CD Review: Symphony X
ARTIST: Symphony X
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
Author: Sam Yakou
When Symphony X released Paradise Lost in 2007 it was deemed their heaviest and darkest album to date. Four years later the band returns with Iconoclast; a concept album that takes the Symphony X sound to even darker territory. The album’s lyrical theme of humanity succumbing to it’s technology is enhanced by the music’s slower, heavier than normal tempos. The grittier sound is due to the stripped down symphonic arrangements used to enhance more organic musical interludes. Because of this the music has a greater dramatic impact as it propels the album’s narrative.
However, the heavier, grinding sound shouldn’t discourage long-time fans. The songs are still progressive and melodic with a lot of guitar-keyboard interplay. Epic tracks like “Iconoclast”, “When All Is Lost” and “Prometheus (I Am Alive)” are right in line with the band’s previous efforts. Mainstream influences become clearer on other tracks like “Dehumanized”, with it’s Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath vibe, and the Metallica-esque “Heretic”.
The deluxe edition of the album finds a slightly reworked and augmented track listing spread over two discs. The additional three songs help round out the narrative but the expansion drag the momentum down at times. Overall Iconoclast is a bold step forward for the New Jersey band blending heavy and melodic progressive rock with symphonic metal.
Bottom line; if you enjoyed Paradise Lost then Iconoclast will be satisfying slice of metal.