Review Summary: Symbolic redefines the death metal genre, adding in proggressive elements making up a fantastic album.
“The journey begins with curiosity and evolves into soul-felt questions, on the stones that we walk and choose to make our path, sometimes never knowing, other times knowing too much.”
Death is a band often credited as being the fathers of death metal. Reasons for this are obvious, Death's debut Scream Bloody Gore
is widely considered the pillar of death metal. For at the time the album was what made up death metal; harsh vocals, heavy instruments, and violent lyrics were all part of the death metal sound. Since Deaths' debut the band have changed quite a bit.
is a great example of how different Death really is now as appose to how they were. Softer sections and thoughtful lyrics are littered all throughout Symbolic
, without ever abandoning the elements that make them death metal. Yes Symbolic
while having progressed still features heavy riffs, appeasing solos, fast drumming and Chucks signature vocals. Thus making this album appealing to the regular fans of death metal, and opening windows to even more listeners, who may not be well versed in death metal.
The album opens up with the title track “Symbolic” showing right away what the whole album is about in nearly one song. Song structure usually consists of a heavy opening riff and some great fast moments. Later transcending into a fantastic solo, which often makes the song. Examples of great solos include “Sacred Serenity”, “1000 Eyes” and “Symbolic. Although these songs are merely examples nearly every song has an impressive solo. All together Chuck is a fantastic guitarist and surely one of the best in the death metal genre.
One major notable feature in Symbolic
is the occasional soft section throughout songs. An example of this is found in “Crystal Mountain” where the musicians incorporate segments with slower paced clean guitars. Other songs take an entire piece of the song and slow it down for the solo, these sections give off and almost Rush like feel, which certainly shows the more progressive side of Death.
is without a doubt Deaths finest moment. Chucks voice is much more comprehendible, which in turn shows off his great lyrics more. As far as his voice sounds Chuck is surely one of the most unique vocalists in Death Metal. His voice is like a fusion of screaming and growling, making the music even more exclusive.
Like I mentioned earlier the albums lyrics surpass just about any in the metal genre. For instance “Guilty until proven innocent, we condemn your soul and fate, never mind the possibilities, too busy for logic or to calculate.” exhibit the political charge included in some of their songs. Symbolic
is Deaths finest lyrical moment, being very consistent throughout the entire album.
As far as the two backbones of the band are concerned Kelly Conlon and Gene Hogland get the job done. Gene is a very fine drummer and shows his skills on the skins all throughout the album. The song “1000 Eyes” demonstrates some great fast beats and double bass. Kelly does a fine job with the bass although he is not as skilled as former bassists Steve DiGiorgio. Kelly has some very nice bass fills throughout Symbolic
and shows a great intro in “Sacred Serenity”.
This album exhibits to me what death metal should be. Death metal is often given a bad name by bland and repetitive bands. A lot of peoples’ impression on death metal has been hindered by these bands, but if you are looking for a new outlook on death metal Symbolic
is just what you need. Symbolic
manages to be accessible without being commercial or bland by any means. If you are looking to get into death metal or just would like to expand your death metal collection Symbolic
is a fantastic album to pick up.
What I liked about Symbolic
+Innovative riffs and solos
+Vocals sound better and are easier to understand
+Enjoyable progressive elements
+Accessible but not commercial
+Intelligent and thought provoking lyrics
What I did not like about Symbolic
-Rhythm section did not show off enough
-Harsh vocals may turn some listeners away
“Filtering out the bad that holds us back... take hold of what is true to your hunger, a hunger that will not go away Plans for tomorrow, they will remain.”