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Symphony X - Iconoclast CD (album) cover


Symphony X


Progressive Metal

3.75 | 504 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Were you there to watch the earth be scorched?

New product from Symphony X is becoming increasingly rare, so expectations were high when this new album for 2011 was announced. Coming some 4 years after "Paradise lost", "Iconoclast" is the album which truly does put the Symphonic in Symphony X. Where other albums have been largely standard prog metal fare, this album is overloaded with the wonderful pomp and theatrics of fellow travellers such as Therion and Rhapsody of Fire.

Based on a suitably prog metal concept of the relationship between man and machines, the album explores the futility of man's surrender to the demands of automation. The basic components which have served the band over the years, including the distinctive vocals of Russell Allan and the lead guitar of Michael Romeo, remain intact but the greater use of keyboards and programming make for a more rounded sound overall. The heavy riffs and pounding rhythms remain of course, but they somehow seem more refined and in keeping with the band's adopted name this time around.

The tracks here are developed well, generally running to over six minutes, and some to nine or ten minutes. This allow the band to extend the instrumental passages nicely, while offering bifurcations and diversions from the main themes. The heaviest side of the band is not ignored of course, but even "Dehumanised" boasts a strong melody and lush arrangement.

Russell Allen's vocal similarities with Ronnie James Dio are well documented, and at times they are as apparent as ever. "Children of a faceless God" for example could have been lifted straight from the "Rainbow rising" album from all those years ago. That of course is very much a recommendation, the track boasting one of Symphony X's strongest melodies. The nine minute "When all is lost" is the "Candlelight fantasia" of the album, Alllen's supreme vocal being at the centre of a truly exceptional prog metal ballad (and more).

The album comes in two versions, the deluxe double CD having three additional tracks. While the first two of these "Light up the night" and "The lords of chaos" are enjoyable but standard Symphony X songs, the closing 8+ minutes of "Reign In Madness" renders the expanded edition worthy of the additional investment.

Overall, a fine addition to the already impressive Symphony X discography. While the album retains many of the characteristics of the previous albums, it may also offer something to appeal to those not yet convinced.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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