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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
4 stars The Divine Wings of Tragedy is the third album by US prog metal group Symphony X, a band that make full use of their impressive skills as Neo-Classical musicians. To be perfectly fair though, this isn't a completely progressive album.

What I find on this album is that many of the tracks aren't really prog, and this applies to all of their sub 6 minute songs, like Of Sins And Shadow and Pharaoh. Unfortunately this makes up 6 songs on this album, and though they are technically very good songs you can find it gets boring after only a couple of listens if your not a fan of power metal. I'm not saying these are bad songs but they are limited and will appeal to metal fans quite well, but not the general prog fans.

Divine Wings isn't without its full on prog metal songs, and these come through the three longer songs, The Accolade, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and Candlelight Fantasia. The Accolade is very impressive, dynamic piece of prog metal that is almost worth the price tag of the album alone. This is a very dynamic song that starts off slow and quite and builds up to fast paced rocker with plenty dynamic changes within the song that really make it come alive.

After The Accolade you have to wait for three songs to finish before the best song of the album, The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but it's a worth while wait as this really is a (big) gem of a song. At 20 minutes this song has the time, and uses it, to move from a fast, hard intro to slower sections and back, without sounding contrived or forced, showing exactly how good this band are as musicians and Romeo as a composer. Some people may not like the opening two minutes were the band members are singing in an operatic voice without accompaniment as it is rather cheesy, however I find it to work well with the song and don't mind it.

The following song, and album closer, is Candlelight Fantasia. This starts as a very heart felt song with more soaring guitar play from Michael Romeo, but it still holds the characteristic sound of Symphony X, and about halfway through moves into a more typical style similar to the middle section of The Accolade before it fades out on similarly souring guitar and keyboard work to how it started.

The lyrics are were this album really falls down though, there cheesy as hell! I takes a bit of getting used to the constant singing of "sword and sorcery" that you get on all songs except Candlelight Fantasia. On the aforementioned full prog songs they're not actually all that bad but anyone who cant stomach this kind of thing is really not going to like the short songs here. It's a big shame as well since Russell Allen is one of the best singers in prog metal and really should right better lyrics.

The performances of all the musicians is particularly good on here as well. Michael Pinellas's keyboard work is very well done, whether its leading the piece or more in the background beefing up the atmosphere of the songs but he does seem to be a bit rigid, there's very little change in timbre and it just feels that he could add more to the songs.

Thomas Miller is probably the unsung hero of the band, his bass lines are fluid and always interesting, backing up the melodies with really strong and interesting rhythms and when given his chances to shine he grabs them with both hands. The album would have been much poorer without him, and because of his performances here (and on the follow up Twilight in Olympus) he is one of my favourite bassists in prog metal. Sadly I cant give the same praise to the drummer, Jason Rullo, as he proves to be nothing more than a competent drummer, but compared to the Mike Portnoy's, Bill Bruford's and Jon Theodore's of this world he leaves a lot to be desired. Its not that his drumming is bad, it does the job required, you just wont leave raving about his ability. Lastly the guitarist Michael Romeo, a very impressive guitarist but is prone to play at very fast speeds a lot of the time. Thankfully, though, he keeps a lot of feeling in the music here and his compositional skills really shine through with The Accolade, The Divine Wings of Tragedy and Candlelight Fantasia.

Overall I'll give this album 4 stars, its a very good prog metal when it is prog metal, otherwise its good power/speed metal when it isn't. Alas, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired most of the time, I can stand them and they don't get in my way of enjoying the music but a lot of people aren't going to like them at all. A very good try then.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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