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"another compelling argument" - 90%

ReaperMan, January 6th, 2012

Continuing with the heaviness that defined their previous effort, 2007’s Paradise Lost, Symphony X made another compelling argument that they should be considered the dominant progressive/power metal band with Iconoclast.

Centered around a theme of technological uprising, the album is an astounding prog-metal masterpiece reminiscent of Dream Theater’s Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. That band/album is a good reference point when evaluating Iconoclast; since the follow up to Six Degrees…, 2003’s Train Of Thought ventures into heavier territory and the incorporation of a more modern sound has sat uncomfortably within Dream Theater’s music. This is certainly not the case with Symphony X. It's quite the opposite. The heavier direction of the past two albums has only strengthened the band's sound, taking it to places, while perhaps not sought after, out of reach during past eras of albums such as The Odyssey and The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. A lot of the criticism towards Dream Theater’s more recent output has centered around James LeBrie, claiming the band’s sound has outgrown him as a singer. Again, it is the complete inverse for Russell Allen. His voice sounds as perfectly suited here as it did on their early albums, sitting somewhere comfortably between LeBrie in his heavier moments and the mighty Dio. His performance is a standout of the album as is also that of drummer Jason Rullo, whose drums don’t play a lead role like the Mike Portnoys of the world would, but firmly laying down the foundation for Iconoclast’s sonic chaos to take part atop, seamlessly shifting time signatures and tempos.

The highlight of the album is certainly the opening title track, a ten-minute epic driven by its irresistible, anthemic chorus that, despite its length and like all the tracks on Iconoclast, only ends too soon.