Album Reviews

Symphony X – Iconoclast

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records

Release Date:  Out Now!!!

Genre: Progressive Metal


Line Up:

Michael Romeo- Guitar

Russell Allen- Vocals

Michael Pinnella- Keyboards

Michael Lepond- Bass

Jason Rullo- Drums


1. Iconoclast

2. The End of Innocence

3. Dehumanized

4. Bastards of the Machine

5. Heretic

6. Children of a Faceless God

7. Electric Messiah

8. Prometheus (I am Alive)

9. When All Is Lost

Similar to bands like Kamelot a favorite of mine for many years, the New Jersey natives and symphonic Progressive Masters Symphony X have been kicking arse and taking names in the genre for a long time. In fact I still remember very vividly hearing in amazement the amazing The Divine Wings of Tragedy back in 1998; the bands third studio album, and being blown away by the perfect mix of explosion and symphonic arrangements. It was hard to denied its pure aggression with beauty and melancholy moments of catastrophe debacle against a turbulent monster riff section from the amazing Michael Romeo. Ohh and I didn’t even mention the god wordy vocals of Sir Russell Allen, one of the strongest and more passionate singers in metal. It was a terrific opening into what was to come from this powerful outfit.

Is pretty amazing the group has taken its time in releasing albums but are here once more in 2011 with what is now they’re 8th studio record. Some things have changed, not really line up wise but in style. For instance on the last album The X went on to explode an introduced us into more of a straight forward approach in the music, gone was the neo classical mastery from the wizard Mr Romeo. I know some fans didn’t really like that, but the core of the fan base is stronger then ever and if you like your metal heavy and plowing like a drill piercing the earth’s core? well this is the type of album that Symphony X makes now.

But wait what about if you are the softer progressive metal fan who’s more into keyboard laden driven madness and moment of classical music being infused into an albums story? Well too bad because you are not going to find that with Iconoclast. This is a heavy as hell , thundering brazing energy plastering journey through the root that is Symphony X. The sound is similar to the last record in “Paradise Lost” which was freaking amazing if you ask me.

Enough about words and description you know what these guys are capable of kicking things off is the in your face opening title track which displays just that, Allen welcomes your senses back into a dark brooding cycle of progressive obscurity once more proving why he’s one of the best to ever get on the mic. The treacherous riffs on “The End of Innocence” is prototypical X and a little more catchy in spots, for a minute there I thought the band was going to break the song down a little but I got fooled, more frenetic pacing continues to wrap the song up.The break solo in “Dehumanized” is perfect? Probably not but Romeo is a very technical guitar player and on this track just like the whole album, he well shreds in a more straight forward style.

Come forward with an almighty thundering clap and welcome this powerful offering of enormous aggression will you?. This is what you will get regardless whether you like it or not, for some it may be a turn off the whole record is same pace, not many slow moment at all except for the softer piano opening Epic last track “When All Is Lost” bringing memories of the old Symphony X and shades of “Candlelight Fantasia” off the TDWOT album. Want more bang for your buck? Check out the deluxe edition of Iconoclast featuring a second disc with even more tracks, 5 to be exact.

You know and I know if you’re an older fan of the band that is a little hard to swallow the fact that the band has taken on this dark, and heavier approach especially in the roughness of Allen’s voice which sometimes makes you miss the more transitional slower vocal atonement of the past, but who cares is not always about what the fans want; they are entering a new stage and the light are set and they are scorching the hell out of the lime light. This is Symphony X in 2011 and with as much aggression and thrash redemption to make most bands envious. Think of a mix of Redemption meets Testament on crack, yeah is really just the ram battery style that makes the album go, along with Russell’s power house vocals. The man just sounds so freaking evil when he sings, perfect…..We all knew this one was going to be one of the most thought out albums of the year and in my eyes they don’t disappoint a bit, it has aggression, transgression, thought provoking lyrics, and sheer earshot of a rhythm section. By the way definition of Iconoclast? “A destroyer of images used in religious worship.”….ouch…that’s all I have to say. Recommended seal and approved by the bastard machine!!!

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys   8/10

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