Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21st, 2013 - The 31st Iconoclast

The Meista here with another pairing for you today!  I'm pairing power metal/progressive metal master musicians Symphony X and their 2011 album, "Iconoclast" with a Firestone Walker Brewing Company Pale 31.

Their best selling album to date, "Iconoclast" is the 8th studio album release from Symphony X and hit the shelves in June of 2011. Of the albums lyrical content, vocalist Russell Allen stated that the album isn't a concept album, but rather a common thread, a motif examining "the idea of machines taking over everything, and all this technology we put our society into pretty much being our demise." Allen also commented that musically, and "sonically, it's in the realm of [their previous album, "Paradise Lost"] in a way, in terms of the sound of things; the guitar sound is a little different. Basically, the album is pretty intense, probably the most intense record we've ever done... [and] will contain a good body of work that harkens back to a lot of early metal."  The composition and delivery of the music is fantastic... each signature change masterfully crafted and well-thought out.  Combining elements of power metal, some thrash, and progressive rock (think Iron Maiden meets Yes or King Crimson), Symphony X has created a powerhouse of an album with "Iconoclast."  The guitar work of Michael Romeo is mind-blowing!  His signature vibrato coupled with his incredibly fast playing is amazing!  And with the addition of Michael Pinnella's rich keyboard work to play off of, Romeo's sound is even bigger!  Michael Leopold's intricate bass work along with Jason Rullo's thunderous drums sound like a marching army of Cybermen!  And in the tradition of Bruce Dickinson, Allen's vocals sound better than ever... aggressive, powerful, and that huge range!  Oh man... awesome!!  This is a great album for any fan of metal!

Cleaner and hoppier than the traditional British Pale Ale, American Pale Ales (APAs) are well balanced, flavorful, and crisp ales.  The Pale 31 pours an orange/golden amber with a thin, white head that displays sustained spider web lacing.  The nose is sweet and malty, and at the same time citrusy and hoppy.  There are notes of toffee, toasted malts, grapefruit, orange zest, and summer grass.  Along the same lines, the flavor has a wonderful fresh hop character.  It is straightforward, intensely crisp and refreshing, and citrusy.  Like Allen's vocals, the mouthfeel leans to the more aggressive side with a nice bite, but the malts smooth it out like the rich tone of Romeo.  It has a nice, clean finish as well that leaves a bit of bite that lingers on the tongue.  The only problem with this pairing was that I was so caught up in the music and the fact that the Pale 31 is so drinkable, it went down way to fast... completely finish before the 3rd song ended.  :)

Learn more about Firestone Walker Brewing Company at and check out Symphony X at!! 

Cheers, hails, and horns!!

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