Today in Metal: ‘Symbolic’ by Death turns 19 years old

Posted by on March 21, 2014


Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. Today, it’s Death’s seminal album Symbolic.

Without doubt, for me, this is the best death metal album of all time. Depending on if you would call doom metal extreme metal or not, I consider it the best extreme metal album of all time, too (I don’t personally consider doom extreme metal). Everything is there. Chuck’s guitar riffs, solos, and vocals are at an all time peak, Gene Hoglan brings some of the most technical, but not show-off-y drum work there is, the songs are a great balance of catchy and completely aggressive, and even the lyrics are thought provoking and challenging. “Crystal Mountain” is my all time favorite Death song, the title track has some of my favorite drum work, “Sacred Serenity” is absolutely beautiful while still being heavy, “1,000 Eyes” has one of the coolest pre-chorus riffs ever, “Perennial Quest” is an ambitiously long death metal song that comes out strong, and so on. I can go on for hours about how amazing the album is.

There are two tracks in particular that I don’t care for personally that causes me to not call this a PERFECT album. The tracks “Zero Tolerance” and “Misanthrope” are a bit more on the generic death metal side of things, and aren’t gems like the rest are. They still aren’t bad songs, but they simply don’t live up to the rest.

Favorite Tracks: “Crystal Mountain,” “Sacred Serenity,” “Symbolic,” “1,000 Eyes,” “Empty Words,” “Perennial Quest.”

This is an album that absolutely belongs in the collection of anyone who likes death metal. It’s nearly a textbook on how the genre should be done, in my opinion. I can’t do it justice in claiming how awesome it is. It’s without doubt, Death’s best work, for me. Pick this one up, and play it loud. Chuck will always be a visionary, and a master of his craft.

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