1997, Music

The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997) by Symphony X

Dream Theater remains the only prog metal band I’ve listened to on the progressive side of the spectrum. And I can’t help but hearing their (massive) influence here, for good or ill. (This includes at least one reference in the lyrics to the only Dream Theater album I know well, and I’m sure there are more to their other albums I don’t know.)

But let’s start with the positive: these guys are both more “metal” than Dream Theater and more progressive. (Keep in mind I’ve only ever listened to one Dream Theater album more than a few times.) It’s clear that they are more ambitious and also willing to play with a harder edge than the version of Dream Theater I am familiar with. That is good. It makes me want to like them.

Alas, the things that I dislike about Dream Theater are present here in spades:

  • The power metal vocals
  • The terrible lyrics
  • The cheesy keyboards (which cause you to wonder who thought that was a good sound)
  • The lack of any kind of sense of humour of fun (this is serious stuff, dammit!)
  • The obsession with the idea that, if you are good enough at playing music, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t great at writing songs that could stand without virtuoso playing.

These guys are extraordinarily talented musicians but they lack taste, like Dream Theater and, I assume, like every other one of these bands that play on the more progressive (i.e. more masturbatory) side of the progressive metal spectrum.

6/10 for the musicianship and the sheer ambition of the thing

  1. “Of Sins and Shadows” Thomas Miller Michael Romeo, Michael Pinnella 4:58
  2. “Sea of Lies” Russell Allen Romeo, Pinnella, Miller 4:18
  3. “Out of the Ashes” Allen Romeo, Pinnella, Miller 3:40
  4. “The Accolade” Allen Romeo, Pinnella, Miller 9:51
  5. “Pharaoh” Allen Symphony X 5:28
  6. “The Eyes of Medusa” Miller Romeo, Pinnella, Miller 5:26
  7. “The Witching Hour” Allen, Romeo Romeo, Pinnella 4:15
  8. “The Divine Wings of Tragedy” Romeo, Miller, Pinnella 20:42
    1. “(Part I) At the Four Corners of the Earth” Romeo, Pinnella
    2. “(Part II) In the Room of Thrones” (instrumental)
    3. “(Part III) A Gathering of Angels” Romeo
    4. “(Part IV) The Wrath Divine” Romeo, Miller
    5. “(Part V) The Prophet’s Cry” Romeo
    6. “(Part VI) Bringer of the Apocalypse (Eve of Sacrifice / Armies in the Sky / Dies Irae)” (instrumental)
    7. “(Part VII) Paradise Regained” Allen, Pinnella”
  9. Candlelight Fantasia” Miller Romeo, Pinella 6:45
  • Russell Allen – vocals
  • Michael Romeo – guitar, choir arrangement (track 8)
  • Michael Pinnella – keyboard, choir arrangement (track 8)
  • Jason Rullo – drums
  • Thomas Miller – bass

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