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Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Liampie, Jun 10, 2011.
The part from Lords of Chaos (around 3:44 I think) reminds me a lot of Rainbow's "Gates of Babylon".
I won't say anything until I hear the album... but I tend to agree with a lot of things Detective says in general. I'm a little scared now...
I was going to allow PL to slip through the cracks, but if Iconoclast is another album like that, I'm going to be very upset.
...and if this IS the case, the days of V quality are over.
After hearing the album twice, I think it's great, but I miss neoclassical licks on this album.
These licks are what I fell in love with Symphony X 13 years ago.
Am I listening to the same cd as those of you that are disappointed? I hear a lot more keyboard and complex arrangements in this than in PL. The title track and When All is lost should satisfy that itch. The other songs are heavier than V or DWOT, but the keyboard is definitely playing a significant part of the song...more so than on PL. To each his own though.
As a big fan of V material and older I can see where they are coming from but I also do love their heavier style that they have gotten themselves into. I think this album is fantastic, maybe not as consistent as Paradise Lost but definitely a better album overall. When All is Lost and Iconoclast will go down as classics imo for this band, and possibly a couple others, whereas with PL there are maybe 2 that I go back to on a regular basis. I'm excited to see this material live
yea i dont get what all the hate is. its nothing like paradise lost. the only similarity is that a lot of the songs are heavy. the compositions are still quite unique and i feel like theres a lot of variety between the songs that set them apart. pinella is all over this album. i think most people are just upset cuz of the piano thing but theres still piano on the album. i think its cool how in some parts his keyboard sound is very synthetic and really fits in well.
i just listened to it a 2nd time but was under "a different state of mind" and i personally think this album fucking rocks. take it for what it is and its a really great album. if you try to make it something its not its going to disappoint you of course. and it certainly still sounds like symphony x to me.
Symphony X are not meant for instantaneous gratification!
Song-by-song review (will continue with CD 2 some other time). Written semi-drunk so excuse any typos and stuff that doesn't make sense.
Starts off great. This is actually one of the few times I can hear that tech-theme they were talking about. Then guitar stuff that's pretty cool - I usually don't like that stuff but it kind of works as an "lol we play metal" intro thing. After some nice back-and-forth trade with romeo and the orchestration the main riff starts shortly after 2 minutes and the song is on.
I must say I generally dislike the lyrics but the opening lines are damn cool, in a cheesy way: "Rise of the one, of the dark iconoclast, forging a cult of fear, with legions unsurpassed" (or something like that). It sets the stage, explains the use of choir and in general the epicness. I mean cult of fear? Of course there's chanting and shit.
The song is undeniably bombastic. Listen to 4:55-5:00 in this song (youtube). Hear that huge background drop? boooOOoom! Yeah that thing. It's utilized a few times in iconoclast (album - and in this song) and the effect is quite good. Better than a mic thud solo.
VICTORY OR DEATH!! *booooOOOoom!*
It's a non-stop 11 minute high-quality song. It's the Evolution of Iconoclast, except it never changes pace until the very last bit, where the song fades out with drawn-out guitars stuff.
The End of Innocence
Not a big fan of the cymbal countdown but it quickly transitions to a very V-like keys thing, which sadly doesn't last very long, but reappears after the first chorus. The chorus in this song is pretty weak. I'd say the highlight are the "we are the fallen made obsolete, methodically phased out" part about midways into the song. The guitar solo is probably one of the groovier parts of the album.
Starts with a proggy thingymajong I don't care much about. Doesn't last very long. The vocals are filled with attitude, both lyrics wise and delivery, and kind of sucks. But the song overall is pretty tiresome after the first two roller-coasters. It changes pace at the 3:45 mark which is welcome but it only lasts for 20 seconds -- I'd say the highlight of the song. Following that is the solo which is pretty unremarkable.
Song fades out and I didn't really expect anything else from an otherwise pretty weak song (fade-outs are cheap!). Almost 7 minutes pretty much wasted.
Bastards of the Machine
Again, another heavy song. Thankfully this one isn't too long. Nothing really new going on here. Has a Church of the Machine chant thing going about halfway into the song which is pretty cool, except it works about a million times better in CotM. The "chant choir", however it's done (and it's the same in the opening track) feels quite artificial which is sad.
Yet another heavy song. I wish they would have tried to made the album a little more dynamic by throwing in a calmer song already (not necessarily a ballad mind you, just a breather). Anyway, the song is actually quite decent. But like Dehumanized and Bastards it lacks a good chorus. Does a bit of the choir chant thing in this song too, but by this time the effect is lost. Quite unimpressive.
Children of a Faceless God
Song opens with that bomb-drop sound I wrote about earlier which I kind of like. It's generally quite heavy but it still feels a little bit like a departure from Dehumanized/Bastards/Heretic which is very welcome. I feel they could have done a whole lot more with this song though. Chorus doesn't really deliver and feels repetitive.
When All is Lost
Ohhh, mellow. Ooohhh, piano. The first minute and a half is actually quite boring though. It picks up and at the 2:00 mark it's very nice. Probably one of the more varied and interesting songs on the album. The solos in this song are the best on the album (at least CD1) and it feels like one of the stronger songs overall.
There has two very good songs on the album (Iconoclast, When All is Lost), with the rest being okay-ish (Children of a Faceless God, The End of Innocence) to not so good (Dehumanized, Bastards, Heretic). They maintained the heaviness from PL but improved on it quite a bit. There's some variation and definitely some excellent parts where everything clicks just right, but I still feel like there's an ingredient missing. Acoustic guitar or "foreign" instruments could easily have been incorporated for more interesting arrangements.
They could also have thrown in some instrumental bits á la Transcendence or Rediscovery part 1, especially in between Dehumanized, Bastards or Heretic.
CD1, or the standard edition, is simply too heavy (in quantity). But at least it's good heavy. Choruses are generally weak but bridges, verses and other parts make up for most of them. I can see how this album will disappoint a lot of Divine Wings fans. This album is the polar opposite. But at least it's somewhat thematic and interesting unlike Paradise Lost.
For their next album, I really hope they return more to their neoclassical roots. Make it a renaissance take on the Bible or some shit.
I really wanted to give the album more time before making up my mind on it, but wow, there are some really strong opinions here. Looking back to PL, I was one of the people that was pretty bummed when I first heard it, but eventually appreciated it for what it was. It was a pretty sad as a follow-up to The Odyssey, but was an absolutely sick metal CD. When I was in the mood for that kind of music, it got the job done. One thing I remember with PL though is that I had no problem giving every song a chance. This time, the enthusiasm just wasn't there.
So far I think End of Innocence and Dehumanized are two very nice metal songs, and I like that keys pop up here and there. Other than that, the album seriously needs to grow on me. I couldn't believe it, but I was skipping around songs trying to find something to catch my interest. All is Lost bored me with the keyboard intro and I moved on. When I saw on here how good people said it was, I tried it again and lasted long enough for Russ to say something about spreading your wings and flying away. I'll try it again later, but right now, I'm sorry but it just seems bad lol.
It appears to me that they have devolved into more formulaic songwriting than in the past. We may have to accept that the sophistication of the band has faded off and see them more as a straight up metal show.
I feel like a bit of an ass given I haven't even fully listened to every song yet, but what's it say that I really, really tried? lol
I'm not really bothered by people's opinion of an album, if they don't like it they don't like it, but I have to question your appreciation for the "sophistication of the band" if you can't even bring yourself to listen to more than one minute of When All Is Lost and your only response to it is "SPREAD YOUR WINGS TO FLY LOL". It's fair enough if you don't think it's a good song or nothing compared to their old stuff, but even if you didn't think the beginning sounded good enough to make you want to listen, (although I have to wonder how you could have appreciated other Symphony X greats like Communion And The Oracle if the fifteen second keyboard intro to When All Is Lost bored you so much you couldn't listen), it seems like a real fan of the "sophistication of Symphony X" could have lasted it out and at least listened to the song and come up with an actual opinion of the song... :/
I remember keys for a lot longer than 15 seconds, but okay. I actually was obsessed with songs like Communion and the Oracle and Accolade II to the extent that I learned to play many of the keyboard melodies in them. But to answer your question,
Yeah you're right they do actually I just meant it's about 15 seconds of just keys before the vocals come in, sorry if it was unclear. But yeah, even if you didn't think the piano was that good compared to the older stuff I'm surprised you couldn't even listen to the rest of the song.
Nice reviews Phanto.
I agree on many points, like "Iconoclast" (song) being V'ish at times. I also agree with whoever finds MJR's solo on Iconoclast FUCKING NASTY! And the Pinnella solo was awesome, sounded like something off a Pinnella solo record. Like I told someone recently, although I'm not too crazy about the chorus lyrics (sounds kinda cartoonish to me ) there are some awesome lines, like the reference to Church of the Machine was pretty cool "Flesh and steel collide". AWESOME keyboard melodies and motifs. Epic passages. Massive riffs. Great transitions/flow. And the "technical metal'ish" mechanical piano/riff thing (along with the dirty synth at the beginning) fits the twisted theme quite well.
What a kick ass track. Also it's gonna be awesome live!
I don't find the negative feedback surprising. There are many people here who didn't like the direction Symphony X took with PL and as this is probably a bit of a continuation to that, of course they will be disappointed.
I'm sure it's a cool metal CD. Will have to wait til' I hear it though. I doubt it going to be one of the best of the year though.
I completely agree. But to be honest after listening to When All is Lost I KNOW that the good old Symphony X you speak of is still alive and still capable of producing the beautiful stuff. It's just that I've decided to sit back and enjoy this heavy stuff for now (they do it so well AND they love to do it) and, while enjoying this great new material, continue to hope that they'll sooner or later return the more melodic, keyboards-filled and more neoclassical approach. That would surely be amazing and something tells me they'll do it at least once before retiring.
HERETIIIC omfg Even better than I remembered.
^ what he said. The solo in Heretic is just freaking unreal. That is probably my new favorite solo by MJR (or anyone else for that matter). I wish someone had captured that on video when they played it one or two times on this last tour.
I'm really liking this album for what it is: Symphony X's "heavy" album. Like Marwen said, there are still those great neoclassical elements hidden in the songs. I expected it to be heavier when they signed to Nuclear Blast (not saying the label influenced the sound, but i just think more heavy/death metal along with NB), so it didn't completely throw me off like the album might to people who exclusively listened to the band because of their V-era elements. I just like the way Symphony X writes their music, heavy or otherwise, Iconoclast or Divine Wings.
I thought I would never say this, but this is an album that is ruined by Russell Allen. Yes his voice still sounds great, he still belts it out with the best of them, but these lyrics and these vocal melodies are so phoned in an lazy that it's not even funny. Reading these lyrics out loud you would think it's a band from Siberia and that they're not native English speakers at all. I mean, Symphony X were never know as genius lyricists, but this is terrible. I have a feeling that Russ took over all of the vocal and lyrical duties around Paradise Lost and it used to be a much more collaborative effort earlier. He is in raspy Dio/Pantera mode 90 percent of the time and most of the melodies sound like he recorded the first thing that came to mind.
The only really classic Symphony X chorus on the album is "Light Up the Night" and the only three tracks I like are that one, Iconoclast (where the music is too awesome to be ruined by the lackluster chorus) and When All Is Lost, which is good, but not nearly as good as other SX songs of its ilk (Communion, Accolade, Edge of Forever...etc)
It's a shame, I feel like Romeo really went in and killed it on at least half of these songs and that the writing and riffs are stronger than on Paradise Lost, but Russ really shit the bed. Not even the greatest voice in the world (which he pretty much has) can make up for such trite lyrics and uninspired vocal ideas imo.
I too will wait for the physical copy. Symphony X is one of the very few bands for which I don't care about leaks. Putting the CD in the tray, grabbing the booklet and then listening to it for the first time at full quality... I've been waiting for this for what, 4 years already?? So one week is nothing