd) to the legendarily annoying (Rush). For a genre in which virtuosity is so highly regarded, the gaps in popularity between bands of similar talent can seem completely arbitrary. Dream Theater has become a standard bearer for modern prog, while Fates Warning toils for decades in semi-obscurity. Some prog bands have found success by attracting fans who normally aren't hardcore prog geeks. Tool has its meathead contingent, The Mars Volta appeals to indie hipsters, and emo kids have latched onto Coheed & Cambria. But for a band like Symphony X, the struggle to find a niche can last decades. The band has been at it since 1994, releasing seven studio albums in that span with an eighth, Iconoclast, slated for a mid-June release. Their most recent effort, 2007's Paradise Lost, actually cracked the bottom half of the Billboard 200, so perhaps mainstream recognition is right around the corner. If nothing else, fans at this week's show can console each other about how underappreciated Symphony X is.

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Mike R. Meyer