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Symphony X - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 536 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Divine Wings of Tragedy marks Symphony X's transtition from decent 3 star albums into work that demands attention from proggies and metalheads alike. The first two albums saw the band essentially in the shadows of it's inspirations (Romeo's playing too much like Malmsteen, too much like Rainbow, etc). The addition of Russell Allen on the group's sophomoric release marked the beginning of change, but it was this album that saw the band blossom. Allen's voice shares a likeness to Dio's (of Rainbow, Sabbath, and metal-horn inventing fame), which could have sent Symphony X into more Rainbow rip-offs but incredibly gives them more originality than they had before. Romeo's playing is still very linked to Malmsteen's, but his increasing versatility and compostional skills were exposed on this album and made him one of the modern guitar gods alongside Petrucci. Miller's bass is aggressive and punding. Pinella's keys are gorgeous and give the songs like Accolade lush arrangements without being overbearing. Rullo's drums are fantastic; he's a very underrated performer because he, along with the rest of the band, is routinely compared to Portnoy (or other DT members for the rest of Symphony X). Every song on this gem sparkles with electricity and fury.

"Of Sins and Shadows" opens with furious riffing and blazes a trail for the later songs. It features a great Gregorian chant that would make the boys in Blind Guardian or Iced Earth proud. Romeo's solo is incredible and Allen's vox set the stage for the workout his vocal chord will receive later in the album.

"Sea of Lies" has a stunning bass performance from Miller, whose bassline is complex yet it still retains feel. Another great solo from Romeo

"Out of the Ashes" could almost be mistaken for poppy if you ignore the musicianship propelling it. A very straight-foward song

"The Accolade" is where the prog hidden in the first three tracks (it's there, just not obvious) emerges to the forefront. Pinella gets to shine on this lovely piece involving a knight who fights and dies for glory (yet somehow they make a sequel on The Odyssey). Allen's voice is stunning and he proves that he is one of metal's finest vocalists alongside Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Dio, and Roy Khan.

"Pharoah" is possibly the heaviest song on the album with one of the catchiest choruses in all of prog metal. The riff is killer and Allen's vocals are incredibly aggressive in contrast to the beautiful warbling of the previous track.

"Eyes of Medusa" is also very heavy, though Allen reverts to his softer, more beautiful sound.

"The Witching Hour" is the least good song on the album (bad does not apply to this disc), but it contains one of Romeo's best solos.

"The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is the band's finest song, and it is a hallmark of prog metal. It opens with Gregorian chanting and leads into an instrumental intro. The lyrics seem to be somewhat concerned with the story of Paradise Lost, though the band's next album makes me skeptical of my interpretation. They're are certainly biblical and Miltonian references here. The song alternates between ferocity and beauty, and it never drops a beat. Rullo's bass drums and cymbal fills give the song background. Miller's bass gives rythmn while also sharing the spotlight with Romeo and Pinella.

Suprisingly, the album doesn't end with the final notes of the title epic. "Candlelight Fantasia" comes in softly, slowly building. I find that this helps edge you off the bludgeoning you receive off the last rack, and it culminates in one of Romeo's most beautiful solos. These solos can go head to head with Petrucci's lightspeed licks any day of the week, and I'm a DT fanboy.

TDWOT is a landmark of prog metal. Symphony X would incredibly outdo this opus with V, and Twilight in Olympus and The Odyssey are certainly four star albums. The total lack of filler makes it a must for fans of prog.

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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