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Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by clafalc, Sep 6, 2011.
I think it's their best album. Yes, you read that right and yes, I own all of them.
...interesting, to say the least.
This is a really good point. Even on PL, the bass and drums had their moments, while on this album they are both rather subdued (the bass in particular is buried in the mix, unlike PL). The keys are more prominent here, but I'm not crazy about Symphony X using synthesizers as opposed to the natural-sounding patches (piano, strings, and the like). It works for some songs due to the content (e.g. Reign in Madness), but overall I just want to hear a great piano line over some polyrhythmic thing being played by the rhythm section (like so many of their great past works).
Interesting. I don't mind the use of different types of keys - I can imagine that Genesis fans went through a similar reaction when Tony Banks began drifting away from his Mellotron. Having listened to a lot of modern neo-prog lately, I've grown to like artificial or "cheesy" sounding keyboards, so that's fair game. It's just that every song is so oversaturated with super-slick, ultra-syncopated guitar lines that are always right at the front, competing with the keys for space, that the record is immediately exhausting. By the third track I'm pretty much done. I also think the vocal lines are strangely uninspired, especially for Russell Allen. The word lazy even comes to mind sometimes, I dunno.
Edit: I think the solo section in Reign in Madness shows the keys and guitars more in their usual SX dynamic, at least for a moment.
Which vocal lines are you not a fan of?
The vocal melodies don't bother me nearly as much as the pitiful lyrics do. Seriously, how many times does Russ say "I'm dead inside" on the album, or resort to using the word "we" to describe himself as a collective? It's just too similar to generic metal lyrics to me. Not that this band has ever been poets, but these are clearly their weakest lyrics.
That said, a few songs have lyrics that I enjoy (mostly Prometheus).
The only parts of that section that I actually hear keys (aside from the solo of course) are the big synchronized fills right before and right after the solos. Are there keys playing when the riff first picks up? You know, right after the Opeth part?
Regardless, I must say that the levels between all the instruments on that particular song is well done. I wish the bass tone on the album was more like that of PL (with more growl and bite), but oh well. The keys are prominent enough during the song (and doing enough interesting things) for me to say that it is one of the strongest songs on the album. It's a shame that all the people who bought the single-disc version of the album have no clue what the song even is, something that will most likely influence the band's decision to play it on the next tour.
Really, nearly all of them. Even in songs that were considered only "filler" on the classic albums, like Witching Hour or The Relic, had really solid vocal ideas. Everyone seems to like the title track of Iconoclast as one of the strongest tracks on the album, but really, it seems directionless to me, and the vocals are part of the reason. "We are strong - we will stand and fight" Almost any melody could have done just as well there. One of the exceptions is actually Dehumanized, whose chorus has some bite to it. As others have mentioned about When All Is Lost, the surface elements are there but the spark isn't. There aren't any real "winning" melodies like Edge of Forever, Winter's Dream, Accolade, Awakenings, or heaven forbid, Divine Wings (nothing on this album is even worth being mentioned in the same sentence).
Sorry, I just meant the solo is all. The guitar doesn't feel like it's squashing the keys. It's not very long, though.
In my opinion, Iconoclast is a good album.
I think it's a fairly well-rounded album of good metal music.
However, having said that, I expected, or should say, I wanted to expect more from Symphony X. I will agree with others saying that melody is largely absent from this album, and as a result you end up with something that sounds like a flat field of distortion. Lacking melody, as well as dynamics, contribute strongly to a feeling of flatness and sameness that no virtuosity can compensate. This problem plagues all metal lately, so that is why I say it is a good album when viewed individually, but with respect to great albums of the past, it cannot be compared.
There is nothing memorable about it.
After many times of listening,I think is a very good album full of power,melody,
good instrumental parts,in few words there is all that a SX fan wants from them.
It was hard for me waiting so many years,but I'm happy now, also because next month they will come in Italy and I'm so anxious to scream "We are strong,
we will stand and fight"
I'm agreeing with Ken here. I can't really find much to get excited about, save for "When All Is Lost" and "Light Up The Night". The bad part is they're on separate discs.
Agreed on everything.
I thought I was the only one who feels that the melodies in When All is Lost are underwhelming. They sound like an attempt at capturing some of the classic SX moments, but with very little effort and creativity. The song sounds bland to me... almost like a Paradise Lost rip-off. I'd prefer they tried using original-sounding chord progressions and note-choices.
The album severely lacks dynamics in regards to song structure, musical styles/ideas, and even individual performances.
Overall, a fun listen, but not memorable in the least.
What do I think of it? I'm glad I didn't waste my money! I heard the album once, and once was enough. Too repetitive, just me too metal. And I HATE the 'rough' vocals. For cryin' out loud let Russ sing! He's got an incredible voice, but it's completely wasted on this one. Paradise Lost part deux.
My tastes have evolved one way and Symphony X's style has evolved in another. I don't think I'm gonna play it much any time soon.
Russ himself prefers this way of singing.
Well, to each his own, I guess. That's why I won't buy the Adrenaline Mob EP either. That kind of 'singing' is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
guess you don't like any death metal then. shame...
You're right, I can't stand death metal. SX never used to even be mentioned in the same breath as something as juvenile. A shame what they've become
They've become a modern metal band. The same as many other modern metal bands. They still don't classify anywhere close to DM. It is my hope that their next album draws them away from that modern metal classification and back to something that was somewhat unique, even if some of the melodies were stolen from classical pieces, they were at least well-arranged.
I doubt that would be the case though, since doing so would be to turn back against a growing fanbase in a stiffer current.
I agree,with you,I like this wy of evolving their sound looking more like a metal
band than simply a melodic prog power,and doing this they keep on satisfying
all old fans kepping their old classic style and melodies,I don't know what we want more,I'm proud of being a SX fan,their way of working ,the long waiting
for a record coming out,long live to them,I'll always supporting them
I've never really thought Russell's "harsh" vocals sounded that harsh. It seems like it's made to be more than it is.
I have to disagree. If I want to listen to average, generic metal, I'd listen to the thousands of other metal bands that are doing the same thing. Granted, Iconoclast is still well above most generic metal in my book, but neither it nor Paradise Lost can even touch the band's previous albums. Symphony X used to be unique, but with their last two albums they're trying too hard to fit in. Hell, if the songs "When All Is Lost" and "Paradise Lost" are any indication, I'd say they've lost the ability to write great melodic pieces like they've done in the past. Either that or Romeo needs to stop being the sole songwriter. The band was incredible when P, Lepond, and Rullo chimed in on the songwriting, and I think that their absence on the last two albums in this department is one of the reasons that they're rather generic.
I agree to an extent. It bothers a lot of people, but he's been singing "rougher" since V. The rather lackluster songwriting of the last few albums bothers me far more than Russell's "harsh" vocals.