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Symbolic is the 1995 album released by Death metal band Death, I rate Death highly from their early raw offerings of Scream Bloody Gore (1987) through to their final album Sound of Perseverance in 1998. With regular line-up changes and Chuck Schuldiner at the helm, the band's sound changed over different albums and each time they managed to muster up something new. Schuldiner was good at picking the right men for the job and does so in this case when he took on Bobby Koelble (guitar) and Kerry Conlon (bass) from little known bands.
Whilst not as technical as modern day death metal bands, this is a progressive album that is far more melodic than the band's early work, the vocals are more thrashy and the simple but effective guitar riffs make it far more appealing than today's machine like offerings.
Some people moan that this album is not true death metal but Schuldiner was a smart guy and takes a lot of the credit for creating the genre and over 8 years he had evolved, perhaps some of the fans had not.
Although I prefer the band's early work for it's pure anger packed sound and in comparison this is really rather light, I still think that this is a superb album - Empty Words and Zero Tolerance are two absolute belters whilst the guitar work on the title track is legendary and Crystal Mountain is the best example of the melodic touch on this album.
Death's penultimate album can be seen to perfect Chuck Schuldiner's vision of progressive death metal, before things took a slightly wayward turn with its jazzier successor. These nine songs are all superbly crafted, long enough to incorporate various ideas and changes while somehow remaining coherent, while remaining heavy and furious enough for death metal fans who wouldn't normally approach such intricate compositions. This should be a compulsory education tool for progressive music lovers who dismiss death metal's ability to produce competitive experimental music, and who believe the genre to be merely a load of angry kids yelling about guts. It's only about 97% that.
It would be an exhaustive and pointless process to chronicle every nuance of these songs, but rest assured that none of them are below par. A substantial line-up change with every release seems to keep the band on its toes, and Schuldiner certainly shows no signs of letting up, breaking into full-pelt guitar solos when least anticipated on songs like 'Symbolic,' and conversely refusing to do so on slower, more powerful offerings such as 'Zero Tolerance.'
2. Zero Tolerance
3. Empty Words
4. Sacred Serenity
5. 1,000 Eyes
6. Without Judgement
7. Crystal Mountain
9. Perennial Quest