Released: June 17, 2011
Genre: Progressive Symphonic Power Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 9
The album has the same style of "Paradise Lost", one of the best if not the greatest album of all times (by my opinion)! And Symphony X just getting better at this!
EpiExplorer, on june 20, 2011 6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: Four years is a fairly huge gap for an active band to create an album, but when you're one of the biggest progressive metal acts in the world, you really REALLY don't want to rush things. So you can imagine that the follow up to the fabulous "Paradise Lost" should be fairly amazing.
And indeed it is. As an example, first track "Iconoclast" greats us with some sporadic, dark and head-twisting riffery that most definitely sets the sound of the album. Its very typically followed up by some typical Symphony X style epic choral/string arrangements, but these are huge, very very atmospheric symphonics, properly mixed to sound like an orchestra. Although having less punch and urgency than the opener to "Paradise Lost", the main focus is the huge sweeping chorus with no less than 7 or 8 layered vocal tracks for emphasis and also music maestro Russell Allen's insanely high register vocals (he's upped his game on this one). Another defining feature of the song is the 2 minute guitar/keyboard solo that drops it into a 6/4 groove, ready to do some face-melting and jaw-dropping.
"Iconoclast" is Symph-X's way of upping the ante, the sound is noticeably darker, especially the guitar riffs and the continued use of dissonance throughout the album, but it always stays true to their sound and they've sacrificed some speed for breathing space, which basically means MORE GROOVES. One thing this album does not lack in is grooves, ranging from prog-rock style 4/4-3/4 mindbenders to fist pounding outros, my personal favourite being the intro to "Dehumanized".
And lets not forget melody, there's been no skimping on the sauce, so to speak. There's masses of sexy interplay between the keys and guitar, the vocals highlight the harmonies perfectly and the "wall" of symphonics can never be ignored, not that you'd want to anyway. // 8
Lyrics: Russell Allen is one of the most respected metal vocalists of the past 20 years, and its very easy to see why. Despite the extensive career they've had, he still has the flame of passion in his voice, like he really puts feeling into his lyrical meanings. As mentioned, on "Iconoclast" he spreads his range more and more (ewww) between high and low, sometimes singing in a cleaner and smoother approach in some softer sections of the album in a more Gothic approach but still keeping his gruff but clear voice in top form.
Lyrically, "Iconoclast" is a little bit more of a cynical album, themes including oppression, enslavement, and hopelessness stemming from our evolution of machines are the main focus. Although the lyrics are perhaps a teeny bit clich, Russell works them into the tracks perfectly, just enough so that you can tell this is new album territory for them. // 8
Overall Impression: Symphony X have delivered the goods with much enthusiasm, although I'm personally concerned that their next release might take even longer to complete! Not their best album, but far from the worst, its good ol' Symphony X that we know and love. Just don't get confused about the digital deluxe version and the regular album version, there's this huge kerfuffle about some songs being on one and not the other and its fairly annoying, best bet is to get the deluxe edition.
Songs to look out for: "Iconoclast", "Dehumanizer", "Bastards Of The Machine", "Children Of The Faceless God", "Electric Messiah", "Prometheus (I Am Alive)" (a song which reminds me a lot of OSI with Mike Portnoy), "When All Is Lost". // 8
orsgl1, on june 20, 2011 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: First I've got to say Symphony X is one of my favorite bands, when I first heard the news of Symphony X recording a new album, I was was really excited, could'nt wait to the release, and when the day arrived I was so happy, and the record did not let me down at all! The band is a symphonic\neo classical metal, the music mostly inspired by classical and heavy metal music or\and has a symphonic elements in it, Symphony X did a great job, it has it all. // 10
Lyrics: Before the album came out, I red in Wikipedia (by the way a great way to see some news about some stuff like bands, not kidding) that the theme for the album is based on the idea of machines taking over the world, the album lyrics are talking about war against the machines, people are becoming machines and more, the lyrics of the album are writen well and good! Describe the situations, most of them! The singer is one of the greatest singers in music, his voice has a range of almost 4 octave (G below low C (G1) to the F# above Tenor High C (F#5)) I admire his work and voice! // 10
Overall Impression: The album has the same style of "Paradise Lost", one of the best if not the greatest album of all times (by my opinion)! And Symphony X just getting better at this! Most impressive songs (again, by my opinion only) from this product would have to be: "The End Of Innocence", "Dehumanized", "Bastards Of The Machine", "Prometheus (I Am Alive)" and "Reign In Madness". I want to say that my 2 favorite songs of this album are "Iconoclast" and "When All Is Gone", "Iconoclast" is the most symphonic song on this album I think, "When All Is Gone" is such a beautiful song, reminds me a lot of "Paradise Lost", beautiful solo and has so much fill in it, just beautiful writing! I can't think of a better song than this, my favorite. And yes! If I will ever lose it, I will buy 10 more copies of it! // 10
Dream Floyd, on june 21, 2011 1 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: Symphony X is awesome. I'm going to start with that line. This album is not up to par. Symphony X, known for odd time signatures, dissonance and D standard do just that on this album; play almost only minor 2nds and in time signatures that aren't catchy. I saw them in February, where they played two songs from this album, "Dehumanized" and "End Of Innocence". I liked "Dehumanized" and thought End of Innocence was okay. The album goes downhill from there. Its predecessor, "Paradise Lost", had PLENTY of prog metal riffs that weren't in 4/4 that were catchy as f--k, but this albums just lacks that. None of the riffs stay in your head like they did on "Paradise Lost". To sum it up, they can do a lot better. // 6
Lyrics: According to Russell Allen and Michael Romeo, the album is about the encounter of machine and man, some weird prog crap like that. If you're listening to Symphony X, you probably don't listen to the lyrics (but definitely the singing). I think Russell's addition of swears to this album's lyrics make them seem very forced, like he's really TRYING to seem metal, but it feels out of place on a prog metal record. Russell Allen is still amazing though. // 7
Overall Impression: I think it's one of their worst albums to date. I just don't like it. As soon as I start a song on my iPod, I just feel forced to change to something else, something from the good ol' days of Symphony X, like "Sea Of Lies" or "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy". Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make to with this while I wait for Mike Mangini's band (what are they called again?) to release something awesome. // 6