Symphony X

The Divine Wings of Tragedy
(CNR - 1997)
This is 80% Dream Theater from the Images and Words era mixed with a heavier dose of Iced Earth and a tad of Yngwie Malmsteen. Sounds like a divine combination? Then you're reading the right review, because this is a stupendous album. I can't call them original since they are so obviously using Dream Theater riffs and drumming patterns but the compositions are complex, ever changing and unpredictable so it's hard to call them 'clones'. And besides, they pull it off so well and even improve over their own influences with superb talent. That together with the superior vocalist that sounds at times like Dio, Fred Mercury or a typical 'prog' high-pitch vocalist make this a must buy for fans of this genre. They might not be original and ground breaking but they have succeeded in mixing progressive, power and neoclassical in their own special way with even a few fantastic multiple-vocal arrangements a la Queen that fit right in. The songs vary from a tight 4-5 minutes to long epic tracks that are easy to get lost in (including one 20 minute song). Impossible to get bored with, this album twists and turns and changes in a technical frenzy, the solos shifting from the guitar to the keyboard in the Rising Force style, the instrumental sections trying to dominate the album yet the vocals keep up and push it to loftier heights, and all this propelled by heavy rhythmic guitars leaving you as bewildered as this sentence did. It takes a few spins to digest but this is extremely and highly recommended!
Twilight in Olympus
(CNR - 1998)
Read the above review for the Divine Wings of Tragedy. All the same applies to this album only maybe this time it is slightly more controlled and has a little more of that progressive sound. It has a slightly softer sound as well and may seem somewhat less gripping, but it is so similar in effect that these changes aren't important. The great keyboards, guitars and vocals are here as well and anyone that thinks Dream Theater have gotten too soft and simple lately should get these two albums. Also extremely recommended.

The Last Exit 1996-

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