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  • Writer's pictureShane & Ryan Flynn

Symbolic 25 Years Later: A Review

Few bands have been fortunate enough to have such an airtight untarnished legacy as Florida's Death. From their very first record until their final days that created new genres, blazed trails, and captivated thousands. The band never rested on their claim to fame of inventing death metal and they always pushed forward striving to become stronger songwriters and to not be limited by genre standards. Symbolic sees Death arguably hit their creative peak in the opinion of many fans and critics with seemingly constant tempo changes and a showcase of all-time great guitar work. Sadly the bands career was cut short due to the sad death of founder, lead vocalist and lead guitar player of Chuck Schuldiner, who passed from brain cancer in 2001. While all of the groups records are highly viewed, for me personally it is really their final four releases that cemented their legacy of a band that can appeal to even people who aren't huge death metal fans due to it's ore progressive nature along with deeply philosophical lyrics and a sense of melody. . There is a much less aggressive approach than one would expect from a death metal band on this record and I mean that in the most positive way possible.The riffs are ever changing from moment to moment, forcing you to keep your attention focused to fully understand what is being played. This record also notably focuses much less on speed than your average band of this genre, rather putting the attention on small intricate details within riffs and drum patterns. Despite it's many changes in pace and tempo the record manages to hold itself together and flow incredibly well. The production on Symbolic is also nothing short of incredible especially for a 90's death metal band and it deserves endless amounts of praise. The drumming on Symbolic done by Death Angel's Gene Hoglan , is absolutely mind-blowing. Hoglan's rhythm's and patterns as well as his overall tone are as perfect as drumming can get and this album is largely why he is such a revered figure in the drumming community to this day. Something worth mentioning that I rarely ever see anyone talk about is the credit Chuck deserves for innovating the high-pitch scream in metal, something that would go on to become a staple of deathcore over a decade later. He manages to sound raw while still being understandably and giving off a thoughtful aura. Chuck's ability to write an endless amount of game changing riffs while also maintaining frontman responsibilities was truly admirable and he will forever be one of the greatest figures in the history of metal.

Every track on Symbolic was clearly carefully thought out and there isn't a single solitary second of filler to be found. Masterpiece is in fact an understatement when it comes to this record. From the vocals and lyrics, to the guitar work, to the drumming, to the production, everything is performed to the utmost highest level possible. While I understand that might come off as over parsing the group out of favoritism, let's be honest, there's a reason Death is arguably the biggest they've ever been right now despite being gone for nearly 20 years now. The band wrote music that reached and connected with people on a level tat few bands will ever approach. For that they will forever be legends with Symbolic being just one of their many 5 star records.

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