Review Summary: It might not hold a torch to The Divine Wings of Tragedy or most of the band's catalogue, but Twilight In Olympus gives a well-rounded idea of what the band typically sounds like which is, by and large, a fair first-entry recommendation
There are some bands whose names alone are ample indication of the type of music they embody. Cannibal Corpse for death metal, Metallica for simple heavy metal, BrokeNCYDE for disability-inducing trash; you get the picture. Conveniently enough, New Jersey’s Symphony X keep classification easy for us thanks to their name, if with a few other elements present for good measure. The band’s fourth studio effort, Twilight In Olympus
, gives a fairly good idea of what one can expect from the band’s entire catalogue stylistically.
Opener Smoke and Mirrors
does well to establish what its listeners will come to hear throughout the album’s relatively meaty fifty-two minute runtime. Smooth guitar-playing further emphasized by keyboards and studio effects craft a vivid flow that just grabs one’s attention. Add a relatively strong and varied voice by singer Russell Allen matched by backing vocals from Michael Romeo and Pinnella and you have a sound that’s familiar yet distinct enough to be identifiable.
This is all further exemplified by the following track, Church of the Machine
, which is definitely more enjoyable than the aforementioned icebreaker. We get a transition that shows a very similar sound but doesn’t blend so much that one would give an “it all sounds the same” comment. From there on, we get a continued mix of songs which branch off a bit here and there but never to the point that the genre is questioned for a second (unless you’re trying to clearly distinguish the power and symphonic elements). Generally, these moments work well, though the band does begin to slip up during a couple points.
Take In the Dragon’s Den
for instance. This is one of the band’s shorter and thus basic tracks that feels like it’s being forced into a more frantic nature than they tend to show. What results is a song which, though not mediocre, is quite far from showcasing the band in their top form. A more peculiar piece, however, comes from The Relic
, since it sounds like the band well in their comfort zone but doesn’t work nearly as well as most of their material. It’s more or less one of those “there’s nothing necessarily wrong, but nothing’s particularly great either” inclusions that could be argued as filler material, yet it does ultimately help the album feel complete by the end.
Conversely, Twilight In Olympus definitely has its strong points as well which, thankfully, stand out well. Orion-The Hunter
takes on a similar identity to In the Dragon’s Den
except the more typical song length of the band makes it vastly superior. The extra time taken to elaborate and slow the overall tempo down just a bit pays off very well so that the track is mildly exciting but retains the band’s core sound. But one simply can’t mention Twilight In Olympus without bringing up Through the Looking Glass
, which, though far from the band’s longest or most epic track, is a still-excellent and wondrous listen. It’s points like these that show just how a well-executed song of its length can immensely benefit both the album and the band overall.
By the time Lady of the Snow
has graced the listener a good bit of ground has been covered. And, in-spite of being longer than your more straightforward album, it all feels remarkably well-paced. This is one of the ultimate treats Symphony X bestows upon their audiences: releases that, though full of content, don’t drag out and are thus very enjoyable. Now, granted, Twilight In Olympus
isn’t an excellent album. Though the weaker tracks aren’t necessarily “weak” so to speak (save for In the Dragon’s Den
), the only song that really stands high and tall is its sole epic. As for the rest of the songs, it’s all content that finds itself between good and great which becomes a consistent impression with each listening. In essence, this is a stellar album with one exceptional shining moment. Fans might not consider this the most immediately recommendable release (and rightly so), but it’s a good enough starting point for anyone who has yet to experience the elaboration crafted by a very talented group.