Review Summary: Crosses the line between complexity and pretentiousness
There is something very enigmatic about the album cover to Death's Symbolic
... Adam, Eve, the Serpent encroaching on them, and the Omniscient Eye overlooking this grimly scene. It is an intricate peisage of symbols, suggesting and promising an intricate musical and literary experience. And indeed, the album's lyrical content provides a satisfying diversity of deep and thoughtful themes -- The loss of innocence, tyranny of religious establishments, prejudice, the hypercontrol and loss of privacy imposed by modern technology, and in fact the circle of life itself -- all these and more are explored through suggestive, symbolic poetry. And, of course, the album's musical aspect is tailored to follow this lyrical intricacy. Instrumental technicality has been a trademark of Death ever since Leprosy
, and Symbolic
is no exception, as each song is made a composition of complex movements, featuring various key changes, tempo changes, patterns and fills, and all other maneuvers of the trade that keep you guessing, often unsuccessfully, what will follow next. But haven't Chuck Schuldiner and co. overstepped the boundaries of complexity? In their quest to create an elaborate mosaic of words and sounds, they have forsaken memorability and the genius of simplicity and straightforwardness. The tryhard attempt to conjure up a complex beast eventually results in a creature so labyrinthine, so convoluted, that there is little possibility to fully unwind the coils of the serpent and actually enjoy.