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Good, but a bit bland - 72%

InsomniumVR, August 5th, 2012

Symphony X has always been sort of an enigma to me. I have always really enjoyed their records, if only just for the amazing musicianship of one Michael Romeo. The last few years, Paradise Lost, The Odyssey, and V: The New Mythology Suite (in descending order, of when it was released) all portrayed a really artistic side of Symphony X, and I believe encompass a string of opuses, let me reiterate, for this band. To which, I believe Iconoclast picks up from. A CD filled with amazing musicianship, catchy riffs and choruses, a signature ballad, but always leaving you a tad disappointed that the majority of the songs following the exact same structure. Verse, Catchy Chorus, Verse, Amazing musicianship/solo, Chorus. Its a shame, because the music on here has so much potential.

Iconoclast is a supposed "concept album" with themes centering around the heavily used topic of "Machines taking over the world, and our technology coming to follow through with our demise" I have grown quite tired of this topic as it reminds me a lot of the movie "I, Robot" With song titles like "End of Innocence" and lyrics like "Selling our futures for a song, we gave away" Its not hard to escape that theme. This theme seems to add to the CD becoming very stale, as well. Honestly, any theme will get boring if it isn't properly developed.

Russell Allen's voice has deteriorated a bit since their debut, which is to be expected when you have been involved with music for as long as you have. Perhaps it is not so much that his voice has deteriorated, it is just that he strains more when he attempts to use his vibrato. However, on songs like "Children of a Faceless God," or "When All Is Lost," the vibrato returns with a vengeance. As always his voice carries the music very well, and adds emotion to all the mechanical grinding that Romeo's riffs inject into the songs.

With all Symphony X albums there is always the obligatory up tempo piece, that is usually brilliantly aided by keyboards (How many times do you think people say that?) and is definitely what one would describe as "catchy." "Bastards of the Machine" and "Electric Messiah" follow this vein. This is what makes Symphony X so popular, they're ability to catch this media friendly, late 80's Priest-esque influenced radio worthy metal. Along with weaving intense technical ability from Romeo and company.

Overall, this is what I have come to expect and accept of Symphony X. You are going to get a general theme that gets stale very quickly, because of how poorly developed it is. You are going to get songs that start to blend together because of how similar they all are. You are going to get a myriad of amazing riffs, and some incredible solos from Michael Romeo, which still make me shake my head today. You will get the stereotypical "anthemic" ballad which is filled with despondent themes. The Iconoclast won't add anything to the genre of progressive metal. It won't really add much to Symphony X's pretty good résumé. But its a safe and catchy release, and I still find myself listening to it every so often.