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Symphony X - Twilight In Olympus CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.77 | 325 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This for me is the definition of a transition album. In the case of Symphony X at this point in their career, this represents a positive transition to music even more colossal and fascinating than their output from the Divine Wings of Tragedy and earlier. The production sounds a bit fuller, transitions between musical ideas are more cohesive, the vocal choirs are much more convincing, and the keys are thankfully more varied and brought to the front. The result is a solid album by any standards.

Given the positive points mentioned above, it is even more clear to me that Symphony X are not merely Dream Theater clones. True, you'll find plenty of guitar shredding, complex crunchy riffing, and guitar/keyboard unison runs, but the music just seems to flow so well, with none of the members dominating the show for long.

Highlights on this album are numerous, but I'll focus mainly on the more proggy pieces. Fortunately, the song lengths give you an idea of their progginess: the longer, the better. The first extended song, Church in the Machine, naturally features blaring church organ, and when the choir for the chorus is added on top of that, the result is quite powerful. My only real complaint is the abrupt ending--I assume they were trying to make a stark contrast to the following mellow, Malmsteen-esque Sonata, but the effect is more irritating than captivating. The other extended piece is Through the Looking Glass, and they really hit a home run with this one! This is a prime example of restraint and build in songwriting--full of entertaining melodies and time signatures, but they hold off hitting you with the killer chorus until the song is about two-thirds complete, and the effect is that much more powerful. Great job to Pinella on keys--he channeled his inner Kansas, which would serve him well on the next album too.

All of the other songs are quite good as well, from the generic (of course only by Symphony X standards) rockers (The Relic, In the Dragon's Den), the pensive ballad (Lady of the Snow), and the uniquely creative pieces (especially the classical metal rip to open the album on Smoke and Mirrors, as well as the killer, grinding extended instrumental on Orion). And of course, you'll be treated to the awesome power of Russell Allen's voice throughout, if nothing else.

The bottom line is that I like just about everything on this album a little better than The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but a little less than The New Mythology Suite (which I find to be their absolute highlight). It seems that many people move straight from one to the other, and miss out on the great prog metal to be found here. Don't miss out on this transitional piece by a band gearing up for the climax of their musical power.

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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