Symphony X - The Divine Wings of Tragedy
One of the most popular acts in the progressive metal world is the band Symphony X. Comprised of five, this is an outfit that reshaped my view of contemporary music in the 90's and 00's through their unique brand of powerful, melodic and insightful music that toys with most of the senses.
When I listen to The Divine Wings of Tragedy, I see the lyrical images set alight in my mind, I feel my skin revolt against me as it morphs into goose flesh that wages war along the battlefield of my spine, and I quiver wildly as the notes pound in my ears and play rhythmic, odd timed beats on my ear drums.
Yes, it is The Divine Wings of Tragedy that appeases all of the musical senses and instils a confidence within the listener that allows them to find solace in this marvellously talented musical outfit.

This album is the third from Symphony X, which finally settled them into a comfortable niche and provided them with the direction for future metal masterpieces. The Divine Wings of Tragedy combines an appropriate combination of raw sounding, hard-edged metal and poignant, romantic music. This would be seen when contrasting the opening track "Of Sins and Shadows", which introduces the listener to a head banging feast with it's downstroke rhythm guitar playing and shrill toned keyboard riffs. However, in contrast to the slower, ballad-like romantic fantasy called "Candlelight Fantasia," which closes the album, the responder would no-doubt actualise that this band is more than just five long haired virtuoso's who think that life is about wars between wizards and demons.

"The Divine Wings of Tragedy" generally conveys a tone of pain and anguish, suffering and turmoil - what one will certainly not find on this album is a song written for the vocalist's girlfriend, apparently, there are more important things to discuss.
So I apologise to all you budding nu-metal fanatics who were hoping to find another album that is shorter than your haircuts and dealing with the paradigms normal teenage love problems.

With that said, what one would find on "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" are outstanding guitar solos and a fantastic relationship between all the instruments. An example of such a relationship would be in track three, entitled "Out of the Ashes", which showcases awe-inspiring melodic lines not heard since Mozart or Beethoven. In this particular instance, all the tracks seem to have merged as one, creating a unified sound that typifies the majesty of Symphony X and illustrates the potential of technical wonderment that they scale beyond.

As a guitarist I can identify with the techniques used by Michael Romeo, who has a neoclassical/metal sound that can only be forged using drop D tuning. His solos have a unique tapping style that seem to wax-stamp the name 'Michael Romeo' throughout them, not merely through the guitar's tone - but through the particular scales he uses and the legato techniques that he chooses to manipulate.

What is encouraging about the album is that no player is lacking in ability. All five members of this band play on the same level of virtuosity and are the master's of their domain.
Jason Rullo's drumming is tantalising, with every beat being optimal for the listener's experience. His work does not seem out of place and he is not overly technical, which is a quality that I applaud. His feel and precision in sections that may have called for a drum roll that was more involved simply proves that the best sound doesn't always come from the most established players.
His drumming style aids in defining the band's sound and his contributions in all of the songs are of a high standard.

The vocals are another facet of Symphony X's remarkable authority and flair. Russell Allen was the answer to Symphony X's problems when he stepped in to replace Rod Tyler who recorded Symphony X's self-titled debut album. This move was obviously for the better after the next two recordings, "The Damnation Game" and "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" established Symphony X as serious, dedicated musicians that had plenty to offer in terms of their fresh metal style.
The vocals are superbly balanced for each song on the album with soul-snatching verses and soaring choruses; the lyrics on the album entice you to read on and listen closer.

In addition, the album comes fully equipped with an entourage of lengthy tracks, including the 20:41s epic entitled "The Divine Wing of Tragedy" and "The Accolade" 9:51s, which guide the listener through music of commanding brilliance that shatter the concrete boundaries of modern metal music. How often can we listen to an album and honestly tell ourselves that we enjoy it on our very first listen? With the Divine Wings of Tragedy, I certainly felt that within the first 10 seconds I had found what I had long since been searching for. Integrity. It binds the album in the musical sense through the proficiency, accuracy and sheer brilliance that this band projects. Simply put, the effort shows.

To wind this review down, I think this album was the changing point not only in the history of Symphony X, but in the course of modern metal music. What we have is pure, unhampered genius that was assembled by five very talented musicians with a common dream. I think the biggest compliment a musician can receive is hearing that his/her music inspires.

Considering this, I believe that Symphony X have created something profound that goes beyond three dimensions. The Divine Wings of Tragedy should be inspiration to all the people in the world with a dream, and the persistence to achieve that dream.
Enjoy this album the way you would enjoy a satisfying meal.
Slowly, appreciatively and with ample room for more.

Written by Yoni
Monday, June 2, 2003
Show all reviews by Yoni


Yoni: 9.5/10

Members: 9.66/10 - Average of 3 ratings.

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This profile has not added a pictureYNGWIEVIKING

Rating: 10/10
A MASTERPIECE ! Maybe my favorite album ever !!!... · Read more ·
Profile pictureTommy

Rating: 9.5/10
Yes, this surely is a magical release. The guitars are simply stunning, twisting and turni... · Read more ·
Profile pictureProfessorShred

Rating: 9.5/10
Totally agree with your thoughts here,fantastic memorable album that stands the test of ti... · Read more ·

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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Mr. Shred-ididle (Anonymous) - Tuesday, June 3, 2003
Fantastic review my fellow ozzy (at least I know I'm not the only Ozzy into good music) From the Headbangers like Of Sins and Shadows, Sea of Lies, Eyes of Medusa to the more progressive Pharaoh, Accolade, neo-classicals like Out of the Ashes, The Withching Hour. The heart crying Candleight Fantasia. And one of the candidates of "Best Song in the World" Devine Wings...

For more heavier SyX get The Odessey. More Melodic get V and Twilight in Olympus.

A definate masterpeice for prog, power, shred, and great compositions.

Comment by Yoni (Anonymous) - Tuesday, June 3, 2003
you left out 'the damnation game' the most underrated sx albums.
really a shame! i love that album! :)

Comment by Mr. Shred-ididle (Anonymous) - Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Yes, With Masterpeices like On the Edge of Forever - How can anyone dislike it!

I just don't think it's up to the level of the others (not including s/t)

Hey Yoni, have you heard Mike Romeo's solo album - "the Dark Chapter"?

Comment by Yoni (Anonymous) - Thursday, June 5, 2003

I have certainly heard OF The Dark Chapter and have managed to listen to a few of the songs. Although i havn't heard the entire thing, or enough to properly judge, my first impression was that the sound of his playing was not as mature as his playing/sound that he exposes with symphony x.

But again - i have not properly listened to that album

Comment by Mr. Shred-ididle (Anonymous) - Saturday, June 7, 2003
It is very 80's shrapnell/shred sounding. Not as good as SyX but any fan of shred will love it. His playing in SyX is certainly more "tastfull" and mature. But TDC is very good aswell. It is very simmilar to something you would hear on Perpetual Burn or Cacophany (but thats not a bad thing!lol)

Comment by Morten (Anonymous) - Friday, June 13, 2003
Hi there!

DWOT is surtenly my fave Symphoney X album as well, but I have never been a real big fan of M. Romeo. I.m.o. he taps into over kill, and his sound is awfull, way too transitor like to my licking and lacking of definition during chords.
(His rythem sound on Odessey is much better thought!!)

But still I can live with Mr Romeo, as long as Allen and Tom Miller (why do people always mention the guitar, even though it is bad... and forget the amazing bass playing of Tom Miller).

Comment by CHARISMAN (Anonymous) - Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Yes tremendous review indeed. I have 3 symphony x albums this one, V and The odyssey and I just cannot choose between them because each one of them posesses magic that is very very different. The title track "The Divine wings of tradgedy" is one of the best songs ever made. Although as good as the song is it is utterly dwarfed by the unbelievable song "The Odyssey". God I love symphony X so much and I cannot wait to get "The damnation game" and "Twiglight in Olimpus". SYMPHONY X ARE WITHOUT DOUBT ONE OF THE MOST MAGICAL AND WONDERFULL BANDS EVER. The only competitors to this band are "Eternity x"(Maybe better album they did called "The Edge") Dream Theater (of course) and Royal Hunt (album called "paradox" is a must for any fans of symphony x)............Oh yeah I have made up my mind, out of the 3 albums i have "V:The new mythology suite" is the greatest although Divine wings is awesome. I cannot wait for their next album

Comment by Pete (Anonymous) - Wednesday, August 6, 2003
Not as good as "V".. but close.
The masters of progressive metal.
SX rules!

Comment by PACHECO (Anonymous) - Tuesday, September 30, 2003
IT'S good comment!!I like it!very well,is the best album of symphony x.congratulations

Comment by Jacques Laffite (Anonymous) - Friday, October 3, 2003
I think Michael Romeo doesn't use D-Drop tuning. He drops ALL HIS STRINGS by two tones.

PS : the song "sea of lies" rules

Comment by Jacques (Anonymous) - Friday, October 3, 2003
Sorry I meant "by two half tones"...

Comment by Marcos (Anonymous) - Sunday, October 5, 2003
Symphony X is the T-Rex of Progressive Metal. They are on the top of food chain and no other band can do anything like them. I'waiting since 1996 for a band like Symphony X, but it doesn't exist.

Comment by Peter K. (Anonymous) - Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Jacques is right.
I have Michael Romeo's Guitar Demonstration video and I know for sure that his standard tuning is DGCFAD.
Apart from that, excellent review, but why not give it a 10/10 :)

Comment by Yoni - Staff (Anonymous) - Thursday, October 16, 2003
Hey, Peter K!

Thanks for the kind words. In response to your question about my evaluation, ie: 9.5/10, i guess i could not give it a 10/10 for a few reasons. I mean, yes, 10 is defined as a masterpiece/classic album, and no doubt this album sits comfortably in the category - however, with that said, i believe i see it this way only when i omit some of its faults, such as track 5, "Pharoah" which to me is nothing short of mediocre.
So - although this album has, imo, some of the best metal songs of all time, it cannot be a 'masterpiece' unless the album as a whole is utterly, immaculate.

For me, anything above 8 is worth worshipping - so a 9.5, imo is still a masterpiece. Just everytime i go through the album i always press track forward when i see '5' light up on my l.e.d screen.

Comment by Peter (Anonymous) - Monday, October 20, 2003
Yeah, well, have to agree with that - it's not a very strong track.
Again, I have to say I'm very impressed with your writing.

Comment by Yoni - Staff (Anonymous) - Monday, October 20, 2003

Much obliged, friend! :)

I really should be doing more, but as it goes, priorities are all over the place.

But still, thanks - i'm happy you could enjoy reading it.


Comment by E. G. (Anonymous) - Monday, December 29, 2003
Why this band is so undervalued? I can't understand. I bought this album a month ago and I still have it inside mh CD-player. My first Symphony X experience was 'Odyssey' and I was surprised with the band's quality. This also a masterpiece, with many beloved songs (Of Sins and Shadows, Pharaoh, Candlelight Fantasia and the title track are my favorites, thouhg I like all the rest). Buy it now, without question. It's a 'must have', not only for the prog metal fans.

Rating: 10/10

Comment by Romeoisgod (Anonymous) - Friday, January 30, 2004
Excellent review. This album was undoubtedly a turning point in prog/metal as well as music in general. Fans of linkin park and limp bizkit need not listen to this masterpiece.For the rest of us this is a work of art. From the agressiveness of "of sins and shadows" to the amazing mood changes in the title track this album just gets better everytime you listen to it. These Jersey guys don't just play their instruments they squeeze the soul out of them. Long live the gods of Prog/metal.

Comment by ThraX (Member) - Wednesday, June 20, 2007
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Comments: 135
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This album is a 10/10 , I know I'll be listening to this album for years and years to come....I love albums with timeless quality and this album posseses that.....Also Michael Romeo is a guitar god!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ThraX
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Review by Tommy (Member) - Friday, May 2, 2003
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Comments: 74
Ratings: 31
Yes, this surely is a magical release. The guitars are simply stunning, twisting and turning, displaying great skill, heaviness and melody. The keyboards are working in great harmony with the tight main rhythm-section, and the harmonious vocals are just fantastic.

The title track really shows the huge abilities of this great band, the atmosphere and overall flow of this extensive song is just perfect. Of Sins And Shadows is one of my all time favourite songs, as well as the remaining ones, ha ha. Seriously all songs have very high quality, even though I find the melodic The Witching Hour lacking some of the high intensity as found for example in the diverse and extremely powerful Out Of The Ashes. Anyway, this album is a classic and the lyrics are very good too, filled with personal issues like inner struggle, and also exterior themes like interesting mythology.

This band belongs to the absolute best in the world, their unique style of technical, powerful, symphonic and melodic Metal is overwhelming.

Rating: 9.5/10

Posted by Tommy
Friday, May 2, 2003

Review by ProfessorShred (Member) - Saturday, June 27, 2009
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Comments: 16
Ratings: 45
Totally agree with your thoughts here,fantastic memorable album that stands the test of time,as an aside let me say that all of you Symphony X fans MUST check out the band Evergrey as well , some of the best music of this genre on the planet.

Rating: 9.5/10

Posted by ProfessorShred
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review by YNGWIEVIKING (Member) - Monday, July 27, 2009
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Comments: 11
Ratings: 11
Maybe my favorite album ever !!!

Rating: 10/10

Monday, July 27, 2009

Review by Yoni

Released by
InsideOutMusic - 1997

01. Of Sins And Shadows
02. Sea Of Lies
03. Out Of The Ashes
04. The Accolade
05. Pharaoh
06. The Eyes Of Medusa
07. The Witching Hour
08. The Divine Wings Of Tragedy
09. Candlelight Fantasia

Progressive metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Symphony X - Official Website

Other articles
Symphony X - (Tommy)

The Odyssey - (Tajs)

The Odyssey - (Tommy)

Interview with Mike Pinnella - (Tajs)

The Damnation Game - (Tommy)

Paradise Lost - (Tommy)

Live in Markthalle, Hamburg - February 13th, 2008 - (Tommy)

Z supported shopping

1 - Horrifying
2 - Terrible
3 - Bad
4 - Below average
5 - Average
6 - Good
7 - Very good
8 - Outstanding
9 - Genius
10 - Masterpiece
666 - Unrated

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