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

THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY

Symphony X

 

Progressive Metal

4.06 | 433 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Isa
Prog Reviewer
4 stars |B-| Symphony X's early sound brilliantly captured in a single album.

Another one of power prog's best, Divine Wings of Tragedy is probably one of the band's most solid albums in terms of quality composition. Here we have a good blend of symphonic prog and power metal, and some classical, all three mixed well to form a very pleasing result, with a slight aroma of cheese looming over most of the album coming no doubt from the power metal component. This was my introduction album to Symphony X when I was first discovering prog metal, a band that would become one of my personal favs when prog metal of the literal sense sub-genre was almost all I listened to. Many achievements are made in this album, but it certainly doesn't come without minor flaws. Most of these would be corrected by their magnum opus, V: The New Mythology Suite, including the cheese element.

The album opens with very power metal oriented material, the first three tracks, Of Sins and Shadows (a favorite single among most fans), Sea of Lies, and Out of the Ashes. Heavy power metal riffs abound in these tracks, with quite catchy choruses and power metal styled drumming, for the most part. Some of the multi-voiced choral parts definitely contribute to the cheese aroma, but they're still fun nonetheless. The keyboard is less prominent in these tracks, playing a more background role, though still adding to the composition more than they take away.

The semi-epic Accolade seems to stand separate from its surrounding tracks in that it is much more classical/symphonic prog oriented than the rest of the album, acoustic guitar with high piano work. Overall it is probably the closest to Kansas the band ever sounded, which is saying a lot considering most of their work is very "it's just like Kansas, but metal!" without being a total clone. This is my second favorite track on the album, besides our masterful epic later in the album.

The following three tracks, Pharaoh, Eyes of Medusa, and The Witching Hour are the least cohesive on the album, veering very much between prog metal and symphonic prog, heavy at times, proggy at times, sometimes both. The keyboard plays a much more prominent role in these tracks. They almost bog the album to a three, being decent tracks but nothing spectacular. The following amazing epic would make up for them, making this album a quite solid four.

The Divine Wings of Tragedy, in this reviewers opinion, rivals the greatness of many of the classic prog epic masterworks, or at least close. There is nothing cheesy about the Gregorian chant opening, itself being a quite legitimate recreation of the style, and if you consider it cheesy you might as well consider the style itself cheesy, if I might say so myself as a novice composer. Following this is wonderful crunching heavy guitar with orchestrations, and the rest of the track follows much as the rest of the album did, only much more well written and less cheesy. This is probably some of the bands best material as far as I'm concerned, a very cohesive and proggy epic with and brilliant ending, and we hear both lighter and heavier sides of Russel's great voice. The album goes on to end with the last track, Candlelight Fantasia, bringing a wonderful and diverse album to a close.

If you like the sound of power metal with Kansas styled symphonic prog tendencies (or vice versa) and don't mind a little cheese with your prog (and what self-respecting progger doesn't?) I say go and buy this album immediately. These guys are pretty much classical musicians playing with metal instrumentation, and they're not afraid to show it. And for this, they should be applauded. This album was a pretty solid release for Symphony X and still has quite a bit of buzz in the power prog metal community. I still love coming back to listen to this album occasionally, especially the brilliant epic.

Isa | 4/5 |

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