Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Symphony X - Iconoclast CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.78 | 467 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars With Paradise Lost, their last album, Symphony X released one of the best prog metal albums of the last ten years. No, forget the last ten years; Paradise Lost can stand head and shoulders with any prog metal album of any decade you'd care to name. High praise indeed but the combination of brutal precision power metal and prog elements, along with some great hooks and melodies made it a hard album to beat. Iconoclast was going to have to be pretty special to match it and has been an album I've been anticipating with considerable excitement for some time. Having lived with it since it popped through the letterbox the week of release I've had the opportunity to really get to grips with it before jumping to any rash conclusions too soon. Fortunately I'm happy to say that it's every bit as good as their former masterpiece.

Firstly I have to say Iconoclast sounds great! The production of this album is superb. Everything you want for a metal album starting with a powerful drum sound where every beat cuts through the brutal riffing including a kick drum sound that'll nail you to the wall. If you start with a lousy drum sound then forget it, you've lost, at least with metal anyway. Of course of equal importance is the guitar sound and Michael Romeo's guitars are sounding stunning.

Naturally a great production doesn't make a great album without the material to back it up but Iconoclast has it in spades. To my ears it seems like a natural follow up to Paradise Lost, with a similar sound and feel. The difference is that it has less prog with more emphasis on metal, though the same could be said of Paradise Lost and The Odyssey before that. In fact Symphony X do seem to be moving more away from the prog metal style of earlier releases and while all those elements are still present, including the classical inspired touches they are diluted by the metal elements which happen to be fantastic. Iconoclast is in fact one of the best metal albums I've heard in many years. Its true strength lies in the sheer consistency of the entire CD's and that includes the tracks on the second disc of the special edition which incidentally is an essential purchase. From the stunning opening title track to the Reign Of Madness closing the second disc it's a relentless display of brutal and complex metal played with jaw dropping precision. Jason Rullo's drumming is superb and whilst double kick drum playing has been done to death it's an essential element of prog metal and here he uses it to great effect both rhythmically and for fleshing out his busy fills. Naturally Michael Romeo doesn't disappoint with some extremely heavy riffing, his heaviest to date, that's both inventive and memorable and of course some great lead work too. Whilst the keyboards aren't often up front they're nevertheless an essential element of the band's sound as is the magnificent vocal work of Russell Allen. Is there a better vocalist in metal at present? If there is I can't think of who it might be, especially since the sad death of the great Ronnie James Dio with whom he bears a resemblance at times.

Whilst some followers of the band may be disappointed in the more direct metal approach the band appear to be going in Iconoclast is such a strong album that it's sure to be making plenty of album of the year top ten lists in six months time, including mine.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this SYMPHONY X review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.