Death
Symbolic


5.0
classic

Review

by Andy H. B. USER (27 Reviews)
May 1st, 2010 | 149 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death's Symbolic is one of the the crown jewels of all of death metal, combining the perfect amounts of brutality, creativeness and melody to create an indispensable metal classic.

In 1987, Chuck Schuldiner was at the very humble age of 20 when he shook the metal world to the core with Scream Bloody Gore, perhaps the first true death metal album. Combining thrashy, rapid riffs with harsh, grinding vocals, it changed the focus of extreme metal from thrash into a different beast altogether. Death did not fall into oblivion, however, even despite numerous lineup changes through the years. The albums got better and better and Chuck began to add many progressive elements to the song writing with 1990's Spiritual Healing, moving away from the gory themes of Scream Bloody Gore and 1988's Leprosy. The result was perhaps one of the finest four album runs in metal history, with 1991's Human, 1993's Individual Thought Patterns, 1995's Symbolic and 1998's The Sound of Perseverance all being considered as some of the finest material the death metal genre has ever produced. This brings me to my review of the third album in this run, and what an album it is.

Chuck and rhythm guitarist Bobby Koelble's spectacular guitar work is the first thing that immediately makes its presence known on this album, with the album opening and title track, "Symbolic". Their demonic and often diabolically swift riffs shred at the speakers as images of Slayer run rampant throughout the first lightning-fast verse. Drummer, Gene "The Machine" Hoglan makes his nickname known as his hyperactive double-bass, creative cymbal work and psychotic fills appear throughout the album. Bassist Kelly Conlon, takes over from the much-loved Steve DiGiorgio, and while he doesn't provide as good of a performance as DiGiorgio's fretless mastery on the previous two Death albums, he still churns out a reliable showing that supports the guitar wizardry throughout the entire album. Even more impressive within the guitar work is the absolutely magnificent solos that wind their way throughout the songs. Chuck really outdid himself on this one, the solos are all incredibly well-written and enjoyable to listen too. Never do they fall in the realm of mindless showing-off, they all contain noticeable amounts of melody, while still being incredibly fast and often exceptionally technical in places. Check "Zero Tolerance" and the title track for some (but not all) of the best examples. Chuck's grinding, raspy growl saturates the album throughout, and his diction is rather great too, allowing for the great lyrics to be understood. These are much more than your typical death metal lyrics, these are near poetry in their creativeness and really allow the album to be enjoyed even more.

The entire album consists of strong tracks, but if I had to pick the best stand out, I would probably pick "Crystal Mountain", the seventh track. Progressiveness envelops this track from beginning to end. Buckets of melody infiltrate though the song's very core and Chuck's lyrics are at some of their highest points of the album. The solo is suitably fantastic and a middle-eastern style clean section comes over the the main riff at the end, adding even more uniqueness to an already exceedingly dazzling display of guitar divination. This track is really an amalgamation of all that the album stands for and it sounds positively magical. Other astonishingly amazing tracks include the album opening and hard-hitting "Symbolic", the thunderous, raging "Zero Tolerance", the wondering "1,000 Eyes", the refined and thrashy "Without Judgement" and the cranked rolling of "Misanthrope". To be completely honest, I could've listed the entire album in this section, but I felt these were the tracks that I enjoyed the most (although I did enjoy them all). The consistency of this album is a constant throughout and none of the tracks are skip-material, to say the least.

Symbolic is a tactile, spectacular showing of the true power of Death. It is incredible from beginning to end, and shows all of the genius of Chuck Schuldiner's mind. While I would've liked to see a bit more performance from the rhythm section, it still comes across as an indispensable classic of the death metal genre and even metal as a whole. The guitar work from the opening riff to the end is positively orgasmic and is musicianship at its finest. In essence, if Human is Death's K2, this is Death's Everest. Symbolic gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5.

RIP Chuck Schuldiner (May 13th, 1967 - December 13th, 2001) F**k You, Cancer!



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user ratings (2422)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

just spectacular...

...Where's KILL...

Digging: Banks - Goddess

KILL
May 1st 2010


71750 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

:D

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

:D...i felt this needed a 5 review

FadeToBlack
May 1st 2010


10926 Comments


Death's Symbolic is perhaps the crown jewel of all of death metal
HUMAN

and wtf Sacred Serenity not in recommended tracks

vanderb0b
May 1st 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best Death Metal album ever. Great review.

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah, I might add that one, its moving into Crystal Mountain territory

...there we go

FadeToBlack
May 1st 2010


10926 Comments


shit just noticed I have 666 ratings lol

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i was hoping for my 666th comment to be on a Death album, but instead it came in an argument with rasputin...fail...

FadeToBlack
May 1st 2010


10926 Comments


haha don't argue with rasp he knows everything :P

but idk 666th rating to From Beyond is awesome, classic dm album

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i found that out the hard way :P

Crimson Death
May 1st 2010


533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of the greatest albums ever, I still prefer TSOP by a small margin. I'm surprised you guys like Sacred Serenity....that, symbolic and crystal mountain are my top 3, everything else is spectacular as well.

KILL
May 1st 2010


71750 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

really good review, i would have mentioned spiritual healing in the first paragraph as that was where chuck started writing more personal lyrics and shiz. listening to this atm, i just yesterday set up my PC to my hifi system and this album just sounds absolutely amazing, the production is so crisp i love it so much ahhhhhhh

Greggers
May 1st 2010


2375 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Shame, I was planning on writing a 5 review of this; ah well, nice review mate

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the compliments :D

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

edited it so it mentions Spiritual Healing as the change in songwriting for Chuck

Edwin
May 1st 2010


1399 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yep, this album is fucking tits. Good review too.

ShadowRemains
May 2nd 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks, I put quite a lot of effort into this one and it seems to have turned out for the better

qwe3
May 2nd 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

KILL

Lunarfall
May 2nd 2010


3179 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

inb4 4.5s or lower

EDIT: FUCK YOU QWE!!!!!!!

ShadowRemains
May 2nd 2010


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^lol, indeed

to both of those posts



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