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Symphony X - Twilight In Olympus CD (album) cover

TWILIGHT IN OLYMPUS

Symphony X

 

Progressive Metal

3.75 | 339 ratings

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TCat
4 stars "Twilight in Olympus" is the fourth album from the symphonic progressive metal band Symphony X. This album continues with the band's tried and true formula of mixing metal, progressive music with a huge tie to classical music giving it that symphonic edge. One of the things that make their music so appealing is the emotional vocals from lead singer Russell Allen, who has a powerful voice and who doesn't have to scream or growl to get the heavy feel that the band achieves. The harmonies are always welcome too. Also, the fact that it is a strong metal feel, yet they are also not afraid to utilize keyboards as more than just a supporting instrument giving them plenty of soloing time along with heavy guitars that give their music that symphonic prog sound. But don't worry, there are still plenty of heavy guitar solos to keep the heavy metal fans happy.

This album would consist of the band's regular line up, except for their drummer Jason Rulio, who left the band for personal reasons, but only temporarily. Thomas Walling sits in for him on this album, but proves himself quite capable of the tricky rhythms and the required technical playing in the rapid fire percussion such as in the first track "Smoke and Mirrors". To show their classical leanings, part of the instrumental break of this track features a quote from Bach's Mass in B Minor. Also, the short instrumental track "Sonata" is based upon Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8, 2nd Movement.

The music is quite accessible, or not quite as progressive as I would hope, but it is good enough to keep me wanting to come back for more. There is also nothing groundbreaking on the album, but the musicianship is astounding anyway as all members are able to produce the technical sound they need, and all of them get plenty of room to do so.

The best tracks are the ones that get to show off their progressive skills and soloing virtuosity. The shorter tracks are aimed at attracting more fans to their fan base, but the longer tracks have the best development and instrumental abilities. The best tracks here are "Church of the Machine" with its memorable chorus, and "Through the Looking Glass" inspired by Alice's adventures in "Through the Looking Glass" and is a multi-movement work exceeding 13 minutes in length giving plenty of time for solo exploration and development. The last track "Lady of the Snow" is also a standout track especially for the Japanese style utilized in the first part of the track and the use of the sitar to sound like a Koto. The song itself is based upon Japanese mythology and that topic was chosen because the band was interested in experimenting with the Oriental scale tonality. It makes for a nice variation in the music just as it was needed in the album.

Overall, the basic sound from the band is there, and there is some evidence that the band was wanting to try new things, so I give them props for that. The basic sound does get tiring after a while, so when they deviate from that, it makes everything more powerful and memorable. It is good though, to hear a talented progressive metal band like Symphony X strive to expand their sound. Kudos also for their continued use of keyboards as more than just a supportive instrument, especially in metal music.

TCat | 4/5 |

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