Wow. Just wow. That’s the reaction I get while listening to this album. Not to take away from the other Death albums but I do truly think that this is Chuck’s finest hour, it took me ages to find this album since I was looking allover. Now that roadrunner finally released a remastered copy I finally had the chance to get my hands on this magnificent and epic death metal album. I started of by being told about them by one of my mates who praised this group and told me how talented Chuck Schuldiner, he made me listen to this album for a while and I was immediately hooked, after listening to them all the way through I just knew that this was a great band to listen to, with great riffs and good solos and the song writing was just mind blowing, there are also a couple of acoustic guitars riffs and neoclassical breaks that you might notice which puts this at the top of my favorite metal albums of all time. Death as you may or may not know are the pioneers of the death metal genre and every band that plays death metal music is influenced by them, so it’s safe to say that they are a fairly important band.
Death began as amazingly brutal and raw and played extremely fast death metal. By Human they had changed into a more technical and mature beast. This trend has continued onto Symbolic which is amazingly technical and less brutal than previous outings. All styles are great and i really love this album. The riffs are great very catchy and quite technical and the vocals are pure Schuldiner even if they are less brutal than in the past. The songs are much longer than in the past but make perfect sense, they almost sound like prog but still different. Following from the wonderful Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic offered a slightly better lineup with the awesome Gene Hoglan on drums staying from Individual, his drumming patterns were just phenominal especially on Zero Tolerance (check out the awesome drum intro) and Empty Words which is one of my favorite Death songs ever with it’s great and memorable melodic intro. The drumming was just relentless and the album showcases the wonderful ability of being technical and catchy at the same time. The lyric’s themes were about aliens, the threat of too much CCTV type stuff, growing old and some less reality based ones like Crystal Mountain and Perennial Quest. Chucks guitar playing really dripped of Spanish style on this one and his solos are as good as ever, check out the great solo on Sacred Serenity where it changes mid tempo slows down in the middle then gets back to the heavy part, wow I just got chills running down my spine it’s a very cool song.
His vocals got higher again and would show the progression that got them to their highest on The Sound Of Perseverance, as well as the more Heavy(True) Metal stylings of the album. This sort of gives the hint about Control Denied and is not as brutal as the earlier albums but still heavy enough and in my opinion was more enjoyable than Human, The album just works from beginning to end showing plenty of variation yet still sitting completely in the staccato thrash/death territory that Death has always used. If you have to just hear one song from this album make sure it’s Zero Tolerance, a Death classic and the home of one of the best riffs ever. If you appreciate metal that’s well played, powerful as much as it’s brutal and deep then put Symbolic on the top of your list. Schuldiner had once again pushed his bandmembers as far as their musical abilities could take them which benefited from the dense harmonies contributed by the less flashy but equally effective Bobby Koelble, resulting in Death’s most consistently melodic album ever and Gene Hoglan also lent his inimitable percussive talents to, forging an unlikely and awesome pairing with Chuck. This new re-release from Roadrunners has an additional number of demo tracks recorded during their Human and Individual Thought Pattern’s tour, this album just sounds as good as ever. 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 metal heads and everyone in between. I can’t get enough of this band you have to check this out R.I.P. Chuck you will be missed.