Symbolic is Death's pinnacle and outstanding masterpiece. Chuck
Schuldiner takes the complex songwriting from Individual Thought
Patterns and sets it on the next level here. With a crystal clear
production and powerful band sound, superbly engineered by producer
Jim Morris, were Schuldiner's ideas perfectly brought to record.
The line-up was re-arranged with Kelly Conlon on bass and Bobby
Koelble on guitar. Only drum-beast Gene Hoglan was recruited by
Chuck Schuldiner on Symbolic from the last album.
There are a couple obvious
changes in Deaths sound with the release of Symbolic, one Chucks
voice is in the higher register and is more of a scream/snarl
type sound. Secondly the music is crisp and clear thanks to some
great production. Some fans of older Death may not like these
changes, but don't worry it's still damn heavy, but at the same
time it's probably the most accesible Death album… While
yet again at the same time being really progressive in a sense.
"Symbolic" is up
first, the song is mid-paced and rather long, but also technical
and progressive. The music is what makes this, the guitar solos
at the half-way mark are jaw dropping. And that reprisal of the
thrashy opening riff around the 3:50, ooohhh…
the next song, a slow paced crusher with some more great solos.
This song is also a fan favourite and that fact is well justiced,
since the song is a melodic, powerful and well arranged smasher.
"Empty Words" starts
out with some type of eerie atmospheric sounds then comes crashing
down. A great lead riff drives this song at first, Chucks vocals
are great here, a classic Death song and sounds like it could
have came from Human or ITP. And good god those solos just scream.
is another superb piece. The bass pounds out loud during pretty
much the whole song. The little breakdown at about the 2 and a
half mark that slams back into full force sounds awesome. While
this isn't a typical Death song, Chucks vocals sound great and
it is just a fantastic progressive piece.
"1,000 Eyes" speeds
things back up and has some of the most impressive drumming I
think I've ever heard, damn that guy can play! The melodic lead
guitar chord in that song, which repeats throughout is simply
haunting and I always get goosebumbs when they run together with
the insane drumwork by Gene. Brilliant!
keeps the pace up, some great riffs and what do you know some
awesome solos drive this song. There's a weird breakdown at about
3:00, you know what's coming when you hear this, the song rips
back to pace. The lyrics here are worth mentioning, Chuck has
always been one of my favorite lyricists.
is pretty fast paced, technical riffs/solos and tempo changes
it pretty much has it all. Some pretty awesome lyrics too, anytime
I think about the band in general the line "Inside crystal
mountain, evil takes its form" pops to mind. God, great song!
up next, one of the most progressive songs by Death. Complex,
with simply stunning tempo changes and brilliant guitar work.
is the closer, and is the most experimental/progressive song Death
ever done. Clocking in at over 8 minutes long, the song starts
off with the line "The journey begins" that's what this
song is, a journey. The song flows along quite smoothly the first
time I heard it I remember thinking how it seemed more like 5
or 6 minutes as opposed to 8. The little accoustic sections may
scare off the hardcore death metal guys, but they sound pretty
mesmerizing with the guitar soloing over them. Great song and
highly recommended to been checked out by any prog fan out there!
There are albums that went
beyond words and need to be breathen and adored. Symbolic is one
of them. This is in my book not only the best Death album, it's
also the greatest progressive death metal album ever recorded!
A must-have item to any (progressive) death metal collection!
On their next and final album The Sound Of Perseverance Chuck
Schuldiner once again broke the boundaries of death metal and
perfected the progressive element in DEATH.
Album rating: 10/10