13.) Symphony X - Iconoclast
Symphony X is a known quantity at this point. You know they are going to give you fierce and technical progressive power metal riffs, clean and elegant pianos/keyboards filling out the fringes of the sound, and Sir Russell Allen’s amazeballs singing. Allen is one of my very favorite singers on Earth. He’s equally comfortable with rough-throated vibrato on aggressive tracks as he is with an expressive, gentle-yet-strong range on the more ballady tracks. Album opener “Iconoclast” absolutely smolders with pure metal intensity, while mega-ballad “When All Is Lost” (linked above) is the ultimate expression of the metal ballad: nine minutes of Allen singing like a Goddamned angel while pianos and synthesizers and bad-ass guitars combine to makes something beautiful. The song seems to climax at the 6:30 mark, but that was a false climax. That’s what Symphony X does – give you just a little bit more than you dreamed of getting. But this isn’t Dream Theater, folks. Symphony X mostly manages to avoid the cheese factor that oftentimes befalls bands with incredible guitar players. This album is overlong but otherwise excels in every single that that it does. My only real criticism is that it doesn’t represent much an evolution by the band from their previous album, 2007’s Paradise Lost. Still, this is an album to return to again and again when you’re looking for a precise blend of beauty and power.
Originally Posted by Delano
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