Label: Sony Music Media - SMM 509912-2 • Format: CD Compilation • Country: France • Genre: Electronic, Hip Hop, Pop • Style: Chanson, Euro House, Synth-pop
Review by Menswear Prog Reviewer. Images and Words was the Sgt. Pepper of Metal When Dream and Day Unite being Beatles For Salepushing the limits of virtuosity and showing that it is possible to excel and reach new ears. Then came an army of young'uns looking to get into this very select League of Gentlemen. Enters Symphony X, a band who quickly climbed the ladder almost to the Temptation - Caterina Valente - Caterina Valente (Vinyl, Album), and stayed 'till today I guess.
And with Divine Wings, all the elements are turning like a well oiled machine, light years from their first album only 3 years before.
Now that's grow spurt if I ever saw one! Divine Wings is proudly giving street cred to the Metal Prog scene, not being top dog but surely flexing every muscle possible. Romeo being at top form, doing the impossible with his axe, litterally giving birth to some pretty intense tapping Sea of LIes still considered a milestone today and giving headaches to youngsters aspiring to become a master shredder. PInella is still on his streak of Transylvanian keyboards and blending classical influences in the mix to our supreme pleasure.
Last but not least, Russell Allen. Arjen Luccassen once said in interview that he considered Allen as the best in world I suspect his stomach and lungs just popped out at Out of The Ashes. The guys is big and tall, with eternally wet hair and sporting lots of chest and facial hair maybe shoulders also, I haven't check.
While Labrie is more delicate and romantic, Allen is knightly in-your-face like a modern jousting Sir Lancelot, with a mace in one hand and a roasted muttton leg in the other. Divine Wings is well sporting it's name: almost every aspect is brought with angelic ease and representing well l'air du temps that was the metal years of the second half of the 90's. I guess you have to start somewhere, and. It's not deprived of qualities, some neo-classical segments of synths and guitars are good and some catchy choruses are heard.
If unpolished guitar shreds Malmsteen sauce is your thang, you'll get plenty of it here. Overall, the songwriting is lacking serious inspiration Funny enough: Is the singer's trying to emulate Dio or he's just howling on the can, victim of a diet low on fiber?
Hmm, that's the kind of interrogation that keeps me awake at night. Better than Lulu but far from Dream and Day Unite, for die hard fans. Like really, really dedicated, tattooed, flag wavin' hardcore fans. I did not want to review this album, at all. Briefly about the album: It is the eighth release of Symphomy X, the follow-up to their LP 'Paradise Lost' an album that does not fit my taste, tooand though it is not a concept album with a storyline and characters, there is a concept that goes through the record: The idea of machines taking over humanity.
The album is pretty much Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 and is definitely one of the heaviest releases of Symphony X. Still, after the first couple of tracks, it starts to sounds quite jogtrot. It feels like I'm listening to the same tracks, just re-played in a slightly different manner. And that, I believe, is my issue with the band's latest releases. Sure, it is not a terrible album, nor it is badly produced, it just sounds like everything else Symphony X has done.
Despite all of the bad words, I appreciate the band's technicality and their virtuosity, the fact they are able to make complex, yet fast and powerful compositions, and the loyal fanbase that they have.
Also, keep in mind that this is just my opinion. The band is well-known for their typical 'neoclassical metal' sound, with influences borrowed from prog metal, symphonic metal, Du Falsche Schöne - Lift - Lift power metal. Sonically, 'Underworld' is all that you could expect from the band: fast songs, killing tempo, fascinatingly technical compositions, grand musicianship Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 seems like it is a must for a band that performs such music.
However, it is Vue DEnsemble - Les Ogres De Barback - Avril Et Vous new under the sun for the Middleton-based band. It is the same sound that they are known for and that they have been playing for years Hyperosnie - Les Synapses - Bombe Anatomique much like other bands in the genre that sacrifice originality and experimentation for the sake of creating a 'signature sound' or being 'recognisable' in the musical scene, such as: Dream Theater, Haken, Queensryche; Don't mistake my words for blind criticism, I love most of these bands and I enjoy listening to them quite much; it is just questionable if they fit in the definition of 'progressive', as they are hardly exploring the Terra incognita of music.
Still, 'Underworld' has many great tracks Nevermore, Kiss of Fire, Charon, To Hell and Back, Run With the Devil that showcase the band's ability to create powerful, dramatic, and electrifying tracks, accompanied by the band's virtuosity.
Another thing that has to be mentioned, is that it is a logical succession to the previous record 'Iconoclast' which is a bit heavier, but more song-oriented, unlike 'Underworld' which was written to serve as a whole. Also, Russel Allen's charismatic and recognisable voice is the perfect match for the music of these guys.
It carries a strength that elevates the music to a new level of passion and drama. Overall, it is an album that is an enjoyable listen from start to finish with the exception of a couple tracks in the endit could definitely speak to prog and power metal fans, but I believe it is not a landmark album, neither for the band, nor for the genre.
Gone are overblown song sections with orchestra, layered keyboard and vocals; more conventional song structures prevail. Guitar and keyboard solos are easy to find; some tracks feature pleasant organ-like chords, just like the eight track "7". The trademark tracks are "Set the world on fire", "Paradise Lost" and "Seven".
Vocals got rougher and the music heavier; intensive riffs win over speedy muscular chords; but there is enough guitar variety to show. On the other hand, "Paradise Lost" is stronger then 's "Iconoclast" and "Underworld" that I consider disappointing in terms of development and new ideas. The album is very well executed and melodies belong to the best that Symphony X ever created.
The record is filled with energy, enthusiasm and appetite; after 5 years on hiatus, that shouldn't be different. The first three songs perfectly show the ability to create concise songs that are still very much in the vein of prog.
This shifts into a small vocal section that is extremely reminiscient of 'Queen', before Its Time to Die - John Maus - Love Letters From Hell out into a great solo.
The song is structured in a much more complex way that's also more sprawling, but the songwriting still feels tight as ever, as not a moment is wasted, with a great balance between the various solos and vocals, allowing the song to remain exciting throughout.
The high point is definitely near the end, with the beautiful sound of bells, violins and a piano, along with other components that build on top of one another, creating an absolutely breathtaking minute of music to cap it off.
The rest of the song manages to be good, but nothing spectacular, with the chorus coming off as quite cheesy. The spark the the first 4 tracks reignites on the final 2, kicking off with one of the greatest songs of the band's career. The self titled song begins with some Gregorian chanting that really solidifies the sort of sound the band has. The absolute power this song has is many steps above everything else here, with powerful solo after powerful solo, with climaxes spread throughout and still not a single moment wasted, despite the 20 minute runtime.
The interplay at work here is particularly noteworthy, with certain Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 being downright incredible. The melody throughout is also particularly great, invoking immense power without getting too hammy at any point. Everything about it is nothing short of enchanting, and definitely ends the album perfectly. Despite this album being slightly weaker around the middle, I find this to be a very solid prog metal album. In the sense of technicality, it's Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 amazing, but it's the amount of beauty and emotion put in that really does it for me.
This is definitely a band far greater than at least most power metal bands, and represents some of the best of prog metal. It's quite a shame that the middle section happens to be of somewhat lower quality, because otherwise this would be an easy full score, fortunately, the band definitely ends up going on Hector Couto - Parental Advisory surpass this album a few times.
I'd highly recommend this to fans of prog metal or power metal, along with those who are somewhat torn about either of them, as this album serves as a great display of the high points of said genres.
This album would consist of the band's regular line up, except for their drummer Jason Rulio, who left the band for personal reasons, but only temporarily. Thomas Walling sits in for him on this album, but proves himself quite capable of the tricky rhythms and the required technical playing in the rapid fire percussion such as in the first track "Smoke and Mirrors". To show their classical leanings, part of the instrumental break of this track features a quote from Bach's Mass in B Minor.
The music is quite accessible, or not quite as progressive as Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 would hope, but it is good enough to keep me wanting to come back for more. There is also nothing groundbreaking on the album, but the musicianship is astounding anyway as all members are able to produce the technical Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 they need, and all of them get plenty of room to do so.
The best tracks are the ones that get to show off their progressive skills and soloing virtuosity. The shorter tracks are aimed at attracting more fans to their fan base, but the longer tracks have the best development and instrumental abilities. The best tracks here are "Church of the Machine" with its memorable chorus, and "Through the Looking Glass" inspired by Alice's adventures in "Through the Looking Glass" and is a multi-movement work exceeding 13 minutes in length giving plenty of time for solo exploration and development.
The last track "Lady Mercedes Sosa - Gracias A La Vida the Snow" is also a standout track especially for the Japanese style utilized in the first part of the track and the use of the sitar to sound like a Koto.
The song itself is based upon Japanese mythology and that topic was chosen because the band was interested in experimenting with the Oriental scale tonality. It makes for a nice variation in the music just as it was needed in the album. Overall, the basic sound from the band is there, and there is some evidence that the band was wanting to try new things, so I give them props for that.
The basic sound does get tiring after a while, so when they deviate from that, it makes everything more powerful and memorable. It is good though, to hear a talented progressive metal band like Symphony X strive to expand their sound. Kudos also for their continued use of keyboards as more than just a supportive instrument, especially in metal music.
What makes Symphony X so heavy, you ask? While people measure heaviness in different ways, in my opinion, it's the 'weight' of the music. The production Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 the sound, and in this case, the massive and beefy-as-hell guitar riffs.
Taking the energy of power metal and the songwriting arrangements of progressive metal, Symphony X's music is very upbeat and ambitious. With complex orchestrations and masterful musicianship, these guys are at the top of their game, and on par with the genres finest musicians. In particular, guitarist Michael Romeo and vocalist Russell Allen have an absolute synergy rarely seen these days, with Allen's incredibly versatile range being a perfect match for the guitar riffs.
Released on two discs, or as a one-disc edition for people not willing to spend too much dollar I wonder how many people actually bought that one'Iconoclast' is an incredible album with very few flaws. With absolute monstrous beasts such as 'Electric Messiah', 'The End of Innocence', 'Bastards of the Machine', 'Dehumanized', 'Children of a Faceless God' and 'Reign in Madness', this shows that, while Symphony X may not feel inclined to do many classically- inspired prog epics these days, they've refused to relent with age, instead, getting heavier and constantly finding ways to update their sound and remain relevant.
Now hold your tongue before you condemn me for this blasphemy and take heed! Firstly, I'm not really big on live albums. I do like them, and if I'm a fan of a band I'll endeavour to own everything they release, but ultimately I like the slick, crisp sound of a studio recording. Everything is perfectly balanced mostlythe sound is punchier, and it just feels more 'definitive'. Live albums can be good for jams and random nuggets of joy where the band can be entertaining through banter or crowd interaction.
But otherwise Secondly, to be brutally honest, Symphony X's music doesn't convey the same type of energy that goes down well on a live setting. Don't get me wrong, I love Symphony X, and the song choices here are fantastic! But I love live albums where there's a palpable energy flowing! Where you can really feel electricity in the air.
All I imagine here is a bunch of people standing around watching a band play, and then clapping Symphonie De LAme - Various - Hits 2002 the end.
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