American progressive metal veterans SYMPHONY X have entered the studio to begin recording the follow-up to 2011's "Iconoclast" for an early 2015 release.
Regarding the musical direction of the new SYMPHONY X material, SYMPHONY X bassist Michael LePond told the "Talking Metal" podcast (hear audio below): "I think this album is not gonna be as heavy as our last one, 'Iconoclast'. If I had to compare this one, I would say it's a combination of [2002's] 'The Odyssey' meets [2007's] 'Paradise Lost'. It has a lot of classic SYMPHONY X elements in it, and I think our old fans are really gonna appreciate this one. So we're really excited about it. And hopefully we can get it all recorded by the end of the year and then hopefully get it released early spring."
According to LePond, "It wasn't a conscious decision to go back to the older sound; it just kind of happened. That's the way we write songs. We just start writing songs, and wherever it takes us, it takes us. But there's a lot of really cool, classic SYMPHONY X things in there. It's very, very musical. It concentrates just more on solid songs and great melodies."
The bassist also spoke about SYMPHONY X's continued success and seeming ability to gain new fans without compromising the musical ideals that form its core identity.
"One thing that's really amazing about SYMPHONY X and about our fans is, it seems like every record, we move up a little bit more, we get just a little bit more popular," he said. "We don't jump up into stardom; it's a slow climb. I mean, the band's been together just about 20 years now, and it just seems like with every album, our fan base grows just a little bit more, and we've been able to hold the old fans too. So, thankfully, we're still growing."
He continued: "It's always an amazing thing to see someone really young discovering SYMPHONY X. It just gives you the gas to keep going and just keep working hard."
SYMPHONY X's ninth studio album, "Iconoclast", sold more than 7,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 76 on The Billboard 200 chart.
The band's previous CD, "Paradise Lost", opened with around 6,500 copies back in July 2007.
"Iconoclast" was released in June 2011 via Nuclear Blast Records.
UDR/Warner has set a September 26 release date for the first-ever solo album from LePond.
"Mike LePond's Silent Assassins" is described in a press release as "a fantastic heavy, power metal album that combines all influences of Mike LePond's favorite bands from the past and present. This album is packed with kick-ass vocals, scorching riffs and epic styling; there's something in there for any style of metalhead!"
"Mike LePond's Silent Assassins" features guest performances by guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak (HALFORD, TESTAMENT),lead guitarist and drum producer Michael Romeo (SYMPHONY X),vocalist Alan Tecchio (HADES, WATCHTOWER),and, of course, mainman Mike LePond on bass and rhythm guitar.