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Symphony X

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Symphony X Iconoclast album cover
3.75 | 504 ratings | 38 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (49:58)
1. Iconoclast (10:51)
2. The End of Innocence (5:27)
3. Dehumanized (6:48)
4. Bastards of the Machine (4:56)
5. Heretic (6:25)
6. Children of a Faceless God (6:21)
7. When All Is Lost (9:10)

Disc 2 (32:53)
8. Electric Messiah (6:14)
9. Prometheus (I Am Alive) (6:47)
10. Light Up the Night (5:04) *
11. The Lords of Chaos (6:10) *
12. Reign in Madness (8:38) *

Total Time 82:51

* Not included on single-disc editions

Line-up / Musicians

- Russell Allen / vocals
- Michael Romeo / guitars, production
- Michael Pinnella / keyboards
- Michael Lepond / bass
- Jason Rullo / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Warren Flanagan

2LP Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 2462-1 (2011, Germany) Full 12-track edition in intended running order

CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 2462-2 (2011, Germany) Single disc edition with 9 tracks
2CD Nuclear Blast ‎- NB 2462-0 (2011, Germany) Double-CD Limited Edition with 3 bonus tracks (identical track list to double-LP)

Thanks to peccatum for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy SYMPHONY X Iconoclast Music

SYMPHONY X Iconoclast ratings distribution

(504 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SYMPHONY X Iconoclast reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by JJLehto
4 stars Symphony X has done it again!

They had one hell of a challenge following up both "The Odyssey" and "Paradise Lost" but they did it.

The New Jersey prog metal masters have proven that the key to continual success is progression. They continue moving in the direction from "Paradise Lost", a more metal direction. "Iconoclast" is the heaviest, darkest album Symphony X has ever put out, continuing to shed it's symphonic, neo classical elements. Indeed, the power metal style riffing, present on all their albums, is largely absent here, replaced with a mechanical style: heavy, angular, often groovy, sometimes disjointed and wild. There is some serious groove on this album. Adding to the mechanical feel is increased use of off tempo stuff, and more cold keyboard sound. The fantasy, mythological and epic lyrics are also gone, replaced with the grim theme of technology being our downfall.

"Iconoclast" is more straightforward and less outright progressive, though it is still there. Instead of varied sections, (though that does still happen here) the progressiveness is more subtle, mainly in the riffing and overall texture. It does take some time to really sink in, since at first it can sound a bit samey. "Iconoclast" really ups Rullo's drumming in the mix, it is loud and you can hear every hit. Thank goodness! His drumming is great as always, featuring more off tempo playing then ever. Allen's vocals are also perfect as always. He maintains the lower, hard edged tone from "Paradise Lost". Needless to say: the riffing is awesome, the solos mindblowing and the song structures are subtle and well composed. Note: While a bit different this is clearly Symphony X, the sound is there and unmistakable.

The album begins with an 11 minute epic featuring some old Symphony x standards, including epic choirs. The title track pretty much contains it all. "The End of Innocence" contrasts the new mechanical feel with mid tempo thrash and soaring vocals, with some melodic and extreme groove sections thrown in and some synth sprinkling the background.

"Dehumanized" is perhaps the most brutal song on the album, complete with riffing and drumming to die for. Also, one of the best performances by Russell Allen. Really, there is no bad song on the album, and there's not even a weak one. "When All is Lost" is the Symph X ballad, and "Reign in Madness" is a synth laden song that really moves. When it first hits you the keyboard is odd (almost 80's sound), but damn it works perfectly. The parts with synth over crushing power chords, and Allen singing out to the heavens "Bow your heads and abandon hope, we're the gods of pain. Raise your hands if you'll join with us, and let the madness reign" can only be described as EPIC.

With "Iconoclast" Symphony X continues to move in incremental steps, producing a sound pretty different from their older albums, yet still identifiable as them. No doubt this is Symphony X. It is heavy, groovy, mechanical, sometimes very moving, sometimes soaring epically. Besides retaining their sound while moving forward, there are few weak moments from start to finish. At first it could sound a bit samey but every song is different, and there is more subtlety and texture than outright progressiveness. The guitar work is epic, drumming perfect, synth has its role, Allen's vocals are flawless, going where needed and never over doing it. Every member of this band is immensely talented, and they each can showcase it though rarely in virtuoso style, they also each know their place and every thing fits together perfectly. It's why I regard Symphony X as one the top metal acts of it's time, and hope with this album more will come to think so.

Superb Album


bump: Four

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Who ever said that 2011 was a bad year for Prog?

This has indeed been a spectacular year considering that many of my favorite artists have new releases coming my way (at least the ones I pre-ordered). Even though there were a few less interesting albums in the batch, I can safely say that the overall score has so far definitely been on the plus side!

I wasn't actually planning on hearing the new Symphony X release even though I'm a fan of both The Divine Wings Of Tragedy and V: The New Mythology Suite. I've basically been sensing a fatigue in the band's output all throughout the last decade with Paradise Lost being the low point of their career, even though many fans might disagree with this statement. Either way, it's safe to say that I was completely blown away the first time I heard the opening album-titled track off Iconoclast. This composition has pretty much everything I hold so dear about Symphony X; memorable guitar riffs from Michael Romeo in combination with nicely structured and upbeat Progressive Metal progressions!

Unlike most of the band's previous output, this one clearly keeps away from pure Power Metal references in favor of Progressive Metal compositions and neatly crafted arrangements. I don't want to praise Iconoclast to skies since it's not a perfect album but I can easily declare it to be the band's most consistent release to date, which is something I can't even say about V: The New Mythology Suite! Even tracks like Heretic which I consider to be the weakest moment here, due to it's predictable outline and somewhat uninspired chorus, has nice qualities throughout the verses and the instrumental sections.

Cloaking at just over 80 minutes, it's quite spectacular to see that the album actually manages to be this consistent all the way to the end. For anyone who still haven't decided whether you are enough of a fan to by the complete special edition version, let me simply state that you'll be missing out on a lot of great material. This is after all the track order that the band originally intended to release but were eventually overruled by their label. The final 'so called' bonus tracks actually serve as the proper conclusion to the epic that is Iconoclast and the final track Reign In Madness definitely proves this in all it's glory!

Symphony X have once again managed to win me over with one of their releases. These are clearly not the words that I ever could dream of writing again but how can I not do it when Iconoclast is truly worthy of such a recognition!

***** star songs: Iconoclast (10:51) Children Of A Faceless God (6:21) When All Is Lost (9:10) Light Up The Night (5:04)

**** star songs: The End Of Innocence (5:27) Dehumanized (6:48) Bastards Of The Machine (4:56) Heretic (6:25) Electric Messiah (6:14) Prometheus (I Am Alive) (6:47) The Lords Of Chaos (6:10) Reign In Madness (8:38)

Review by Nightfly
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.

Review by J-Man
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.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Iconoclast' - Symphony X (6/10)

Beginning with their last album 'Paradise Lost', American prog metal legends Symphony X took a new direction with their music, abandoning some of their neoclassical and progressive roots in favour for a harder-edged metal sound. As with most stylistic changes a band can take, this divided the band's fanbase, and while I do find myself preferring the unique and complex sounds they had with 'The Divine Wings Of Tragedy', I was not entirely opposed to the new, darker sounds Symphony X was going for. The band's latest album 'Iconoclast' continues exploring the same style as 'Paradise Lost', and keeps the same high quality of speedy riffs and intensity of the band. Despite Symphony X's consistent technical brilliance here however, I can't find this latest installment of the Symphony X saga nearly as engaging or interesting as they used to be.

Although sold in single-disc format as a budget alternative, Symphony X's 'Iconoclast' is a sprawling double album, composed of eighty minutes or hard hitting progressive-tinged power metal. Taking main stage here is the neoclassical shredding and vicious riffs of guitarist Michael Romeo, and the acrobatic howls of singer Russell Allen. When compared to the band's earlier work, the most noticeable difference is the seeming lack of keyboards here for the most part; 'Iconoclast' is an album that relies almost exclusively on gritty riffs and guitar-based songwriting, with the other instruments like keyboards only taking center stage sparingly. Although ten minute songs are no stranger here to 'Iconoclast', Symphony X are a much less proggy band, instead focusing more on the intensity and bite of their ideas rather than their inherent complexity.

Despite the change that Symphony X has made to their sound, they still play absolutely incredibly. Michael Romeo may very well be one of my favourite guitarists of the entire power metal spectrum, always managing to find that perfectly heavy guitar tone for his perfectly executed neoclassical sweeps. The production here is also very professionally done, and the package as a whole really feels polished. The songwriting and riffs here are even quite well done, but even despite the fact that the band executes things perfectly here, much of 'Iconoclast' sadly sounds alike, and especially for the sake of such a long album, this tends to really test my patience. Also, I have never been a fan of Russell Allen's voice even despite his obvious talents and skills as a singer, and on 'Iconoclast', I am finding myself liking his vocals less and less. There is warmth being exchanged for angry shouts, and while it's still difficult not to be impressed by the man's range and ease of delivery, there is not much about Russell Allen's performance here that really attracts me to it.

The songwriting is good, but often feels a little cut-and-pasted together, and the choruses are sometimes outweighed by cheesiness rather than that sense of 'epic' they so strive for. 'When All Is Lost' is the highlight here for me, beginning quite softly, but building up to some of the most impressive vocal melodies from Allen on the record, as well as the always- incredible lead work of Romeo. The songwriting is fairly consistent on 'Iconoclast', although the album's length does make one wish there was some more variety here to freshen things up, especially by the time the first disc is over.

'Iconoclast' is a good album for Symphony X, and even great for fans of the gritty power metal they are doing here. I do find myself really wishing they could go back to their more unpredictable, well-rounded and epic progressive metal of the earlier days despite the quality here though, and although Symphony X's performance here is technically brilliant, I find myself a little bored by what they are doing here.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars SYMPHONY X fans might want to get used to waiting 5 years between albums as this has happened with the last two releases. As usual Michael Romero comes up with the lyrics, in fact he actually brings complete demos to the studio where the other band members will then give their thoughts and ideas.This is a method that seems to work for them.This particular album has technology as it's theme and in particular how it will one day rule the planet.They look at it in different ways from weapons to the social networks on the computer to electricity and more. While "Paradise Lost" had choirs and orchestration added to fit the theme, this one has a lot of mechanical textures. And while "Paradise Lost" was a heavy record, this has to be their heaviest album to date. In fact I think for most fans this will be a grower simply to get used to the style. Not much in the way of Symphonic stylings on this album.They hit us hard and they are relentless. So be warned.

"Iconoclast" kicks in hard rather quickly then it picks up speed before 2 1/2 minutes as synths then vocals join in.The background guitar 4 1/2 minutes in and later reminds me of JUDAS PREIST. A ripping instrumental section comes in after 6 minutes. A nice Power-Metal rhythm before 8 1/2 minutes. Just a killer track.

"The End Of Innocence" also sounds pretty amazing. Again more angry vocals and we get a guitar solo after 4 minutes. "Dehumanized" has this dark and heavy sound then the vocals kick in. Love the chorus on this one. A guitar solo 4 minutes in and I love when he slows the solo down as it reminds me of Lifeson.

"Bastards Of The Machine" has this galloping rhythm and the vocals come in before a minute. Heavy stuff 2 1/2 minutes in when the vocals stop. "Heretic" is some heavy [&*!#] i'll tell you that. A killer intrumental section begins before 3 1/2 minutes.

"Children Of A Faceless God" features more heaviness with vocals. I really like the intro. It's almost a little lighter (shocking I know) on the chorus.The guitar lights it up 4 minutes in and before 5 minutes. Great tune. "Electric Messiah" has these heavy drums that kick in quickly and the vocals follow. Amazing sound 3 1/2 minutes in. We get a keyboard solo then the vocals return.

"Prometheus (I Am Alive)" has some dark atmosphere early then it builds until it's kicking ass after a minute.Vocals join in. It sounds cool when the vocals slow down. Ripping guitar 5 minutes in.

"When All Is Lost" ends the album,or at least the version I have. For the first time really we get a mellow tune and a time to actually exhale (haha). Piano only to start as reserved vocals join in. It does get fuller after 1 1/2 minutes as we get a crunchy sound. We're galloping now.The guitar and sound soars 6 1/2 minutes in but then the guitar starts to shred. I knew they couldn't keep this mellow stuff going ! But then it calms down to end it.

The boys are back and heavier than ever, so put your seatbelts on for this ride because your going to need them.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album has been with me couple of months already and only now I have a chance to write my view about this one. Let me tell you why it has taken so long for me to write about this latest album by Symphony X - it's just for a simple reason: almost all tracks are truly metal or heavy compositions. The first spin of the album created an impression: when these guys would provide me a room to breathe as from opening track to five tracks they bombard me with heavy music. Yes. I was not originated from metal side of prog music, that's why listening to this album at the first time created me a feeling of being tired and waiting for when the torture would end? So then, I did not spin this album for quite sometimes until last week when I was driving alone in my car I played this album loud. Wow man! It's so energetic and I enjoyed the music very much even though most of them a re heavy tracks. Yes, this is considered as metal progressive album as so many metal elements, may be 60- 70% and some prog elements (the rest).

The turning point of this album was when I listened to third track Dehumanized (6:48). Yeah, I really love the musical riffs resulted from guitar work and make me really energized with the music. And then I also enjoyed another heavier track Bastards Of The Machine (4:56). These two tracks really introduced me to enjoy more this album. So after that experience I finally re- spin the album and found out the whole album comprising beautifully composed metal progressive music. Yes I find the heavy components of this album mostly are demonstrated by the heavy guitar riffs backed with drums and bass guitar. But not only that, there were many inventive keyboard solos that enrich the overall musical composition.

For some reason, since the band's Odyssey album I found that Symphony X was something to me like Kansas plays metal because the voice quality of Russell Allen is quite similar with Steve Walsh when Allen is not screaming. Try the seventh track When All Is Lost (9:10) and observe the first lyrical verse sung by Allen - you will find the similarity of Symphony X with Kansas. Of course their music are completely different.

Well, most people always compare this band with Dream Theater even though to me these two bands sound different. Just compare to recent Dream Theater's album A Dramatic Turn of Events - you would hardly find where they share similar vein. That's why I never compare the music of Symphony X with DT.

But I have to admit this album is really excellent as it has everything you need in melody as every single track has its own good to excellent melody - name any track! The harmonies created through bass guitar, drums, guitar, keyboards and vocal are really great from one passage to another - all are mostly delivered in relatively fast speed. There are many changes of styles and moods in any track and there are elements of complexities in any segment. As an album this one has structural integrity where the whole album is cohesive as an album.

Overall - it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Enjoy the intertwined guitar and keyboard work of Michael romeo and Michael Pinella. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by progrules
4 stars Okay, I must admit that my first thoughts after hearing the opening (title) track were: here we go again. Symphony X sounding like its good old self. I own all their previous albums and am therefore familiar with their sound and style completely. Downside of this is that the formula tends to wear thin (see my DT's latest !) after all this time.

On the other hand Symphony X is one of my most favorite bands ever which obviously means I'm extremely fond of this sound and approach. So I was thinking: bring 'em on again, what the heck. Of all previous albums Iconoclast has most resemblance with the predecessor Paradise Lost. In fact I could have started the review with Paradise Lost II but that's a bit too negative I feel.

Still I have to admit there's not much new under the sun but same as with DT's latest I have not a real big problem with that. Symphony X is a superb prog metal band and you can wake me up in the middle of the night for them so to speak. And since there's not a weak track to be found here and the quality (both production and execution) is huge I can once again go for one justified rating: 4 stars it is and the recent average of 3,84 is pretty accurate.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Iconoclast continues Symphony X's experiment begun in Paradise Lost of refreshing their sound by steering their power-metal flavoured progressive metal approach away from the seas of cheese and plumbing the potential of the style to explore darker themes. It's another success and is also rather accessible - there's an Iron Maiden tone (circa Seventh Son of a Seventh Son) to some of the material which I think really helps support the sort of material they're tackling here.

The set offers up a thematic concept album surrounding the idea of machines taking over humankind Terminator-style, and whilst the concept may not be very fresh (remember Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer?), the material is - to the point where the 2CD version of the album flies past as though it were a 1CD album, a sure sign that this is one of those rare double albums which isn't afflicted with filler. On that basis alone it deserves a thumbs up, but the fact that it builds so successfully on the advances made on Paradise Lost makes it a real gem in the Symphony X discography.

Review by Progulator
3 stars For me, Symphony X was originally one of those bands where you buy their albums but don't really "get it" until you see them live. That was my experience when they delivered an exceptional performance in 2002 in San Francisco in the absence of tour-mates Blind Guardian. After seeing them perform songs like "Egypt" and the "Odyssey" live, it just clicked. Fast forward 9 years and we are now seeing a very different band from what I once heralded as the perfect marriage of progressive and power metal. The release of Paradise Lost was a dramatic, even jolting departure from most everything I loved about this band as they took a less symphonic, more stripped down approach toward more straightforward instrumentation and composition.

The release of this year's Iconoclast was a day that I was both eagerly awaiting and dreading. Would they be delivering an album that could come close to the meticulously motif driven era of V: The New Mythology Suite? I wasn't really expecting that, but I hoped and prayed that it wouldn't be another Paradise Lost. Strangely enough, it kind of was, but somehow they managed to capture the Paradise Lost style in a way that, disregarding a few clunkers, turned out to be a collection of pretty good songs.

To put it plainly, this is a decent 80 minute album that would have been a great 50 minute album. While there wasn't anything that recalled the epic scope of the Symphony X of old, there is about 50 minutes of really great songs. Anyone who knows me can probably guess the songs that I hated (and consider to be the worst songs of the band's career), but even if you don't feel the same, I think that most people could agree that Symphony X could've really tightened up the awesomeness of this album by cutting it down to include only the absolute best songs.

So, without further distractions, the review:

The ugly: As Symphony X is an extremely talented band, please take into account that I do not mean to criticize them as musicians or artists. I do feel that my review should reflect my honest opinion of the album. I'm not gonna lie, as far as my tastes go, there were a few songs that left me very disappointed. Dehumanized is the only one I'll mention by name. While this one sports very uncreative and painfully repetitive lyrics, sludgy riffs that are very uncharacteristic of the band, and hooks that get stuck in my head for the wrong reasons, I'll leave it up to you guys to decide which tracks you might have left off the album. In all fairness, there is a lot of great material on this record; I recommend making use of the skip button because you will still have plenty of great tracks to listen to. Don't let the ones you don't like ruin it for you.

The awesome: As I've been getting more and more into cyberpunk and distopyian themes lately, the content of this album thrilled me. Technophobia and the disembodied and image ruled alienation of internet culture, there's simply a great textbook approach to sci-fi going on here; plus, it comes out more and more with every anime I watch (Serial Experiments Lain, anyone?).

Musically speaking, Symphony X manages to write a bunch of songs with really killer in your face guitar riffs. By the way, we see a slight return of the keyboard in the production, which really made me happy. The opener, Iconoclast opens up with an ultra-dark theme and sets your head spinning with wild riffs in odd time. From there we get a number of songs that find a good balance between powermetal, progmetal, and thrash, with smart rhythms that are still rocking, good atmosphere, and pretty decent vocal melodies.

The songs that ended up doing it for me the most where the final tracks off each disc: "Rein in Madness" and "When All is Lost." "Rein in Madness" seemed to be the only song that truly captured the sci-fi/cyberpunk/dystopia mood, from the synthy and grooving beat that kicks off the piece, to the hauntingly beautiful clean section about 5 minutes in where we get a moving vocal delivery from Mr. Allen that spells out a clear message of future dystopia. However, "When All is Lost" was the true surprise and gem of this album. What seems to open up as merely a decent ballad suddenly evolves into a fine example of progressive rock which melds a tiny bit of the glorious feel of "Through the Looking Glass" with a blend of modern and classic prog elements. Did you really hear a Hammond style organ in there? Indeed, and it was glorious as this song goes from amazing to incredible at about the 5 minute mark. This piece really shows Symphony X doing everything well without having to be really metal, adding some much needed variety to their latest output. In terms of vocal composition and melody, this is a song that completely reminds us that once upon a time this band really delivered majestic and soaring melodies rather than the quick "hooks" of late. If there's a piece that holds hope in my heart that Symphony X will do great things with their next release, it's this song.

In the end, I think there's a little something for everyone in Iconoclast. Figure out which songs you like and pretend that you're the producer. Take the good songs and use the skip button on your player to pretend the others don't exist. I'm pretty convinced that you'll find that there is still plenty of great material on this album where you could trim it down by 4 or 5 songs and listen to a fantastic 50 minutes of music that will make you smile? and bang your head? of course!

Review by Prog Leviathan
5 stars Right out of the gate you'll know that Symphony X's Iconoclast is going to be that sort of prog-metal album that hits-hard; it'll get your fists pumping, your brain melting, and speakers blasting... and just plain smash the hell out of the competition with a massive show of technical and stylistic flourish. Iconoclast is amazing.

The title opener kicks in the door with fairly standard power-metal atmosphere: epic choirs, big crunchy guitar chords, symphonic keyboards. Then the riffing starts, that powerful, irresistible chugging of Romeo's guitar that grinds with dexterity and aggression and skill - your attention is captured. Then Russell Allen's gravely, masculine, powerful vocals begin - your hairs start to raise. Then the whole band freaking explodes in a world- shattering series of melodies, time changes, instrumental showcases, and excellent soloing that just gets better and better as the 11 minute song unfolds.

And then the next song begins, and then the next, and the next... and it just gets better!

Let's be clear: Iconoclast is not going to win awards for being the most creative prog-metal release. In fact, there's predictability in the band's songwriting, and they use a lot of the tropes that define the genre. This isn't to say it's not top notch among their peers though; these songs are so freaking good, they just aren't experimental. And you know what, listen to Iconoclast and I can guarantee that you won't care. This album is everything that a great prog/power metal album should be, and maybe focusing on the basics is what makes it so good. I don't think I've heard a more addictive metal album.

I'm amazed that the band is able to sustain the momentum throughout the album's massive running length (although you'll probably need break half-way). The first disc especially is packed with more metal, more demonstrations of technical ability, and more memorable moments than you can count. Romeo proves he's a guitar giant throughout (especially in his soaring solo on "Dehumanized"), while Pinella impresses as well with very smart use of his keyboards, such as in the dynamic and more subtle piano work at the album's conclusion. They're never overdone or cartoonish, and his solo moments fit in very well with the tone of the songs. The rhythm section may be one of the highlights of the album. Thanks to an excellent production, we can appreciate all of Lepond's aggressive basslines and Rullo's personality-filled drumming. Symphony X was always sort of a side interest for me, as I got swept up in Dream Theater fandom during my mid '20's... but this album has seriously changed my mind.

To wrap up, I want to spend a few words talking about Russell Allen, both his vocals and the lyrics he's singing. First off... the guy is a beast. Try singing along and your voice will be gone in a few minutes. Try keeping up with the guy's range, and you'll be sounding like a you've got a cold, or are a puny little girl because he can scream and bellow with the best of them. Simply put, he's great. The lyrics, telling a loosely connected story about the synthesis between man and machine, are gloriously corny. Emphasis on the glorious. I'm a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi in my metal, and the lyrics deliver here in a BIG way. The rhymes are epic and memorable, and while listening I frequently daydreamed all kinds of robot on human violence. To me, this is the mark of excellent song-writing: not they convey some deeper message, which is all too often just a bunch of bathos bull[&*!#], but they instead are genuine and fun for the audience. And Allen completely nails it.

So bottom line, if you're a fan of metal music, get Iconoclast, dim the lights, and be transported to a world of massive sci-fi battles and explosions of musicianship that deserve to be at the top of the genre.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Review by FragileKings
4 stars "Peace Sells"-era Megadeth with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, everyone on steroids. A cyborg keyboard player whose voice is what he plays. That's my impression of this album.

My initial impression was not so warm. "V: The New Mythology Suite" was my introduction to Symphony X and I loved that album. So I had high expectations. The first comments I jotted down were not very flattering.

The first song, "Iconoclast", includes a choir and a symphony and it's a powerful, heavy, and great song with which to kick off the album. The music is heavier and far more intense than anything from "V".

The next five songs are all excellent metal tunes: fast, furious, brutal, and intense. Like an avalanche that can halt in an instant and become a bulldozer or a quick flourish or artillery assault and then back to an avalanche. The guitars are fast and change from charging riff to machine gun spray of notes to battering thunderous riff. The drums are incredible at abrupt rhythm changes, speed, and unanticipated restraint. The keyboards not as prominent as on "V" but when they are, they're very suitable with a mechanical sound and rarely pretty or delicate.

Russel Allen's vocals sound beefed up compared to ten years earlier and he manages some great Dio "Aahhh-ohh-oh" hollers.

But after five excellent metal tracks, the progressive and symphonic aspect seems to have been abandoned. "When All Is Lost" makes up for it by bringing back the real piano and acoustic guitar and the softer melodious side of the band while still being heavy. This one song is where the band really flex their symphonic muscle and shades of "V" flicker by, reminding us that this is the same band. More of this would have made a more symphonic progressive album, but I've really come to love the heavy side.

Of course I had to buy the double disc. I heard the record company wouldn't release the double album unless a single disc would also be released simultanneously, their logiic being that sales would be better if some members of the public were only willing to shell out for a single disc.

The second disc continues with what we've heard mostly so far: 6-minute fast and furious metal tracks. There are more excellent songs and to be clear each song has its own unique opening so that there's no confusing one for another. I just feel the overall atmosphere of brutally sharp and tight heavy metal remains unchanging. "Reign in Madness" is a longer track so once again there's more room to stretch out the song and add some acoustic guitar and piano. Nothing pretty like "When All Is Lost". The piano here is haunting and the guitar riff heavy. This part is a brief interlude in the otherwise intense track.

A few final words, Allen's vocals remind me also of Luke Easter of Torniquet. There's good melody in the tunes, so it's not just savage shouting or hoarse singing. The music is heavier and beefier with more weight than "V". Though a bit disappointing at first, I now enjoy the album. The sound is well produced; it's not dense and muddy like many heavy albums. Everything is pumped but clear. The guitars and drums work together to emphasize one another and add power to the riffs and playing.

As a metal album, I'd say this one really delivers. For a symphonic/progressive metal album, I think it could use a little more like the title track, "When All Is Lost", and "Reign In Madness". Not an excellent addition to any prog collection but an excellent album overall for those who want a lot of thunderous bang for their buck with very highly skilled musicians.

Review by The Crow
3 stars The hardest style that started with Paradise Lost, is definitely consolidated with this Iconoclast!!!

Symphony X surprised us 10 years ago with their most intense album to date. A collection of wild, merciless riffs for a long and dense record which shows the most savage face of the band. Even Russel Allen signs more aggressive than ever!

It is commendable that a band like this wants to evolve, mixing its symphonic progressive metal with Thrash metal touches that bring it closer to other groups like Nevermore or even Testament or Metalllica. I don't dislike this new style at all.

But perhaps for my taste, especially compared to other works by the band, this Iconoclast ends being a bit repetitive and tiresome in the long run, something that had never happened to me with any other album of the group except perhaps the first one.

In any case, and although in my opinion it lags a bit behind Paradise Lost and other classics of the band, this Iconoclast manages to maintain the good level of a band for which I have deep respect.

Best Tracks: Iconoclast (a hard, progressive song, reminiscent of Nevermore's best moments in some passages), End of Innocence (good chorus), Children of a Faceless God (excellent introductory riff, for a song with a great layer of keyboards that recalls the best moments of The New Mythology Suite), When all Is Lost (the song that brings us back to the most classic Symphony X. Great piano melody and impressive instrumental interlude) and Prometheus (thrashy but with much inspiration on the verses and chorus)

My Rating: ***

Latest members reviews

4 stars Yet another solid Symphony X release, albeit a retreat from the high-caliber V and Odyssey. Symphony X left the leading Progressive Metal pack and returned to the more conventional and less ambitious territory. "Paradise Lost" presents the band in change: Still firmly rooted in progressive metal ... (read more)

Report this review (#2202718) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 2007's 'Paradise Lost' is, in my opinion, one of the heaviest albums of all time, and having developed their sound over the years from a neo-classical progressive metal act to an extremely heavy, almost power metal-sounding band, it seems Symphony X have settled on a style that suits them perfec ... (read more)

Report this review (#2043236) | Posted by martindavey87 | Friday, October 12, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Symphony X's 'Iconoclast' is an album which sees the prodigious American metal band continue with the style established on 'Paradise Lost' and move further away from their earlier symphonic sound. I commend any band which seeks to evolve and try out new approaches to their music but unfortunatel ... (read more)

Report this review (#1436564) | Posted by AndyJ | Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Symphony X is getting tired of the symphony. They have been stripping away classical influences in recent albums so all that remains is basically a thrashy power metal with some keyboards. There is nothing wrong with this approach (not original but at least a change) , as long as the riffs are g ... (read more)

Report this review (#1075881) | Posted by Progrussia | Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Incredible. On first listen, this album didn't strike any major chords. But this album is a grower. After a few listens, I realised that this album is something really special. The album is a concept album, which singer Russell Allen said in an interview was based upon "the idea of machine ... (read more)

Report this review (#921130) | Posted by The Mystical | Friday, March 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Symphony X were always and above all, metal. Sure the prog part was always present, as neoclassical or progressive power metal, call it what you want. Actually in V the prog elements were dominant, but 7 years later in Paradise Lost they delivered their heaviest effort...or that 's what we thought ... (read more)

Report this review (#516838) | Posted by Sophocles | Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Okay, let's make no buts about it. If you are into Symphony X's grandiose and epic, but at the same time progressive and incredibly groovy, power metal, then you are in for a treat. The band carry on where they left of on 2007's "Paradise Lost", and that's fine by me because I think that was one o ... (read more)

Report this review (#514149) | Posted by Time Signature | Sunday, September 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After four long years the charismatic American progressive metal band comes back after a strong predecessor with more than eighty minutes of music. Already the first epic title track "Iconoclast" proves that the band has put all their technical skills, all their passion and all their creativity into ... (read more)

Report this review (#499355) | Posted by kluseba | Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars So far this year one of my most anticipated releases already turned out to be a dud. That is definitely not the case here. Iconoclast is perhaps one of my favorite albums by Symphony X, with V: The New Mythology Suite at the top of the list. Since V was my introduction into Symphony X it will pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#492383) | Posted by The Block | Friday, July 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I hate to say it, but with this album Symphony X confirm that they have lost their creativity: the symphonic passages in "Divine", "V" and "Odyssey" are completely gone, making way only to purely "power metal" songs, having not too complex structure. The beautiful interweaving with piano, keyb ... (read more)

Report this review (#491110) | Posted by prog61 | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I've heard a lot of great things about this Symphony X's newest work. I read peoples opinions on forums saying it is one of the best progressive metal releases in years and I would have to disagree greatly. Its a descent album. Not great by any means. I think Symphony X is just getting heavier as th ... (read more)

Report this review (#480485) | Posted by kawkaw123 | Monday, July 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first time I listened to this album, my initial feeling was: "This is decent, but not as good as Paradise Lost". I'd caution people against that train of thought (I had to throw in a Dream Theater allusion somewhere!), because I quickly realized that I was very wrong. This album does have a ... (read more)

Report this review (#475385) | Posted by TheMasterMofo | Monday, July 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm going to have to give this 5 stars. Inevitably this won't be rated as highly as say, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy, or, V: The New Millennium Suite, because it is not as progressive. Here Symphony X are continuing the sound they established on Paradise Lost. The music is heavier, less progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#475280) | Posted by prog058 | Monday, July 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars On my first listening to Iconoclast, I'll admit that wasn't really taken with this release. It seemed to have a bit too much thrash here and there, a few unpleasant speed-metal passages, and the "voice of doom" which I will always find off-putting. But... As happens with all good tunes, much ... (read more)

Report this review (#472407) | Posted by oddio | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Most of the reviews I've seen have rated this album based on the comparison to past works. Iconoclast should be rated based on what it is - a masterpiece of modern progressive rock/metal. No, this doesn't sound at all like DWOT, TIO, or V, but I'm perfectly ok with that. I have already hear ... (read more)

Report this review (#471397) | Posted by pianomandust | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars EVEN BETTER! "Iconoclast", the new Symphony X album ,really struck me.I really thought they had peaked with the previous version of "Paradise Lost", but this album is proof positive that they are improving their sound. Some say "Iconoclast" is darker than anything they've done, I do not se ... (read more)

Report this review (#471357) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars So Symphony X hadn't released anything for four years. So this album was extremely anticipated by most Symphony X fans. They did a terrific job teasing for many months until the album dropped, but the few songs they released were pretty standard and generic SX songs and one could basically only w ... (read more)

Report this review (#470414) | Posted by jsem | Sunday, June 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While this may not be my favorite Symphony X album, I think it might be the first I'd recommend to Metal fans of other sub-genre's, though the jury is still out between Iconoclast and Paradise Lost. As a fan of all things Progressive, my favorite tracks on the album are the title track, and When All ... (read more)

Report this review (#469212) | Posted by dtguitarfan | Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I'm pretty sure that nowadays prog metal fans are needy of an event of big proportions in order to see a much more clear horizon for the future. The problem is that sometimes they don't really ask for it. They simply accept what's out there and even applaud to it. And with "Iconoclast" we can say it ... (read more)

Report this review (#468469) | Posted by elcaballodecaligula | Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars here i am reviewing the first album i've managed to get before its official release in my 20+ years of collecting music! being a big fan of SX, i did pick the 2-CD "special edition" which is only "special" because it has all the songs meant to be on the record... "Iconoclast" for me would hav ... (read more)

Report this review (#467787) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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