Progressive rock/metal can make you do one of two things. It can either entice and pull you in or send you running for the door. In the case of Symphony X, I have yet to hear this band do anything that I don’t find anything less than stellar. I literally just started listening to the band about a year ago and since then have found myself treading through every release they have put out. With each album Symphony X seemed to be creating this amazing monster having no idea what it was going to be come. As of 2011, the monster has an identity and a name: Iconoclast.
I can’t even begin to describe just how monstrous “Iconoclast” is. Opening the album with the 11 minute epic title track is not only insane to many but is downright ambitious. This shows a band that is not scared to take huge chances while refusing to make apologies for it. This song literally had me on the edge of my seat as it shape shifted from groove to mass hysteria to one of the most catchy, goose bump causing choruses I’ve ever heard. Michael Romeo is without a doubt a guitar god that will be very much heard of after this album. First single “The End of Innocence” is one of the many shining moments for Sir Russell Allen. Allen is a rock n’ roll singer in a prog band and this dynamic really creates an amazing listening experience.
“Iconoclast” covers a lot of musical bases which has left the court wide open for Sir Russell Allen to enter the ring and exercise his vocal abilities and versatility. From the melodic voicing of songs like “Children of a Faceless God” to the down right gritty and trashy “Dehumanized”, Allen opens himself up and lets it all just pour out of his heart and soul. Singing like this is what Metal Gods are made of. If Sir Russell Allen isn’t already considered one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time, he damn well should be after this album.
Not only is this album musically stellar like you would expect but lyrically Symphony X has ventured into the dark age of technology. Military technology and social networking seem to be recurring themes throughout the album creating a dark landscape while asking questions through music such “Light up the Night” in which Allen asks, “Have we gone too far too fast?” hinting that we just may be advancing far beyond our means and far beyond our times. The messages are there and they are not hard to comprehend but can totally be translated any way we see fit.
Symphony X has created a monstrous album that not only entertains the listener musically but lyrically challenges the listener to think of the world we live in. “Iconoclast” opened my mind a great bit causing me to think of things that I usually take for granted. Social networking, the Internet and all forms of modern technology are mere conveniences that help us in a positive way but which also have very negative and dangerous power to them. “Iconoclast” is definitely not an album to dumb down to. This is an album that will with out a doubt cause you to turn on and tune in.