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Symphony X

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Symphony X Twilight in Olympus album cover
3.76 | 399 ratings | 35 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Smoke and Mirrors (6:09)
2. Church of the Machine (8:57)
3. Sonata (1:25)
4. In the Dragon's Den (4:00)
5. Through the Looking Glass (Part I, II, III) (13:05)
6. The Relic (5:03)
7. Orion - The Hunter (6:56)
8. Lady of the Snow (7:09)

Total Time 52:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Russell Allen / lead vocals, production
- Michael Romeo / electric, classical & acoustic guitars, sitar, mini-harp, backing vocals
- Michael Pinnella / keyboards, backing vocals
- Thomas Miller / bass, backing vocals
- Tom Walling / drums

Releases information

ArtWork: Daniel Muro

CD Zero Corporation ‎- XRCN-2020 (1998, Japan)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 021 (1998, Europe)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 149 (2003, Germany) Special edition with CD-ROM section (multimedia) including band interview - part 4 of 4

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SYMPHONY X Twilight in Olympus ratings distribution

(399 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SYMPHONY X Twilight in Olympus reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was my first SX purchase, back in November '98, and boy, what an experience it was! From the initial guitar arpeggios of the amazing opening track 'Smoke and Mirrors' up to the final Beethoven-like closing climax, my mind was already blown and my heart, won. According to my own personal experience, "Twilight" certainly is a recommended entry into the musical world of SX, since what we find here is a mature band (this was their 4th album) that flaunts their major influences while showing off their original overall style. Romeo's Malsteem/Blackmore-oriented stuff plays a crucial role in the band's global sound, and so do Pinnella's keyboard orchestrations and multi-textures: the former keeps the band well rooted in the vintage heavy metal approach which had been revamped for the early 90s under the 'neo-classical' label; the latter recreates the essence of the most pompous side of symphonic prog (ELP, Kansas, Wakeman-era Yes) - these two forces combined sets the pace for the band, adding obvious elements of late 70s Rush, early 80s Iron Maiden, the extravagant harmonies and rockier side of good old Queen. Now, it may sound as if the mixture of these ingredients would result in something "too noisy" or "over-the-top pretentious"; but at the end of the day, you can tell that these guys have managed to create something well organized, including all that 'mandatory' technical display, but never getting too over-indulgent, always keeping a large amount of space for the ordained conveyance of the melodies and harmonies, cleverly sustained so it is not overshadowed by the soloing that takes place at some time or another. Lead singer maestro Russell Allen, who is pretty much influenced by Dio, delivers his demanding vocal duties with both wild energy and amazing versatility all throughout the record. Now sooner is the opener ended than the first machinery sounds start to roar in an ethereal manner, which lay the prelude to 'Church of the Machine', a most impressive mini-epic that reaffirms the qualities and virtues of SX's style that 'Smoke and Mirrors' only partially allowed us to envisage. Romeo's and Pinnella's virtuosity and not-too-exaggerated excesses find the perfect find a most solid ground in the foundations laid by Miller and Witling. This mini-epic ends abruptly, segued into the synthesized woodwind and string arrangements of Beethoven's Sonata 8 in C Minor, whose sober beauty turns into a slight dramatic twist provided by a Romeo explosive guitar solo, until the hardest rocking 'In the Dragon's Den' brings us back to the realms of contemporary metal. Not for too long, since the progressive stuff returns with a vengeance in the neckbreaking 13-minute suite 'Through the Looking Glass', lyrically inspired by the psychological aspect of Alice's travels in Wonderland. Somewhere near the end there is a quotation from the military climax of Rush's 'Jacob's Ladder' - a tribute that makes sense among the whole bombast displayed in this part of 'Looking Glass'. So far it has been a continuous musical journey that has taken the listener along a roller coaster ride of unceasing power and inventiveness. The rockers 'The Relic' and 'Orion' have to do the dirty job of coming next: the latter does it more effectively, thanks to the clever tempo shifts and tasteful soloing that take place in the instrumental interlude. But the remaining dose of grandeur is reserved for 'Lady of the Snow', a captivating, eerie rock ballad, full of Far Eastern flavours and evocative vocal lines. Sandwiched between SX's most celebrated (deservedly so) opuses, "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" and "V", "Twilight of Olympus" stands the comparison quite well. My personal rating: 4 - 4 ― stars.

(Review respectfully dedicated to Thomas Miller and Mike Lepond, two great bass players for a great band)

Review by FloydWright
4 stars One can think of Twilight in Olympus as the "little brother" of V: The New Mythology Suite, which is perhaps the best work SYMPHONY X has ever released. The underpinnings of V actually came from the same session as Twilight, intended to be part of an epic title track. For various reasons, "Twilight in Olympus" did not make this album, and the pieces of it were used in V. While their sounds are sufficiently separate, it is obvious at times that they came from the same sessions (occasionally similar riffs and experimentation with song seguing), and I think that if you liked V, this one is well worth checking out. And if you particularly like MICHAEL PINNELLA's work, you especially need Twilight.

There are only a few things holding this one back from being a five-star masterpiece, and I'll just get them out of the way up front so I can sing Twilight's praises for the rest of this review. First, JASON RULLO had temporarily left the band for personal reasons, and had been replaced with TOM WALLING. While WALLING's technical skills are basically up to par with RULLO's, there's something about the drumset he's using and the way it's mixed that I find a bit annoying at times. The excessive treble reminds me of why I don't always care for MIKE PORTNOY's drumming on the recent DREAM THEATER album Train of Thought. The other small glitch has to do with "Sonata". Yes, the song itself sounds good, but I really found myself wanting much more than was offered by the band. But on to the good stuff...

Immediately from the mean organ glissando at the opening of "Smoke and Mirrors", and the eerie church bells, we can tell that PINNELLA is going to be the star of the album to a degree previously unheard in SYMPHONY X. Technical but never overly self-indulgent a la RUDESS, he really gets to play on Twilight. "Smoke and Mirrors" is the typical hard intro, but the next track, "Church of the Machine", is quite simply one of the best. The lyrics actually start to remind me of ROGER WATERS on Amused to Death, but the attack seems more clearly confined to idol-worship, to a religion where human beings worship the created (money, their own desires, and the like) instead of the Creator--and when this happens, all of the virtue and peace that is supposed to go with religion is sucked dry. As for the music, this one has a very, VERY creepy introduction thanks to PINNELLA and some eerie moaning from RUSSELL ALLEN that sounds strangely like a tortured RICK WRIGHT of PINK FLOYD. The synth- chanting that appears intermittently completes the package.

The transition to "Sonata" is extremely abrupt and attention-getting. Here, MICHAEL ROMEO proves that he can indeed play slowly and emotionally, despite the snipes of more militant DREAM THEATER fans. It's not at all that he cannot...he just doesn't do it often. There is a big difference. I've already addressed my minor gripe, so I'll move on to "In the Dragon's Den". This one is a little less distinctive, but enjoyable. The drum solo sounds good from a technical standpoint even in spite of the mixing/tone issue with the drumset.

"Through the Looking Glass" begins with a gorgeous PINNELLA/MILLER transition, and another unusual slow solo from ROMEO. This is an unusual topic for a SYMPHONY X song, yet it works well. The song, overall, is cyclic in nature and flows well from beginning to end, never losing itself in mindless self-indulgence. Part II may well be one of the most beautiful moments ever in a SYMPHONY X album at begins with a strange harplike sound and acoustic guitar, and whispers (this may be where ROMEO and PINNELLA supposedly do backing vocals), and ALLEN's vocals take on a strange, weary quality, even breaking his voice slightly. Knowing ALLEN's capabilities, there's no doubt he did this on purpose. The harmonies are, of course, superb on the line "Dream within a dream" here, and almost reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. This moment makes the song what it is...not that the rest isn't good, but it's a bit hard to remember after 1 minute worth of some of the best music ever!

"The Relic" is a little less remarkable, but still likeable, and technically impressive. PINNELLA's harpsichord is interesting if you listen for it, and it's difficult to figure out how bassist THOMAS MILLER manages to keep pace with it. One of ROMEO's guitar lines is fo fast and so buried that it almost sounds like a synth. "Orion--The Hunter" has been referred to as one of the darkest pieces by SYMPHONY X (although I think "Church of the Machine" wins that title), and PINNELLA has much to do with creating that atmosphere. There's even a touch of Wish You Were Here-like synth work. The sound quality messes up very slightly here, and I suspect it was a difficulty in adjusting to the odd sound of WALLING's drumming.

The album closes with the strange, gorgeous "Lady of the Snow", which is based on a Japanese folk tale. It even incorporates the sound of Japanese music with a shukahachi and miniharp moving along a pentatonic scale, which ROMEO then begins to follow. ALLEN's vocals take on an almost feminine quality (fitting for the subject matter) and there is an unusually smooth transition from the soft section to the harder one, for SYMPHONY X, which scores points with me. The dissonant harmonies are particularly attention-getting, too...the song, overall, is strange, spooky, and slow, ending the album on an unusually creepy note.

(Nota bene: the band has said their next album will take on a much darker character; the hope among some fans is that there will be a return to the spooky, keyboard-driven atmospherics of Twilight. Only time will tell...)

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I got into Symphony X with the song "Church of The Machine", a song that is among my favorite tracks of all time. I decided to purchase this one first, concidering that COTM was featured on this one. I did not regret! This album is excellent and shows SX's skills and style. The drummer on previous SX albums, Jason Rullo, was replaced by Tom Waling on this one, but he does a great job. It's a very speedy album, and the melody lines are great, though there are a couple of weaker moments inbetween.

The production is clear, but lacks balance, which also drags this one down a bit. Otherwise, a great album, and probably the best starting point with Symphony X! I would give this one 4.5 stars, but because of production issues and some weaker moments, the overall score is 4.25 instead. Highly recommended!!

Review by AtLossForWords
4 stars For my first Symphony X review, i have chosen to do my favorite Symphony X album, Twilight In Olympus. This album is directly after Symphony X's "breakthrough" The Divine Wings of Tragedy, and because of the previous album's sucess and this albums expectations, I don't believe this album gets the credit it deserves.

This album is Symphony X at their best, i consider it to be the last great Symphony X album. The most noticeable difference about this album from previous and future Symphony X albums is that Jason Rullo is not the drummer, short stay Tom Walling is. The drums on this album are distinctly different obviously because of the different drummer. This is also in my opinion the fastest Symphony X album, but not the heaviest. The albums opening track "Smoke and Mirrors" will give a novice listener a good idea of Symphony X's sound is built on. The sweeping guitars, orchestrated keyboards, fast drums, and intricate bass lines are all showcased here. (Speaking of intricate bass lines, this was Thomas Miller's final album with Symphony X. Miller's abscence is easily seen on V and The Odyssey, a tragic loss for the band.) The album has other songs that will forever be Symphony X classics. Church of the Machine has some of the most amazing lyrics from Symphony X featuring a creative song structure. Lady of the Snow is brilliant creativity from Symphony X. I would not picture Symphony X evolving a song from an Asian folk theme. Through the Looking Glass is another tune to remember, it is the over 10 minute epic for this album. Somewhat of an inferior song to the Divine Wings of Tragedy, but don't be fooled this is an amazing song with an ellegant structure. The Beethoven sonata in G minor is also noteworthy as it shows of the classical style and control of Symphony X. The album is great, but it lacks one major quality, an atmosphere. This album has no particular mood. If you are a fan of virtuoso skill, you may be quite pleased with this album, but if you're looking for an album of emotion and atmosphere, this is not an album for you.

The production on this album is bad, not terrible but bad. The volume is poorly balanced with Russell Allen's vocals dominating and Mike Romeo's guitar somewhat overdistorted with out prescence. Thomas Miller's bass makes some showcase lines but lacks tone. Mike Pinnella's synths have amazing sounds but the volume is once again a problem.

Review by Marc Baum
4 stars When you are trying to get into Symphony X - people will always recommend The Divine Wings Of Tragedy, V or The Odyssey. They aren't wrong but from what I've seen, very few acknowledge Twlight In Olympus.

The Divine Wings Of Tragedy was the first SX album that could be considered a classic and as some of you know, following up such an album that is held in such high regard, especially when one of the band members leave, is extremely difficult and often damaging to a band's career (Falling Into Infinity by Dream Theater is an example). Thankfully, Micheal Romeo and Co. never looked back.

On Twilight's In Olympus, SX maintained all the excellent qualities that made Divine Wings a success but developed them further into a more classical metal style while maintaining that true SX sound.

The star of the show has to be Russell Allen, the vocalist. Russell Allens voice sounds better than ever, this mans range and moods he sets using just his voice is phenomenal - I swear, this guy genuinely does get better with age. This does mean that the rest of the band simply trails in Allens wake - Romeo, Miller, Pinnella and especially Walling (who had the tough task of replacing Jason Rullo) are all extremely consistent and excellent.

There is not a single song out of place on this album. There are some songs better than others, "Church Of The Machine" and "Through The Looking Glass" but despite the many high points this album delivers, there are no low points. This is just an extremely strong and solid album all in and deserves much more recognition that it gets.

All in all, Twilight In Olympus is an excellent addition to at least any progressive metal collection. It isn't a masterpiece like The Divine Wings... or V, but it's at least as great as The Odyssey and I even enjoy this album better. There are not hacked-up riffs as in The Odyssey, and the orchestral/symphonic arrangements are also more dominant. The sound of the production isn't perfect, could be a bit more powerful, but there is nothing to complain about the music itself here, so you might add this to your collection if you are interrested in this band and their excellent work. SX are the pioneers of the symphonic power prog genre and they showed it here again, after the groundbreaking The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and still let all their competitors behind them.

Album rating: 8.5/10 points = 87 % on MPV scale = 4/5 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

Review by sleeper
3 stars Twilight In Olympus is the fourth album by US prog metal band Symphony X and follows on from their "brake through" album, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. This album features a change in the line up from the previous album, with Jason Rullo leaving and being replaced by Tom Walling.

What I notice with this album is that it feels very similar to its predecessor, in that there are many short, none prog, songs on the album that, though not bad, aren't as good as the full prog songs on here. The pick of these short songs is Orion The Hunter, which is actually pretty long but follows a similar formula to the rest of the short songs. This one stands out as it seems to work better on all fronts than the others.

Of the longer songs, you find that they are better spaced on this album than the previous, with one at the start, the middle and another to close out the album, which is an improvement on having one close to the start and the rest at the end. The first of these is the second track, Church Of The Machine, which starts with a strange, airy sound effect that gives it the impression that it is being wound up, before the band jumps in all at once into the chorus with a bang. It's the least impressive of the three songs and follows very predictable changes in the music. The chorus is also quite cheesy, but annoyingly catchy and will stay with you after you hear it.

Through The Looking Glass is a big surprise for me as it is a really involving song that makes a lot of use of uplifting passages as well as some very diverse sections. All the band members proved on here that they are very good musicians by each having small sections were they can show off there skills without the song sounding like an exercise in technique rather than a proper song, and as a result this has become my favourite composition of there's. The lyrics on this also hold up as being none cheesy, a rarity from Symphony X.

Lady Of The Snow is a vary unique song for the band as its very slow and melancholic, building up that feeling for much of the song before fading out. It really stands out as slow Symphony X songs are few and far between and this shows that the band can make music like this when the mood takes them. Lyrically its quite a strong song as well but this one is based around a Japanese tale, rather than made up by Michael Romeo and Russell Allen, giving it a more credible baseline to start with.

The change in drummer on this album hasn't really made a change to the sound or style of the band, or effected the way the other musicians play. I still find the drumming the weakest part of the line up and rhythm section really is held together by Thomas Miller, once again affirming that he is one excellent bass player.

I'll give this 3 stars as its got some good songs but there's nothing new on here, and Divine Wings is a stronger album overall, even if Twilight In Olympus is slightly stronger lyrically.

Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars In the clouds.

This album is fairly similar to Divine Wings of Tragedy. There is a fair amount of "metal epic" like qualities that are almost cliches here. Most of the album seems extremely "fantasy" like in quality. I can very much see how those who are big fans of fantasy like material would enjoy this. This could easily go along with one of the great Greek myths.

Unfortunately, I find much of this album lacking an artistic quality to it. While still being very musical and most certainly technical, I can't help but sense that all the passages seem forced and over structured to fit the band's style. The pieces rarely flow together smoothly and the solo sections given space in all the songs seem completely unnecessary.

I don't doubt the talent of this band but I doubt their artistic direction. For the life of me I can't understand their appeal other than for a jolly fantasy trek. Serious listening is sometimes rather difficult, but there is enough talent to keep things interesting. I've found V to be a much more enjoyable Symphony X experience.

Review by imoeng
5 stars Twilight in Olympus

Another new CD for me, and yes, this is my first Symphony X album. For my first Symphony X album, it has given me a nice impression of what kind of band it is. But I just have a quite funny story. So I bought the album at a near music store then I quickly ran home because I wanted to hear it as soon as possible. When I got home, I ripped all the tracks to my computer and put the CD case into my rack. Then I played the first track and I think, "Oh! I just bought Yngwie's album!". If you notice the first intro guitar, the sound is very similar to Yngwie Malmsteen, very fast and very classical rock, with cool sweep picking.

Actually I bought this album because many people said if you like Dream Theater, then you'll like Symphony X, and try their best album, "V". But unfortunately, I only found Twilight in Olympus. My first impression was, it is indeed very similar to other great progressive metal bands, including Dream Theater. However, this particular album is heavier than most progressive metal albums, even Opeth. Twilight in Olympus has more of those Speed Metal aspects rather than the progressive metal, maybe like Dragonforce. Amazing (maybe crazy) guitar fills, rapid double pedal drums, great bass lines, are some of the most important part of this album.

Basically, all the songs in this album have some obvious commonality, such as, again, great guitar solos, with keyboard providing nuances, cool and fast drum fills with deep bass lines. In some songs, the emotions are just great, they will flow as you hear the song, which make this album so cool. My favourite track in this album is probably Church of the Machine (track 2), because besides it has good lyric, the emotion and technical virtuosity is just great.

Bottom line, I give this album five stars, at least for now, because I have not listened to all Symphony X's albums. I also want to pass the message I got from my friends, that if you like progressive metal, you will like Dream Theater. And if you like Dream Theater, you will like Symphony X. If you like Symphony X, you should really try this album out.

Long live progressive metal! Living Inside Smoke and Mirrors - Imoeng

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Symphonic Progressive Metal

Some people who first knew the music of Symphony X would typically say "it's like Dream Theater". But hold on . If you observe all the subtleties you would find a dividing line that separate the characteristics of Symphony X from Dream Theater. Of course the two have similarities as both of them are in prog metal scene. You may find the compositions of Symphony X are bit softer than Dream Theater. Both bands I like them very much regardless differences or similarities.

It's really interesting that "Smoke and Mirrors" (6:09) with powerful guitar melody and riffs followed with symphonic progressive metal music that gives lead singer Sir Russel Allen sings the first lyrical verses. The music is in very fast tempo, neatly composed with great combination of guitar, keyboard (in symphonic style) and double pedal bass drum. It's an energetic track that is suitable to wake you up and energize you at the very beginning of the day. The interlude part includes a transition of symphonic music based on keyboard in medium tempo before finally the pulsating keyboard work and guitar solo fill the interlude part excellently. It's truly a powerful track!

"Church of the Machine" (8:57) begins the music with an ambient keyboard work and suddenly followed with upbeat music. It is quite interesting that there is an insert of clavinet sound accompanied by slower tempo music before it moves into faster tempo with keyboard as main rhythm section accentuated by soft guitar riffs. Dazzling drum work augments heavy guitar riffs and this kind of style has characterized the music of Symphony X. Again the duets of Michael Romeo (guitar) and Michael Pinnella have the music of Symphony X unique.

The album also features excellent epic "Through the Looking Glass (Part I, II, III") (13:05) which starts with a floating music dominated by multi-layered keyboard sounds, overlaid by guitar solo. Piano sometimes appear at the transition pieces to accentuate the music and make better textures. It's really an excellent track as it has not only neat composition, but it also has a catchy tagline melody through the voice of Russell Allen. The epic also contains tempo changes throughout multi-parts structure. The music flows naturally from start to end with the climax at the end after very nice intertwining solos of Romeo's guitar and Pinnella's keyboard.

Maybe "Lady of the Snow" (7:09) is a bit of misplaced being here in this album? Why? This song does not sound anything like any progressive metal music. If someone is given this song as a sample of Symphony X music, it's misleading I believe. But .. it's one of my favorite Symphony X tracks because it has a very substantial elements of neo progressive music and some symphonic nuances. The tempo is mellow but the composition, especially melody is powerful. Oh man .. I do enjoy this track!

I would say that this album is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Fans of progressive metal must have this album in their collection because without it, it's incomplete. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

DragonForce "Live in Jakarta: May 19, 2007".

Review by b_olariu
4 stars This is Symphonic Progressive Metal of the highest calibre.

Symphony X does not have weak albums but some of them appeal more then others. This one is very strong and continue the traditoin they left on 1997 album The divine wings of tragedy. They always knew how to combine in a perfect manner metal with symphonic orchestration, the result is a damn good one. Every track is stunning, but Through the Looking Glass is absolute a msterpice, the longest track here. A 4 star album without any hesitations. Recommended.

Review by progrules
3 stars I just looked at the discography of SX on this site and at the ratings for their studio albums and I must compliment the reviewers. The ratings in sequence are exactly how I would have done it personally. Not that I let my opnion be influenced in any way by what other people value, but for instance this album is considered one of the lesser by SX and I totally agree with that. I don't know what it is with this album, but I can't get myself to like it. Except for the opener and the final song the rest of the album is poor to SX standards, which are very high in my book. This band has unbelievable potential and has proved that in many of their other albums. Smoke and mirrors is a very nice, typical SX song, even better than The Devine Wings material and Lady of the snow is a rare ballad by Symphony X, come to think of it, I can't remember another ballad by them, but this is very nice. The other songs, I can't put my finger on it why, it's just not it. It's even somewhat annoying listening to for instance Through the looking Glass, I just don't like it.

So despite my great admiration for the band, I have to be honest and give it only 3.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars It's great to hear some metal again, it seems like it's been a while.This particular abum is a little neglected in my opinion, but being wedged between "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" and "V" maybe it's a little understandable.This record has more in common with the former then it does with the latter, it's quite heavy and goes over very well played live.

"Smoke And Mirrors" opens with that Neo Classical flavour they are known for as lots of riffs come in before the vocals arrive. The vocals sound a lot like a cross between Dickinson and Dio right there. A calm comes in at the 4 minute mark that I like before they just let it rip again. "Church Of The Machine" opens with this intense atmosphere that is broken a minute in. A nice light keyboard melody is gradually swallowed up by the heaviness that is building. Vocals after 3 minutes, and the best part of the song for me are the vocal harmonies. Lots of riffs and a great rhythm follows. This song blends into "Sonata" a beautiful and mellow piece of piano followed by guitar.This is based on a theme from "Sonata #8" in c minor by Beethoven. Yes it's an instrumental. "In The Dragon's Den" opens with pounding drums that come and go throughout. Vocals, guitar and synths are all outstanding. Fast and heavy are apt adjectives for this song.

"Through The Looking Glass-Parts I, II and III" is the epic and my favourite track by far. It opens with a solid and heavy soundscape.The piano and synths are beautiful, they are followed by reserved vocals. I love the way the piano is sprnkled in amongst the heaviness.The guitar breaks loose 6 1/2 minutes in with some tasty melodies. The vocals are great 8 minutes in as tasteful melodies are played. We get more of this the rest of the way. Nice and moving. I was moved during the final song as well something I felt was lacking on "The Divne Wings Of Tragedy". "The Relic" is another good one that opens with heavy riffs.The vocals are impressive. A scorching solo 3 1/2 minutes in as drums pound away. A powerful soundscape follows. "Orion-The Hunter" opens with the heaviest soundscape yet ! More of this later in the song. The keys are great, and check out the guitar and synths trading solos. Amazing guitar in this one. "Lady Of The Snow" opens with Eastern sounds, and they come and go. The guitar riffs start to rise out the eastern sun as they eventually go from soaring to screaming. More incredible guitar 4 minutes in. What an uplifting song.

Easily 4 stars and more enjoyable for me than "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy".

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars This for me is the definition of a transition album. In the case of Symphony X at this point in their career, this represents a positive transition to music even more colossal and fascinating than their output from the Divine Wings of Tragedy and earlier. The production sounds a bit fuller, transitions between musical ideas are more cohesive, the vocal choirs are much more convincing, and the keys are thankfully more varied and brought to the front. The result is a solid album by any standards.

Given the positive points mentioned above, it is even more clear to me that Symphony X are not merely Dream Theater clones. True, you'll find plenty of guitar shredding, complex crunchy riffing, and guitar/keyboard unison runs, but the music just seems to flow so well, with none of the members dominating the show for long.

Highlights on this album are numerous, but I'll focus mainly on the more proggy pieces. Fortunately, the song lengths give you an idea of their progginess: the longer, the better. The first extended song, Church in the Machine, naturally features blaring church organ, and when the choir for the chorus is added on top of that, the result is quite powerful. My only real complaint is the abrupt ending--I assume they were trying to make a stark contrast to the following mellow, Malmsteen-esque Sonata, but the effect is more irritating than captivating. The other extended piece is Through the Looking Glass, and they really hit a home run with this one! This is a prime example of restraint and build in songwriting--full of entertaining melodies and time signatures, but they hold off hitting you with the killer chorus until the song is about two-thirds complete, and the effect is that much more powerful. Great job to Pinella on keys--he channeled his inner Kansas, which would serve him well on the next album too.

All of the other songs are quite good as well, from the generic (of course only by Symphony X standards) rockers (The Relic, In the Dragon's Den), the pensive ballad (Lady of the Snow), and the uniquely creative pieces (especially the classical metal rip to open the album on Smoke and Mirrors, as well as the killer, grinding extended instrumental on Orion). And of course, you'll be treated to the awesome power of Russell Allen's voice throughout, if nothing else.

The bottom line is that I like just about everything on this album a little better than The Divine Wings of Tragedy, but a little less than The New Mythology Suite (which I find to be their absolute highlight). It seems that many people move straight from one to the other, and miss out on the great prog metal to be found here. Don't miss out on this transitional piece by a band gearing up for the climax of their musical power.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Twilight In Olympus" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, New Jersey based power/progressive metal act Symphony X. The album was released through Zero Corporation in Japan and through InsideOut Music in Europe in March 1998. Itīs the successor "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy" from 1996, which proved to be the bandīs breakthrough album. During the tour promoting "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (1996)" drummer Jason Rullo had to take an absense of leave from Symphony X to deal with some personal issues, and he was replaced for the remainder of the tour by Thomas Walling. As Rullo didnīt return when the band were ready to enter the studio and record the material for "Twilight In Olympus", Walling stepped in as a session musian recording the drums on the album.

The material on "Twilight In Olympus" in some ways continue the progressive power metal style of "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (1996)", and in that respect is a natural successor to that album, but some tracks on "Twilight In Olympus" see Symphony X trying out new ideas and expanding their sound. Tracks like "Smoke And Mirrors", "In The Dragon's Den", and the beautiful and epic closing track "Lady Of The Snow" could just as well have been featured on the predecessor, but tracks like "Church Of The Machine", the 13:06 minutes long (and Dream Theater influenced) "Through The Looking Glass, Parts I-III", and "Orion - The Hunter" are more progressive in style and would have stood out as very different sounding from the other tracks on "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (1996)". They stand out on "Twilight In Olympus" too, but only in a good way, making the tracklist interesting and varied. In fact the band have managed to construct a very well functioning tracklist and "Twilight In Olympus" is one of their most diverse yet quality consistent releases.

"Twilight In Olympus" features a powerful, detailed, and well sounding production, although the drums could have prospered from a less clicky and more organic tone. The band are as well playing as ever and the listener is treated to one jaw-dropping technially well played heavy riff, blistering guitar/keyboard solo, and hard pounding rhythm part after another. Lead vocalist Russell Allenīs performance deserves a special mention too. Not only does he have a powerful and distinct sounding voice, but the way he uses his full range to perform both high pitched and gruff deeper range vocals (and choirs and harmonies) is spectacular. He is a world class vocalist and proves it once again on this album.

Upon conclusion "Twilight In Olympus" is through and through a high quality release by Symphony X. Naturally continuing the sound established on the precessor while still developing on that sound, the band have produced an album which stands well on itīs own in their discography. Symphony X perfectly blend their neo-classical power metal elements with progressive metal complexity and the outcome is personal and distinct sounding. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars At this stage of their career, I guess that the band wanted to capitalize on the receipts which led them to commercial success and critical acclaim. They comfortably built on '' The Divine Wings Of Tragedy'' (but who can blame them for this).

Fair enough but I can't find any songs as ''The Accolade'', ''Out of the Ashes'' or the great ''Candlelight Fantasia'' for instance. And if one considerers that I am not the biggest fan of this musical genre, there are little to wake up my enthusiasm here.

The usual speedy metal lines, so what? As a diversion, the band is even playing a classic ''Sonata'' (less than ninety seconds, be reassured). I am rather sceptical whereas it was all necessary.

Apart from this nice break after all, I'm afraid that the uniform mood of this album is hardly going to please non-metal ears.

Skills and dexterity, for sure the band has many. Even virtuosity with Michael Romeo. But in terms of compositions, ''Twilight In Olympus'' is seriously inclined to offer the same musical spectrum. I have to add though that the epic of this album ''Through The Looking Glass'' rightly shines and I consider it as a highlight. At last, one song with some progressive feel. Better late than never!

The ''Queen'' oriented feeling that could be noticed in their previous album, is also present here in the very good ''Lady Of The Snow''. A rock ballad which comes rightly to break the global and metal mood from ''Twilight''.

I decided to enter ''Symphony X'' catalogue while I knew that they would open for ''Dream Theater'' during several concerts of their last European tour (2007). The SX set was a total nightmare, the sound being truly horrifying from A to Z. When Russel Allen announced that we were going to have a great heavy metal night, I knew that prog would be seriously set aside. But was it a real surprise?

I have exactly the same feeling with this album. Two stars (five out of ten if I could).

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Smoke and mirrors

Wedged between Symphony X' two most highly regarded albums, the masterpiece The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and the very good V: The Mythology Suit, Twilight In Olympus is less impressive in comparison. Still, I would say that this album is certainly better than both the two pre-Divine Wings albums and the post-V ones.

It is strange that this album was the follow-up to The Divine Wings Of Tragedy as is actually sounds as if it was recorded before that album. It is not that they reverted here to the earlier stages in their evolution, but Twilight In Olympus sounds almost like a natural bridge between The Damnation Game and The Divine Wings Of Tragedy.

Even if not as consistent as the two albums that surround it, there are some classic Symphony X tracks here. My personal favourite is the excellent Church Of The Machine. This nearly nine-minute track encapsulates well the spirit of the band. However, there are some tracks here that give me the feeling that the band were just going through the motions.

Even if V would be a better album overall, I still would say that Symphony X had their peak behind them already at this point and following V, it would be basically more of the same without the excitement and novelty of The Divine Wings.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After hearing the excellent "Paradise Lost" album I became very interested in the work of Symphony X. Their blend of orchestration, symphonic prog and metal is compelling at best and so "Twilight in Olympus" is an album that I had high hopes for.

The problem is the album does not hang together and is quite forgettable for the most part with some glimpses of brilliance here and there. The liner notes state that the band did not deem this one of their better albums because there were musical differences and they were lacking inspiration. On the limited edition CD the interview with the band plainly states the album was rushed to appease the label, never a good thing, and they felt that the best thing on it was 'Through the Looking Glass (Part I, II, III)' and 'Smoke and Mirrors' and I tend to agree. These are both brilliant tracks and the band have played them live often.

It was supposed to have an epic track which became 'Odyssey' ending up on that album, so the band were disappointed at this. All is not lost as the aforementioned tracks are very well played and became popular Symphony X tracks. There are excellent time signature changes and metal power riffing from Romeo and Allen's vocals are clean and give it that Dream Theater feel, a band they are always compared to.

The resultant album is a bit of a misfire that features a lot of mediocrity, but as a transitional album showing the changes in style, it is important to the band and led to their trilogy of masterworks. The 20 page booklet and lyrics are part of the great packaging of the Limited Edition CD that features the interview and nice PC Rom visuals. The best was yet to come.

Review by JJLehto
4 stars Another solid album by Symphony X

There's very little to complain about here, it's really a very good album. My only knock on it is, while excellent it is unspectacular. This album is classic Symphony X, power driven progressive metal that has all the staples. That's just it, nothing new here. This isn't exactly a bad thing since their standard is so good, but it can't be anything more than a really good Symphony X album. Also, "Twilight in Olympus" is a bit lighter than Divine Wings, so it lacks a bit of punch and it is overall a bit more straightforward. Now, don't get me wrong this is certainly progressive, however it has more of a straight up power metal feel than previous albums.

This is evident with "Smoke and Mirrors" which starts off by kicking your ass but carries on fairly straight after that. This is countered by "Church of the Machine" with its eerie into and overall slower pace. The choruses are epic.

"Sonata" is a classical segue, letting us relax before the pummeling known as "In the Dragon's Den". Awesome song, some of Allen's best vocal work and a real stand out on the album. "Through the Looking Glass" is a 13 minute sprawling song that runs the gamut, incorporating everything the band is in a very well composed manner. Another standout song.

"The Relic" is a fairly ferocious song with some really cool sections and melodies. "Orion-The Hunter" has great rhythm, one of the groovier songs, progressive, complete with wild off tempo section. The album ends with "Lady in the Snow" the most melodic on the album, never reaching power metal speeds and without shred solos. Powerful and wonderful song. Another strong album finale.

"Twilight in Olympus" doesn't break any ground but is a strong album and should satisfy any fan of Symph X or prog metal. The musicianship is tight, though it should be noted Jason Rullo didn't play on this album, shame since is a criminally underrated, (or probably unknown) drummer, but Tom Walling does an incredible job here.


Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars First, a little bit of context. This is the first review of this album on the archives in close to 5 years; moreover, just as much time has transpired since the release of the band's mega-epic Iconoclast (to which I gave an enthusiastic 5-star review). So there's bound to be a bit of revisionist bias in my feelings, but I'm trying to my best to be objective. With that said...

Twilight in Olympus is a lot of fun. It follows the prog-metal template of the times, thematically and sonically, but is played very well and leaves very little to be critical about. Symphony X is a crazy talented group of musicians, and their take on that prog-metal template is sophisticated. This is not an "every thing and the kitchen sink" metal experience; neither is it a overly thoughtful work of art. Its blend of melodies and metal and nuance sort of sifts its way perfectly into the "good but not essential" rating. It does everything good, but nothing great.

For fans of the band, Twilight in Olympus sounds very much like a slightly more metal take on the same sort of scope we heard in Divine Wings of Tragedy. The band is still growing, still flexing their muscles, and it shows mostly in their song writing, which isn't as sticky as later albums.

For newcomers, Twilight in Olympus is a blend of outstanding metal riffing and faux-symphonic stylings. Symphony X sounds more grandiose in scope than that "other" prog-metal group whose heyday was during the late '90's/early 2000's, thanks mostly to their fantastic lyrics and use of keyboards. Pinnella is a fine player, no doubt; his keys come across as less busy as other prog-metal groups though, in the sense that he's mostly filling space or textures as opposed to jumping into the foreground soloing. He also selects a palette of sounds synthesizing reconnaissance-era organs or harpsichords or whatever (at least that's my take; I'm not a historian of keyed instruments!). This gives the album more of a neo-prog feel. Depending on your outlook, that's pretty cool! You've got crazy metal chugging and bass lines sitting alongside tinkling or symphonic keyboards. Again, I'm sort of middle of the road on this. It works, but doesn't connect with me as much as we'll hear on later works.

In the end, Twilight in Olympus is a perfect example of a 3-star release. Get it and you won't be disappointed, but you probably won't place it at the top of your prog-metal playlist. Great stuff for those having experienced the band's later works, or who like Symphony X's voice, but not the heavier style of those later works.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Review by The Crow
3 stars Twilight in Olympus is a kind of transition album in Symphony X's career! And although this is not necessarily a bad thing, in this case it did translate into a loss of freshness in comparison to the magnificent The Divine Wings of Tragedy.

In addition, it is also the only album in which the drummer Jason Rullo did not participate, being temporarily replaced by the notably less spectacular Thomas Walling. It would also be the last album in which the original bassist Thomas Miller would participate.

This whole situation, as I have noted before, ends up affecting the music leading to some pretty lackluster moments like the copy of the Tubular Bells melody that they did at the beginning of Church of the Machine, mixed with other absolutely brilliant ones like Through the Looking Glass, resulting in a record that, although not bad, it does turn out to be somewhat irregular in repeated listening.

Best Tracks: In the Dragon's Den (an absolutely killer riff and powerful instrumental interlude) and Through the Looking Glass (the typical epic composition that I like from this group, with an incredible guitar intro and some incredible vocal melodies here and there)

My Rating: ***

Latest members reviews

5 stars It would seem a near-impossible task for a band to not only match, but surpass 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy', but if anyone can do it, it's the albums creators themselves, for with 'Twilight in Olympus', Symphony X have unleashed a pure masterpiece of progressive metal upon the world. Comfor ... (read more)

Report this review (#1781309) | Posted by martindavey87 | Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars not their best work but by far, not their worst is the best way to describe "Twilight in Olympus". it does sound like they haven't made much progress beyond "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" but there are still some great songs here: Church of the Machine - i dont believe i've ever heard any intro ... (read more)

Report this review (#462694) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Quite a nice effort after The Divine Wings of Tragedy. This album was strung together fairly quickly after its predecessor because of pressure from the label. The result, however, is still pretty good despite the fact that the album could flow better. I am willing to discount this, though, because ... (read more)

Report this review (#402127) | Posted by Mystery | Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like the other two albums I've Symphony X ("The dammnation game" and "V"), "Twilight in Olympus" has aged badly for me.The album was one of my introductions to the progressive metal, but after all I've heard, I think he lost his shine ... no way deserves to be heard. Songs like "Church of machine ... (read more)

Report this review (#358983) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, December 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I am a huge fan of Symphony X but this does not mean that I should be oblivious to the flaws in their career. One of these flaws is called 'Twilight in Olympus'. It seems that Jason Rullo's leave, quite confused the band which delivered a just good with a lot mediocre moments album. The key eleme ... (read more)

Report this review (#228872) | Posted by mel from hell | Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is Symphony X's 4th album and another great one on the career of this great band. The first thing I thought when I heard this was 'this IS dark !', well, this is by far the darkest record this band has ever released, even sometimes giving a terrific atmosphere, believe me ! As expected, we'v ... (read more)

Report this review (#97111) | Posted by Barla | Saturday, November 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another awesome offering from Symphony X, who in my mind are one of the greatest acts in Progressive-Metal at this present time. 'Twilight in Olympus' had the unenviable task of being the follow up album to what in my opinion is one of the greatest album of all time for this genre. Despite thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#77987) | Posted by requiem | Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars To me this CD has great similarities to DREAM THEATER'S FALLING TO INFINITY: 1. An album that both bands didn't get to release the way they didn't want it be 2. both bands had different members after this album but however were of different instruments 3. both albums had songs the band was g ... (read more)

Report this review (#70973) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is fantastic!! Way the best of 1998!!!! Great guitars, keyboards and drums!! And obviously a superb performance of russell allen, one of the best singers ever!! In this cd there's neoclassical metal, symphonic metal, some thrashy riffs, melody, a great moving ballad and a progressiv ... (read more)

Report this review (#63625) | Posted by | Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favorite Symphony X album. Hands down. I love the classical-esque intro to the opening track, Smoke and Mirrors. The trading off solos between the guitar and the keyboard are also quite amazing. The next track, Church of the Machine, takes about 50 seconds too long to make its point, but i ... (read more)

Report this review (#62293) | Posted by queenfreak27 | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Twilight in Olympus" is the fourth studio album by the American progressive-metal band, coming from New Jersey, Symphony X. After some intern problems Jason Rullo, the usual drummer left the band and was replaced by Thomas Wailling, who brought some new, fresh ideas to the album, but can't re ... (read more)

Report this review (#61776) | Posted by W.Chuck | Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very good prog-metal album here. All the musicians are excellent technically and the vocalist is certainly capable if fairly generic sounding. The only main flaw with this album is that Michael Romeo sounds a bit to much like Yngwie Malmsteen at times. Also the cover of a Beethoven Sonata is a ... (read more)

Report this review (#57084) | Posted by walrus333 | Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Track 01 - SMOKE AND MIRRORS. Although Tom Walling replaced former drummer Jason Rullo on this album, I can't help but admit Walling does a superb job, especially on this clear-cut yet mingled opening track. Up until singer Russell Allen's gaping verse, I really thought Michael Pinnella fash ... (read more)

Report this review (#37688) | Posted by undefinability | Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been wanting to write a bit about this band, so I chose this album to comment on since it's reviews were sparse. Sym X is basically DREAM THEATER with much better vocals and mythology based stories that are alright, well, I prefer incredibly ingenious songs that question the meaning of li ... (read more)

Report this review (#7115) | Posted by | Friday, December 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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