Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Symphony X - The Divine Wings Of Tragedy CD (album) cover


Symphony X

Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
5 stars This is my favorite prog metal album of all time.If there is better i havnt heard it.I know Dream Theater fans disagree and i see their point but Symphony x is more traditional with mythology themes and over the top vocals,Russel Allen is the best young singer in all metal.Micheal Romeo is also one of the best axemen in all progdom.A must have for prog metal fans.
Report this review (#7086)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars Symphony X is a prime example for what can happen, when a band don't know how to bring it's own musicianal genius straight up to marketing. The five musicians have the best songs of all US-prog-metal-bands of the post-Dream-Theater-generation in their repertoire, play live nearly the complete competitors into ground and bottom, have with Russell Allen the most charismatic and stage-compatible singer of the genre in their line-up and enjoy in insider-circles undeniable god-status. There is not in the least indication a breakthrough for the band in prospect though, because they appear on platform too rarely, need too much time to record their albums and since six years any album they release must take comparison with their magnum opus.

"The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" includes several SX-trademarks in accomplishment: the Queen-tributional choruses and quotations, the Malmsteen-alike highspeed guitar work by Michael Romeo, the overboarding bombast-prog (the 21 minutes long title track should be well known by any one who is familiar with the power/prog subgenre), the hardmetallic earworms ("Of Sins And Shadows", "Out Of The Ashes") and Michael Pinnellas heartwarming keyboard-licks ("The Accolade").

I couldn't think of where anywhere else sounds neoclassical prog metal more grandious and it doesn't seem that in the visible future (not even SYMPHONY X) can reach this ingenious release. One exception is, that the next album (the conceptual "V: The New Mythology Suite") has even outdone TDWOT in maturity and musical aspects, but the influential importance of this album stays unmatched in their catalogue.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 94 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#7090)
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even if i'm not a devourer of prog metal i feel called out to expose my opinion, this album is by far better than the previous "the damnation game": a delightful beginning with "of sins and shadows" and "sea of lies" and, goin' on, very impressive tracks like "the eyes of medusa" and "the witching hour" make this album very interesting.
Report this review (#7093)
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X is definately one of the better Prog Metal bands out there, and The Divine Wings of Tragedy is a great album of theirs. Michael Romeo's guitar and Russel Allen's vocals definately stick out as being incredible. The two longer tracks, The Accolade and the title track are definately the highlights for me. The Accolade is a long Prog Metal ballad which sounds awesome, even though it is soft than most Symphony X songs. The Divine Wings of Tragedy is an absolutely epic song, and really captures Symphony X's sound. My only complaint is that the other songs on the album are structured very similarily, but the frantic dueling guitar-keyboard solos make up for it. An awesome album!
Report this review (#7099)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X, one of the premier bands of Progressive Metal, truly has a masterpiece here. Through out the whole album is nothing but songs of the highest caliber, each song as good as the last. The album has a dense, anxious, exciting and epic feel. Created by the driving force of Michael Romeo's guitar, Russell's incomprehensible vocal ability- comparable to Dio or David Byron. Operatic moments that are not only comparable to Queen's similar jumps in genre, but have brilliant Orchestration and arrangements. If you're impressed by operas such as Faust or Parov, this is right up your ally.

Every song on this album is 4 stars at least, all just as appealing as the next, with great riffs, complicated and interesting instrumental bits, solos from all instruments that will blow most virtuosos out of the water, and small concept pieces that take metaphors from Catholicism, Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology and Modern Philosophy such as Hargner and Bestirs. Overall, if you're a fan of Progressive Metal, this album, along with most other Symphony X albums, is one of the most key works of music you could ever have. Not because of any ground breaking, sophisticated, over complicated compositions, but because of sheer greatness. This album, to me, is a serious stand out.

Report this review (#7100)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My rating of this album is merely given by assessing the musical quality of this album "AS-IS" without consideration of whether or not a prog album; or is it derivative or not. Yes, there are a lot of influence from other bands or certain type of music. But it would not influence my assessment of the musical quality. Despite the classical music influence as well as metal / power metal bands, it's obvious that this album is influenced by Kansas. Look at track number 4 "Accolade". You can taste the influence right at the beginning of the track. Indeed, the vocal quality of Sir Russell Allen is similar to Steve Walsh; you can find in many passages in this album.

This album blasts off with a technically excellent riffs of "Of Sins and Shadows" in medium / fast tempo with high register voice line of Sir Russell Allen. Some transition pieces reminiscent of symphonic power metal vein. The intertwining keyboard and guitar solos is really excellent with great harmony.

"Sea of Lies" is another technically excellent power metal tune with progressive interlude and transition segments. Again, musically this tune is delivered flawlessly by the band. "Out of the Ashes" is heavily influenced by classical music especially in intro part. "The Accolade" is my all-time favorite. It has a very Kansas-like music especially at the beginning part and in some segments in the track. This track has more prog elements as compared to previous three tracks. The bell tolling in the middle of this track followed by piano and keyboard works augmented by acoustic guitar creates classical image. It's an excellent track.

"Pharaoh" opens with heavy riffs and punchy bass line; performed in fast tempo. "The Eyes of Medusa" is a track with a faster tempo than previous track. This is a perfect tune for those who like heavy riff and head-banging. "The Witching Hour" is an excellent track with neo-classical style. The music is performed in fast tempo in the vein of power metal.

The title track "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is an epic with 20 minutes duration and seven (7) parts. It starts off with a choir followed with riffs that create a kind like war situation. The music turns fast and it comes back to quieter mood with guitar fills reminiscent of neo progressive vein. The voice line enters during this passage. The composition is made in a way that blend the fast and moderate tempo, high and low voice, quiet and noisy segment. The interlude demonstrates excellent keyboard and guitar solos. It's a fantastic track that I keep repeating because of its tight structure and excellent variations of melody.

"Candlelight Fantasia" concludes the album. It opens with a classical nuance using a combination of acoustic guitar, keyboard and voice line. The first time vocal enters the music reminds me to ELP's tune "The Only Way" from Tarkus album. But it happens in a very short passage beginning and it's most likely a coincidence because the rest is totally different. Unlike most tracks of this album, this one is performed in medium / slow tempo; it's like a ballad rock tune.

Overall, it's a masterpiece album (forget about the intensity of prog elements) and it deserves for 4.75 out of 5 rating. Highly recommended! If you like Dream Theater, Evergrey, Ice Age, Threshold - this album is for you. Keep on progging! - GW, Indonesia.

Report this review (#7101)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Like all SYMPHONY X works, I should say that this can be an acquired taste for some. This is a totally over-the-top fusion of metal and classical styles that might even inspire a laugh or a wince at first as you hear the synth-orchestra...but as you get used to that, a masterpiece is unveiled. A word of warning...make sure you can take fast-paced, hammering metal, or you will not be able to appreciate this. Perhaps the most technically proficient album thus far on the musical side of SYMPHONY X (V: The New Mythology Suite holds that title on the lyrical/conceptual side), The Divine Wings of Tragedy proves that not a single weak link exists in the SYMPHONY X chain.

All of the band members are talented, and all of them seem to understand what belongs in their songs and what doesn't. If anything, some of the compositions are a little short, but I do respect the band for being able to keep control over their songwriting in a way that DREAM THEATER seems to be forgetting lately. Even the album's title track and epic, "The Divine Wings of Tradgedy", at 20:41 in length, practically flies by, leaving the listener in awe, wondering what just happened. Many of the songs feature rapid-fire interchanging soloing between MICHAEL ROMEO's guitar and MICHAEL PINELLA's keyboards, but ROMEO and PINELLA never extend these riffs and passages to the point of aimlessness...if anything, you'll find yourself backing up your CD player to hear a favorite section that blew by in a matter of seconds on the first listening.

SYMPHONY X is not all about speed, though, even though they do that frighteningly well. They also manage some gorgeous, touching slower passages in songs like "The Accolade", the opening of "The Divine Wings of Tragedy", and "Candlelight Fantasia". I credit that versatility most of all to vocalist RUSSELL ALLEN, who is an absolute star on this album. Without ALLEN, their music would be entirely unconvincing. Somehow, ALLEN is able to move from an almost Metallica-esque technique in songs like "Out of the Ashes" to a crystal-clear delivery in "The Accolade" that is almost reminiscent of Journey's Steve Perry. Divine Wings particularly highlights his classical choral side in his one-man choir in the title track. I would venture to say that RUSSELL ALLEN is one of the most talented vocalists currently recording, and Divine Wings is the proof.

The album opens with a bang, with "Of Sins and Shadows", which is good, but the next song, "Sea of Lies", is even better. The bass intro blew me away the first time I heard it, and the whole song impresses, all the way through. Drummer JASON RULLO in particular does fine work on "Sea of Lies". "Out of the Ashes" has an interesting lyrical snapshot of someone trying to mature past a rough childhood.

"The Accolade" is perhaps one of the best SYMPHONY X songs ever, hands down. The subject is one of the Knights Templar headed into a crusade and eventually dying in battle. The rhythm of the "charging steed" appears quite clearly in the music itself, but beyond that, ALLEN's vocals are just mind-blowing here. After the slow, wordless singing along with an organ in the background (reminiscent of PINK FLOYD's "A Saucerful of Secrets"), the section afterwards may seem silly at first if you don't like the synthesizers PINELLA uses...but closer listening reveals some pretty impressive layering of riffs as the song builds up towards its conclusion.

"Pharaoh" seems like a preview of V's "Egypt", but is excellent in its own right, especially with its softer midsection. "Eyes of Medusa" is the only song on this album that I think has a weak point of any sort--the symphonic interlude (The Isle of Deadly Shores), but I think the fault is on the synthesizer rather than PINELLA, and what they were trying to do is quite interesting. (For those of you more concerned with realism in the sound, I recommend to you their most recent album, The Odyssey.) Otherwise, with its distorted vocals, this song is quite a compelling listen. "The Witching Hour" is mostly an unadorned rocker--but good for what it is.

"The Divine Wings of Tragedy", however, is far from typical. When I first read in the liner notes that the introduction to "Divine Wings" would be choral, I had reservations because of the slightly flat-sounding "Lacrymosa" on V. These fears were groundless--in fact, this was nothing short of nearly 2 minutes of mind-blowing a capella gorgeousness. Here, RUSSELL ALLEN singlehandedly gives life to a choir ranging all the way from bass to a surprisingly pretty falsetto soprano. And after that...then the track explodes and takes off. Some have suggested that the lyrics are inspired by sources such as Milton's Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained and Dante's Inferno. There is not a dull moment here--and surprisingly for the metal genre in general, though not at all surprising for SYMPHONY X, this song ends on an uplifting note even after its voyage through darkness.

On the other hand, the final track, "Candlelight Fantasia" (the other "ballad" on Divine Wings) is a more despondent track where guitarist MICHAEL ROMEO proves himself capable of slowing down to play a more emotional, sentimental kind of solo. I've always felt, more than any other song on the album, that this is the song whose mood is most embodied in the cover art. In places, the vocal delivery truly does suggest a female narrator. Before anybody gets up in arms about that, ALLEN does have one of the most "manly" voices out there when he wants to--but he has such control over his technique that he can completely alter the timbre of his voice at will. Intended or not (though I think it is), I think it works well and provides a beautiful, bittersweet outro for the album as it fades away into the night.

To sum up, The Divine Wings of Tragedy is one of the two SYMPHONY X masterpieces--one could call it the Meddle to V's Dark Side of the Moon, to borrow some PINK FLOYD references. I also think this album makes a good introduction to SYMPHONY X for those who do not want to leap headfirst into the conceptual masterpiece of V: The New Mythology Suite on their first try. If you don't like the metal genre or are absolutely unable to hear past the places where the synthesizers pale in comparison to a real orchestra, you might disagree with my rating, but if you're willing to put in a bit of effort, Divine Wings will reward you. This is one of the two best by a remarkably consistent band in terms of the quality of its that's saying something!

Report this review (#7102)
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars So far the best album I've heard by Symphony X. First I'll talk about some positive points. The best part is the lead vocal. He's energic and also operatic. Back vocals are also very good. What is bothering me are the riffs and compositions. They are very boring compared to other prog-metal bands. Riffs often get repetative and dull, using cliches... Guitar and keyboard solos are nothing more than fast scales and arpeggios that add nothing to the music. All musicans are technically accomplished but this doesn't help if the songs sound like metal etudes. There is a lot of repetition without real developement just transitions in the next repetative part. Some people may like this kind of songwriting but I'm not one of them. The only song better in my opinion is "The Accolade". There is a lot of YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN's neo-classical influence in their music and a slight resemblance to RHAPSODY but SYMPHONY X are less cheezy. While this is a decent SYMPHONY X album it sure isn't the best place for a prog fan to start getting into prog-metal.
Report this review (#7103)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the type of album you'll lose interest in over time, but most of the music is top notch nonetheless. I'm going to assume everyone has a good idea about how Symphony X sounds like and I'll can the comparisons to other bands.

There's alot of contrast on this album. A few songs are very much melodic metal with some classical influence, and some others sound symphonic, much like their V album (including the epic 20 minute track of course). So it's kind of an interesting mix. But tracks like Pharoah kind of ruin the rest of the album. The strong points are spread out in specific moments in songs, mostly. Still worth buying for originality alone and virtuosity. Especially if you're a metalhead.

Report this review (#36552)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 Stars- right in the middle- This is a very solid album- complete with great songs like "Eyes of Medussa" and the Epic title track- I do not, however, believe this is their best stuff by any means- therefore it gets the lower rating. The Odyssey, and V are supirior albums- but this is a must have if you love progressive metal!
Report this review (#38668)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Strangely enough, I think Symphony X is an excellent "gateway" band for prospective prog. listeners. I mean "gateway" in that once you hear these guys, you'll just die to hear more. Any person who is in a band and in serious pursuit of virtuosity should definitely listen to this band. I personally love the way the sound is mixed on this album (as opposed to The Odyssey, which is mixed in a manner that provides less impact and more monotony). Guitar players especially should get this one. The songs are less epic than those on The New Mythology Suite, and this CD realy reveals the cohesion of the band and chops of the players. I especially enjoy The Accolade....that song gives me the shivers everytime I hear the movements leading out of the intro (although the chorus does bother me a little bit). Russell Allen is probably the best prog singer out there in a prog. metal or syphonic prog or whateveryahwannacallit prog. This is so b/c, unlike other prog singers (cough James LeBrie, cough) he really fits into the song, rather than making himself a nuissance to those who want to enjoy the instruments.
Report this review (#41241)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am probably going to be added to the "Some reviewers deserve to be shot" thread for this review! This is definitely the oddest review i have ever written. I will probably be mummified and tombed in an ultra dramatic way by loads of Symphony X fans!

Now here is an album that you will really enjoy. I apologise to any fans of extreme symphonic/gothic/power prog metal or whatever you want to call it. I don't know why but the word "Castlevania" comes to mind when i listen to this music. This album seems to be a big combo of neo classical, power, symphonic and prog metal. I just can't take this music seriously, on their latest album, "The Odyssey", the music is nowhere near as ridiculous as this. I can actually listen without pissing myself with laughter. I very much agree with the points that Bryan Adair raised in his review of this album.

The difference between our reviews is the rating. I find this album to be really good musically. Although Symphony X are the most UNSUBTLE Dream Theater rip off ever, they take their sound to levels where Dream Theater would never dare go (because if they made music as cheesy as Symphony X they would be classed as atrocious!). If you think Dream Theater is cheesy you have heard nothing. This album by Symphony X takes cheese to a whole new level. it's on the same levels as Dragonforce, Europe and Styx! Fortunately, this kind of cheese doesn't smell rotten, it is rather good and digestable cheese.

This album's best points are good vocals, great guitar work from Romeo and some decent songwriting. The best tracks are "Of Sins and Shadows", "Out of the Ashes", "The Accolade" and "Eyes of Medusa".

This album's bad points are that the cheesiness is meant ot be taken seriously, it fails in this because it makes me laugh so much. The ridiculously embaressing choir sections of the 20 minute title track and "Of Sins and Shadows". Luckily, i will still give this album a good score for comical value! The songs and concepts are very well written and even though they are DT ripper offers, they do have their own ideas and sound.

The keyboards are probably the biggest problem on this album, as well as on other albums i have heard by them. They do nothing but add cheesiness to the album. They may be technically good notes but they are nowhere near as good as Dream Theaters keyboard work. The cheesiness of the vocals i think is great cause it makes me laugh, but the cheesiness of the keyboards sounds like abuse of the instruments. It is not used well enough against the guitar, this is something that they never really got right, Dream Theater however got the balance between guitars, vocals and keyboards perfectly correct from square one.

This album definetly has it's ups and downs but overall i have a soft spot for this release, for bringing tears of laughter to my eyes. The only other prog band I really find funny are the amazing vocal styles of Gentle Giant. Symphony X are officially the best DT clones in my book but i would recommend any DT album over this one. However I wish they had encorporated some of the cheesier aspects of this album into "The Odyssey".

Report this review (#41466)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First off, let me begin by saying that I am not a Symphony X "fan". In fact, this is the only release by the band that I've listened to. Nor am I a necessarily a prog-metal fan. I lean more toward old school prog-rock bands like Kansas, Alan Parsons Project, Yes, ELP and Rush. I have seen/heard Dream Theater live(opened for Yes) and REALLY enjoyed their music. I have one DT CD, "Scenes from a Memory". I don't necessarily like that CD since it's too dark for my taste. Nevertheless, I can see why folks would like it and praise it as a masterpiece......All that being said, I must say that "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is a beautifully crafted recording. Symphony X are serious musicians. All this talk of "cheesiness"; I simply don't get it. What's so cheesy about this music? They set out to overpower the listener through symphonic prog-metal while using all the tools at their disposal. What's wrong with that? I am a jazz, classically trained pianist/keyboardist and I find NOTHING wrong with the keyboard work. Is it over the top? Hey, there is music out there for EVERYONE and for every occasion. Would I make a habit out of listening to this type of music? Probably not. The heavy metal riffs, although of the highest caliber and virtuosity, would wear me down after constant listening. Nevertheless, I see a place for this kind of music in my collection. If you are a fan of classical music and have widened out to include prog-rock in your music diet, then by all means give this CD a try. If you are a die-hard prog-metal head and enjoy the work of Dream Theater then this album is a must-have. Does SX rip off DT? I don't think so. From my limited experience listening to this type of music it sounds to me like SX may actually eclipse the work of DT. Symphony X sounds much more refined and tighter than DT. But again, I am not a prog-metal expert. I just go by what my ears tell me..... 5 stars for this one!
Report this review (#51280)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X were the first band I really discovered for myself on the Prog Archives. They are progressive metal with symphonic tendancies and they really know how to kick up a storm. 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' is an excellent album which is very representative of their power/operatic sound. The band members excell in their chosen instruments and the vocalist Russell Allen has a powerful voice which perfectly compliments the instrumental pyrotechnics. From the opening track 'Of Sins and Shadows' we are grabbed by the throat and rocked to the soles of our feet. 'Sea of Lies' and 'Out of the Ashes' keep up the assault and showcase the technical skill of the entire band. 'The Accolade' opens with acoustic guitar and at just under ten minutes is the second longest track on the album. It quickly becomes more uptempo and again features some quite superb guitar and keyboard passages. 'Pharaoh' is next and is my favourite track on the album. It would not have been out of place on the Maiden album 'Powerslave', however it is NOT a rip-off, it still retains the Symphony X identity. 'The Eyes of Medusa' follows and it is a solid, hard-hitting piece of prog metal. 'The Witching Hour' can be forgiven for sounding slightly formulaic, it is still better than most music of this genre. The penultimate track is the twenty minute long title track. It sounds a bit like Mars:the bringer of War near the beginning and is an epic both in length and scope. Stunning keyboards and powerhouse drumming mark this track out as an exemplar for others to aspire towards. The final track 'Candlelight Fantasia' is better than the naff names suggests. Symphony X are prime movers in the world of prog metal. This album underlines their talents and testifies to their pre- eminence.
Report this review (#57067)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOW! This pure prog metal album certainly belongs to my all-time top 10 prog metal albums so far! For those who like bands like Shadow Gallery, Eternity X and Dream Theater, then this album is definitely a good one to acquire.

First of all, let's talk about the rhythmic electric guitar: it has a rather powerful and razor sound; it is often very scattered, despite it is all the time very synchronized and disciplined, which gives this record a special metal trademark style; it is also not rare to hear quite sophisticated faster passages, being symphonic a bit like Yngwie Malmsteen's work. Like Dream Theater, the electric rhythmic guitar here is not extremely monolithic, so that the other instruments can easily be appreciated; however, it is recommended to not turn the volume too loud because the miscellaneous keyboards, often in the background, are rather delicate & essential, and thus need a low volume level in order to be fully appreciated.

There are many melodic and elaborated electric guitar solos: many of them have a very ELECTRONIC sound: they EXACTLY sound like the ones on the Judas Priest's "Ram it down" album!

The EXCELLENT lead vocals have MANY different tones, and some remind me a bit Black Sabbath's Tony Martin; some of the EXCELLENT miscellaneous backing vocals have a clear Queen's influence (Bohemian Rhapsody).

The magic, charming and ear candy modern keyboards are really addictive; there are many excellent keyboards solos a la Dream Theater, and some floating keyboards often give an awesome heroic ambience to the whole.

The excellent drums are quite varied and never bland; the bass does a pretty good job, even if we feel it is not there to steal the show.

The tracks contain many mellow, dreamy and magic passages; melodies are omnipresent in every track. When the razor rhythmic guitar is absent, there are very refined acoustic and distortion free guitars.

Many bits evoke mysticism, amplified by the serious, existential & religious lyrics. The tracks of this record often consist in a constant alternation between progressive, structured & melodic metal bits, and mellow, magic, charming, religious, beautiful, delicate & slightly sentimental ones.

The album contains 2 epic tracks: "The Accolade" and "The Divine Wings of Tragedy": "The Accolade" contains a jaw-dropping mix of lush & floating organ + unforgettable lead & backing vocals, which has nothing to envy from the EXCELLENT Arena's "Crying for help IV" and Roger Waters' "It's a Miracle"; "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is nothing else than a VERY progressive metal gem lasting nearly 21 minutes!

A couples of more mellow passages contain violin, catchy piano and bells to enhance the beauty, the elegance & the variety of this record.


Report this review (#59145)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" released in 1997 set new norms in the world of Symphonic Progressive Metal. Symphony X successfully managed to get Power Metal and Progressive Metal together with no signs of boredom and an incredible longevity. Every musician is awesome, and Symphony X connects a high level of technique with no points of getting lost and wonderful melodies. Unfortunately the sounds isn't as good as this of "V" or "The Odyssey" but the stunning technique, the longevity and the melodies compensate that.

The album starts of with "Of Sins And Shadows", heavy riffing and a beautiful keyboardline working up to the amazing battle between the guitar and the keyboard, on of Symphony X's best solos.

After that you can hear "Sea Of Lies" with an interesting bass line, afterwards played by the guitar, a "heavy" verse and chorus, a "light" part and a fine guitar solo, with a nice tapping part.

"Out of the Ashes" reminds a bit of Yngwie Malmsteen, I guess one of MJR's role models, with this classical guitar part at the beginning. This is one of Symphony X's most straight songs, not very complex but with a nice melody and a far more power metal song than progressive.

"The Accolade" is one of Symphony X's songs. I know it's a bit inspired but has its own genious feeling/atmosphere. A typical sign of Symphony X is the acoustic arpeggio at the beginning. Then the keyboard joins and the other instruments and finally the fantastic Russell Allen, one of the best male vocalists I know. A marvellous melody within the verse and the chorus until another guitar-keyboard battle and thereafter a symphonic interlude. The only thing annoying me here are the monotone drums.

"The Pharaoh" has a wonderful bass sequence, a heavy aggressive chorus, but designed like Sea of Lies : Bass-verse-chorus-light part-solo. The solo is fantastic. The keyboard plays a normal solo, but the guitar plays around that and so they create a bodacious atmosphere.

"The Eyes of Medusa" is again a heavy song with a brilliant keyboard line. As well as in "The Accolade" there's a symphonic session here as well.

"The Witching Hour" starts, like "Out of the Ashes" with a guitar solo, that represents the title perfectly, as well as the whole song does.

Subsequently the Highlight of the album follows. The title track "The Divine Wings of Tragedy"! The beginning is a cover of Gustav Holst's song "Mars". After the first part, there is an arpeggio by the guitar and the keyboard. A soft verse follows and it develops to get heavier until the fantastic bass solo. A solo session afterwards and then the heaviest verse of Symphony X ever. After that the instrumental part follows with a nice powerchords-bass solo sequence and the highlight, a stunning symphonic part again. A great vocal-synthesizer part closes this genious song.

"Candlelight Fantasia", dealing with the topic of an misunderstood composer, is one of Symphony X's softer songs. As well as "The Accolade" it starts with an arpeggio, an atmospheric slow solo and then as usual a verse and a chorus, a bit heavier verse and the fast wonderful solo session and with another chorus that fades slowly this amazing album ends.

Symphony X took 2 years to write it and they created a fantastic, varied, melodic but at the same time very virtuous/technical and a trend-setting album, that set the way for other great albums by one of the best progressive metal bands of the world! I gave it five stars because it is not a masterpiece! There are so less albums which deserve to be called "Masterpiece"! Many people disregard that!

Report this review (#60713)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have just started with Symphony X and I decided to begin with this album because of the reviews. It's an excellent work. This band has many power metal influences if you listen "Out of the ashes" you will realise. But it's a prog metal band, in my opinion not as prog as Dream Theater.

"Of sins and shadows" is a fast tempo song with a nice chorus and high voice register. It has a very good duel between guitar and keyboards that shows the high musicians skills. The choir on this song shows an evident Queen influence (Bohemian Rhapsody) and on the rest of the record too. 10/10

"Sea of lies" is a medium/fast tempo song with nice solos. 9/10

"Out of the ashes" has a classical intro but it's too much power metal.If you just listen this song you can say it's a power metal band with classical influences. 6.5/10

"The accolade" is a very prog song with tempo changes and excellent intro. Listen it!! The keyboards is the star on this song. 10/10

"Pharaoh", very heavy song with a super headbanging chorus. 9.5/10

"The eyes of medusa": I don't know what happens with this song. It goes good but the Instrumental part "The isle of Deadly Shores" is poor and boring. 7/10

"The witching hour" has a good intro in which stands out the bass. Nice solos. 9.5/10

"The divine wings of Tragedy" is a masaterpiece epic of 20 minutes and seven parts. Starts with a (church?) choir. On the part II starts a short soloing. The part III is more quiet and melodic. The crazy keyboard solo between parts IV and V has an evident Wakeman influence. Part V is the most heavy part of the album. Keep headbanging, yeah!!!!! The part VI is instrumental and has many tempo changes just like a super-prog track. The bass solo is nice. Part VII is quiet and emotive. Excellent song!! The best of the album. 10/10

"Candlelight fantasia" is the ballad with great melody and excellent chorus. Very emotive. Nice to finish an album. 10/10

I think Romeo's guitar playing is repetitive when soloing, is the only thing I can criticize. This is a masterpiece of prog metal. If you like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Queensryche and many other prog metal bands, go and buy this masterpiece.

Report this review (#64419)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have owned this album for 7 years and I can say it is still my favorite album of all time. I can listen to it from start to finish over and over again and never get bored of it. The vocals and guitar and keyboards are amazing. With great drums to go with it. Everything about this album is perfect. The best guitar riff ever made is in the song "The Divine Wings of Tragedy". Of sins and shadows is the best song every written in the genre. If you like great metal this is a must album for you. I can't see how anyone could not like this album or any of there albums for that matter.
Report this review (#64692)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Divine Wings of Tragedy is heavy all right, but maybe it is too heavy. Don't get me wrong I like loud music but I just think that The Divine Wings of Tragedy would have been better if it wasn't as heavy with the guitar work. Well that's the negativity out of the way now to the good stuff- The Divine Wings of Tragedy was the real turning point for symphony X, granted The Damnation Game was good but in The Divine Wings of Tragedy we see the band focus more on Mythology than classical elements though there are still classical elements present in the music.

Highlights: The Accolade, Pharaoh, the Eyes of Medusa and to a lesser extent The Divine Wings of Tragedy which I felt was a bit bombastic.

I really enjoy this album but in my mind it is just a prelude to the real stuff like Twilight in Olympus, The Odyssey and V: The New Mythology Suite which has proved to be some of the best albums in the prog metal genre. I would recommend this album to all prog fans, not just the metal fans but everyone should have a taste of symphony X which has a very bright future ahead of them. Overall four and a half stars.

Report this review (#65629)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars How can I describe the importance of this record in every musician´s life? First of all... I´m a composer. I write so many different types of music.... classical, folklorical, contemporary and... prog metal. Ok, I´ve read so many non-sense words from this album. About the lyrics: What´s the problem of fantasy if it´s perspective is interesting and has a message?. Symphony X is not Manowar or Rhapsody. These guys had a lot of great verses, maybe some of the most beautiful ones I´ve ever heard: "..Kissing the tears from my face as they fall to the ground in silence" or "The knife of time carves another line around these eyes", just for name a few examples. These aren´t words from a "Metalhead" , as some pretencious reviewers mentioned before. The musical part displays a lot of knowledge about composition. Every step in the songs is highly planified, and everything sounds in his precise level. Tecnically, is one of the best skilled bands. And, virtuosity is welcomed when it carries a lot of fresh ideas and talent with him. Michael Romeo is one of the greatest minds in actual music. His compositions, solos and orchestrations are full of mastery. There´s a lot of difference between Romeo and Malmsteen (just for name a basic metal player). Romeo has a lot (A LOT) of melody. Also is much more trained in every musical aspect. Romeo doesn´t play things that sound classical... he plays real classical music!. He knows the difference between a prelude or fugue or a sonata or...

Russell Allen is the great vocalist of the moment. His performances live are great too. He has a huge vocal range and an unique voice colour. And every "cheesy" (add irony to that, please) word that comes from his mouth has PERSONALITY. M. Pinella work is also awesome. Intrincate soloing and soft atmospheres. The bass and drums lines are just perfect. They are respectful about the music, with some highlight parts in every SX work.

As a progressive fan, I´m really tired of the un-grounded comments about Symphony X. Do they really know what progressive means?

Please, don´t miss the opportunity to meet this masterpiece!. You won´t regret. Maybe it takes a long time to discover some occult things in the songs. "The divine wings of tragedy" has a lot of marvelous compositions, and great lyrics too... trust me. Pay attention to : the instrumental passage of "the accolade", an incredible Quadlibet of seven melodies making one, united. The preludes of "Out of the ashes" and "Withching hour". Is not a typical "power" introduction, seriously. The strenght and solos of "Of sins and shadows". The bass lines and vocal parts of "Sea of lies". The heavy riffing and solos of "Pharaoh" and "The eyes of Medussa" (this one, with a beautiful vocal melody above the progressive riffs). and.. The super epic "non-cheesy" song: "The divine wings of tragedy"!. With a great lyric adaptation, some arrengements from "The planets suite" (by G. Holst), and a lot of changing passages. but... the jewel of this CD is the last track. A romantic vision of a composer´s life and his love for music. The fight against the lack of understanding (EJEM!). With the best Russell Allen´s work ever, great solos, very respectful ones. A great great great composition, that goes from ballad to heavy to ballad again. Transposing tones all over the song with Excellent leitmotivs.

Ok... This is truly the album I really love the most! It changes my way of think music, when I was 18. And every time I hear it, I discover some new emotions in me... some hidden details that still makes me go crazy. This review comes from a guy who loves good music, that breaths music, thinks music and dream with music. I have no prejudices! I love Bach, Mozart, Verdi, Stravinsky. But also Pain of salvation, Queen, Ayreon, Cradle of filth (yes, black metal has quality too). I hear jazz, folk and tango and that´s why this album is... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!

Report this review (#69095)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink

...I'm always amazed to see how many people who are supposed to know music (at least a little to be able to appreciate progressive stuff ) say the most ridiculous nonsense by comparing Dream Theater to Symphony X... ...but I really piss in my pants when I hear them say symphony x is a dream theater rip-off... Everybody who knows music knows that dream theater have a more prog-rock (yes,Rush,Kansas,Genesis) to bluesy(petrucci soft soloing) influence with some sporadic touch of classical here and there in come instrumental parts....(though they are a prog metal-band) Symphony X is a more neo-classical inspired prog-metal band that also have a few progrock inflences like kansas but the are mostly neo-classical driven... Not to say they sound like neo-classical power-metal, they are too progressive for that, too many time signatures and melody transitions.... To take them seriously and fully appreciate their music you have to revisit your childhood memories...when you were in school enjoying storytelling by a good teacher or a good story you were reading at the librairy or for a homework...mythology or legends or a good folk story ...or even the castlevania video game one has referred to ,, short anything to stimulate a kids imagination to travel through time and space through the mood and ambience these formidable musicians create..... There's nothing cheesy about that....their telling a story ,,,and u listen....... ....listening being a bliss because of this bands unparallelled composition skills....(mostly Romeo's as many speculate) thats right, although these guys and dream theater are my two favorite bands syx is number one for me because of the overall quasi-flawlessness of their songs that never dip into 20 seconds strait boring episode....michael romeo is the most original guitar soloist but he is also just really [%*!#]ing mean ...he really kills....petrucci too...there's no doubt...their my too favorite....but Romeo's distorsion sounds like 10 000 violins from hell...wich I prefer over the libanez-ernie ball sound petrucci has (wich is still awseome). And his phrasing is so out of this world...he creates monstrous groove out of really [%*!#]ed up weirdo scales no one would have thought using... ....and syx...damn...the compositions also have such CLEVER transitions....Technically Musically....Syx maintain it self in the catchy yet intricate complexe Ear-Candy zone throughout entire albums wich is very hard after 3 albums...they now have 6...

For me, music is all about 'ear candy' as a mean to evasion from reality...yes a drug. And let me tell you Divine Wings of Tragedy is really fuc$%??&ing potent...yes 'the odyssey' with its awseome production will pound your ears really hard and V the mythology suit will transport u in another world (atlantis and egypt and so on and so forth...etc) but DOT remains the most technical (I'm a guitar solo nut...) and yet the most balanced masterpiece this band has created...(by the way.. they've only created masterpieces...yeah thats right even there very first one with the [&*!#]ty production is a masterpiece...if u know music and u look at the composition (tabs) u know I'm right...pure genius...these guys were destined for success from the begining)

the only minor flaw of this album is its production...wich is still pretty damn good for the time and budget these guys had at that time...the computer's 'synth' orchestra and choir are more realistic nowadays ...but guitar drum bass keys and voice are well balanced and I'm sure they didnt have a star studio enginneer and a fancy upscale studio to begin with...wich makes my respect for them that much greater...

Report this review (#69283)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my all time favourite bands in prog music. This is the stunning 3rd relese from Symphony X, and maybe the best. Outstanding quality of music, beautiful tracks, very smooth but in the same time very powerfull. Two pieces of music are masterpieces of prog music: The Accolade and Pharaoh (on this one i like the intristing voice of gentleman named Russell Allen, great). Very strong band, every musician have a high level in music, but my "numero uno" here are the drummer Jason Rullo. One of my all time fav. drummers, along with Gene Hoglan (everybody knows this man) and Nicko Mc'Brain from Iron Maiden. 5 stars for sure, recommended.
Report this review (#71262)
Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album would have to be one of the best Neo-Classical, Prog-Metal releases of all time. I was introduced to Symphony X by 'The Odyssey', and although brilliant, this album I thought exceeded any other release by this band. All songs on this disc are worth having, there are no fillers, but the stand outs for me were 'Sea of Lies', 'The Accolade', 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' and 'Candlelight Fantasia'. The production is faultless, and all musicians give an awesome display. Michael Romeo's Malmsteen-esque soloing is something to behold, and Romeo delivers everything from lightning fast single-string riffing, to de-tuned, almost brutal riffs. Michael Pinella's keyboards help to round out the overall sound, with medieval sounding piano and synth work, and he works in perfect harmony with Romeo, as they trade-off solos constantly. Thomas Miller's bass lines are highly creative, almost playing seperate melodies but somehow managing to make it all fit, and the bass intro to 'Sea of Lies', is possibly one of the best I've heard. Jason Rullo handles the shifting rhythms and time-signatures with ease, and his double- kick is as fast as any. This album is also probably the first that Russel Allen's vocals really start to become some of the best in metal. He can change from beautiful vocals to aggressive growls effortlessly, while never sacrificing intensity. The highlight is probably the vocal solo in the middle of 'The Accolade' which is simply stunning. If you haven't yet heard Symphony X, then this album is the perfect place to start, and if you already know the band, but haven't yet got this album, then what are you waiting for. Get it now! I try not to give 5 stars too often, but this album cannot be faulted from beginning to end, and should be a must for any fan of Progressive-Metal.
Report this review (#77986)
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Divine Wings is without a doubt and by far the finest offering in the Symphony X catalogue. Starting out offensively with three typically heavy songs, of which I find "Sea of Lies" the best, the first classic track follows. It's "Accolade", perhaps the best Symphony X song. The arrangements and structure are pretty impressive, so is Allen's wailing vocal and the melody never stagnates in it's dramatic beauty. It is then followed by two semi-classics in the prog metal genre, "Pharaoh" and "Medusa's Eyes", both combining the heavier with the gentler and more progressive parts successfully. "The Witching Hour" is an amusing little song with some great interplay between Romeo's acoustic and electric guitar and Miller's bass, which is else one of the reasons to enjoy this album. Pinnella tends to get carried away with his lightning fast soloing and that's the only setback. Still he pulls of some decent solos.

Then comes the grand finale, the 20-minute title track. Although it too is undoubtedly a Symphony X classic, it is inevitably too long and the heavy part becomes a little exhausting. The first verse takes my breath away and Russell sings it with such passion and grace that it makes you wonder why this guy isn't more famous than he is. The lyrics are about a divine war that threatens to destroy the world, typical prog stuff. Romeo's solos are outstanding here. Then comes the final song, the lovely ballad "Candlelight Fantasia". Although a part of the melody is obviously borrowed from ELP's "Hymn (The Only Way)", one still has to appreciate the gorgeous melody and another wonderful performance by Sir Russell Allen. He sure does deserve this title. Pinnella throws in some gorgeous piano passages at the end of the first verse, my favourite moment. This song is truly a great way to end such an album and it achieves the right effect.

So if you are looking for an album full of killer ballads and intricate and progressive arrangements, this is the right thing for you. You have to be pro-metal to fully appreciate this album, but I bet "Accolade" and "Candlelight Fantasia" will blow everybody away. Only the first three song are less than great and that is the reason why I didn't give this album 5 stars. Still it's a damn good 4.5.

Report this review (#78373)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Symphony X is the second best prog metal band in the world (who do you think is first?). This album is probably the most well recieved of their six current works, and although it isn't their best album, it is still a masterpiece on so many levels. However, I must say that without the last two tracks, this album would be slightly worse than Twilight in Olympus (about 3.5 stars in my opinion).

There are three types of songs that all Symphony X albums have in common:

Type I: Typical prog/power metal song with an emphasis on metal... these songs are typically album openers. The kind of song that you like after only one spin.

Type II: What I refer to as mini-epics, songs like the Accolade... usually somewhere in the middle of the album, with many different moods and time signatures, much like an epic, but shorter. Some of Symphony X's best works fall into this category.

Type III: The REAL epics. This category only consists of two songs really, and if you are a fan of Syphony X, you already know which two they are... it's not all about track length and division into parts, it's also about being really overwhelming in an emotional way. I don't know about you guys, but when I listen to the Oddysey, I can't help but be drawn into the mood and atmosphere of each of its parts.

Anyway, this album starts off with "Of Sins and Shadows," obviously a Type I song. I loved this song for a while after I got the CD, and I still like it alot, but it doesn't have the lasting appeal of deeper and more epic tracks.

"Sea of Lies" is kind of like the first track, although I don't like it quite as much. A very good fast tempo track with some excellent bass work from Thomas Miller.

"Out of the Ashes" is not really a Type I song; although it isn't extremely deep, it doesn't jump out and grab you as much as the first two tracks do. Even so, it's a great song with more neo-classical keyboard work in it than the previous two.

"The Accolade" is definitely one of Symphony X's best songs, and it falls into the Type II category. It's about a knight who goes to battle and dies in the end... the music is really well done, it sounds like it should be about something medieval even before the vocals come in. By the way, Russel Allen is the best prog metal singer, bar none, and he proves it continuously.

"Pharoah" is a super heavy track with a really cool chorus and some great vocal work, expecially after the second chorus when it gets a bit lighter, but only for a moment.

"Eyes of Medusa" is very heavy and extremely powerful. I like heavy stuff, but I really don't like this song as much as the other songs on the album.

"The Witching Hour" starts off very neo-classically, and it stays that way pretty much throughout. I do like this song, but it is one of the weakest on the album.

"The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is by FAR the best track on the album. The first part is strictly choral and, along with the short second part, serves as an intro. The third part is amazing and showcases some of Allen's best work on the album. The fourth part is longer and heavier, with a 7/4 verse that flows just as easily as 4/4. All of the divisions of this song flow so well together that you won't know you've entered a different part unless you're looking at the booklet. The fifth part is the heaviest of the song, with Allen singing in almost a completely different voice to put an emphasis on the war that this part represents. The next part is the song's largest instrumental break that includes an awesome bass solo. This part goes through quite a few tempo and time signature changes before making its way back to a reprise of the third part. The 11/8 part right before the end is one of the coolest guitar/keyboard parts I've ever heard, and it includes the best guitar solo in the song. The last part is really emotional, and Russel Allen does an amazing job making it sound like it should sound. It ends on an uplifting note, and it really wraps up nicely.

Still, there's one more track, and it's one of Symphony X's softer and best pieces. "Candlelight Fantasia" is kind of like a ballad, but it does pick up after a few minutes, and when it does... it is just awesome. The guitar solo at the end of this song is one of Romeo's best.

In conclusion... I am having trouble deciding what rating to give this album... I find it hard to give it five stars because, although the whole album is awesome, it might is not quite up to the greatness presented by The New Mythology Suite. Even so, this album cemented Symphony X's trademark sound even more so than the Damnation Game created it. I'll give it four stars for now, but I may change my mind later and change it to five.

Edit: You know what, I can't give this album the same rating as I plan on giving Twilight in Olympus, not considering the greatness of the title track... five stars.

Report this review (#79116)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars From start to end this album fails to grab me. Too bad, I do enjoy V by Symphony X, I just can't seem to like this. The album is horrible, no feeling at all from any of the instrumentalists, the singer is all I like, he sings pretty good melodies.

Michael Romeo is just another Yngwie rip-off, he has his own style, yes, he taps notes and does a couple of tapping arpeggios but not a big deal. The melodies are just not there.

I only recommend this album to hard metal fans, shred guitarists, and fans of power metal with a twist.

Report this review (#79787)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars My fondness of "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" has declined of late, I don't know why but I just find it less appealing now, it's strange. Of course, I still like it but not as much I used to, perhaps my recent ventures into different realms of music has rendered metal inferior. This much is relatively true as over the last three months or so I've almost doubled the number of bands I listen to and I owe it all to progarchives.

"The Devine Wings of Tragedy" has the genuine Symphony X mythology concept and songs like "The Accolade" and "The Eyes of Medusa "prove this to be true. All this has already been done by bands like Led Zeppelin but Symphony X seem to take it further and louder than everyone else. Passionate vocals from Russell Allen and furious guitar, Keyboards, Drums and Bass make for a good listen. The aim of "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" was to focus more on the band's progressive influences. Symphony X had already done the classic adaptation with 'The Damnation Game', now it was time for something a bit different. The band was influenced by Kansas and Rush as well as some others in the recording of "The Devine Wings of Tragedy."

The title song epic, "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" opens with a Gregorian chant in English which then moves into basically 18 minutes of metal, which seems to meld into each other. Other songs like "Out of the Ashes" have a more conventional approach with a chorus repeated a few times and heavy passages in between, the same can be said for almost every other song on the album. The one standout on "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" is "The Accolade" which overall is quieter and more progressive than the rest of the album. There are some obvious Kansas/Rush influences in this song and a violin is used to great effect reminding me of Kansas. All the songs on "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" are at a solid three star level and nothing really stands out as being really good or bad, excluding "The Accolade."

1.Of Skins and Shadows (3/5) 2.Sea of Lies (3/5) 3.Out of the Ashes (3/5) 4.The Accolade (5/5) 5.Pharaoh (3/5) 6.The Eyes of Medusa (3/5) 7.The Witching Hour (3/5) 8.The Devine Wings of Tragedy (3/5) 9.Candlelight Fantasia (3/5) Total = 26 divided by 9 (number of songs) = 2.888.9 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

"The Devine Wings of Tragedy" is a very good album for all the prog metal heads around. It is also a good listen for the Kansas and/or Rush faithful out there, but of course it is no where are good as any Kansas album. I'd recommend "The Devine Wings of Tragedy" to, as I said prog metal fans. Symphony X is louder than Dream Theater, but aren't as well developed at this point, just so you know if your thinking of getting some of their stuff. "Good nigh..."

Report this review (#88300)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#88752)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unfortunately everyone in the prog-metal genre is compared to Dream Theater. Does the band sound like DT, or do they not sound like DT and to what degree. This can be a bit unfortunate for some bands. While Symphony X does have a lot of sonic similarities to DT, they are also sufficiently different to have their own unique style. While all the musicians are excellent, they eschew the technical wankery of DT in favor of greater musical variety like acoustic guitars and atmospheric keyboards. SX is also heavier than DT on average with crunchier guitars and the better vocal arrangements.

The vocalist, Russell Allen has a phenominal voice for this style of music. He's one of the best vocalists in all of prog-metal, not just my opinion but a general consensus. He sings with great range, power, and just a hint of evil. At times he sounds remarkably like Ronnie James Dio, if not in voice then in style. In fact, SX borrows more from Dio era Rainbow than DT. The subject matter and the delivery are very reminiscent of the material Rainbow put out during that time, just heavier. Some may find that cheesy, but being a big fan of that era of Rainbow I have no problems with it.

As for The Divine Wings of Tragedy, this is Symphony X's best album. The songs are well written, memorable, and different from the majority of American prog- metal. The use of classical piano (Out of the Ashes) and choral vocals (The Witching Hour) in many of the songs really differentiate their music from DT. The highlight of this recording is the self titled track. It has a great church choir opening and at no time does it get boring. The band deftly switches between heavy and light segments with some terrific solos thrown in. It is one of the few 21 minute songs that feels like it ends too quickly. I love this album, and in my opinion it is one of the best of the genre and would make a welcome addition to most anyone's prog-metal collection.

Report this review (#93996)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is another album growing quite a lot of dust on my shelf and I purchased it some years ago when I've been enjoying more this kind of neo-classical and speed metal stuff. Artists like Malmsteen, Stratovarius, Satriani and so on used to belong to my favs back then. Meanwhile (after passing several phases of musical taste I've to say when I'm listening to such records they don't do much to me and I'm rather happy when they're over. Thus I'm asking myself do such bands like Symphony X (and actually that applies as well to Dream Theater,at least with me) really deserve to be called essential in Prog and in this sub-genre in particular if they appeal mainly to people with a very specific, narrowed taste? I would answer rather no, but anyway let's finish this more general discussion and concentrate on this album here in review.

I mentioned already that I really used to like it very much years before and as far as I can remember this was mainly due to the title track which appears to be the most interesting one of this album (at least if one's able to support Gregorian type of chanting). But even this track (though usually I can enjoy extended epic suites as Morte Macabre's "Symphonic Holocaust" for example) I find just quite ok meanwhile and it fails inviting me for a second visit. As do the other tracks on here even more, apart from Russell Allen's excellent vocals (admittedly for miles better than LaBrie's) there's little enjoyable for me to be found on this album. The moments without shredding or cheesy sound are just too few here, too bad. I really can't follow anymore what I used to like with their music, maybe the melodicity, the bombast (something I can't support anymore) and most probably I've been impressed (in an admittedly quite naive way) by the enormous technical abilities of Romeo / Pinella on their respective instruments. They CAN play incredibly fast, no doubt about this fact but I've to say as well that speed and technical skill are by far not the most important features for creating excellent and timeless music.

As a summary I wouldn't go that far to call this a bad record just for the reason that it's not fitting (anymore) my taste. That's my own fault and I can't blame the musicians for that. On the other hand I'm far from giving more than an average rating to this work for the mentioned reasons above. Unfortunately I've to say that Symphony X is just another one on my ever growing list of artists/bands listed here that did not pass the test of time. Essential only for fans of bombastic (neo-)progressive/classical/symphonic metal showing mainly hollow pathos and high technical skill.

Report this review (#96444)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#102205)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Packaged Cheese.

Never attaining the stench of Power Metal creations, but coming ever so close on many occasions, especially here, on Divine Wings of Tragedy. A technical neoclassical showcase that could be a lot worse, but Allen's voice is surprisingly good. The keys are usually designed to give added substance, but here they typically only serve to take away from the music and make it unbearably cheesy.

Sea of Lies is a good track, but the rest seem all too trivial, cheesy, and uninspiring. The neoclassical feel to much of the work comes across as stale, distant, and backgrounds to the means of a technical showcase. Romeo is an extremely talented guitarist, but often I feel his lines are much too cold to the listener. He lacks the warmth that a guitarist like Latimer had with his instruments that made the virtuoso sections come alive.

The long epic, Divine Wings, is overly long, overly boring, and pretentious to a certain degree. The guitar/keyboard tradeoffs towards the end is some of the most banal playing in much all of prog, and the facade of powerful choir like keys is all but off-putting. Candlelight Fantasia is somewhat of a surprise, and one the only track I find a somewhat emotional connection too, even if it does have many of the same cheesy keyboard sections. I feel so distant from this material, so emotionally detached from it. It's not exactly a terrible output, but with a few minor adjustments it could be much more than the outcome we have.

Report this review (#103572)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars At the court of King Conan the Barbarian, MJ Romero would be the master of music and Russel Allen the spokesman . but in my living-room Symphony X's music seems a little bit out of place.

In fact, being in my 40's, I sometimes wonder how much immature I must be to go on listening -and partly enjoying- to this melting of Iron Maiden and, huh, Rondo Veneziano ! The lyrics don't help to reassure me since I rate them on par with Maiden's ones, which means that they are at best insipid and at worst ridiculous. An example ? Take the first verses of "Out of the Ashes" : "In the house of my master, beyond the chains, there is a bed of snakes where evil lays". Hmmm, OK Russell, if you say so .

Fortunately, if you go past all the metal clichés that affect TDWOT, there is a lot of good to be found in the music, helped by Allen's great voice (if you like his style of singing). The first three tracks are standout heavy metal songs, fast and melodic : "Out the Ashes", in particular, has a badly addictive chorus. They lead to "The Accolade", which is arguably the most progressive and best song of the album, including a lot of distinctive influences -Kansas being the first that comes to mind- but very well digested to create an original piece of music. I am much more reluctant about the next two songs, "Pharaoh" and "The Eyes of ¨Medusa", which look like bad leftovers of DT's Awake sessions. "The Witching Hour" is kitschy to the core but I enjoy it that way : some kind of a minuet composed by Romero and Pinella for King Conan when he is in a mood for dancing . Then it is time for the 20' epic that gives its name to the album. This one has its ups and downs : I like it until part IV but I could easily live without the following parts, especially the never ending instrumental part VI. The last song, "Candlelight Fantasia", is a slower paced piece that failed to convince me at first but this is mainly due to the fact that I gave it less spins than the others tracks since it's not always easy to stand more than one hour of Symphony X without rest ! Actually, it's a good song with a catchy chorus but I feel that the fading outro is not the finest way to close the album.

To summarize, and jokes left aside, TDWOT is a solid three stars album IMHO. Most prog-metal fans would certainly add one star, and maybe two since it can be seen as one of the most representative albums of the genre. On the other side, if you don't stand some metal in your prog and await for meaningful lyrics, it's hard to recommend this album to you.

Report this review (#116437)
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Report this review (#116907)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Bass work, bass work, bass work! I love the bass guitar! Bass guitar is fun, and funner! And if your looking for some good bass guitar to listen too, might I suggest a lot of songs from Devine Wings of Tragedy! Ugh my friends. I've been trying to learn, and this puts all my work to shame, just like Myung, Geddy, and Primus' who's name doesn't come to mind at the time (I always forget the name). Don't get me wrong, everything esle is good too.... I guess. Not really, it's a really enjoyable album, and way better than Odyssey, which I rated earlier. But I can't quite compare the music quality to Mythological suite, but why play which is better than the other. Let's look at the album as an individual album. Just Symphony X's Divine, not another of SX's new CDs! Divine, I must say, is something to listen to if you need to get pumped, and needed some heavy power metal to the max! Vocals are good, not lovable to my eye, but still quite amazing and talented, but I don't care about that, it's the music I try to get hooked on! The riffs are powerful, distorted, and very heavy. This is probably one of their heavier albums, but not so much as odyssey (which kind of goes overbard at some points). The music is enjoyable and very melodic in some places, in others it's just heavy metal with heavy riffs! Divine song, great song, Pharaoh, great song with a nifty little chorus too. All the other songs are good too, but I'm just to lazy to talk about about. The first one is great, Of Sins and Shadows, that's the song they played at the Gigantour with Dream Theater and Megadeth. Yep, it's interesting stuff. Of all, I'd have to run it as a 4/5 stars! yay for Symphony X! Heavy Metal! Listen and enjoy it's a good adition to your collection, like a lot of other cds!
Report this review (#118241)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X is a very underrated prog metal band. I consider The Divine Wings of Tragedy to be one of the pinnacles of the genre. The epic title track is one of the best epics of modern days. The album is heavily influenced by classical music and neoclassical music such as Yngwie Malmsteen. The Malmsteen influence can be found especially in guitarist Michael Romeo's soloing, however he is not a rip off as many shredders are. keyboardist Michael Pinella shares a similar neoclassical disposition. The two trade off solos very well. The music is generally heavy throughout, except for the slower "The Accolade" and "Candlelight Fantasia." Overall, a great album in the vein of Dream Theater and Yngwie Malmsteen with some influence from Kansas at times.
Report this review (#122256)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This disc is incredible and the best thing than I have listened in I generate. It reunites the technique and the power that characterizes to the progressive metal, All the subjects are of great invoice and for my it is the best alignment and Symphony X since Lepond never could replace Mr Miller. This band in spite of having musicians of great level, notices his under profile and to maintain a line leaving in clear its stamp with this disc, that stops my is the best disc than I have listened in my life. Symphony X is a wonderful Band!!!.
Report this review (#128811)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I was a little surprised at how many times I was reminded of QUEEN when listening to this record. QUEEN isn't exactly one of my favourite bands but it certainly didn't keep me from enjoying much of this album.

"Of Sons And Shadows" opens with fast and heavy riffs as synths come in to add to the sound. When the vocals arrive the riffs subside. We then get some QUEEN-like guitar and background vocals before the riffs come back and double bass drumming. Heavy riffs and synths to end it. "Sea Of Lies" features hard hitting drums and some good guitar melodies.This sounds like a cross between IRON MAIDEN and QUEEN. His vocals remind me of DIO at one point. A ripping guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Out Of The Ashes" has a thundering intro and later QUEEN-like harmonies. "The Accolade" is my favourite tune on the record. It really is a change of pace. It has a nice rhythm as vocals come in. The synths and drums are great ! I like everything about this song actually. Some good crunch as well.

"Pharoah" is heavy with lots of synths for 4 minutes. The vocals are outstanding and there is a terrific guitar solo in this passage as well. The interlude is MAIDEN-like as we get a tranquil break before going back to original melody. "The Eyes Of Medusa" is heavy with riffs and synths before vocals come in. "The Witching Hour" is an uptempo rocker. Blistering guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in followed by a keyboard solo. "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" is the epic at over 20 minutes in length. It opens with more QUEEN-like harmonies. The crunch comes before 2 minutes. The guitar comes flying in after 3 minutes as tempo has sped up. A keyboard solo follows. The vocals are back and we get some crunch after 6 minutes. The tempo continues to change as the guitar and keys trade solos. This is such a great section ! Vocals are DIO-like again as we get more solos and eventually some piano 17 minutes in followed by more guitar. Vocals back 19 minutes in as it ends in an uplifting way. "Candlelight Fantasia" is ballad-like with reserved vocals and soaring guitar to begin with. The tempo does pick up as we get a ripping guitar solo 5 minutes in.

These guys are all so amazing at what they do but I feel this is a little cheezy at times and that the band would hit their stride with the next album.

Report this review (#129330)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Compared to albums that would follow, I think this sounds a bit raw, uneven, and slightly cheesy in places, though I still really enjoy most of the music. Like a lot of fellow proggers, I was drawn to this album because of the epics, and they overall do not disappoint! The other songs are good as well, though nothing that really pulls me back very often.

The Accolade. Hate to say it, but I think Robby of Kansas would be a little ashamed that comparisons of this cheesy violin effect are made with his work. It's not bad, of course, and the rest of the song is exceptional: great soundscapes, changing time signatures, not too many overpowering metal riffs, and of course Rusell Allen at his best. Some of the themes could have been developed a bit more, or at least incorporated with better transitions, but this is a powerful and enjoyable piece.

The Divine Wings of Tragedy. Similar to the Odyssey, this song doesn't really build must to a grand climax, and doesn't utilize recurring themes very often (except for the Holstian rhythm), though it's catchy and memorable throughout. The beginning I find quite creative: great vocal harmonies leading to the Holst imitation, and then of course the gratuitous keyboard/guitar solos (this time they earned them!). And the rest of the song is alternation between catchy metal melodies and crafty instrumental bits. It's all fun, graciously not repetitive, and full of nice keys (piano and organ bits espeically) and guitar. Unfortunately, the song just kind of ends--it's a good closing tune, but not entirely fitting to end an epic like this. Oh well, tacking on the catchy and reflective Candlelight Fantasia after the title track leaves an effective end to the album.

Everything else. This is metal, but definitely with prog elements (Queen-like choirs, classical influences/runs, and simultaneous guitar/keyboard lines). It's easy for my attention to wane during the generic metal bits, and some of the choruses are a bit irritating (Pharaoh, for example), but there's nothing particularly bad here--just not captivating.

Good, fun, energetic prog metal. I recommend this one for the title track and The Accolade for proggers, and the remaining metal tracks will be quite hit or miss, depending on how much of a metalhead the listener may be.

Report this review (#139655)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Perhaps I should be ashamed of myself. Being a huge SX-fan and give this 4 instead of 5 stars. I thought long and hard about it. It's absolutely in between these two ratingpossibilities but I mainly want to state that this is really not as good as The Odessey and V. These are really excellent efforts and this one is very good, but less.

Absolute highlight is of course the title track, one of my favourite songs of all time and the main reason I doubt between 4 and 5 *. This epic is almost semi-classical and especially in the beginning I thought this was the best ever ! Fantastic composition. On the other hand, the rest is far less and that's the difference with mainly The Odessey. Other nice songs are The Accolade pt.1 and Candlelight Fantasia also standing out from the other songs. The other one worth mentioning is Out of the Ashes, surprisingly good for such a short song, very compact. No really, I have to be honest, it's not quite good enough for the 5, it's actually 4.4, so 4 stars.

Report this review (#146476)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The inspired songs of majesty

This album was my introduction to the music of Symphony X. If the trademarks of the band in terms of their name, album/ track titles, and sleeve artwork draw you to them, you won't be disappointed with what you get here.

Symphony X make melodic, symphonic prog metal, pure and simple, of the type also propagated by the likes of Statovarius and Helloween. They embellish thunderous guitar riffs and heavy rhythms with operatic and orchestral sounds, giving the music an almighty power. This works better on some tracks than others, but as a rule, the more the tracks are enhanced, the better they are.

Released in 1996, "The divine wings of tragedy" consolidates the progress made by the band through their two previous albums, while offering a highly polished product. The opening "Of sins and shadows" actually has the feel of a Dio era Rainbow song, such is the strong melody, but the heavier beat and occasional operatic style vocals add additional colours. A couple of similarly styled shorter tracks follow both of which once again exploit the band's exceptional ability to incorporate a memorable melody into the piece.

The album has two long tracks, which might be considered epics. The first of these, "The accolade", builds from an acoustic beginning through some Dream Theater like varied riffs to a slightly more reflective vocal passage. Russell Allen's lyrics here emotionally portray the crusade of a Knight of the Templar. The soft, organ backed vocalised core of the piece is supremely atmospheric. There are many twists and turns throughout the 10 minutes of the track, indeed for me this is prog metal at its absolute best; adventurous, varied, melodic and most of all highly enjoyable.

"The accolade" leads seamlessly into "Pharaoh", which includes a fine synth and guitar instrumental. This in turn segues almost without pause into "The eyes of medusa", a track which somehow does not quite work. This may be because the melody tends to ramble a bit, without the focus of its peers. Interestingly, the brief instrumental interlude, which is radically different to the rest of the song, is given its own sub-title "The Isle of Deadly Shores". "The witching hour" has a haunted atmosphere through the mellotron like backing sound. The track reminds me of the music of Rhapsody, perhaps due in part to the lyrical content.

The feature track of the album through is the 20+ minute title suite, in seven parts. The piece opens with a-cappella harmonised vocals not unlike the Beach Boys(!). This leads into a "Mars" ("The planets") inspired instrumental as the suite comes alive. It has to be said that this epic is not for the feint of heart. It weaves its way through many varied moods demanding the full attention of the listener. Some of the earlier tracks on the album may lead you to think that this is an easy album to get into. Such notions are blown apart by this piece, which requires a number of listens before it even begins to reveals itself.

For me, the best track is the sublime "Candlelight fantasia" which closes the album. As the title suggests, this is a mellower piece, although it does break out into a full on metal section about halfway through. The chorus is particularly uplifting and ethereal. It is first introduced as a guitar solo, then repeated to a fade at the end. My only complaint is that it fades too soon, and could have been developed and exploited far more ("leave them wanting more" I suppose).

In all, a highly accomplished, confident album by Symphony X which is arguably their best release. Even those who generally avoid this type of music may find something to their taste here, although the epic title suite is probably for the faithful only.

Report this review (#151647)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Divine Wings of Tragedy was the first album that I bought that could be considered Prog, although I did not know muchabout prog at the time. I have no doubt that these musicians know how to play their instruments, for The Divine Wings of Tragedy is one of the best showcases of their abilities that I know of. My problem with this album was that I feel it was before the band really matured into the style that is truly theirs. There is a heavy influence from Shred, a genre dominated by the Maestro, Yngwie Malmsteen. The band has a large focus on Shred-like solos and fast paced playing, which they broke free from later in their career with V: The New Mythology Suite.

Another problem that I have with this album is the amount of cheesiness, which is common in the genre of Symphonic Progressive Metal. I personally don't feel that lyrics about quests, swords, and slaying dragons relates to me or my life. This being said, the mood of the music perfectly fits the the mood of the lyrics, which I'm totally ok with.

So far I have been throwing out a lot of negative factors about this album, when really there are a lot of pluses. Like I said earlier, the musicianship is excellent, and the song writing is some of Symphony X's best, especially on the epic title track. This album is not a disappointment to any fan of the Symphonic Prog Metal genre, but if you want music more relevant to our current times, maybe avoid this one.

Report this review (#157409)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This one is by no means a masterpiece, but by all means an incredible album early in the band's career, and a must for anyone who thinks they might enjoy Symphony X. This album definitely established Symphony X as a band that was serious about what they were doing; not only does it have a great collection of single tracks, with the various moods, head-spinning time signature changes, and excellent riffs that would all become trademarks of the band's sound, but one incredible epic, something that few metal bands had dared to pursue at the time. Overall, the musicians show off both their technical and compositional prowess, and having analyzed the music, it is quite technically demanding for most bands to cover, let along write anything of this skill level.

The first three songs are great singles in themselves, well made and adequately produced. The Accolade is a bit softer and something I'd imagine the more symphonic listener's appreciating to an extent. It is somewhat lengthly, almost ten minutes, and proves the band as sensitive to the compositional aspect of progressive music, which would be elaborated on in the album titled epic, over twenty minutes in length, The Divine Wings of Tragedy. The other songs on the album seem a bit more loosely thrown together, especially The Witching Hour, part of which reminds me a bit of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Pharaoh and The Eyes of Medusa were good songs as well, and the album's closer, Candlelight Fantasia, ends the album on a bit of a softer note.

Overall, the album has very few weak sections and several quite strong ones, and I would recommend it to any lovers of progressive, symphonic, even power metal, and any combination of the terms, especially the first. The writing and especially production would become even more refined as the band matured, the content only being rivaled, in my opinion, by V: The New Mythology Suite. All in all, a great progressive metal album for any collection.

Report this review (#163611)
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Divine Wings of Tragedy is the third album from neo classical US power metal band Symphony X. This is their breakthrough album and the album where their music reached a higher level. Many consider this to be their masterpiece and allthough I wouldn´t call it a masterpiece it´s very close to being one. Vocalist Russell Allen was added to the lineup on the last album The Damnation Game which gave Symphony X the last dimension they needed in their sound. Here on The Divine Wings of Tragedy the music has taken the last step and it´s now fully mature. This is very powerful music and even though it does have flaws that I will point out later in the review it´s definitely one of my favorite Symphony X albums.

The music is based on the chrushingly heavy guitar riffs from main songwriter Michael Romeo. His guitar style lies somewhere between the powerful thrashy riffing of Dimebag Darrel ( Pantera) and neo classical guitar hero Yngwie Malmsteen. There are lots of classical inspired keyboard runs from keyboardist Michael Pinella that sets the mood of the music while the strong vocals and vocal lines sung by Russel Allen are very memorable and powerful too. Symphony X is generally much heavier than most other neo classical bands I know, which is very great IMO. Neo Classical bands tend to be a bit too soft for my ears.

The album starts with the three extremely powerful songs Of Sins and Shadows, Sea of Lies and Out of the Ashes. I was blown away the first time I listened to Of Sins and Shadows with it´s powerful opening riff and the two other mentioned songs are almost equally as powerful. The Accolade is a beautiful semi-ballad epic song. Almost 10 minutes of great acoustic guitar work, beautiful vocal lines, classical inspired piano and soaring solowork. Absolutely a highlight among many on The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

Pharaoh and The Eyes of Medusa are heavy songs with lots of chrushing guitar riffs and while they are not the best songs on The Divine Wings of Tragedy they are still very good songs. The Witching Hour is my least favoured song on the album and quite frankly I find it a bit unneccessary. The Witching Hour is a filler if the word filler ever meant anything.

The title track is an epic 20:41 minutes long track. From it´s a capella choir start to the symphonic end this is one of the most loved Symphony X songs ever written. There are lots of sections and moods in the song and this is another highlight of the album. The last song on The Divine Wings of Tragedy is another highlight. Candlelight Fantasia is a beautiful semi- ballad. It´s pop at times and shows another strength in Russel Allen´s vocal range but it´s still very beautiful IMO.

The musicianship is excellent. Guitarist Michael Romeo has to be mentioned as usual when reviewing a Symphony X album. He is a genious composer and a very skilled guitarist. I still don´t enjoy the drums from Jason Rullo much. I find them too simple and boring. Fortunately they don´t distract my mind from the real treats in the music which is Michael Romeo´s guitar playing and Russel Allen´s vocals IMO.

The production is not very good if you ask me, but again it doesn´t destroy the music. The drum sound is really hidious and I must say I don´t enjoy the production on the keyboards either.

As you can see I don´t think The Divine Wings of Tragedy is a flawless album. There are enough highlights and brilliant playing here to justify a 4 star rating IMO though. It´s an essential album to lovers of progressive metal with neo classical tendencies or just people who love powerful heavy metal with a real singer.

Report this review (#173680)
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Entirely predictable and by-the-numbers classically inspired heavy metal rank with fantastic lyrics and pretentious bombast, saved mostly by its energetic delivery and occasionally catchy hooks.

In general I would say that Divine Wings is mostly overrated-- there are many bands playing music like this with more experimentation and ambition. I won't begrudge the group for having fantasy/sci-fi lyrics, because they are a delightful guilty pleasure of mine, but when it comes to lightning fast noodle metal a group needs something special to standout amongst the many, many rivals screaming for attention.

Allen has a nice voice, but not much range; he has a clear delivery with solid sustains but doesn't pay much attention to nuance or phrasing. Likewise, Romeo (guitar) and Pinella (keys) clearly have monstrous chops for their instruments but don't do anything interesting with them. The same rapid crunching and cheesy synth are heard on every song. Musicians as obviously talented as them should be capable of giving us more variety and interesting things to punctuate the heavy riffing. Bass and drums seem to be on autopilot, with Miller's bass sounding curiously soft for a metal album. To the player's credit, they each perform fine solos and have certainly practiced their unison parts-- but Divine Wings is pretty much a one-trick horse.

Solid for the occasional listen, but hardly a match for other progressive metal offerings.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#174835)
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Really, I do like this album. It's a good, fun, dependable album.

But therein lies the issue. There is not much to be found on this entire CD that is all that new. I mean, Symphony X has a fun combination of power and speed metal, with blazing guitars and awe inspiring vocals. Beyond that, however, little is truly accomplished here.

And that's why I feel I have to rate it only two stars.

Like any good fan of progressive metal, I'll headbang to the odd rhythms and grin to myself when some sort of impossible drum fill happens. Still, when I look at it as an album, I see only glorified power metal with some nice neoclassical elements. In essence, take Dream Theater, replace John Petrucci with Yngwie Malmsteen, James LaBrie with Ronnie James Dio, and Jordan Rudess with someone about as fast but with not as much flair. You get the twenty minute song, you get the wild and continual noodling (yes, I'd say Symphony X noodle more than Dream Theater, so if you find Dream Theater to be a bit much in that regard, look out), and so forth.

This album is very much a stepping stone for Symphony X. Before this, their work was even more uninspiring, to my ears. After this, they begin to develop their own identity as a progressive and a metal band. Anyone who becomes a serious fan of this outfit cannot do without this album, as it likely is one of the most important in their career, but I would recommend a curious prog fan to look a bit later than here.

Also of note, the mixing is rather bland and weak. A lot of the keyboard sounds are atrocious. The only true high point of this album, though it really is just the high point of this band, is Sir Russel Allen, owner of some of the craziest gizmos in his throat. Especially on The Eyes of Medusa and the title track, which, I must add, is a pretty cool track all told. The album just loses something with most of the tracks before the major epic suite.

Again, not a bad album at all. But when compared to what they CAN do, The Divine Wings of Tragedy comes across as pretty immature and incomplete. Look into their later years. You'll see.

Report this review (#184006)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Symphony X really grew fast musically, with their first classic line-up delivering a real prog-metal masterpiece on their third attempt - "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is the result of the optimum maximization of the power, melodic drive and tasteful complexity inherent to the neoclassical oriented trend of the prog-metal genre. Allen had already made quite a mark in his SX debut "The Damnation Game", but here he really shines at utilizing and showing off his trademark vocal versatility. The sound production is also on par with the brilliancy of the guitar and keyboard inputs (riffs, solos, orchestrations) and the solid dynamics of the rhythm duo. The prog (Kansas, ELP, Yes), metal (Malsteem, Iron Maiden, Arch-era Fates Warning, Stratovarius) and classic rock (Deep Purple, Queen, Uriah Heep) influences are perfectly blended in the writing processes and arranging procedures - you can tell all that from the final result. Either this one or the follow-up "Twilight in Olympus" are the perfect entrance doors for the uninitiated: the regular prog collector might give the band a fair chance, while the prog-metal head (or the regular metal head with a yearning for something more challenging than usual) can have satisfaction guaranteed in this magical mystery tour of clever pomposity and inspired compositions. The album kicks off quite powerfully with the Maiden-meets-Queen 'Of Sins and Shadows', which states a momentum of vigor and stamina properly prolonged by 'Sea of Lies' (Iron Maiden-meets-Kansas) and 'Out of the Ashes' (DP-meets-Stratovarius with an extra ounce of Yes). None of these tracks are epic in themselves, but together they fill a sequence of magnetic pomposity, in no small degree based on the persistent melodic richness and the clever use of the basic motifs among the alternating/dueling guitar and synth solos. The first moment of ceremonious spirituality is brought about by 'The Accolade', one of the most beautiful SX compositions ever. This tale of knighthood, bravery and sacrifice offers a very noticeable improvement in the band's most ambitious department (anticipated by 'The Edge of Forever', from the previous album). The melodic drive is impeccable, spotless, cleverly polished. The multi-keyboard counterpointing section is clearly a homage to both Gentle Giant ("Free Hand"-era) and Kansas ('Miracles out of Nowhere'): a bright Pinnella moment. 'Pharaoh' and 'The Eyes of Medusa' return to the accent on metal: the former works as a mini- epic that includes a "cinematographic" interlude (couldn't this piece have been arranged as to sort out a real epic?... I wonder aloud); the latter is a moderately sophisticated rocker that sounds to me more related to the 70s-80s era of heavy rock than to the 90s stuff. A very good song, by the way. 'The Witching Hour' pretty much follows the pattern of 'Out of the Ashes' - Stratovarius and Malsteem are real cornerstones for the shaping and development of the band's core sound. And here comes the namesake suite. the heart of this masterpiece. This 20+ minute monster track comprises everything one could want from the neoclassical-oriented trend of prog-metal. Any definition and description of what SX is basically all about might as well mention this piece as an example and everything would be clear right away. The linkage through sections, the creepy yet majestic introductory chorale, the pompous instrumental passages, the masterful deliveries by Allen, the sense of drama that is built up through the last two sections,. I could mention lots of elements regarding this suite and all I could say about each one of them is that it is great in form and works great in the actual development. 'Candlelight Fantasia' has the duty of closing down the album after the suite and it does so in a beautiful manner. This tale of lost hope and frustration is solidly based on magnificent melodies and effectively fluid arrangements: once again Allen's vocal brilliancy proves crucial for the actualization of the song's mood. A great closure for a prog-metal masterpiece. "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is an undisputed cornerstone for the maturation and consolidation of prog-metal as a genuine prog rock trend.
Report this review (#184064)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars American cheese was never a favorite of mine. While I can appreciate a good piece of American Cheese, and even enjoy it when used appropriately, it will never be my preferred cheese. This is why The Divine Wings of Tragedy is a mediocre album. Symphony X may be one of the trusted names in riff farming, but they specialize in American cheese. This chunk of cheese might be comprised of all the right ingredients, but the right ingredients for a product you don't like won't do anything for you.

The analogy of course means this: The album has what metal fans will love. It has riffs that make you want to make that one hand gesture - the one that's like "I love you" in sign language only without the thumb - symphonic embellishments, strong, hairy man vocals, double bass drumming, and Greek mythology! However, the result is rather bland and often laughable to the mature ear. The band must not have had room in the budget for a real orchestra at the time, so the symphonic embellishments sound overtly synthetic, and to make matters worse, the production is treble heavy as you would expect from a typical thrash metal album. Sure, you may argue the point that this is metal music, why shouldn't it sound like metal? That argument makes sense, granted, but you forget that Symhony X is trying to be more than a thrash metal band half of the time. You also forget that thrash metal music is inherently bad. You can't make it sound better without altering the sonics in some way. Also, I find that the tracks under 6 minutes on this record (2/3 of the disc) are pretty generic, though filled with pyrotechnics. They tend to be predictable and containing at least one symphonic or heavy metal cliché. Even still, I can't deny that this is often better than their influences and peers.

Look, I have a clear bias and I'm sure it comes off as arrogant and elitist. The truth is, though, my gut tells me that if you like Metallica, I have better taste in music than you do. I'm not haughty and opinionated, I'm just speaking truthiness. But hey, if you like the general sound of thrash metal, go ahead and check this album out. I'm not going to deny the quality in the performance throughout the disc and the compositions of the longer songs. And, to be honest, they're not that much of a thrash/heavy metal band either. There are plenty of thrashy moments, but they are intermingled with melody, Queen-esque vocal harmonies, neo-classical leads, and technicality that most thrash metal bands wouldn't and/or couldn't dream of having. However, for those, like myself, who find that description intriguing, I must point you in the direction of The Odyssey, where the band not only sounds better (more full and dense), but they also wrote better songs (even the ones that are pretty standard please most of the time) and got that full orchestra for an extravaganza of a title track.

For me, The Divine Wings of Tragedy is formidable competition for V: The New Mythological Suite as Symphony X's second best disc, but both stand far behind their best, the aforementioned The Odyssey. That having been said, my opinions of Symphony X's discography aren't corroborated by most fans. So, those of you who are a bit more enthusiastic about what you have heard from this band may want to grab this one anyway. It might even be your favorite.

Report this review (#184885)
Posted Monday, October 6, 2008 | Review Permalink

This album starts at 100 MPH (or 160 KMH). You won't escape the typical sounds of the genre but what is surprising during the opener ''Of Sins And Shadows'' is the fine chorus line a la ''Queen''. It could be compared to a highly rocking tune from ''Queen'' while they started ('Queen I or II).

The same feeling I have with ''Out of the Ashes'': bombastic and well performed vocals provide an excellent feel (at least to me). They make the whole more listenable to me; because when I listened carefully to background lines, they are pretty much the same. Strong and furiously speedy bass; and what to say about the drumming! These guys are skilled, for sure.

The first long song from this album (''The Accolade'') opens on a tranquil acoustic guitar notes which are followed by some violin sounds (is this synth generated?) which reminds me of ''Kansas''. But the power metal riffs comes straight after and turns this song into a more conventional metal track. As for the other songs, I quite appreciate the work from Russell Allen on the vocals (although he didn't convinced me on their prior album) and the virtuosity of Michael Romeo on the guitar (but this is not a surprise). ''The Accolade'' switches from prog to metal regularly on this track. I like this type of mix. Should the genre only produce more of these.

Needless to say that ''Pharaoh'' holds some Oriental flavour which are welcome and well blended in this too basic metal track though. Although Russel Allen sounds again as Mercury in the early days of Queen, it is the first time that he uses a rougher tone on this album. This doesn't please me necessarily to be honest.

At this point of time (''The Eyes Of Medusa''), I have to say that this album is starting to work on my nerves. I guess that the amount of metal music I can bear in a row is almost reached.

Things get fortunately better with epic and title track. Again, the starting chorus is very much ''Queen'' oriented and most of this long song holds fine prog and metal elements combined. But I have to add that the second half of the song is a bit too much to my taste. Somewhat self indulgent. The whole is still a good track but the promise of the first half has not been met.

The closing ''Candlelight Fantasia'' is one of my fave: it is the one which holds the most melodic vocal lines and passionate guitars. A ballad rhythm combined with scarce metal chords. This is how I like this genre best.

In all this is a fine album. I wouldn't rate it higher than three stars but the metal heads would deeply like such a work.

Report this review (#191013)
Posted Saturday, November 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Symphony X's over-the-top brand of progressive power metal may not be for everybody, but for those that like their metal with a high level of bombast, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything more impressive than The Divine Wings of Tragedy. Released in 1997, the band's third full-length album showcases their diverse musical palette through remarkably strong compositions and instrumental wizardry. This album's title track also shows the band exploring massive song lengths for the first time, and its majestic atmospheres and neo-classical styled songwriting make it one of the most impressive epics in progressive metal. Admittedly, The Divine Wings of Tragedy does not greatly differ from The Damnation Game from a stylistic perspective, but it tightens up the formula established on that album in virtually every regard - this is a record of "all killer, no filler", and between the hard-edged power metal in "Of Sins and Shadows" and "Pharoah", the progressive arrangement of "The Accolade", and the symphonic flourishes in the title track, The Divine Wings of Tragedy has all bases covered. Masterpiece!
Report this review (#192335)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#218125)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars The divine music of Symphony X

This brilliant album kicks off excellently with Of Sins And Shadows. The song starts in an interesting way and it is clear right away that this is not conventional metal music. During the first track alone we are treated to a Yes' Close To The Edge-like vocal break, a Brian May-like guitar break, a Queen-like operatic vocal section, a guitar/keyboard duel strongly influenced by the ones between Yngwie Malmsteen and Jens Johansson in Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. With all this going on they still manage to keep the song focused on the strong melody and riff.

The lead guitar playing of Michael Romeo is obviously and most strongly influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen's style, but also influences from Brian May, Ritchie Blackmore and other guitar heroes can be detected. Romeo is able to mimic Malmsteen well, and very few other people (if any!) could do that. The reoccurring guitar/keyboard duels very often sound like those between Malmsteen and Jens Johansson in Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. A side note: Romeo actually played together with Jens Johansson on an album called The Last Viking by a group simply called Johansson which is led by Jens and his brother Anders Johansson. A great album by the way!

However, even if the guitar and keyboard sound often is highly derivative. Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinella incorporate this influence into an often quite different musical framework making the end result not so derivative. The overall musical influences on Symphony X's music probably include Queen and Rainbow as well as European Power Metal and Classical music. Anyway, this music is more epic, elaborated, progressive and complex than anything ever done by Yngwie Malmsteen (even if some of his material is clearly progressive in my opinion).

The vocals of Russell Allen have a wide range from quite gruff to almost falsetto and it is clear that he is a very competent vocalist. Freddie Mercury, Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson might be good reference points for the vocal style involved (even if Allen is hardly as distinctive as those rock icons).

After the opening track, the album continues with two further high powered, melodious songs with great heavy riffs and lots of things going on. Out Of The Ashes is strongly neo- classical and I love that kind of stuff! The Accolade is the first song of the album that slows the tempo down and it offers a welcome respite from the onslaught of the first three tracks. This almost 10 minute piece is perhaps not exactly a ballad though, but in relation to the other songs it might perhaps be called a ballad. It speeds up a bit after a while and transforms several times, it is clearly the song that comes closest to classic Symphonic Prog. It features violin and reminds a bit of Kansas at times. I find this song quite brilliant and it clearly contributes to making this album as varied and diverse as it is.

Pharaoh, The Eyes Medusa and The Witching Hour once again raise the tempo and again the third of these is the most strongly neo-classical. The acoustic beginning of this song is fantastic, but once again it could have come straight off one of Yngwie Malmsteen's better albums.

The 20+ minute title track begins with a somewhat sacral, yet strongly Queen-like a cappella vocal section. Then enters a marching beat and heavy riff and on top of that some Brian may-like guitar notes. This epic song then moves us trough all the different aspects of the band including some somewhat surprising Jazz-Rock Fusion influences! It is in this track where Symphony X reminds the most of their biggest competitors Dream Theater, but not that much I would say. At first I thought this was the weakest part of the album, but it grew on me after some listens.

The album ends with a lovely song in Candlelight Fantasia that might be labelled a ballad. It has a very strong vocal melody that will leave humming for the rest of the day. This is based on a lovely vocal and piano. But it also includes a few surprises. A great way to end the album!

I did not like the music of Symphony X very much at first, I used to find them a bit cheesy and far too bombastic and over the top. However, I got used to it after some listens and now I find the cheesyness and bombast rather charming! Overall, I consider The Divine Wings Of Tragedy, together with Dream Theater's Images And Words, to be one of the very, very best progressive Metal albums of all time. Very highly recommended!

Report this review (#222025)
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there's something I have always liked about Symphony X, it has been the clear fact of how they fuse the progression and technique with a fine sense of melody and musical force in any moment. Their sound is strongly influenced by classical music, baroque music, neo- classic rock (most of time thanks to someone like Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen), metal and of course, by progressive music.

In some moments along their career they have been pretentious but their musical ability is a proof they're beyond the barricades from simple and ordinary music, especially in progressive fields. Using all the magic that they possessed in their hands and minds, they created one of the most stunning progressive metal albums from all the times (according to my point of view). I would even dare to say that "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" it's probably the main reference about the fusion between progressive music (in terms of song's structure) and classical music's influences.

A doubtless factor that guided them to getting the sound formula they would perfect years later was the powerful and charismatic voice in the person of Russell Allen. He gave identity to each one of the songs and took them to an overwhelming level. The band assumes a lyric orientation to exploring mythology themes mostly but some times they dare to blend them with poetry a little bit.

Not only Allen makes the "dirty" work here, also the rhythmic section (Mr. Miller on bass and Mr. Rullo on drums) makes a classy performance and taking the music to a higher place with constant tempo's changes... and last but not least, the absolute neo-classic trademark is imposed as much on keyboards' labor by Mr. Pinnella as on electric guitar by the great Michael Romeo and being him the notorious virtuosity face in Symphony X since its early days until nowadays.

Finally I wouldn't like to mention songs one by one this time, because this is a masterpiece that speaks by itself. However I advice just go to the nearest music store and buy it!.

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#232528)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Many years ago and after reading the positive reviews that described DREAM THEATER as the best band ever (some went even further), decided to make my first excursion into Prog Metal with the most recognized representative of the sub-genre, so bought a couple of albums and DVD's , can't say the experience was something more than disappointing, so I decided that if this guys were the peak of the crop, this sub-genre wasn't for me.

After some time I read some reviews about "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" and found that this band was more appreciated by non Prog Metal followers and catalogued as pompous by the fans of the genre, so bought the album thinking that this would fit my taste better, and was really impressed, they are just what I expect from a Prog Metal band,

I don't know or care if their members are more or less virtuoso than other musicians, or if they have less solos, I value more the fact that their music is absolutely coherent and they work as a team rather than as Rock stars trying to prove they are better than the rest of the band. But more important for me the Symphonic elements of their music make me think of SYMPHONY X as a real PROGRESSIVE Metal band and not a Metal band with keyboards.

The album starts with the powerful " Of Sins and Shadows", in which the fast guitar complements perfectly with the vocals, it's true that I'm not a fan of growling, but Russell Allen manages to control it and balance this radical singing with clear vocals.

The short Mellotron introduction makes of "Sea of Lies" a promising track and combined with the fast guitar plus correct vocals ,make the listening experience pleasant. Even though it's simpler than the opener, the band manages to keep the interest of the listener.

"Out of the Ashes" highlight is in the excellent vocal work and chorus, of course the Neo Classical approach of the lead guitar is delightful, the album keeps the level, even when still not reaching the level of a masterpiece.

The acoustic guitar and violin of "The Accolade" bring KANSAS to my mind instantly, but that isn't all, the use of the guitar also remind of Rich Williams even when faster, but that's only the beginning, the song presents radical changes every minute, jumping from soft to frenetic in a matter of seconds, simply delightful, a box of surprises from start to end.

"Pharaoh" and "The Eyes of Medusa" are two Metal racks with little of Prog but a lot of attractive, not what I usually listen but enjoyed both while"The Witching Hour" is a more transitional song between the previous two Metal tracks and the Prog epic that is about to start. Fast, in the vein of IRON MAIDEN with operatic vocals and excellent chorus, the temperature is rising.

"The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is everything a Prog Metal fan can expect, the extremely dramatic vocal opening reminds of religious chorus with a mysterious touch, but only after it the show starts, as in an epic movie the song develops with a military majestic mood, the Mellotron in the back only adds more emotion and then...the beast is set free, SYMPHONY X attacks with everything they have, powerful drumming, amazing guitar sections and pompous keyboards to enhance the effect, but the changes keep coming, from calmed passages to frenetic sections, strong choirs, speedy guitars, in other words everything a Prog fan can expect, 20:40 minutes of pure Progressive Rock with Metal leanings.

After such an epic, it is necessary to calm the moods, "Candlelight Fantasia" does that and more, the soft, acoustic intro is only a demonstration of this band's versatility, even when they never resign to their metal essence, the strong melody and sentimental vocals create a contradictory but delightful scene that even a Symphonic fan not too fond on Metal.

Until now I only heard three SYMPHONY X albums, "V The Mythology Suite", The Odyssey" and the one being reviewed, even when I consider the first one mentioned more solid, can't give less than 4 stars to "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" less than 4 stars without feeling unfair.

Highly recommended as an introduction to Prog Metal for fans of the classic bands from the 70's.

Report this review (#238408)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, the perfect combination of heavy metal and prog. This album has it all. Awesome headbanging tracks like Of Sins And Shadows, or Sea Of Lies, with razorblade sharp solos and trademark bass lines. Delightful long compositions such as The Accolade or the bombastic title track, which should entirely satisfy every member on this site. A stunning ending, provided by the power ballad Candlelight Fantasia, in which Russell Allen really shines. He sings with such an emotion and passion that it really gives chills down your spine. So what more could we ask for?. Of course this is a 5 star album. A masterpiece of both metal and progressive rock music.

Report this review (#256949)
Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Divine Wings Of Tragedy and I go way back. I bought this album in in my early teens so it goes without saying that everything I'm planning to write here is going to be biased by the nostalgia I have for this particular release.

I might as well admit that as a teenager I had a brief fling with power metal and '90s were the peak years for the genre and its development. Gamma Ray dropped the bomb with Land Of The Free and material from bands like Hammerfall, Stratovarius and Helloween was better than ever. In comes the relatively unknown U.S. band called Symphony X and shakes things up even more with an entirely different take on the genre with their third album The Divine Wings Of Tragedy!

The album starts-off in a straight forward power metal fashion with Of Sins And Shadows. But wait! Did I just hear a chorus? Come to think of it the guitar riffs are much more creative than any of the power metal bands could deliver at the time and what a solo! The material leading up to the title track brings something new and interesting to the overall sound, unfortunately they are all overshadowed by the monster of a composition up ahead!

The 20 minute The Divine Wings Of Tragedy made me realize pretty early on that this was no ordinary power metal album I was listening to. The composition takes its time and builds the music one riff at the time until culminating into the wonderful outro. This is epic progressive metal song writing at its finest. In fact I owe it to this album for getting me into progressive metal! After such a powerful statement I shouldn't even hesitate giving this album the highest possible rating but I shall restrain myself. The reason being that I just can't recommend this album to everyone because of this albums heavy reliance on the power metal scene of its time.

***** star songs: Of Sins And Shadows (4:58) The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (20:41)

**** star songs: Sea Of Lies (4:18) Out Of The Ashes (3:39) The Accolade (9:51) Pharaoh (5:28) The Eyes Of Medusa (5:26) The Witching Hour (4:15) Candlelight Fantasia (6:45)

Report this review (#263282)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the world of prog metal there are the undisputed giants of today: Dream Theater, Opeth, and even Pain of Salvation. Symphony X has a lot of Dream Theater like prog moments, but they have a strong neo-classical influence that is used to such great effect. This is an incredible album. The epic 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' is perhaps their greatest work. It opens with a vocal mass with four part harmonies followed by an intracate rhythm section, followed by some beautiful clean guitar arpeggios, and enter the verse. This epic builds upon one great moment after another to it's stunning conclusion. Symphony X sure know how to right and epic, and they can expertly conclude it, just as they did with The Odyssey. It is very reminiscent of other prog epics such as Yes's 'The Gates of Delerium' in that it introduces a lot of ideas in it's extended intro before a more readily discernible, structured verse chorus section, and breaks into an extended instrumental section that features a very John Petrucci/Jordan Rudess keyboard duel, followed by a fast, technical unison, then a slower section where the song builds to a dramatic conclusion. Nearly all of the other tracks are stunning aswell. The Accolade contains an amazing section in which the song breaks into very classical inspired vocal harmonies, and a built up in intricate time where each instrumentalist slowly enters forming an overwhelming polyphonic texture. The closer of the album, 'Candlelight Fantasia' is a stunning piece.

5 stars.

Report this review (#275541)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first of a few masterpieces by Symphony X

Here the band has perfected their sound, progressive metal influenced by power metal and tinged with neo classical. This is pretty much a perfect album, every song is great and there are no weak moments from start to finish. The compositions are awesome, heavily progressive with every band member working together perfectly, playing their role yet still getting to showcase their great talent. Allen's vocals finally hit their stride. he has amazing range, sings with power, and always fits the music. He never over does it, and shows some variation...two things that often elude other singers in the operatic style. Overall, Allen has a bit more of a scruffy streak in his singing that really makes it. Of course the album is packed with awesome riffing, dueling guitar and keyboard solos, epic choirs, synth laden backgrounds, and pushed along with effective and subtle drumming as they navigate progressive song structures.

All the songs are great, so instead of describing them I recommend you listen to the album, though some stand outs need to be mentioned. "The Accolade" is THE definition of progressive metal, and of the best songs ever made by the band. Well textured and really moves, but with direction, like a river and doesn't drift aimlessly. The last third of this song is quite unique and has one of the most intricate and beautiful sections of music I've heard.

The title track is a 20 minute prog metal epic, that truly takes you across the universe. It has everything and the first listen will leave you clueless as to what will happen next. It really does throw everything at you including some seriously groovy, melodic, and off tempo sections! The middle part is mindblowing, very unique and solos by everyone! After that journey the album ends with "Candlelight Fantasia" a much lighter and melodic song.

A masterpiece of prog metal


Report this review (#288012)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This, in my opinion, is Symphony X's opus. I've always loved Thomas Miller's bass work, and on this album (and the other ones on which he's featured), the bass has a very prominent and enchanting role. Michael Romeo, who is actually my favorite guitarist, plays very technically, yet not in a way that's overdone. Allen always has been a fantastic singer, and his vocals on this album are no exception.

The Divine... begins with Of Sins and Shadows, which has a fairly heavy riff until transitioning into Allen's vocal parts. The keyboard/guitar solos in the bridge are amazing and technical. Then comes Sea of Lies, a fairly fast song with one of my all-time favorite guitar solos.

The other songs range from excellent to masterful, especially The Accolade and the 20 minute title track. This album definitely is one of the gems of prog metal; there is no filler at all.

Report this review (#298358)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive/Power Metal perfection.

Symphony X's third album is the way to go for Michael Romeo and company. "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" is so far the best album to date by the band, and most definitely one of the finest opuses in the Prog Metal genre.

In this album, the band reproduces many influences,unlike the first two albums; from the usual theatrical melodies, to the powerful, heavy riffs accompanied by a very virtuous bass guitar and keyboards, to again some arabic and east european moods that here and there are present. The artists are all at the peak of their capacities: always unforgettable the duels in the solos between the wild keyboards and the guitar, and every now and then the bass gives us some crazy strains that even John Myung might envy. Russell Allen has never had after this a voice this emotional, melodic, and pure, without never being too hard and rough like he will be in the following albums.

"The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" seems to be a hymn of theatrical expression; it's an opera, with some mythological and ancient, medieval tastes,( like Dante or Classical music), of passion, violent, but still very haunting. Even lyrically speaking lyricist Russell Allen writes about medieval times, having many influences from different authors of this period.

The songs are just amazing, not one bad one; especially concerning the epic 20 minute title track, the best Symphony X track ever, since everything of it is absolutely perfect, from the intro choir, to the beautiful piano and guitar passages, to the heavy riffs and the virtuous keyboards. Then, when the song is over, you ask yourself where those twenty minutes have gone. The other long song, "The Accolade" (almost ten minutes), has more delicate passages, and never get's too heavy. Certainly not as eclectic as the title track, but still quite impressive. even the shorter songs( the catchy and fast opening track "Of Sins and Shadows", the somewhat edgy "Sea Of Lies", the memorable "Out of The Ashes", the technical triumphs of "Pharaoh" the tense and mysterious "The Eyes Of Medusa" ) have all breathtaking moments, without any flat and tired ones.

An extremely original masterpiece, one of a kind in this genre, very overlooked by many music snobs, that should start considering for their own good bands like Symphony X and albums like "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy".

Report this review (#331161)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is far from a masterpiece. De facto, were it not for his title track, I would have given a much lower rating.

Or maybe I'm being precipitate. That there was a need to hear it again, but unfortunately my computer "crashed", and I lost all the albums I had (can not imagine the sadness I'm feeling) .

If this album were composed of all the songs except the title track I would have given it 1 star (0 if it were possible). But if it were composed only of this song (and more on her level ) I would not hesitate to give 5 stars. The Divine Wings of Tragedy is a terrifying monster 20 minutes that could be the best metal song ever compused. If not is part of my top 10.

3 stars, just because of the title track.

Report this review (#382907)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' is hailed by many as the magnum opus of Symphony X. Personally,I prefer the heavier and aggressive style they have incorporated in their latest releases. Whatsoever there are moments to be hailed and they will be further discussed.

The opening track 'Of Sins and Shadows' is one of the best songs of the album,it has heavy riffing,neoclassical elements and catchy symphonic choruses. The power metal element is present but not the more prevalent. Progressive tones along with,if I can call it like this, baroque music. (4.5/5)

'Sea of Lies' begins with an interesting bass theme and is similar to the style of the previous track and emphasizes a lot in the main chorus. I think that it has more power metal elements than the opening track. Also,Pinella delivers a more atmospheric sound with his keyboards. (4/5)

From the beginning of 'Out of the Ashes' by listening to the keyboards it seems that this is going to be a mostly power metal song and yes,it is but remains interesting. The lyrics are also quite realistic about the maturity of becoming a man from a youngster after having lived difficulties(this is how I explain these probably metaphoric verses of the song). (3.5/5)

'Accolade' is one of the most uninteresting songs and cannot be compared to masterpiece 'Accolade II' from 'The Odyssey' album. It has good proggy moments but mellow tracks are not my best to be honest. (3/5)

'Pharaoh' as it can be guessed by the name is more mystical and atmospheric and therefore progressive,in purpose to give the correct touch for the mysterious stories of Egypt. There is an interesting bass tapping by mr. Miller which adds to its progressive character. Choruses are again carefully crafted. (4/5)

'Eyes of Medusa' has the most interesting keyboards work so far and has a very interesting change of music while it reaches its end where there is a classical(symphonic) arrangement by Romeo and Pinella. Allen performs brilliantly even if I believe that the chorus is not so successful. One of the most interesting songs. (4.5/5)

'The Witching Hour' is the most mediocre song in 'TDWOT' but everyone has the right to have a filler in their artistic work. Annoying chorus and nothing so special,mainly power metal type of song. (2/5)

The self-titled track is plainly simply one of the most magic moments that only Symphony X can give us. 20 minutes full of rhythm change and frequent alteration in music style while maintaining the heavy,progressive and power character. There are some harsher vocals by Allen which I personally like. The best song of this album of course.(5/5)

And the end is a mellow tone but very emotional and Allen proves again why he is one of the most talented progressive metal vocalists while Pinella accompanies him with his piano work(4.5/5)

To sum up,'TDWOT" is a very solid and technical release by Symphony X and the album that gave them the needed publicity. Surely one of the most high acclaimed releases of their career and of progressive metal in general. The only negative is that there are maybe quite more power metal elements than needed but it is a matter of taste. Some do not like their latest releases. As a result, I regard it as an excellent addition to anyone's progressive collection (4 stars)

Report this review (#450671)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphony X's Divine Wings of Tragedy combines the complex song structures and love affair with synthesisers of prog metal and combines it with the sheer over the top cheese factor of power metal. The resultant blend is certainly not for everyone, and some listeners - and I'll readily admit I'm one of them - will find themselves turned off by the band's gleeful disregard for restraint or tastefulness, but then again other listeners would regard that as a plus. On the whole, three stars seems fare - if it's the sort of thing you like, you might like it a lot, but it's a very acquired taste.
Report this review (#629040)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well, I found these guys mainly through Dream Theater, to whom they sound pretty similar. On paper this should be good, but it just falls short. It's not that the musicianship is bad, on the contrary. Allen has an incredibly strong and metal voice, and Romeo is probably as technically proficient as Petrucci. But I can't help but think their compositional skills aren't alarmingly good. I would say the album is very consistent, but nothing really jumps out at me besides the title track. Everything just sounds the same, and the terrible production (especially for the drums and keyboards) doesn't help matters either.

The highlights would probably be 'Of Sins and Shadows,' 'The Accolade,' and the title track. Even then, the title track isn't terribly amazing; much of it is simply based on exchanging guitar and keyboard solos at 200 beats per minute. Though, compared to the rest of the album, this is very good.

Suffice it to say I'm not a very big metal fan, especially of the power and speed kind. This album is the perfect example of lost potential.


Report this review (#883233)
Posted Friday, December 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prog-Metal. Haha. I have so much fun holding it by the nose and kicking it in the ass around the forums. It does have a 'kick me' sign attached to it for many whose last bout of acne was when Genesis was showing their true talents and tearing up the pop music charts. It is a interesting point of discussion within prog circles. While prog fans are eager to embrace and call their own music which expands the boundaries of rock music and bring a sense of art and culture to rock music's traditional mundane subject matter, prog metal is one of the great, and rare, dividers of the otherwise tight prog rock community. One could devote an entire essay as to why prog-metal divides the community so and an album review is definitely not the place for that so what I will do is relate my experiences and thoughts with a traditional prog-metal album that hit home where none that I had listened to before had. As I have not reviewed an album in 5 or 6 years, and have been a vicious critic (though often tongue in cheek) of the genre, I thought this album an appropriate one to review.

It should be natural for listeners like me to love prog-metal. I enjoy prog, and love metal. Yet for some reason the mixture of the two just never really connected. I had long thought I had simply been missing a group or album that connected with me. I think a large part of it was continually having Dream Theater pushed upon me as the 'gateway' band and finding that group was for myself, and likely many others, exhibit A why prog-metal inspires such negative feelings. While the musicianship was stellar, the songwriting was not on par with the abilities of the musicians. The sum of the parts can often exceed the sum of the groups work. The vocalist was also a HUGE turn-off for me. Some years ago I reviewed their 'masterpiece' and, while I hated the album, I still rated it quite highly as it was regarded a masterpiece of the genre - and who am I to disagree. I did often long to hear a consensus masterpiece of the genre that I really enjoyed. Well? I finally found one? this album.

Why does this album connect to me whereas others have not? That begins with the incredible vocalist of Symphony X, Russell Allen. Allen's singing is powerful, clearly inspired by one of the greatest of all metal vocalists, the late great Ronnie James Dio. Vocals pleasing to the ears and so full of color, and nuance. In this band I found a vocalist who is a vital component of a group's sound, not a distraction to that sound, or a mere deliverer of lyrics. Musically this album is prog-metal, but what does that really mean? As it is a metal album, you want to hear great riffage, and it is the riffs themselves that often separate great metal from the not so great. The riffs are driving and brutal in their intensity and often drive me to fits of insane headbanging. It is music full of intensity, and life, one of the main things I and many others love so much about metal. If this was just a metal album, however, I wouldn't be reviewing it. As a prog fan, I want to hear great musicians playing their asses off and with some sort of nod to what made prog, prog: the merging of 'high art' and music. Prog for many has come to be a password for long compositions, and outstanding technical ability. That is especially true, in my opinion, in classic prog metal and shown not in an ensemble context but through the soloists. The album has plenty of great solos, mandatory I suppose for prog-metal albums, but what I love about this album is the relative lack of emphasis on the soloists, thus the album has less a feel of 'look at me' and there is more an emphasis on group playing and the songs themselves. Yes, there are solos galore but - unlike some albums I've heard - I thought the solos fit well within the music itself and were tastefully done rather than jarring departures from the original song itself.

Prog to me is so much more than about technical ability. Otherwise we'd be reviewing bluegrass and country albums. Prog is about, and art-rock was based upon, highly educated musicians merging classical music and classical literature and creating a thinking man's music. This is what appeals most to me about this album. The album has direct inspirations and quotations from classic literature and classical music. Songwriting is not an easy task, especially in prog, with its penchant for extended song lengths and albums based on themes. Many have tried, and most have failed to deliver unique concepts that can hold a listener's interest throughout the course of a full album. What I perhaps love most about this album is it is NOT some original kitschy concept, but a album whose musical centerpiece, the nearly 21 minute title track, is musically grounded in one of the great classical pieces immediately recognizable to music lovers. It is an album a music lover, especially a prog fan, can immediately gravitate to. One special bit of praise, and what in the end make this a masterpiece and worthy of recommendation to those like me unable to make progress into the world of classic prog-metal, is the overall length. Many modern albums simply drag on FAR too long and would be best served by trimming the least effective tracks and making stronger overall albums. At 65 minutes it is only slightly longer than traditional long play albums and does not approach the excess of many bands that use the CD format to expand albums out to nearly 80 minutes in length. It is tightly packed and it never overstays its welcome.

In summation this is, I believe, an album that those who are not fans of prog-metal but enjoy both root forms can like, even love. An easy album to grade, 5 stars in my book, and for the site I agree it deserves the classic prog-metal album status it has. It is a prog-metal album that non- prog-metal fans might really enjoy.

Report this review (#1299870)
Posted Sunday, November 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's something to be said for a group who's grown as much as Symphony X. They started out as a more straightforward power metal band (in the vein of fellow metalheads Kamelot) but have evolved into something much more. Combining power metal, progressive metal, neo-classical elements, and even some speed metal here and there, Symphony X have put forth numerous classics worthy of any progressive fan's household. However, the most glowing example of mastery in their discography is 1997's Divine Wings of Tragedy.

Divine Wings of Tragedy is what I'd like to consider the "unsung masterpiece" of Symphony X's career, as V: The New Mythology Suite would eventually garner more attention in the long run. What we have here though is a 9-track, 65-minute affair that never ceases to amaze. The album combines all the genres I mentioned above of the band's sound, but elevates each individual element to the point that every little nuance matters.

The band members are clearly skilled at their instruments as well. Michael Romeo (guitarist) is usually considered the king of the band in terms of instrumental proficiency, and yet the other members hold their own just as well. Michael Pinnella does a great job on the keys with well-executed solos and fitting backdrops to support the band's sound; Thomas Miller absolutely destroys the bass, doing wave after wave of creative bass riffs and solos that continually amaze the listener. Russell Allen may not be the best vocalist, but he fits the band very well; additionally, his vocal harmonies sound sublime at times. Last but certainly not least, Jason Rullo is a very skillful drummer who quickly adapts to each change in the music and maintains a diverse palette, even throwing in some jazz-fusion licks here and there.

What's very nice about this album is that the band don't have to sacrifice songwriting for virtuosity (at least most of the time). Unlike contemporaries Dream Theater, Symphony X stick to shorter structures and song-lengths throughout, creating a more cohesive sound. Take "Out of the Ashes" for instance; the song is more of a neo-classically-inspired speed metal song, and is only 3:40 long. However, in that time, so much whirls by the listener that it warrants many more listens. Opener "Of Sins and Shadows" is also intent on this, only being 4:58 but having so much music sandwiched into those 5 minutes. Both songs never sacrifice quality either; each instrument complements the other well, and the vocals are layered really well over the top.

Another thing about this album is the variety. You have the aforementioned power/speed metal songs, but then there are songs like "The Accolade" that opt for a more personal-sounding, acoustic touch. The track is very reminiscent of Kansas' 70's material, like Point of Know Return or Audio-Visions (although obviously with more or a metallic input). However, the biggest example of variation on the album is the penultimate title epic. Clocking in at 20:43, the song begins with a Gregorian chant which lasts for about a minute and a half. With such a perfect and epic beginning, you'd hope the song could evolve and become even more amazing right? Well, it does. "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" might be one of the best epics I've heard in progressive music, rivaling songs such as "Tarkus" (ELP), "Supper's Ready" (Genesis), etc.

Essentially, this is the pinnacle of Symphony X's career. Every song is a metal classic in its own right, and the album doesn't burden its songwriting with unnecessary virtuosity. If you want an amazing progressive metal release that will stimulate your senses and imagination, this should be square one.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1446004)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars On occasion of the release of Symphony X new album, Underworld, let's mark The Divine Wings of Tragedy, which may be their definitive work. By definitive I don't mean necessarily the best (The New Mythology Suite may be their most artistic creation, while the uber-technical power metal of Underworld may be more difficult to play), but the one that best illustrates what they set out to do - marry the thrashy riffs of Metallica and kin, baroque theatricality of Queen and Yngwie Malmsteem's neoclassical leanings with his light-speed guitar/harpsichord-styled keyboard duels. The album begins with three fast-paced rockers featuring some of the over-the-top vocalisms. Following is a medieval- themed epic, three mid-paced clunkers, and the icing on the cake, the 20-minute neoclassical metal piece, that, while being quite cheesy, is remarkably well-composed for metal. That would be a fine end to any other album, but, wait, there's more, in a form of another classically-inspired rock sonata.
Report this review (#1496857)
Posted Saturday, December 5, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphony X's upward spiral continues as their third album, 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy', builds upon every improvement made over their previous two albums, to make this one of their finest and most ambitious releases to date.

The music and sound is pretty much similar to its predecessor, yet, everything just seems more accomplished. The band have really hit their stride in regards to songwriting, especially guitarist Michael Romeo and keyboardist Michael Pinnella, who's neoclassical dueling perfectly encapsulates the essence of the band. And vocalist Russell Allen's incredible voice fits the music perfectly, able to shift from melodic to aggressive singing with ease.

After 'The Damnation Game' set the blueprint for a Symphony X album, this is where the New Jersey quintet really started to refine their sound and become the band we all know and love. And with some of their strongest material in songs such as 'Of Sins and Shadows', 'Out of the Ashes', 'The Accolade', 'The Eyes of Medusa' and the 21-minute title track, it's easy to see why this album is held in such high regard by fans.

Report this review (#1776470)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017 | Review Permalink

SYMPHONY X The Divine Wings Of Tragedy ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of SYMPHONY X The Divine Wings Of Tragedy

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives