Thursday, 19 April 2012

DEATH - Symbolic (1995)

01  Symbolic
02  Zero Tolerance
03  Empty Words
04  Sacred Serenity
05  1,000 Eyes
06  Without Judgement
07  Crystal Mountain
08  Misanthrope
09  Perennial Quest

'Symbolic' is the sixth album by American death metal band Death. The album was released on March 21, 1995 through Roadrunner Records. 'Symbolic' sees the band fully realizing their newfound technical prowess, delivering an opus that is at times much more about rich progressive metal than raw death metal. Featuring Chuck Schuldiner on guitar & vocals, Gene Hoglan on drums, bassist Kelly Conlon, and guitarist Bobby Koelble, 'Symbolic' is nine classic cuts bursting with heavy riffs, interesting arrangements, plenty of groove, and most important of all, memorable melodies, something you don't always get on your everyday extreme metal album.

Instrumentation is where this release shines: the production is absolutely flawless and clear while the music is incredibly complex. From the riffs, the to temo changes, to the solos this album is guitar oriented without doubt, but equally impressive are the bass and drums. The album begins with the 6-minute title track, which immediately illustrates the level that this band has reached. Numerous guitar solos captivate throughout and Chuck's voice rings out in a high pitched combination of shriek and growl. His unique style of singing flows perfectly with the music, and captures the spirit of his introspective, spiritual lyrics which are so far removed from the gore lyrics of earlier releases. The second track, "Zero Tolerance" progresses with a slower tempo, pounding bass, and several mind-blowing solos which combine fantastic lead and rhythm guitar harmonies. This is undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the album and has unquestionably become a fan-favorite. Each song follows in this pattern, with different individual strengths. "Empty Words", for example, is rather simplistic, but contains some of the album's best lyrics. Then there's the powerful "1,000 Eyes", and afterward is what is undoubtedly one of Death's masterpieces, "Crystal Mountain".

'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. This is a death metal release that can change anyone's perspective when it comes to the stereotyping the genre. Death and Chuck may be buried and gone, but with music like this, their legacy will continue to live on...

*No video was released for the album, but "Empty Words" was released as a single. ranks the album as the 7th greatest extreme metal album and the 58th greatest heavy metal album of all time.

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