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Death - Symbolic CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 502 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I had always looked past this band. I thought they were just another death metal band with pointless complexity and unintelligent songwriting. So, even when I saw this band was considered progressive metal on ProgArchives, I still wouldn't bother buying their music.... until I saw it for only 5 bucks at my record store. I was wondering if I should go for it, especially when there's all of these safe purchases I can make. I decided to be a little adventurous, and buy something that might be out of my comfort zone.

I am so glad I did. This is a progressive metal album without a doubt. This is one of the greatest progressive death metal albums I own, and this really is masterpiece material. Chuck Schuldiner's compositions here are incredible, and there isn't a song worth skipping. The main highlight on this album musically is the incredible drumming from Gene Hoglan. The guitar work is also incredible, the songwriting here is very intelligent, the production is top-notch, and everything is perfectly executed. This is becoming one of my favorite albums in my collection.


"Symbolic"- The opener is a masterpiece of progressive death metal, and contains an awesome progression of heavy riffing. This song is pretty intense, but keeps a great variety of riffs to keep the song moving without repetition.

"Zero Tolerance"- This song is actually slowed down in tempo, and contains some awesome riffs. While this song isn't very progressive, it certainly shows that these guys aren't a typical death metal band.

"Empty Words"- An extremely awesome and progressive song. The chord progressions flow excellently, and this is masterpiece material. This is an intense and heavy song, but is very enjoyable for any prog metal fan.

"Sacred Serenity"- One of my favorite songs on the album, believe it or not. One of the main sections in this I swear sounds like Rush! This actually has a beautiful slower section with a short guitar solo to bring us back into the main riff. Excellent song!

"1,000 Eyes"- Possibly the heaviest song on the album is incredible, and another excellent progressive death metal song. The excellent drumming from Gene Hoglan is most certainly present here, and shows what a talented drummer he is. Chuck Schuldiner's voice sounds particularly good here as well.

"Crystal Mountain"- One of my favorite Death songs that, like "Sacred Serenity", has moments sounding like Rush. What starts like a standard metal song has a great chorus with some great progressions and solos that amaze me every time.

"Misanthrope"- It can be argued whether or not this song is progressive or not, but who really cares? This song has some excellent riffing and blistering complexity. Some great soloing surely helps as well. An excellent song, but is far forgotten by the following masterpiece.

"Perennial Quest"- Easily the best song Death EVER produced. This is a very epic song with perfect transitions through the main sections. Everything is perfectly executed; from the production qualities, to the playing, and the incredible songwriting skills of Chuck Schuldiner. The outro to this song is a beautiful acoustic melody that sends shockwaves through my spine every time. This is the definition of masterpiece. This is the definition of progressive death metal at its highest possible potential.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this, and any progressive metal fan will be as well. What I thought would be a dreadful mess turned into one of my favorite albums EVER released. Chuck Schuldiner is a mastermind and ranks up there with Kevin Gilbert, Neal Morse, Daniel Gildenlow, and Dan Swano as my favorite songwriters. This is a masterpiece of progressive death metal, and few albums are this good in any prog genre. If you are the slightest bit into bands like Opeth and Edge of Sanity you MUST give this a try, whatever may be your original impression of the band. It's a shame Chuck Schuldiner was taken away from us so early. Few people can revolutionize the music scene like him. To invent the genre of death metal, and then push the boundries of a genre you created, and create another type of music; progressive death metal; in such a short amount of time is really an accomplishment.

R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner

5 stars.

J-Man | 5/5 |


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