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Symphony X - Iconoclast CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.78 | 467 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Since their formation in 1994, New Jersey-based progressive power metal band Symphony X has established themselves as one of the genre's most influential and important acts. With classics like V: The New Mythology Suite and The Divine Wings of Tragedy in their backcatalog, it'd be shocking for any prog metal fan to not be at least mildly familiar with these veterans. Iconoclast, the eighth album from Symphony X, is yet another top-notch release from Michael Romeo & company and possibly my favorite of theirs so far. Symphony X continues their trend into a heavier, slightly less progressive sound on Iconoclast and delivers a masculine prog power metal album filled with technical mastery, terrific songwriting, and spot-on execution. This album may even further alienate fans of the band's neo-classical roots, but I think that just shows what a versatile band Symphony X truly is. Eight albums into their career, and Symphony X is still evolving and even creating some of their best material ever. If you enjoy edgy modern prog metal, it's hard to go wrong with Iconoclast!

The music here is unquestionably Symphony X, but with a few extra notches of heaviness and very minimal neo-classical tendencies. Iconoclast is a very heavy album, filled to the brim with masculine guitar riffs and dark atmospheres, but still contains enough melodic sections and technicalities to satisfy any prog metal fan. The opening to the title track alone should rest any concerns that this is a straightforward metal album, despite the overall heaviness of Iconoclast. None of the songs here are particularly soft (melodic choruses aside), except for "When All Is Lost", an absolutely beautiful prog metal track featuring some terrific organ work from Michael Pinnella. Despite Iconoclast's near- 83 minute playing time, it never loses any steam and remains powerful during its entire duration. I'll let that speak for itself for how strong the songwriting is here.

One thing worth mentioning are the two different versions of Iconoclast on the market. There is a 1-CD version containing 9 songs, and a 2-CD version containing 12 songs. If you're going to buy Iconoclast, make sure you get the 2-CD version! This version is the full album released as Symphony X originally intended. You're missing out on some great material if you get the incomplete single disc version.

Of course, when talking about Symphony X the musicianship is unquestionably terrific. Michael Romeo's powerful metal riffs, combined with the intricate keyboard work from Michael Pinnella, fantastic rhythm section of Jason Rullo (drums) and Michael Lepond (bass), and Russell Allen's top-notch vocals makes Iconoclast simply a joy to listen to. Russell Allen uses a rougher vocal delivery here than on previous albums, but he still sounds just as powerful and emotional as ever. The man is simply one of the most talented metal vocalists out there, and that's never forgotten on this album. Iconoclast also sports a sleek modern production that suits the music perfectly. This is a professional sounding album that just reeks with class, and the mix is also spot-on.

Iconoclast is yet another winner from Symphony X, and quite possibly their finest achievement thus far. Anyone who even mildly enjoys heavy-edged prog metal needs to get this in their collection - it's one of the year's best for sure. Iconoclast is an album filled with virtually everything that makes for a fantastic modern prog metal effort; fantastic riffs, sleek production, soaring vocals, and complex compositions galore. Though very far removed from the band's neo-classical power metal roots, Symphony X seems extremely confident in this new sound and have delivered a killer album to prove it. 4.5 stars are well- deserved.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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