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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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4 stars This is my first progressive metal review. and why not to start with the album/band that first got me into the sub-genre? Ok, I was aware of prog-metal but until hearing this work entirely I only had flashes of the style: one song here, another there, etc. Also, I'm not totally concerned about the various nuances of metal: doom, thrash, death, viking and the likes - in fact, I really like songs and sounds and that's enough!

I cannot remember how this album jumped on my lap, maybe it happened during the turn of the century or it happened a bit later, who knows and I believe no one is truly interested. After S-X's "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" I had the opportunity to listen to several other albums and bands and I discovered some real prog-metal gems, a cluster of them even better than TDWoT, but this release is a kind of 'first impression' and it gets an honest dwelling in my mind.

SYMPHONY X are a US band that from the beginning, in early 90s, spin around their founders: drummer Jason Rullo, keyboardist Michael Pinella and specially the guitarist Michael Romeo. Soon they incorporated vocalist Russell Allen, a great addition, one of the best voices in the present prog-rock scenario. Bass player here was Thomas Miller, apparently the only member out of the band, nowadays. Anyway this team, even being fairly young then, showed a more than average musicianship and playing/singing ability. TDWoT, their third production, is a giant leap when compared with their debut and also a sensible step when compared with their second effort (first with the band for Allen). Many praise this album as the band's best however I found other possible winners in S-X roster.

'Of sins and shadows' is a powerful opener although it's really more a 'heavy metal' song with few signs of progressiveness. Guitar riffs and drumming work shall certainly attract typical metalheads.

With 'Sea of lies', the second track, the real prog-metal action begins; sudden variations, different guitar tunes, some almost symphonic passages, exquisite singing elements. A pleasant song, indeed.

'Out of ashes' keeps the atmosphere of previous track, now with more noticeable keyboard and a quite different choir, completing the strong vocals. Sometimes drum beating may be annoying, but we can't forget that the genre brings the label metal coupled and that's how things are.

'The accolade' is a fine lengthy song, the intro is pure progressive well in the vein of some classical prog-rock bands, the track itself is really amazing. Other previous reviewer saw PINK FLOYD and KANSAS influences and I agree with them, but certain short segments seem taken from some lost GENTLE GIANT record.

'Pharaoh' starts a bit dark, shady, primitive - keyboards and later vocals intend to present an ancient Egypt-like ambience, as portrayed with metal approach. Remarkable here is how Allen's voice dominates the room, even rivaling with nice tunes provided by guitar and keyboards.

'The eyes of Medusa' maintains high the prog-metal flame, in this case a bit more metal than prog, but the final result is agreeably above average.

'The witching hour', the shortest album track is also the weakest - the amount of surprises heard before fades here. I consider this song a kind of pause before the peak hour.

The epic 'The divine wings of tragedy' is doubtless album's paramount moment. The song runs through the ears like a movie soundtrack and one may nevertheless contemplates the scenes, the dialogs, the movements of that said imaginary movie. Even being a metal-based epic, we can gather elements of all major prog-rock genres wrapped in a kind of luxurious treatment.

'Candlelight fantasia' closes the album in a grand manner, joyful and enjoyable. Vocals, keyboards and guitar unite to produce a catchy and exciting song. A nice farewell to a fine album.

For those who still look with skepticism when notice the hallowed prefix prog placed together with metal I recommend to start with this album. In reality, I recommend "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" for all, 'cause it's deservedly an excellent addition to any PROG music collection.

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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