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I personally despise power metal. I think that the over use of "epic" keyboarding is just stupid, the over dramatic vocals are more irritating than scratching a blackboard, and for god's sake the fucking lyrics! I love viking metal, and I admit that those lyrics are cheesy as hell, but at least it's not AS embarrassing. Something about these dudes singing about unicorns and dragons just makes me uneasy. I'm a geek, but not geek enough to head-bang to shit like that, never mind listen to it on my own free time. That being said, I saw Symphony X open up for Dream Theater a couple of years ago and was impressed enough to check them out. I'm almost ashamed to say that The Divine Wings of Tragedy is fucking awesome.
Unlike most power metal releases, Symphony X is heavily influenced by prog which definitely helps them seem much more mature. Michael Romeo, Jason Rullo, Thomas Miller, and yeah even Michale Pinella on keyboards are so great at their instruments that they make this album a treat to listen to. As gay as this sounds, I actually enjoy the mystical feel of all of their songs, especially "Accolade" and the title track. They successfully make the listener feel like he or she is living in a fantasy world throughout the entire album, and that's what really makes The Divine Wings of Tragedy so much fun to listen to.
And what about Russell Allen, you say? Well, you just have to hear it to believe it. If i were to say that he has one of the most powerful voices with some of the widest range in metal that I have ever heard, you would most likely doubt me. And rightfully so, because that is a very bold statement. That is the exact reason why you simply have to hear it to believe it. This is where I would usually suggest a track where he truly shines, but in this case I cannot because Russell Allan never stops shining. In fact, other than the album Paradise Lost (so far) he literally never seems to fucks up. The only reason he doesn't rule on Paradise Lost is because he limits himself to deeper vocals, which is just not his style. It really is incredible to be as consistent as he is throughout his entire career.
This is tied with Twilight in Olympus as my favorite release from Symphony X. That is because both of these albums perfectly paint a detailed fantasy/mythological universe and it is also where every individual band member is at their most creative. If you are into power metal, progressive metal, or especially both then you should give Symphony X a shot.
Highlights: "Of Sins and Shadows", "Accolade", "Divine Wings of Tragedy"