Symphony X - The divine wings of tragedy 5/5

Reviewed: 6-10-05


1. Of sins and shadows
2. Sea of lies
3. Out of the ashes
4. The accolade
5. Pharaoh
6. The eyes of Medusa
7. The witching hour
8. The divine wings of tragedy
9. Candlelight fantasia

The 3rd, triumphant CD for Symphony X is simply a masterpiece. Symphony X is a heavy, neo–classical metal band with superb songwriting, playing, and singing. Often, neo–classical metal is heavily keyboard influenced. Symphony X, while having strong keyboards, is most definitely a guitar band. The leader of the band is guitar virtuoso Michael Romeo. His great guitar riffs are the bed upon which Symphony X's music lies. More in the background are some excellent keyboards, often trading riffs with Romeo. The vocalist, Russell Allen, is comparable to Ronnie James Dio; he has an excellent, strong, emotional baritone voice.

Every track on this CD is excellent, but there are some which stand out. "The Accolade" is one of the slower tracks, but has a brilliantly melodic chorus. The finale, "Candlelight Fantasia", is the only ballad on the CD. It is a stunningly emotional ballad that is truly breathtaking. Despite these high points, the centerpiece of the CD is the 20–plus minute title track. This track truly has everything. It opens with church/gospel singing before moving into a more typical Symphony X style. Mixing slow and fast music, this track reaches a high point about 3 quarters of the way through with a stunning instrumental part before moving into a strong ending.

This is one of the absolute must haves in the world of neo–classical metal, but it's guitar emphasis and baritone, scratchy (though very strong and emotional) vocals make it fairly unique in its genre. This CD is clearly the high point of the band’s career up to this point, and it will likely remain its high point at the end of its career.




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