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The Divine Wings Of Tragedy: Special Edition - Symphony X

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Symphony X / Enhanced / Audio CD released 2003-12-08 at Spv

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    3 Reviews
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    • More +
      31.03.2004 18:13
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      Symphony X's third album (1997)

      Symphony X are often compared to Dream Theater, the leading band in the progressive metal genre, and the musical style is similar. If you are a Dream Theater fan however, this album is much more akin to the "Awake" album in terms of heaviness then any of their other work, and compared to other Symphony X albums this is also quite heavier than their norm - although their recent release "the Odyssey" sounds similar to this offering so I'll be buying that in the near future. Released in 1997, "the Divine Wings of Tragedy" is the most recognised release from this american progressive metal band and the first to feature the line up as it remains today. The band consists of five very talented musicians, combining powerful metal riffs with solo work and the occasional King Arthur-esque ballad sections which are thankfully quite brief. Russel Allen handles the vocals in a way that often makes the band seem like they are part of the european progressive metal 'scene,' while Michael Romeo was voted best guitarist in some magazine or competition or something; this album really shows how fast and varied he can play. Thomas Miller's basswork is also given many chances to shine, much more than in many other bands, while Jason Rullo's drumming always fits the music perfectly, even though he is not listed on any songwriting credits. Michael Pinella's keyboards finish Symphony X's distinctive sound and although they are more present on the band's later work such as "V," they still fit well within the songs and never become annoying. THE TRACKS: Unlike their later albums, this is not a concept album and instead begins with tracks that deal with human emotions and concepts before moving on to the more fantastical. 1. Of Sins and Shadows The album begins with one of the shorter, faster tracks with the guitar, bass and drums leading up to the start of the vocals and keyboards. The chorus is typical of Symphony X with singing combining with loud guitars and ever-changing riffs, it really works as an opener. An interesting change toards the end of the song involves a Queen-style bit of a capella chanting which will doubtless please many fans of the progressive genre, but which often makes me cringe untl I can take delight in the guitar and keyboard solos which follow. The song talks about the loss of innocence and betrayal. 2. Sea of Lies Beginning with a bass opening, Sea of Lies is more of a classic track and one of my favourites on the album as all the riffs, vocals and the chorus are excellent. More of an angry power metal track that doesn't resort to shouting and still finds plenty of time for keyboard solos between verses, the chorus is also very catchy. Another relatively short 4-minute song, it nevertheless features many changes and almost subliminal backing acoustic guitars at times. If you are a newcomer to Symphony X but are interested in their music, this song would be a good place to start. The lyrics talk about an "eternal abyss" of lies, which only becomes deeper and more difficult to escape the more it is carried out, as well as statements that the liar will hate himself. 3. Out of the Ashes A more accessible track due to its very melodic chorus, Out of the Ashes is actually one of the heaviest on the album and doesn't fail to show this from the onset. The keyboards are at their best here, however the other instruments and vocals are equally excellent throu ghout the album. The song deals with the ascent to adulthood, "out of the ashes of my youth I rise a man," and is the last of this fast and short section of the album before the epic track that follows. 4. The Accolade One of the band's most experimetal and diverse tracks, The Accolade is a ten minute epic detailing the life and death of a Knight of the Templar, and this atmosphere is conveyed perfectly. Beginning very melodically, the heaviness and catchy riff comes in at two minutes before the vocals. The choruses are again sung and slower than the rest of the song, while the lengthy instrumental solos don't detract from the enjoyment and immersement. This is another of my favourite tracks, but it's not exactly light listening. 5. Pharaoh A track that is difficult to spell is a welcome shorter number after the Accolade, and features one of the album's catchiest choruses. The Egyptian mythology interest of the band would be more clear in their later concept album "V," but it's obvious that they're done their homework here. Not as much singing, but Russel Allen's vocals still have plenty of range and extend into a very soft part of this song, which is often the angriest on the album. 6. The Eyes of Medusa Another track that deals with fantasy is my very favourite track on the album, simply because it combines all of Symphony X's genres and techniques to great effect. Clearly based on the myth of the Medusa, showcased in the Clash of the Titans film, it has the feeling of a classic from the onset. The guitars are probably at their best here, and the chorus is as excellent as ever. The song even features an interlude part way through which strangely manages to create the image of the "haunted shores" before returning t o the pounding riffs. 7. The Witching Hour One of the more fun tracks starts with a light and somehow enjoyable melody that contrasts with the heaviness of the previous song. The song deals with a man's apparent sights during the "witching hour," leading to a great chorus. This is one of the shorter tracks on the album, but a great one to listen to. 8. The Divine Wings of Tragedy A twenty minute song could only be described as an epic! This song is divided into seven parts, the first of which sounds like a choir singing with only a light keyboard backing. The second part becomes more akin to the other albums and is a fantastic instrumental, and the vocals begin in part three. The song appears to relate the story of a prophet who is banished but returns to heaven at the end. Definitely the most intricate and epic song I have ever heard, it's a shame that the seven parts are so intelrinked as some sections, especially the instrumental, would be excellent as stand-alone tracks. Less accessible however, and definitely not MTV material, not that many of their songs could be. 9. Candlelight Fantasia The album closes with the lightest track and some of Allen's best vocals. Another song dealing with an unhappy, scorned man, it nevertheless escapes becoming angry or resentful at any point. The fade-out at the end is also a nice touch, and leaves the emotional chorus in your head. The design of the album is another of the band's features; attention to detail and interest in fantasy. The overall theme on the covers and inlay reflects stone walls and a Cathedral design, while the cover features a painting of an angel holding a rose and standing silent, with a stained glass window behind her. Whether she is mornful or in prayer is not clear, but it looks nice. I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys progressive music and harder contemporary rock, as you won't be disappointed. Symphony X are not as recognised as they deserve to be, especially in light of many of the very average rock bands selling millions with uncomplex music that simply tries to attract the teen angst element of the public. Symphony X are definitely more adult in their appeal, and this album is widely considered to be their best work. The production values cannot be criticised, as the album sounds perfect, while the members are all clearly talented at what they do. The only problems with the album are that it is difficult to find, and as such will never likely be found at a lower price than £13.99 even on the internet, as well as its inaccessibility to many people. There are a number of bands I could use as comparison, however Symphony X's sound is relatively unique, and with this album they have produced a modern classic I cn hold in as high esteem as Metallica's Black Album. There's surely something for everyone on this album, from fast paced anthems to lengthy melodies and sombre musings.

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      • More +
        05.12.2003 17:23
        3 Comments

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        Released in 1997, "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" is the most recognised release from this American progressive metal band and the first to feature the line up as it remains today. The band consists of five very talented musicians, combining powerful metal riffs with solo work and the occasional King Arthur-esque ballad sections which are thankfully quite brief. Russel Allen handles the vocals in a way that often makes the band seem like they are European, while Michael Romeo was voted best guitarist in some magazine or competition or something; this album really shows how fast and varied he can play. Thomas Miller's basswork is also given many chances to shine, much more than in many other bands, while Jason Rullo's drumming always fits the music perfectly, even though he is not listed on any songwriting credits. Michael Pinella's keyboards finish Symphony X's distinctive sound and although they are more present on the band's later work such as "V," they still fit well within the songs and never become annoying. Symphony X are often compared to Dream Theater, the leading band in the progressive metal genre, and the musical style is similar. If you are a Dream Theater fan however, this album is much more akin to the "Awake" album in terms of heaviness then any of their other work, and compared to other Symphony X albums this is also quite heavier than their norm - although their recent release "The Odyssey" sounds similar to this album so I'll be buying that in the near future. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------- THE TRACKS: Unlike their later albums, this is not a concept album and instead begins with tracks that deal with human emotions and concepts before moving on to the more fantastical. 1. Of Sins and Shadows The album begins with one of the shorter, faster tracks wi th the guitar, bass and drums leading up to the start of the vocals and keyboards. The chorus is typical of Symphony X with singing combining with loud guitars and ever-changing riffs, it really works as an opener. An interesting change toards the end of the song involves a Queen-style bit of a capella chanting which will doubtless please many fans of the progressive genre, but which often makes me cringe untl I can take delight in the guitar and keyboard solos which follow. The song talks about the loss of innocence and betrayal. 2. Sea of Lies Beginning with a bass opening, Sea of Lies is more of a classic track and one of my favourites on the album as all the riffs, vocals and the chorus are excellent. More of an angry power metal track that doesn't resort to shouting and still finds plenty of time for keyboard solos between verses, the chorus is also very catchy. Another relatively short 4-minute song, it nevertheless features many changes and almost subliminal backing acoustic guitars at times. If you are a newcomer to Symphony X but are interested in their music, this song would be a good place to start. The lyrics talk about an "eternal abyss" of lies, which only becomes deeper and more difficult to escape the more it is carried out, as well as statements that the liar will hate himself. 3. Out of the Ashes A more accessible track due to its very melodic chorus, Out of the Ashes is actually one of the heaviest on the album and doesn't fail to show this from the onset. The keyboards are at their best here, however the other instruments and vocals are equally excellent throughout the album. The song deals with the ascent to adulthood, "out of the ashes of my youth I rise a man," and is the last of this fast and short section of the album before the epic track that follows. 4. The Accolade One of the band's most experimetal and diverse tracks, The Accolade is a ten minute epic detailing the life and death of a Knight of the Templar, and this atmosphere is conveyed perfectly. Beginning very melodically, the heaviness and catchy riff comes in at two minutes before the vocals. The choruses are again sung and slower than the rest of the song, while the lengthy instrumental solos don't detract from the enjoyment and immersement. This is another of my favourite tracks, but it's not exactly light listening. 5. Pharaoh A track that is difficult to spell is a welcome shorter number after the Accolade, and features one of the album's catchiest choruses. The Egyptian mythology interest of the band would be more clear in their later concept album "V," but it's obvious that they're done their homework here. Not as much singing, but Russel Allen's vocals still have plenty of range and extend into a very soft part of this song, which is often the angriest on the album. 6. The Eyes of Medusa Another track that deals with fantasy is my very favourite track on the album, simply because it combines all of Symphony X's genres and techniques to great effect. Clearly based on the myth of the Medusa, showcased in the Clash of the Titans film, it has the feeling of a classic from the onset. The guitars are probably at their best here, and the chorus is as excellent as ever. The song even features an interlude part way through which strangely manages to create the image of the "haunted shores" before returning to the pounding riffs. 7. The Witching Hour One of the more fun tracks starts with a light and somehow enjoyable melody that contrasts with the heaviness of the previous song. The song deals with a man's apparent sights during the "witching hour," leading to a great chorus. This is one of the shorter tracks on the album, but a great one to listen to. 8. The Divine Wings of Tragedy A twenty minute song could only be described as an epic! This song is divided into seven parts, the first of which sounds like a choir singing with only a light keyboard backing. The second part becomes more akin to the other albums and is a fantastic instrumental, and the vocals begin in part three. The song appears to relate the story of a prophet who is banished but returns to heaven at the end. Definitely the most intricate and epic song I have ever heard, it's a shame that the seven parts are so intelrinked as some sections, especially the instrumental, would be excellent as stand-alone tracks. Less accessible however, and definitely not MTV material, not that many of their songs could be. 9. Candlelight Fantasia The album closes with the lightest track and some of Allen's best vocals. Another song dealing with an unhappy, scorned man, it nevertheless escapes becoming angry or resentful at any point. The fade-out at the end is also a nice touch, and leaves the emotional chorus in your head. The design of the album is another of the band's features; attention to detail and interest in fantasy. The overall theme on the covers and inlay reflects stone walls and a Cathedral design, while the cover features a painting of an angel holding a rose and standing silent, with a stained glass window behind her. Whether she is mornful or in prayer is not clear, but it looks nice. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------- I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys progressive music and harder contemporary rock, as you won't be disappointed. Symphony X are not as recognised as they deserve to be, especially in light of many of the very average rock bands selling millions with uncomplex music that simply tries to attract the teen angst element of the public. Symphony X are definitely more adult in their appeal, and this album is widely considered to be their best work. The production values cannot be criticised, as the album sounds perfect, while the members are all clearly talented at what they do. The only problems with the album are that it is difficult to find, and as such will never likely be found at a lower price than £13.99 even on the internet, as well as its inaccessibility to many people. There are a number of bands I could use as comparison, however Symphony X's sound is relatively unique, and with this album they have produced a modern classic I cn hold in as high esteem as Metallica's Black Album. There's surely something for everyone on this album, from fast paced anthems to lengthy melodies and sombre musings.

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        • More +
          27.07.2000 22:52
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          If you consider yourself a true progressive rock/metal fan, you MUST have this album. Claimed by many sources around the world to be the BEST progressive album of 1997. This have a permanent position in my TOP 5 CD from all time. If you like Metal -- don't matter what genre: From the most traditional metal bands like Metallica or Iron Maiden to most progressive bands such as RUSH (yeah! ), Dream Theater and even Shadow Gallery... You'll LOVE IT! All Symphony X members are monsters and considered by many as their personal hero.

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        • Product Details

          Disc #1 Tracklisting
          1 Of Sins And Shadows
          2 Sea Of Lies
          3 Out Of The Ashes
          4 Accolade
          5 Pharaoh
          6 Eyes Of Medusa
          7 Witching Hour
          8 Divine Wings Of Tragedy
          9 Candlelight Fantasia