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THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY

Symphony X

Progressive Metal


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Symphony X The Divine Wings Of Tragedy album cover
4.08 | 429 ratings | 65 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Of Sins and Shadows (4:58)
2. Sea of Lies (4:18)
3. Out of the Ashes (3:39)
4. The Accolade (9:51)
5. Pharaoh (5:28)
6. The Eyes of Medusa (5:26)
7. The Witching Hour (4:15)
8. The Divine Wings of Tragedy (20:41)
9. Candlelight Fantasia (6:45)

Total Time: 65:21

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Romeo / guitars
- Michael Pinella / keyboards
- Jason Rullo / drums
- Thomas Miller / bass
- Russell Allen / vocals

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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SYMPHONY X The Divine Wings Of Tragedy ratings distribution


4.08
(429 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
44%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

SYMPHONY X The Divine Wings Of Tragedy reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#7090) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#7101) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 07, 2005

Review by FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
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 output...so that's saying something!

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#7102) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
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".

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#41466) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#57067) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#59145) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 04, 2005

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, March 06, 2006

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
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..."

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#88300) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#88752) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 01, 2006

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#96444) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#102205) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 08, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#103572) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Atkingani (BETA) | Report this review (#116907) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007

Review by sean
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to sean (BETA) | Report this review (#122256) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Friday, September 21, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 wouldnīt call it a masterpiece itīs 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 itīs now fully mature. This is very powerful music and even though it does have flaws that I will point out later in the review itīs 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 itīs 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 itīs 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. Itīs pop at times and shows another strength in Russel Allenīs vocal range but itīs 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 donīt enjoy the drums from Jason Rullo much. I find them too simple and boring. Fortunately they donīt distract my mind from the real treats in the music which is Michael Romeoīs guitar playing and Russel Allenīs vocals IMO.

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

As you can see I donīt 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. Itīs an essential album to lovers of progressive metal with neo classical tendencies or just people who love powerful heavy metal with a real singer.

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Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#184064) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 29, 2008

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, October 06, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars FASTER, FASTER, FASTER

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.

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Posted Saturday, November 29, 2008

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Posted Monday, December 08, 2008

Review by Isa
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars |B-| Symphony X's early sound brilliantly captured in a single album.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Isa (BETA) | Report this review (#218125) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#222025) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#238408) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#263282) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
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

FIVE STARS

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#288012) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
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".

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#331161) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#629040) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 09, 2012

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#883233) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, December 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 Sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#450671) | Posted by mel from hell | Saturday, May 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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' ... (read more)

Report this review (#382907) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#298358) | Posted by Mystery | Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ' ... (read more)

Report this review (#275541) | Posted by prog058 | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 s ... (read more)

Report this review (#256949) | Posted by Morningrise | Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#232528) | Posted by Epsilon | Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After two great albums Symphony X released what I believe to be their greatest achievement, 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy'. Fans of Dream Theater and other Progressive Metal bands will like what Symphony X have to offer and this album has it all on display in full. Michael Romeo's awesome neo-cla ... (read more)

Report this review (#180930) | Posted by Valarius | Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 c ... (read more)

Report this review (#163611) | Posted by Draith | Sunday, March 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#157409) | Posted by asimplemistake | Tuesday, January 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#128811) | Posted by chelme | Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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, ju ... (read more)

Report this review (#118241) | Posted by Xeroth | Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 partl ... (read more)

Report this review (#116437) | Posted by Bupie | Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 d ... (read more)

Report this review (#93996) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 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-of ... (read more)

Report this review (#79787) | Posted by Tasartir | Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 tw ... (read more)

Report this review (#79116) | Posted by Crazybreadhorse | Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#78373) | Posted by Aranarth | Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#77986) | Posted by requiem | Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars THIS ALBUM IS BEYOND EAR CANDY.... ...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 hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#69283) | Posted by | Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How can I describe the importance of this record in every musicianīs life? First of all... Iīm a composer. I write so many different types of music.... classical, folklorical, contemporary and... prog metal. Ok, Iīve read so many non-sense words from this album. About the lyrics: Whatīs the pr ... (read more)

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

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