Symphony X - Iconoclast
This is possibly the most 'obvious' choice for an album to put on my list. For good reason. This is my favorite metal album of the year (sorry to anyone who wants more metal after this) and it has burned itself into my brain harder than any other metal has this past year. Much like Evergrey's Glorious Collision
, this album is in a way a step back from Symphony X. Where their last effort, Paradise Lost
diluted itself in heaviness (this sounds like it doesn't make sense but given the prog sensibilities that have always been the big draw to SX, it makes a crapload of sense), Iconoclast
takes a step back, but not without dragging the good chunks of Paradise Lost
with it. There were good ideas in that uberheavy album, but its subpar execution turned it into merely a 'good' album from a band we all expect 'great' from. Iconoclast
takes all the good ideas and throws out all the lame ones.
Many people have said Iconoclast
is the album that Paradise Lost
should have been. I think this is actually pretty accurate because when listening to it, you know that Iconoclast
achieves everything PL
set out to do and then some. The softer moments are still as pretty as SX have ever been at their best (in fact "When All Is Lost" is one of the most amazing songs they have EVER put out), and the heavier moments are epic headbanging chaos and never fall for the "dumb" (I have no better way to describe it) trap sound that "heavy" music often falls for. What comes out is an album that is intricate, yet heavy, but knows when to give you a break. If I could think of one flaw for this album, it's that it's REALLY long. But there is no wasted time on Iconoclast
, because literally every song is great. It just means you have to have more time set aside than usual if you want to listen to it in one go... which is 100% worth doing, because it's amazing.
"When All Is Lost
"The Lords Of Chaos
"Reign In Madness