by Thor USER (73 Reviews)
January 29th, 2006 | 5612 replies

Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yet another reason why Death's "Final Four" is probably the best stretch of death metal albums by one band in the genre's history.

Almost every band through the course of time changes up there sound. Death is no exception.

Death � Symbolic

Death, as you may or may not know, are the pioneers of the death metal genre. Every band that plays death metal music is influenced by them, so it�s safe to say that they are a fairly important band. Since their first full length album Scream Bloody Gore they had made a big impression on the metal world and helped pioneer the now famous Florida death metal scene. Their earlier material was all about brutality (as you can probably tell from the song titles), speed, and sheer aggression. While the songs are still heavy, the band has lightened up on the song subjects and slightly on the guitar riffing. Musically, the band has reached a higher level of technicality and musical proficiency. I will discuss all of this later on.

Death was on this album:
Chuck Schuldiner � Vocals, Guitar
Kelly Conlon � Bass
Bobby Koelble � Guitar
Gene Hoglan � Drums

Scream Bloody Gore, as I said earlier, was Death�s most, well, death metal release. Most of the songs were about carnage and what the band�s name is, death. Throughout the years and albums later, their song subjects have become more intellectual and don�t always focus on the barbaric subjects from years before. The band has instead decided to become a band about the music instead of the image, which is something that I greatly respect them for. All of their songs are chock full with technical yet still listenable riffs. A song that perfectly exemplifies this would be �Zero Tolerance�.

Gene Hoglan, in case you don�t know, is one of the fastest drummers ever. People don�t call him Gene �The Machine� for nothing. This album doesn�t show him at his best, but the album is still filled with some great beats and often technical fills that can�t help but impress most drummers out there. The other half of the rhythm section, Kelly Conlon, is hard to hear throughout the majority of the album�s nine tracks. It�s too bad that the band couldn�t have kept Steve DiGiorgio, seeing as how he is one of metal�s best bassists. Kelly still does a fine job and provides the band with a solid and constant groove.

The real highlight about Death would have to be Chuck�s guitar work. He is more than just a great riff writer, he is also great at pulling off very enjoyable and often difficult solos. Some of his greatest riffs can be found on �Symbolic�, �Zero Tolerance� and �1,000 Eyes�. There are types of guitar parts to please every type of metal fan. There are speedy riffs that sound like thrash metal, chugging riffs to please the death metal fans, and some other riffs that remind me a bit of black metal. Chuck�s guitar work is certainly the part about this album that makes it so enjoyable. His voice has also improved too and his lyrics are much easier to decipher.

I also love how the band keeps improving in their styles that by now you could potentially call them progressive metal. The album includes everything that any type of metal fan can latch onto and enjoy. It�s perfect for the progressive fans, the death heads, and everyone in between. I can�t get enough of this band.

Zero Tolerance
1,000 Eyes
Without Judgment
Crystal Mountain

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user ratings (3530)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Atari STAFF (5)
    An absolute f*cking pillar in the world of metal....

    sonoflilith (5)
    Symbolic is legend...

    skeletorissatan (5)
    Magic. Utter Magic....

    Angmar (4.5)
    Symbolic redefines the death metal genre, adding in proggressive elements making up a fant...

  • necroscope86 (5)
    On "Symbolic" Death arguably hit their creative peak, with frequently changing tempos and ...

    Andy H. B. (5)
    Death's Symbolic is one of the the crown jewels of all of death metal, combining the perfe...

    Necrotica (3.5)
    A very solid metal release that serves as a fine penultimate chapter in Death's discograph...

    askingalexandriasuck (5)
    Chuck Schuldiner's swansong, a magnificent album loaded with great riffing and awesome son...

  • LaughingSkull (3)
    Crosses the line between complexity and pretentiousness...

    Brendan Schroer (5)
    The perfect balance of the spirit of adventure and the energy of the moshpit....

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

If you can't tell, I'm currently on a Death listening craze right now.

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I could tell.

Good day to you, Thor. I must say, reading a review of yours is like strolling through a morning forest, through the mist and dew of the coming sunlight. Nothing matters as you walk amongst nature, admiring the life around you, which seems to flourish with upmost serenity. Quietly you stoop to feel the ground beneath your feet before lifting your head to the blue skies, feeling the breath of life filling you. Contemplating those you love bring tears to your mind's eye, reminding you that existence is precious, its happiness fragile. Suddenly life is perfect, and nothing can stand between you and that peace, which you have suffered greatly to obtain - a tranquil sense of the world, in all its beauty, with all its spirit.

Good review my brother.This Message Edited On 01.29.06

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, I've never heard a description of my reviews quite like that, but thanks.

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Perhaps the feeling of cool grass beneth your feet or a brisk wind through your hair can recreate the comforting feeling that love is within your grasp, but only a sense of true unbecoming can burn away the pain you endure. A mountainside trembles before you, its texture soaked in reason. The streams below flow onward, never peering forth beyond the goal of solemnity. Existence be thy name, and the relaxing sensation of warm acceptance your next of kin.

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

THis is a great cd 4.5/5

THis is my frist death cd i bought

January 29th 2006


Oh, ShadowsFallen...

Good review, anyway, Thor. I haven't listened to this in ages, but from what I remember I wasn't too impressed with it, and especially compared to other Death albums it really does lack something in my opinion. Nice work, anyway.

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

oh my, Bennie! :p

Good review in overall although you could have been a bit more descriptive.

People may not like the fact that the album never lightens up.

Sure it does (eg acoustic guitars, neoclassical break) ;)

This album may be too heavy for some listeners.

I wonder why you insist on saying that. I mean, it's death metal after all and if you really have to mention such a thing then why not say that it might be too soft for a brutal death metaller? :p

Not Human or Individual Thought Patterns but still a great album and a step forward as always. Lyrically the best in my opinion.This Message Edited On 01.29.06

January 29th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Absolutely fantastic record.

January 29th 2006


Ben, you're creeping me out.
I still have yet to digest this, but I've heard other Death tracks, as well as work by

Him first. The grand walrus himself, he is living proof that fat people make ungodly
musicians. He is nearly as big as his drumset, and is one of the single greatest
drummers I have ever heard. Truly spectacular

Chuck is a brilliant guitarist/songwriter. Not much more that I need to say there.

All together, Death ended way too early. Their music will stand the test of time as
of the greatest the world has ever seen.

Ergh, stupid format is screwed up. :mad:
This Message
Edited On 01.29.06This Message Edited On 01.29.06This Message Edited On 01.29.06

January 30th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Bennie's creeping me out mostly for not liking death :s

Stay away from me scary man :mad:

Manticore Guy
January 31st 2006


A very good review of an INCREDIBLE album.

Seed Awakening
February 19th 2006


Good review. This album is brilliant. More people should know about Death and Chuck Schuldiner's work.

February 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Hey, I like Death, I just can't get into them like everyone else seems to.

I'm more than willing to take recommendations though!

Apocalyptic Raids
February 27th 2006



February 28th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

my favorite album by them by far.

March 23rd 2006


I like Human a bit more but this is a might fine album.

March 27th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Whenever i hear this album only one word comes to mind "CLASSIC" a beautiful album

March 27th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I don't think this album is truly a classic, but it still is a mind blower for fans of technical metal.

RIP Chuck m/

April 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

I really should've gotten this earlier. It's fantastic.

June 29th 2006


this album is nothing short of amazing, unfortunately your review is not,

sorry, i just don't think you did the album justice, and there was almost no detail of the actual album what so ever.

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