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Symphony X - Iconoclast CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.78 | 464 ratings

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4 stars "Iconoclast" is the 8th full-length studio album by US progressive power metal act Symphony X. The album was released in June 2011 by Nuclear Blast Records. "Iconoclast" is available in two versions. A one-disc "regular" version and a two-disc special edition digipak with three extra tracks. Apparently the two-disc version is how the band had envisioned the album but the label wanted a one-disc version too. "Iconoclast" is a concept album where the lyrics evolve around the "man against machine" theme. Itīs a thematic concept rather than a storyline that goes through the entire album.

So how does Symphony X sound 4 years after the release of their arguably most heavy and aggressive album to date "Paradise Lost (2007)"? Well first of all they lost none of the heaviness that characterized the music on the predecessor but theyīve succeeded in combining the extreme heaviness with a more melodic and memorable approach too. I can see some of the fans that turned away from the band because of the aggressive approach on "Paradise Lost", returning to the fold. The keyboards have a much more prominent role in the music again even though Michael Romeoīs groove based and hard edged guitar riffs and Russell Allenīs raw and powerful vocals dominate as usual.

Even though most people will probably want to purchase the two-disc digipack version of the album to get the three extra tracks and hear the album like the band intended it to be, I actually think the one-disc version contains the most important tracks. Out of the three bonus tracks the only track I really miss on the one-disc version is "Reign In Madness". Both "Light Up The Night" and "The Lords Of Chaos" are great tracks too but held up against the material that is featured on both versions both of those tracks do come off as high quality filler. The two tracks "Electric Messiah" and "Prometheus (I Am Alive)", which appear on disc 2 of the two-disc version of the album along with the three bonus tracks, can also be put into that catagory. I know it sounds spoiled to call quality material filler but the rest of the tracks on the album are simply of such an outstanding quality that itīs hard not to notice the difference. From the symphonic and progressive opening title track to the raw and heavy "Bastards of the Machine", "Dehumanized" and "Heretic" to the clever and epic closing track "When All Is Lost", the album is one long amazing journey.

So if you like your progressive power metal as raw and heavy as possible yet with a rare melodic sensibility delivered by exceptionally well playing musicians and packed in a powerful and clear production, "Iconoclast" is the answer to your prayers. Itīs not like weīre introduced to anything new on the album or that Symphony X reinvent themselves, but "Iconoclast" is one of those cases where a band takes all the good things from their previous albums, put them into a stew and make sure that the outcome work wonders. Iīm not sure the album is THE essential Symphony X release but itīs damn near the top of the best albums the band have released so far. A 4.5 star rating is well deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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