Symphony X

What's your favorite Symphony X album?

  • Symphony X

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Damnation Game

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Iconoclast

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Underworld

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    20

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Eyes of Medusa
Music: Romeo, Pinnella, Miller
Lyrics: Miller

LYRICS
Can you look into my eyes
Tell me, now do you somehow
Still recognize this stare I wear
Through crystal tears

The light escapes my smile
There is no likeness to be seen
It is so strange to me

Awaken vindication
The mirrors curse it besets me

CHORUS
Endless, timeless, faceless terror
To the isle of deadly shores
Sightless, countless, ageless, torture
To behold the sight of Medusa's eyes

Under a spell, I'm enchanted
The hand of fate is never late to
Ring the time
I'm forced to climb the walls

A voice bids last farewell
With no beginning or no end to
Be found by me

CHORUS

[Guitar Solo]
[sailing on the random seas of bloat]

CHORUS
  • The intro here is crunchy, moody, and really groovy. I like the way it picks up a bit halfway through with Romeo's twisty riff. And then it all...implodes.
  • Pinnella's keyboards and Miller's bass are awesome here. At turns pure magic and weirdly jazzy. Romeo continues to layer chunky riffs on top of chunky riffs. It's cool stuff. I love how Romeo, Miller, and Rullo are syncing up on the double bass kicks throughout the riffing.
  • I actually really like Russell's singing in the verses (and Miller's lyrics are quite good too for a song about freakin' Medusa...certainly better than Scott Ian's terrible attempt). I don't like the FX on his voice, though. He sounds drowned. Doesn't fit.
  • The pre-chorus is fine, it doesn't do much. Miller's little bass runs before the pre-chorus are cool, though.
  • And we have another oddly-written Symphony X chorus. It's not particularly catchy. It's not particularly good...I don't know. It's wordy, the melody is fine, I guess, but it just feels rushed. The "endless, timeless" etc parts sound like they should have had some backing vocals.
  • The second verse is the same as the first: cool melody, but should've ditched the vocal FX. I love the run Romeo does under the "hand of fate is never late" line. Killer change up. I truly dislike the performance on the second half, though. It doesn't even sound like Russell. It's like Geoff Tate or somebody slipped into the studio for one line. Also, the FX on "by MEEEEEEE" are horrible.
  • Romeo's solo is awesome! It has structure, there's virtually no wank, it has a dirtier distortion patch than usual...really cool stuff.
  • And then.
  • AND THEN...
  • WHY
  • THE
  • FUCK
  • DOES
  • THE
  • SONG
  • STOP
  • FOR A POINTLESS INTERLUDE
  • I seriously hate it. Up til now this song would have been like a high 7, low 8 or something. This drops it at least a whole point.
  • Sure, the arrangement here is fantastic and beautiful and layered (and it uses the Micheal Romeo key change that has appeared before and will appear again - hear it from 4:12-4:18), but it's just absolutely pointless in this song.
  • After absolutely nothing happens we have the main riff again, Zakk Wylde shows up, and we get another chorus. That's it. No, seriously. We have a sweeping and epic interlude...for zero reason. Nah. Kthnxbye.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
The first part before the interlude is sublime. I wish they developed the song without it. It never picks up...

Side fact : I heard this album in early 2000s and it made me want to play rhythm guitar. The riffs of this song are a lot to blame. The chief culprit is the verse riff of Sins and Shadows.
 

Jer

Yes, Yes, Another Beer!
Not a criticism, I'm very curious to know what Dream Theater songs this riff/section reminds you of? It doesn't sound like DT much at all to me.
Awake era. The beginning of “Caught In A Web”, or parts of “Lie” or “Scarred” come to mind. Bending airy synths with mostly monotone syncopated chugging underneath.
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
The Pharaoh

Damn... This song has such a huge potential, but it has that one detail that kind of lowers the grade for me - the chorus doesn't really deliver, does it? That "fanfare-ic" intro is awesome and Miller joining in on bass is pure gravy. Cheap Middle-Eastern-ish melody on synth? Sign me in! Even when the Russel comes in over guitar power chords, I'm still in the mood. Hell, even that sudden jump into chorus, I'm OK with it.

But the change is so sudden and first part of the chorus (Pharaoh's curse upon you!) is still impactfull but the way it's delivered made me expect more complicated chorus. After that first line of chorus, it just keep on falling, like a sound of a tin can dropping down the stairs.
Pharaoh's curse upon you! Who dares to invade his sacred ground...
It feels kind of rushed, they're capable of complicating things or even doing a straightforward melody in choruses and this didn't came up as neither yet it has elements from both one.

Nothing bad to say about the rest of the song, actually the most interesting part comes after second chorus. Slowing down the tempo, light piano notes in the background looks like the night has fallen in the ancient Egypt and is that small calm before the storm that Allen brings right before the solos. Miller's bass @3:19 - more, please. Oh, and the way Romeo keeps that fast "complicated" melody in the background while Pinella leads with simple notes in front? Very welcome and refreshing. I also like the solos (up until 4 minute mark where they lose that Eastern-ish feel.)

Actually, I really like the song. As I've said, the chorus doesn't really pay off and if it was otherwise, I'd probably say this would be in top tier of the album.

The Eyes of Medusa

The intro is interesting, but what I really want to praise is this: when that light synth kicks in around 0:30 mark, my inner metronome (which is actually a really faulty thing) expects certain tempo/time signature. But when Romeo comes in it always takes me by surprise. I don't really know why that exactly is, my guess would be be that the Pinella is in one time signature, while the rest of them are in another yet they all meet at the same spot at the end. It may not be complicated or original but I love it when bands do that.

I didn't notice the voice FX until I've read Mr K.'s comments. It's certainly more noticeable on those slower, less-wordy parts. To me, both verses and chorus are middle-of-the-road, only exception being Allen's voice who, at times, goes for "tough-rough guy" which is kind of cringy to me (example: TORTURE!). In second verse he is much better (and higher, I guess?) The Romeo guitar solo is really tasty: the less Yngwie - the better.

I agree with the comment about the interlude. It's just so sudden and unexpected and the way song goes interlude and exits is makes me wonder why is it there even. Interlude for itself is a nice piece of melody, I wish it was part of separate song and they went somewhere with it. Here, it just seems out of place.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
The Eyes of Medusa is a brutally heavy song. I don't just mean the crunching riffs or the low end, either - the song has a heavy atmosphere. It's a pretty large peak with two valleys on either side that are relatively mediocre in comparison, but it isn't a mountain.
  • The song begins with a solo staccato guitar riff in Em that the band soon joins in on. This section is in 11/8 (6/8 + 5/8), and features some tasteful and foreboding keyboard.
    • The next riff is more frenetic and is also in 11/8, but this time the subdivisions are switched around (5/8 + 6/8). This makes the listener feel nervous, as if there's chaos swirling all around them. It ends with an ascending run that suddenly comes to a halt. Medusa has come to play.
    • We are introduced to one of the prominent keyboard themes in this piece - a section in 6/8 that is punctuated by the rhythm section.
    • The next section is easily my favorite in the song, and to me, the signature Symphony X "sound." The guitar and bass are (mostly) in 6/8, the keys in 4/4, and the snare drum in 6/4 - but the kick drum follows the bass in 6/8. This is complex, but it doesn't sound like an equation due to the "regular," even-beat snare hits. This, to me, is classic Symphony X.
    • The next brief bit is a full-band 4/4 moment, down a half step to Ebm. A syncopated snare pattern leads us into the verse.
  • The verse remains in the same key, and has a similar pattern to the "complex" bit a few moments earlier. I like Russell's performance here. It's not overly catchy, but he really nails the ominous nature of this song. The wailing is on point here.
  • The pre-chorus climbs up to an open section in Bm before dipping into some Dm chugging, which leads into the chorus. This is a brief breath of fresh air from all the mathematical syncopation in the rest of the track.
  • The chorus is a mixed bag - it's not catchy, but it is vicious as hell. Russell sounds savage here, and it very much works with the song's theme. Musically, it's composed of another syncopated riff that begins in F#m before dipping into more Dm chugging. But then the key changes up to Bm, while Russell's vocals actually drop here.
  • We revisit one of the 15 intro riffs before being thrown into a second verse that is largely the same as the first. The syncopated run is great, much like the first verse.
  • The second pre-chorus is in Fm and features Russell wailing even higher than before. I'll admit - I didn't even notice the vocal effects until @MrKnickerbocker mentioned them, but they don't really bother me. Perhaps they were used because Russell had never sounded this vicious and full of attitude before?
  • I love Romeo's solo in this song. It's too brief, actually. It begins with some catchy palm-muted almost funky rhythmic stuff and starts climbing into atonal territory, but never reaches pure wank. Even the last run is a great way to close it out. Love it. 10/10.
  • I really like the instrumental interlude as a standalone piece, and it's a prelude of things to come in a few years on The Odyssey. The orchestral arrangements are haunting, although obviously a real orchestra would have greatly enhanced this. It does seem rather pointless in this song, though. Perhaps if the song ended with a darker, groovier riff it would have fit. Like if the band came back in, but built off of the orchestral stuff. Going back into the intro and chorus seems unnecessary.
  • However, the pick squeal (or natural harmonic, or both?) at 4:42 is beyond cool.
...and that's all Medusa wrote. This is a solid song, although it doesn't reach the highs of the first four tracks (nor will it come anywhere close to the last two). It's easily the band's heaviest song to this point, and also heavier than anything on the next two albums. The band no doubt drew influence from this sound for The Odyssey and beyond. They also liked this song quite a bit, as it was played live often in their early days. Their only live album, 2001's Live on the Edge of Forever, features a truncated version of the song.

Also, this is the song's demo. It features a slightly different (and in my opinion stronger) chorus, as well as a very different instrumental section with dueling solos.


Also, yes - that is Russell Allen. I don't know why he sounds so different from the Russell we know... perhaps he wasn't really putting the grit into it since it was a demo?
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Pharaoh

But the change is so sudden and first part of the chorus (Pharaoh's curse upon you!) is still impactfull but the way it's delivered made me expect more complicated chorus. After that first line of chorus, it just keep on falling, like a sound of a tin can dropping down the stairs.
Pharaoh's curse upon you! Who dares to invade his sacred ground...
It feels kind of rushed, they're capable of complicating things or even doing a straightforward melody in choruses and this didn't came up as neither yet it has elements from both one.
Completely agreed! It just feels lazy and it is boring to listen to.
I didn't notice the voice FX until I've read Mr K.'s comments. It's certainly more noticeable on those slower, less-wordy parts. To me, both verses and chorus are middle-of-the-road, only exception being Allen's voice who, at times, goes for "tough-rough guy" which is kind of cringy to me (example: TORTURE!).
I think you mean "TORCH-AGGGGHHHH!"
I agree with the comment about the interlude. It's just so sudden and unexpected and the way song goes interlude and exits is makes me wonder why is it there even. Interlude for itself is a nice piece of melody, I wish it was part of separate song and they went somewhere with it. Here, it just seems out of place.
It would have been great as a separate intro track or even a smaller piece of a longer song, but it's such a waste and so out of left field here.
Medusa has come to play.
:clap:
The next section is easily my favorite in the song, and to me, the signature Symphony X "sound." The guitar and bass are (mostly) in 6/8, the keys in 4/4, and the snare drum in 6/4 - but the kick drum follows the bass in 6/8. This is complex, but it doesn't sound like an equation due to the "regular," even-beat snare hits. This, to me, is classic Symphony X.
It's one of their strongest attributes. The ability to be incredibly technical while not sounding particularly technical is something that virtually no other bands can rival.
I love Romeo's solo in this song. It's too brief, actually. It begins with some catchy palm-muted almost funky rhythmic stuff and starts climbing into atonal territory, but never reaches pure wank. Even the last run is a great way to close it out. Love it. 10/10.
Romeo is definitely the MVP of this song, for both riffing and soloing. I honestly don't think I'll say Romeo is the MVP too frequently, despite this being his band, but he definitely steals the show here.
They also liked this song quite a bit, as it was played live often in their early days. Their only live album, 2001's Live on the Edge of Forever, features a truncated version of the song.
I assume they just double the chorus after the solo instead of playing the absolutely pointless interlude? Even they didn't believe in it.
Also, this is the song's demo. It features a slightly different (and in my opinion stronger) chorus, as well as a very different instrumental section with dueling solos.


Also, yes - that is Russell Allen. I don't know why he sounds so different from the Russell we know... perhaps he wasn't really putting the grit into it since it was a demo?
I had no idea this existed. Russell's vocals just sound like a single track (not layered, not super effected) and, like you said, he's definitely playing it more straight here. Absolutely wild that the only lyrics they changed were in the chorus, thus changing the entire point of the song. I don't think this chorus is better, but the song structure sure is. I also like the little outro part.

The solos here are also really cool, though Romeo does better in the studio version.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
The Witching Hour
Music: Romeo, Pinnella
Lyrics: Allen, Romeo
LYRICS
'Twas seven score and sixteen more
A dreadful scene to behold
Marble silhouettes, white statuettes
Forever gaze into time

(Caught in a web between life and death)

CHORUS
Visions dance throughout the night
In the pale moon light
In the witching hour

Haunting minuet, immortal duet
Dance to the waltz of the souls
Stillness falls upon the aging hall
The fading chimes echo midnight

(Caught in a web between life and death, life and death)

CHORUS

[Guitar Solo with bending]
[Guitar Solo with neoclassical wanking]
[Twee little harpsichord patch solo]
[Cool harmony ruined by Pinnella's patch]
[Romeo kicks Pinnella off his stool to be classical again]
[Actually cool harmony section]

CHORUS x2
  • We've gone backwards in time! We've reached the obligatory "ludicrously neoclassical" song! It's so classical it's actually a classical piece!
  • This song is the definition of filler. I don't love Pharaoh, I don't really like Medusa all that much, this song...is pure, forgettable cheese.
  • The intro is great, from a pure playing perspective. It's insanely technical, it's always moving, Rullo and Miller once again deserve an award for synching up their virtuosity. Romeo is, obviously, killing it here and Pinnella has never sounded more twinkling. But I just can't shake an image of them all wearing powdered wigs and sipping tea with a pinky finger up (which would make these runs rather hard to play, especially without spilling the tea).
  • And then...there's Russell. I don't bag on Russell much, but he deserves it here. His performance in the verses is so unbearably cheesy that I can't even take it seriously. I imagine he's holding a monocle on a stage with only one spotlight, while I watch from my seat and consume frozen pizza and RC Cola. Because it's a dinner theater. In Utah. It's that fucking lame.
  • The chorus does nothing. It's not good. It's not terrible, I guess? I don't know. By the time I start thinking about it, it's over.
  • Verses never get better, the chorus never changes, the music continues to be cool but the song as a whole is silly and easily the worst track on this album.
  • OH! And those pre-chorus backing vocals are atrocious in melody, performance, and mixing.
  • The solos are actually pretty cool. I like that Romeo starts the instrumental bridge with just a bunch of bluesy bends (in the most neoclassical song ever) before wanking up a storm. The best part of this section is the two harmonized runs that Romeo and Pinnella do together, except that Pinnella's patch in the first one is truly awful.
  • Some choruses, blah blah, then we're done. I've already forgotten this song exists.
  • Miller and Rullo get the MVP here because they kick ass throughout and do absolutely nothing to make this song worse.
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
  • The song begins with a solo staccato guitar riff in Em that the band soon joins in on. This section is in 11/8 (6/8 + 5/8), and features some tasteful and foreboding keyboard.
    • The next riff is more frenetic and is also in 11/8, but this time the subdivisions are switched around (5/8 + 6/8). This makes the listener feel nervous, as if there's chaos swirling all around them. It ends with an ascending run that suddenly comes to a halt. Medusa has come to play.
    • We are introduced to one of the prominent keyboard themes in this piece - a section in 6/8 that is punctuated by the rhythm section.
    • The next section is easily my favorite in the song, and to me, the signature Symphony X "sound." The guitar and bass are (mostly) in 6/8, the keys in 4/4, and the snare drum in 6/4 - but the kick drum follows the bass in 6/8. This is complex, but it doesn't sound like an equation due to the "regular," even-beat snare hits. This, to me, is classic Symphony X.
    • The next brief bit is a full-band 4/4 moment, down a half step to Ebm. A syncopated snare pattern leads us into the verse.
It's one of their strongest attributes. The ability to be incredibly technical while not sounding particularly technical is something that virtually no other bands can rival.
What I was saying earlier - I can hear the time measures are all over the place like each member has its own story to tell, yet at the end they all meet at the same place. On the first listen or to an "untrained ear" you wouldn't even notice how much it going on in that small part.
I think you mean "TORCH-AGGGGHHHH!"
Exactly.

The Witching Hour

Neo-classical jokes aside, I love the intro, especially the Romeo-Pinella duo starting @0:19. This, to me, brings more sense of urgency or like someone's chasing me than the previous song. Romeo entrance is reminds me of... Tarja? *laughs at my own association* I actually haven't got a clue what Tarja sounds like since there's something about that kind of overly-operatic voices who try to take them more seriously than they should've been taken that make me want to stay 6 feet apart and put my mask on.
I imagine he's holding a monocle on a stage with only one spotlight, while I watch from my seat and consume frozen pizza and RC Cola. Because it's a dinner theater. In Utah.
I've never been at dinner theater in Utah, but you just took me there. Actually, Russell did.
As verses progress Russell tones down on that approach and when back vocals actually start OK. It's just that they should've ended when Russell does.
Instrumental part is OK-ish, and thumb up for drummer there. Considering solos, I'd say I prefer Romeo's to Pinella (that g-damn scales again, man...) Actual highlight of the song is that small melody @3:00 which I've definitely heard somewhere before. The whole band takes a full circle returning to that neo-classical intro and that haunting Pinella-Romeo duet which is a nice touch.
Overall, this is one of those songs which is good when you're listening to the whole album, because it's kind of predictable, rest-your-ears while you prepare yourself for bigger things. If you listen to it apart from others - there's nothing much to write about here.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Anyone know the reason why their earlier stuff can't be found on streaming services? Spotify only has last 2 albums, Apple Music only last 3. Even that YouTube Topic channel only has the last 2 albums.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I’ve definitely noticed that SX’s catalog tends to be weird on streaming services. For a long time only the most recent two albums were available, then everything but V, now I think everything is available at least in the US. Seems like the distro rights are all over the place.
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
Deezer has their latest two, but to me every album is available on their official YT channel. I think somebody said that Spotify in their country has only first two.
 

Jer

Yes, Yes, Another Beer!
“The Eyes Of Medusa”:

Some off-rhythm chugging with synth accompaniment gets a little more involved, then takes a brief bass and synth respite before returning. Nice key downshift before the verse! The verse itself has a strong vocal melody, with a nice bass fill carrying us into the pre-chorus. Then things get a little weird.

The pre-chorus itself is quite short, quickly switching into what I guess is the chorus. The vocal lines here aren’t great, and the vocal delivery is over the top, sometimes ridiculously so.

After a brief guitar interlude we roll back into the verse, then a more intense variant of the pre-chorus, before returning to the unfortunate chorus. An OK guitar solo follows, then a full stop. Synth orchestration buffets a distant guitar lead for a while, then a reprise of the opening chugging leads back into that disappointing chorus again, before ending on a quick breakdown.

This song underachieves in a number of ways. The guitar playing isn’t very enjoyable here, and the chorus is a bit of a disaster; but the verses are consistently strong, and the pre-chorus is good. Let’s say an OK 6/10 on balance.

“The Witching Hour”:

Bright classical guitar with an almost flamenco feel in places is accompanied by playful synths and bass fills. This evolves into a more driving approach, then adds some heavier chords into the mix.

Soon this leads into a solid verse with some questionable group vocals later on, quickly transitioning into an unfocused and not that memorable chorus. A solid guitar interlude flows back into the verse, and the chorus this time around is slightly more appealing.

A crunchy guitar interlude leads into a pretty good guitar solo, a better synth solo, and then a pretty great guitar and synth duet. A much better guitar solo follows, then some sweet neoclassical goodness, before returning to the chorus. A quick pompous ending finishes things off.

Strong music and a solid verse help to offset the weaker group vocals and chorus. I think I can round this up to a 7/10.
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
So we has't arriv'd at arguably the weakest track on this eff'rt, The Witching Hour. T wilt first beest did declare yond the music in this piece is outstanding, and while Sir Allen wails with the might of a thousand witch-kill'rs, the obviously written-on-an-instrument vocal melodies yond art simply not catchy drageth this song down into the cove.

But alas! T is timeth f'r Sir Romeo and Miketh of Pinnellaville to extinguish the life f'rce from all hags! Burneth the lady of the snoweth! Drowneth the stain'd glass mistress!

I'll stop now. I promise.
  • The intro is fantastic, and most of it is in Em. It features Romeo taking the lead with some gorgeous Casio harpsichord backdrops by Pinnella before the bass of Sir Miller joins in unison. It is directly after this that the main keyboard line of the piece is introduced. It's simple, but effective.
    • It's a cymbal overload as a chunky riff enters, slowing things down before immediately speeding them back up for the verse.
  • Yeah, so this verse isn't good. The empty space in between the vocals seems out of place, and the backing vocals are simply half-assed. It also is written in the "chug quickly on one note style" that I find horribly uncreative for this band at this point.
  • The chorus is a bit stronger, but really contains nothing of value to my ears. It's just not catchy. It bounces around a bit, which is fun, but if this song had proper vocal melodies it really could have been a killer little tune.
    • The cymbal overload riff returns with ride instead, and now in Gm. This riff is nothing special, but it's stronger than both vocal sections thus far.
  • The second verse begins in a similar manner to the first (also in Em), but halfway through it jumps up to Gm and contains Russell's strongest performance in the song. The backing vocals at the tail end are also more vivid than before. I don't love it, but it's acceptable.
  • The instrumental section (yay!) begins with a slick, groovy riff in Gm that reminds me of Metallica. Maybe something from Justice? It's an atonal little riff that punches the song along, and I quite enjoy it. It dips into F#m before the solo.
    • Romeo's solo itself is a bit strange for him, as he holds notes and bends them quite a bit to lead it off. The wank soon enters, but the whole section is decent. It's not going to win solo of the album (nothing in this song is going to win anything of this album), but it's passable. The solo is placed over a stock start-stop riff in Dm. 7/10.
    • Unsurprisingly, Pinnella gets a solo, too. This is in F#m and is nothing we haven't heard before, but the change of sound is welcome after Romeo's atonal noodling. 6/10.
    • From here on out, the instrumental section is fantastic. We return to the cymbal riff, now in Am, while Romeo plays an epic ascending lead that introduces his next solo. This section is wondrous, and is quite melodic for the guitarist. There's several catchy little hooks in there, including a string-skipping lick that I love. 10/10.
    • Some atonal harmonized leads bring us back into the "Metallica" riff, which Romeo breaks up the monotony of by switching to "funky" chords (on the "and" beat) halfway through. This is cool, and far from the only time he will use the technique to add flavor to a section.
  • The only thing left to endure in this track is the chorus (twice), which lowers itself a half step for the repeat. The ending is half-assed, too, as if Romeo just said "screw it, we're done."
I always go back and forth on what the weakest track on this album is, and it's easily between this and Pharaoh. I think this has better music, but Pharaoh definitely has catchier vocals, but since this song's vocals are practically an afterthought and Pharaoh has decent music, I think this is the winner of the filler-iest song here. It's a shame, too, since the lyrics cover an interesting topic.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Have you gazed upon "The Eyes of Medusa" before, squire? It was a dreadful sight that sent the Knickerbocker into shambles. I myself have viewed her... many times. And each time, she was more beautiful than before.

Basically I think this song is lit as hell. Like DB said, it's one of the heaviest of the early Symphony X songs, but subverts that heaviness with the heavy use of keyboards. Romeo and Pinnella work off each other so damn well in this track. Romeo makes the first impressing with a quick rumble before bursting into full force with the rest of the crew, just chugging away as per his usual style. Then everyone drops out to let Pinnella get a beautiful solo keyboard bit that leads the rest to back him up. Pinnella deals out beautiful sparkles of color - purple - as Romeo unleashes viciousness at the same stroke - red-orange. It's a weird combination but it works so well, providing an interesting balance that perfectly encapsulates the beautiful yet deadly nature of the legendary Medusa herself.

The first line in each verse utilizes an interesting vocal effect for Russell, what it is I don't actually know, but we'll see it appear again in the final stretch of "Rediscovery Pt. 2". The band's production makes it feel a bit weird, but because it only lasts for one line I think it's actually pretty cool. (If the whole verse used it I might not care for it at all.) The first verse is just stringing you along, and it's only when the chorus hits that we finally hit that next level. Russell gets guttural with his performance, man. Just screaming into that mic. What a chad.

-- "To behold the sight - of Me-du-sa's EEEEEEYYYYYEEEEEESSSS!!!!!"

Fuck yeah. Second chorus throws in the typical Symphony X strategy of subverting expectations and bringing the second half up a key, and now Russell is really showcasing that, yes, he has PIPES, SON! Holding the note at the end of the second verse is just cool. Feels like an act of desperation.

Romeo's solo after chorus 2 is actually really restrained. It isn't one of my favorites of his, but it works. Then we reach the interlude, which, yeah, it's pretty pointless and doesn't fit the song as well as it could've, but it also doesn't feel completely out of sync to me as it might to some other people. It feels like stumbling into a Land Before Time film, particularly the first one. Dark, green mist rises. Dinosaurs surround you. Tall, leafy trees provide food for the sauropods. These herbivores in turn provide sustenance to the more... vicious of the tribes. And a volcano in the distance threatens the survival of everything you see around you. By the end, cavemen have emerged, as the evolutionary cycle starts to speed up towards the present day. The way Symphony X write it, it's not necessarily my favorite vibe of theirs, but I enjoy seeing it nonetheless. What does it have to do with Medusa? I don't fuckin' know.

And then for good measure, one more chorus and we're done.

It's definitely not a perfect song, but I'd easily place it above both "Pharaoh" and "Out of the Ashes". It's pretty well composed, slightly-standard Symphony X that not only shows off an intriguing atmosphere, but also foreshadows some of the more daring songs yet to come. A hidden gem of the album.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I think every song on Divine Wings has been good up to this point. Enter "The Witching Hour", easily the worst song on the record and one of the most forgettable in the band's entire catalogue. It sounds like a joke and, well, kind of is one as well.

Musically things are interesting, but feel as though they were written to throw as many odds and ends into the same pot as they could pull off. Is the intro Flamenco-inspired? Maybe, but it doesn't sound all that great regardless of its uniqueness in the discography. Pinnella overdoes the sparkle here. Romeo has an interesting shuffle to the guitar, but at this point I'm already honestly kind of done with this song.

Russell feigns a mock-British accent and it's fine I guess. He do be hittin' them notes in the chorus though. *Thumbs notes.* Yadda yadda yadda, guitar post chorus 2 is great, like DB Metallica was the first thing I thought of but it sounds a bit different to me. Not sure what band it is I am thinking of. Romeo's first solo is HIGHLIGHT of this song. It's so good, it actually took me by surprise. You can can the rest of the instrumental.

Apart from the solo there's nothing of interest here and I hate to say this but it really should've been scrapped. It's easily one of the worst Symphony X songs. I'd rather hear "Shades of Grey".
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
@Diesel 11 As in you’d rather hear Shades of Grey with Russell? Or Shades of Grey with Rod?
I think “Shades of Grey” is Knick’s least favorite Symphony X song (could be wrong though), so I’m using that factor as an extra weight. If I’d rather hear “Shades of Grey”, then this song must not be such a much.

So to answer your actual question: with Rod. Although I’d be interested in hearing Russell’s take.

EDIT: To specify even further, I legitimately think “The Witching Hour” is the worst SX song we’ve covered thus far. Yes, even worse than the debut’s weakest.
 
Top