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Symphony X - Iconoclast CD (album) cover

ICONOCLAST

Symphony X

 

Progressive Metal

3.80 | 370 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Starhammer
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Catchier than a flock of sheep in a velcro factory...

Symphony X have tried a slightly different approach with this release and they've totally nailed it. Whereas the ratio between metal and symphonic elements on some of their older albums was almost 50/50, Iconoclast shows a more straightforward approach, with the rich layers of orchestration all but gone.

It's comparable to what Dream Theater did with 'Train of Thought' in terms of trying to write a 'classic' whilst still maintaining their progressive sound. You could argue that by deliberately reducing the scope of your material you are essentially writing songs with one hand tied behind your back, but I think Symphony X have achieved a level of consistency that Dream Theater's effort lacked.

The title track which opens Iconoclast is also probably its weakest, but it still provides an enjoyable listen. Conversely, my personal favourite is the album's closing track, When All is Lost. It does take a while to get going and with lyrical contributions from Elton John you might be tempted to write it off altogether. But once the instrumental section kicks in, all is forgiven. Neovintage keyboard sounds and a series of absolutely barnstorming guitar solos from Michael Romeo rank this amongst my all time favourite Symphony X tracks.

The other standout aspect of this release is the immaculate production. Like their previous two albums it was recorded in the band's own studio, but better equipment and more experience means it sounds a million miles away from the flaky drums and relatively shallow mix of 'The Odyssey'.

Given a choice between the two editions in which Iconoclast is available, I would recommend the single disc standard edition as I don't feel the bonus tracks bring anything substantial to the release. That said, the cover art of the double disc limited edition is more pleasing on the eye!

The Verdict: A pristine example of modern metal.

Starhammer | 4/5 |

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