Groundbreakers: Symbolic turns 20

2003
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“I don’t mean to dwell / but I can’t help myself / when I feel the vibe / and taste a memory / of a time in life / when years seemed to stand still”

Reading these lines again takes me back to the first time I ever listened to Death, as a teenager and recently self-proclaimed metalhead who craved the next impossibly extreme aural concoction that would top yesterday’s overwhelming discovery. And an overwhelming discovery it was, albeit for different reasons. Paired with what has to be one of the most memorably simple opening guitar riffs of all time, “Symbolic” revealed itself to bear traits that were unmistakeably extreme, alongside others that I would have never expected to hear on a death metal album, but that had me instantly hooked and entranced for the ensuing fifty minutes.

Much like my comrade Leif, I was barely aware of my own existence twenty years ago, so if any of this is wrong, blame The Internet/Obama/etc. Released on March 21st, 1995, Symbolic came into existence at a time when the original death metal movement was starting to stagnate, with second and third-generation bands rehashing the same ideas and not really striving to innovate. It was left to the original “first wave” of death metal bands to create something that incorporated fresh ideas or die trying: some of these bands broke up, due mainly to a sudden lack of label support, while others went in groovier directions in an attempt to stay relevant in the barren wasteland of a musical period that future historians would simply refer to as “the 90s”.

Death, however, had started to incorporate more complex song structures and melodies into their sound as early as on their fourth effort, 1991’s Human. These tendencies continued on 1993’s Individual Thought Patterns, but didn’t reach their full potential until the release of Symbolic, which was to be the band’s final album before frontman and mastermind Chuck Schuldiner put the band to rest to work on his new progressive/power project Control Denied. No, I’m not forgetting 1998’s The Sound of Perseverance, an album born out of contractual obligations that made Schuldiner have to record one more album under the Death name before being able to make music as Control Denied. But I digress, that’s a story for another time.

Completing Symbolic‘s lineup were bassist Kelly Conlon, guitarist Bobby Koelble and drummer Gene Hoglan, each more technically proficient at his instrument than the last. Their collective versatility as musicians is evidenced throughout the varied content to be found here: the counter-beat ride cymbal grooves of “Sacred Serenity” and “Crystal Mountain”, the soft ethereal feeling of the guitars that begin “Empty Words” and end “Perennial Quest”, the unrelenting heaviness of “Misanthrope” and the title track, and enough instantly memorable riffs and fills to warrant infinite repeat listens. And let’s not forget the words: a far cry from the gore-themed rhymes that once defined Death, the lyrics cover topics that range from the existential and melancholical to the downright philosophical, and could stand on their own merits if they weren’t the icing on such a richly amazing cake. In short, Symbolic is one of the most important progressive death metal albums ever released, as well as one of the quintessential recordings in all of metaldom, period.

Don’t just take my word for it though, I asked other writers to chime in with their Empty Words:

HessianHunter: Every time I listen to the mid-tempo grooves and galloping guitarmony twiddles of “Crystal Mountain”, I can’t help but think of mid-era Mastodon. Apparently not only did Death help to invent death metal AND progressive death metal, but also laid a foundation for endless subgenres of forward thinking, heavy music. All hail Death forever and ever. Amen.

Dr. Dubya: It’s difficult to look at Symbolic and not see the blueprint for nearly every progressive death metal album released thereafter. What’s even more impressive, though, is how well The Atomic Clock’s distinctive drum patterns and Chuck’s riffs hold up against the every-expanding complexity of metal. They still sound as fresh today as they did twenty years ago. Just pick any track from something new, say Autotheism for example, and hold it up against “Misanthrope”. Death wins.

Dagon: I was only four years old when Symbolic was released. In actuality, I discovered Death’s entire discography in one day, more than a decade after their last album dropped. If it was so mesmerizing to hear the band’s evolution from Scream Bloody Gore to Symbolic in a single night, I can only imagine how groundbreaking this record felt at the moment of its release. From the band’s inception, Chuck displayed good song and riff writing skill. On Symbolic, however, he was finally able to instill all of his passion into a recording. The guitars in this LP scream and wail in a way that still gives me goosebumps with each listen. To this day, few death metal, or better yet, few albums regardless of genre display this perfect balance between proficiency and emotion, craft and feeling. This is the crowning achievement of a very accomplished career, one which was unfortunately ended too soon.

 

 

From the bands that have been more obviously influenced by it (like Obscura or Necrophagist), to some you’d be surprised by (like Fuck the Facts or Epica), to the twelve-year-old butchering “Crystal Mountain” on guitar in front of his webcam, the influence Symbolic and Death’s catalog as a whole has had on music is undeniable. Gone for fourteen years but not soon to be forgotten, Chuck Schuldiner has reached out and touched the hearts and minds of millions, and will keep doing so as long as his legacy continues to resonate with listeners. A legacy that he left us in life, that will live forever in Death.

R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner. Let the metal flow into eternity.


Groundbreakers is the Toilet ov Hell’s Hall ov Fame where we induct some of the most important and influential metal albums of all time. Catch up on previous entries into this hallowed bowl.

Neurosis – Souls at Zero

  • That was a great closing statement. Good shit sir.

  • Tyree
  • Dr. Dubz

    Knocked it outta the park, Moshito.

    • MoshOff

      Thanks prez!

  • CT-12

    Fucking awesome article Moshoff. I remember having to do an English assignment on a song who’s lyrics you really related to or were inspired by blablabla. I went up to present my song, and instantly got some grins and scoffs when I told them it was from a band called “Death” (song was “Symbolic). Lo and behold, everybody else’s lyrics paled in comparison that day hahaha. R.I.P. Chuck, one of the most important role models to me growing up as a kid and a man.

  • I love Death. Chuck and Gene together are indestructible. This will live on for eternity. Great piece!

  • Unfuckwithable masterpiece. I almost hate listening to it because of what happened to Chuck afterwards.

  • Very enjoyable to read!

    • MoshOff

      A++ WDBWA

  • Thanks for this, Moshito. Your writing was superb <3.

    I wasn't a merolhead when Death was there, even when Death ended. But, still, when I discovered their discography it opened me a new world of sounds. I was very sad when reading about their bio and what happened with Chuck, because in those months I could begin to understand and feel much more the power of music.

    "Through dreams I obtainThe ability to connect sight with sound"

  • For all you youngins, when this album came out “Crystal Mountain” was in regular rotation at Seton Hall’s radio station among mostly cock rock and other forgetable music. Death was a big deal back in the day.

    • Dr. Dubz

      That would be wild to hear that song on the radio

      • It would come on right after Helmet or something. That song probably had appeal to a broader audience beyond death metal so they didn’t have an issue playing it.

    • that’s a valuable information, my friend!

    • Scrimm

      Yeah even had articles in the big guitar magazines.

      • Chuck’s guitar playing was very precise. I don’t like thaat much his leads, but the guy KNEW how to write riffs and motifs.

    • Wait, are you telling me zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz is wrong??

      • He/She was snoozing on this one.

      • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        seton hall=college radio—not post clinton controlled msm

        the fcc–bans certain phrases and words for band names—to control all thought/dialogue–on a rockefeller/clinton fake world war

        • Dr. Dubz

          zzzzzzzzzz, you should start a pirate radio station.

          • I would def hear that, even if that gives me headaches.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            freedom of speech=america

            no speech is allowed to be censored–unless theres death threats–

            the rockefeller controlled stations are “pirate”—

            911 was a false flag attack on america–by the u.n.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I think that’s a yes! On the real though, I’d listen to your radio station, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            truth is truth–

            u.n. did 911–no radio stations needed—-the notion that a “specialized” media would be necessary—for people to talk openly about factual events–is clinton type propaganda—

          • Guacamole Jim

            Wait, so you mean that you believe we’re free enough right now to not need specialized pirate radio to announce the truth?

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            word is spreading—it doesnt matter what another human decides to “allow”–

          • So if they UN did 911, was it to motivate the US to poke their nose into the middle east then? or was the US responsible (because the US funds 28% of the UN’s budget) for the attack so they would be justified to go into the Middle East? Thoughts?

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            rockefeller mafia(which includes the u.n.)–shot jfk in 63-

            clinton signed agenda 21 treaty in 94—which “eradicated” the u.s. constitution—and began world war

          • You cannot answer in drivel when I try to ask you a legitimate question…

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            too much for you

          • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll

            Oh you two get a room! I think I know where this is going.

            http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view7/2649220/lesnar-kisses-angle-o.gif

          • Herr Schmitty

            Drivel is the language in which Libertarians traffic, good sir.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            eat a dick—hitler

          • Herr Schmitty

            I look forward to feeding you your own severed penis, Mein Teil Style.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            yer mama

          • Herr Schmitty

            You want to eat her too? Got a thing for women with handicaps, eh? 😉

          • I have nothing against people who call themselves Libertarians. I just think they are taking the easy way out,

          • Sir Tapir the Based

          • Ironically Seton Hall called the station “Pirate Radio” in all their advertising.

  • Dr. Dubz

    Also, Dethklok’s fictional record label is named “Crystal Mountain Industries.”

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    it is illegal to promote a band called “death” in today’s post 911 censorship media.

    fcc was taken over by commies –in 94—right when death was coming around–

    there will never be a death commeration ===on “Rock radio”-

    • Death to false rock radio! Commemoration of Death should be monthly occurrence!
      Flush the Posers!

      • YEAH, DEPUTY! WELCOME BACK

        *SHOTS TO THE AIR*

        • *PISTOL WHIPS NEAREST POSER*
          *SHOOTS INTO THE AIR AGAIN*

        • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          10-10-01–
          mossad agents caught with bombs/fake pakistani passports–attempting to attack the mexican congress building—in the days following the 911 attacks—to falsely blame “the enemy”–for a terror attack—reported worldwide—and then censored on cnn–and all other pro u.n. media—

          —-
          the “mossad” part throws people off—cuz it makes it seem like it was “israel”—when the part that matters is the proven false flag aspect—–for the agenda 21 takeover

          • This is.. Uh… WoW!

            Didn’t knew that. There’s only information of that in blogs.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            thats not true—it is all over–but most notabley–it was the front page headline–of mexico’s main newspaper–“the voice”–(interpreted in spanish)

          • well, I don’t live in México and I was 11 in that time. I’m safe in this, jejeje.

            Hey, what do you think about last weeks diplomatic impasses between Venezuela and the US?

            I was trying to see you to ask this (i don’t remember if I did, so sorry if I’ve already asked). I would like to know your opinions.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            at first–i assumed he was killed by pro u.n. forces–but he was pro u.n.–thats why he was referred to as “socialist” in the media–who basically liked him—not perfectly—apparantly there was a lot of negative feelings–about how there was really cheap gasoline available to the public there–but basically they loved him

            but the problems now–is that apparantly that “america” is getting nervous–that venezuala–might end up not being a u;n; puppet country

            911 truth is spreading to the people of the world–

          • As far as I remember this actual president haven’t been in the .UN. Only our chancellor.

            Do you think actual U.S. goverment would try to invade Venezuela?

          • This was the other thing they were talking about! The US “invading” Venezuela.

            From your prospective, why would the US want to invade Venezuela?

          • U.S. will not invade Venezuela, I think.

            U.S. still have actions here, invest and buy a lot of oil.

            Also, they had invaded us in the Esequibo, so, everything’s ran smooth for the U.S. and we’re still with more inflation and more scarce of products.

          • Looks like the US only imports 9% of its oil from Venezuela, interesting. I thought it would have been higher than that.

            http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=727&t=6

          • Right now is a little, because the venezuelan goverment is ally of China and Russia.

            But, the situation in the Esequibo is the real deal, right now. And the goverment is blind against it.

            To give you a context. In the east side of the country there’s a region that’s still in reclamation against Guyana and England. It’s a long story, but it’s a region with a lot of oil discovered last decade.

            Since this problem started is well known that there are U.S. cargo boats in those shores by the permission of Guyana. If that zone is still in reclamation, they are violating spaces.

          • I think another issue (pertaining to the discovered oil in the eastern part of your country) is the overall glut of oil being produced everywhere in the world. I do not think a government can fault another for producing too much oil to hurt another country when the country in question has every right to try to making a living doing whatever they please.

            Again, it is just unfortunate the Venezuela’s main money maker is oil.

            Interesting conversation for sure.

          • I don’t know too much about oil industry, only what’ve listened or read by my own.

            But, it’s still bad that a resource that we can use for a benefit is exploited by another country because our pasts goverments didn’t fought for this region when they had to.

            On the other side, Venezuela will NOT close their words to the U.S. private oil company and their goverment because the oil we have here is extra-heavy (merol) and we DON’T have the fabrics and the chemicals necessary to process it. The U.S. have all of that.

            So, in everything, we’re still mantained by other countries because our goverments are just bad and don’t like to invest in nothing except filling their own pockets.

            Here’s a foto of actual president Maduro crying:

            http://questiondigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/VEN-MADURO34.jpg

          • Sounds like a credible guy! I was astounded when I heard he just “took complete power” for the next 9 months. Sounds like a really great time. *shakes head*

          • Venezuela’s blessing is the nature.
            Venezuela’s doom is his people.

            I still can’t believe that people here are bribed with cash to go and vote for the socialist or the right-wing parties and then return to their ranchos (hand-made houses with cardboard or roof planks) and continue living like that.

            There’s no conscience here, only individuals.

          • Well I sure hope things turn around for you and your country. Sounds like some pretty fishy things are going on that need to be stopped before there is not a country left to govern.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            u.s=u.n

          • Thanks for your thoughts!

          • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll

            Nah. We’re still broke as fuck from the last two wars.

          • I was listening to NPR yesterday and they were talking about the conflict between Venezuela and the US. Not that is is really a conflict – it seems more like Venezuela trying to portray the US government as some type of threat to your people. What is your take on all of this?

            From what I heard the US put sanctions on certain persons in your government that they deemed “corrupt”. I did not know this was the case

          • the solution is rather simple…. #LinkMaracaiboMayor2015

          • Herr Schmitty

            VOTE LINK for a final solution
            VOTE LINK you don’t have to feel so cold!
            VOTE LINK with a clear resolution,
            I’ve stated my case and’ll never turn!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcXVnyiQjBE

          • GREAT SONG!!!!!!!! Reminds me of when I first met my wife

          • HELL YEAH! MELODIC MINISTER AND MAYOR 2015!

          • We’re in electoral year. This year we have elections to vote the representants of the congress.

            The biggest party in the venezuelan politics is the socialist union, that’s controlled by the goverment and the president itself. So, the goverment is trying to portray that image so they can unite again, because with the economical problems, the population is very down and the president’s popularity is very very low.

            So, if another country rants about the persons in the goverment are corrupts and the country itself is doing bad, the gov doesn’t want to lose this one.

          • It unfortunate that most of your countries export revenue is oil related.

          • Obama blew us.

            It’s possible that this communicational strategy as seeing us the victim by gov propaganda would give them more votes in the congress once again.

          • What do you mean by “blew us”? I think I am misunderstanding what you meant.

          • Given the bad situation of the country, the people here is very depressed.

            When Obama said that, the propaganda offices in the gov activated a campaign to portrait entire Venezuela (and not gov personnel) as the offended by the “U.S. injerence on a international tiny country” and that the U.S. wants to invade us to steal our oil and will massacre us and blablabla.

            What I’m telling is that Obama gave the goverment a new enemy to battle in the elections. All the Venezuelan propaganda since Chávez was always seeking enemies that caused our problems. But this time we’re very bad, so nobody here is really thinking that our economical problems are due to another factor, but the gov itself.

            Did I explained myself, GL? If you don’t understand just ask.

          • That makes perfect sense, Link. It seems like it is always easier to blame ones problems on some else. Which, as you put it, seems like what your current government is doing with Obama’s recent actions. Bummer

          • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll

            That’d never happen here in Best Korea!

        • PLAP PLAP PLAP

  • Tyree

    You have to PLAY the game, to find out WHY you’re playing the game.

    • Tyree

      I guess it’s about time for our William Tell routine.

      • Tyree

        See you in Pittsburgh.

        • Tyree

          My teeth have begun to fall out. The medicine cabinet is now the Brundle Museum of Natural History. You wanna see what else is in it?

          • Tyree

            I want you to access the Ripe program. I do not have ConSec computer clearance.

          • Tyree

            I should have killed you back in Philly.

          • Tyree

            He is no driver, he is the undertaker.

          • Tyree

            I want really big tits, out to here, so the audience can see ’em get all cut up and crushed on the dashboard.

          • Tyree

            The ICE… is gonna BREAK!

          • Tyree

            Potato man loves ketchup man.

          • Tyree

            How sweet it must be to die.

          • Tyree

            Are you kidding? Fuck off you freaks. I’m telling my father you talk dirty. Besides, I know for a fact you don’t even know what fuck is.

          • Tyree

            Thirty seconds after you’re born you have a past and sixty seconds after that you begin to lie to yourself about it.

          • Tyree

            Miss Winston, EVERYBODY has a secret face!

          • Tyree
          • sure wish i was drunk right now

          • Scrimm

            I’d rather be stoned.

          • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll

            I think this is what happens on either meth or krokodil. ^^^

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd5HJLx-BpI

          • Tyree

            We wrote a song called krokodil.

  • God ov All

    R.I.P. Chuck you beautiful bastard you.

    • tertius_decimus

      Why you took him, ugly bastard?

      • God ov All

        I didn’t want to have to take him. But he is doing much better now at peace.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
    • Tyree

      YES! I was trying to find their self titled album on vinyl the other day. No luck.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        I still don’t own the first album. Can’t find it on CD or otherwise. Lame.

  • Scrimm

    This was the new Death album when I read that Morbid Angel article I mentioned a while ago where Trey ripped death and several other bands.

    • Dr. Dubz

      Go back to your anime, Trey!

      • Scrimm

        Seriously the guy came off like the biggest stuck up prick, Talking about how much better they were than all these bands and how they sounded like shit. Ripped Death in particular, along with Pestilence I believe, saying their albums sounded like swarms of bees.

        • that last sentence def rustled my jimmies.

          • Scrimm

            It was seriously off putting, has always influenced my opinion of them. As bad as the interview with Kerry King where he said Iron Maiden were good before they “sold out”

          • When a musician start to compares and makes statements like if music was an sport, all goes down the hill.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah it reeks of insecurity when all they do is put down other bands.

        • The guy is a douche no question. I despised him further on the Domination tour when they reserved part of the show for him to come out and do a solo. Dude comes out playing with a cigarette in his mouth. He thinks he’s Eddie Van Halen or something.

          • Scrimm

            Ah jeez. Doesn’t surprise me thought.

          • zeke… or isaac; whatever

            to this day, one of my biggest metal regrets is that I couldn’t see Morbid Angel on the Domination tour. When they came to NY the openers were Dissection touring on SOTLB and At the Gates touring on Slaughter of the Soul. They played at the Wetlands which was 16 and over, and I was 14 so I couldn’t go.

  • This gives me the huge feels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGiNNAZwK8E

  • ” A FACET OF SURFACE ASSEMBLY__T21_HALF_MODEL_1-1_M WITH UNDERLYING ELEMENT 436268 INSTANCE HALF_MODEL_1-1 HAS A ZERO NORMAL VECTOR OR COINCIDENT TANGENT VECTORS. CHECK CONNECTIVITY OF THE UNDERLYING ELEMENT ”

    I keep getting this error over and over and over and over and over. Is it quitting time yet?

    RAGE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIBUoYZ52pk

  • Guacamole Jim

    #toiletconfessions I’ve never really listened that much to Death before. I think it came along at a time for me when I was craving something different, and I just dismissed it. Listening to this now, though, I’m actually really enjoying it. Time to berate myself for not listening to it years ago.

    http://38.media.tumblr.com/c16aa810ec4677e4e11db39107fd192a/tumblr_mkjj2wYSJS1s8rz3mo1_500.gif

  • Sir Tapir the Based

    Symbolic is probably my favourite Death album and it was my first death metal album. I love it!

    • #TapirApprovedSeal BOOM!

    • Dr. Dubz

      Symbolic and Human are the best, in my opinion.

      • Sir Tapir the Based

        Human is jättebra as well. All of Death’s albums are great.

      • zeke… or isaac; whatever

        Human’s my favorite too. That was the first death metal album I ever got. My friend made me a tape of it and told me the band was called “Death Human.” I didn’t even know what “death metal” was at that time; I just thought it was some super badass thrash. When I saw the video for The Philosopher on Headbanger’s Ball, I put 2 and 2 together.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Smashing album, smashing write up! It might just be my favourite death metal actually, I’m not always in the mood for the genre in general but I’m always in the mood for some Death.

  • Tyree

    Do you know somebody called “the Cowboy”?

  • Pretty much since I first listened to Leprosy, Death has been my favorite death metal band and one of my favorite bands of all time. They’re aren’t very many bands with a solid discography the size of Death’s. Each album has a unique sound and the music shows a clear evolution. Excellent job on the article Mosh.

    • Twas Leprosy that reeled me in, too. Although I only heard it for the first time last year. I was late to the Death game. Ahem. Lost my tickets.

      • I only heard it a couple years ago. For me, the positive side of being born after the initial wave of death metal is that I can listen to an entire band’s discography without having to wait 20 years. I’ll be listening to Suffocation’s shit for the first time after I make my way through Novembers Doom again.

        • I was born well before the first wave of death metal. But only recently have my tastes in metal started to lean that way. The first DM albums that caught my ears were of course Leprosy and Valborg’s Crown of Sorrows. (Artificial Brain and Gorguts are currently rocking my tender places.) I remember laughing when I heard Scream Bloody Gore in high school. Now I kind of love it . . . Still not the biggest DM fan, but I’m growing.

        • Reichsmarschall Dean von Steel

          Wait, you haven’t listened to Suffo yet?! Holy fuck are you in for a good time. Effigy of the Forgotten and Pierced From Within are colossal.

          • zeke… or isaac; whatever

            Mr. Dean is right on again. As a native Long Islander, I must say that Effigy and Pierced From Within are completely and utterly unfuckwithable!

          • I’ve listened to their album and their last album but I haven’t really spent time with their music.

  • Tyree

    Pain, begone, I will have no more of thee!

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Guys, I think Tyree is having a stroke. Anyone live nearby that can check on him? #prayforTyree

    • I can be there in 6 hours in 20 mins. Should I leave now????

      • CyberneticOrganism

        RIDE LIKE THE WIND, GEORGE

  • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll
  • Farty McPoopyCoalRoll

    Kinda related; it’s the vocalist from Control Denied’s band after Chuck passed. Excellent stuff!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6REj3t64f4E

  • Anthony

    Would you mind elaborating on The Sounds Of Perseverance? Did Chuck not want to make the album? That was my introduction to Death, it has a special place in my heart. Would be really cool to learn more. Beautiful and touching article, by the way.

    • LobsterAttack

      From what I’ve heard/read, he wanted to move ahead with Control Denied and leave Death behind, but was contractually obligated to make another Death album first.

      Sound of Perseverance was my introduction to Death as well. I was bored at work one afternoon, ended up deciding to check out what the big deal was about Death, YouTubed “The Flesh and the Power It Holds,” and was hooked at the first riff.

    • MoshOff

      Essentially, what LobsterAttack said. There’s actually a couple Control Denied demos floating around somewhere with songs that ended up on Sound of Perseverance, which is why it and The Fragile Art of Existence sound so similar. In my mind, Perseverance is more like a Control Denied album sans the power vocals, and it’s alright, but I think it would have been better if there hadn’t been label pressure and Chuck just got to do what he wanted to.

      • Anthony

        Thanks for the info everyone, I will check out Control Denied.

    • yeah d00d, that’s my favorite Death album. cray to think it was an accidental birth!

  • LobsterAttack

    Great article! Some things never get old, Death’s discography among them.

  • Reichsmarschall Dean von Steel

    Prepare your jimmies, rustling set to maximum power:

    I think Death is easily the most overrated of the old school death metal legends. Blah. There’s really nothing exciting or special on any of their records–even Leprosy and Spiritual Healing (which are the best albums they ever put out). Give me Morbid Angel, Possessed, Obituary, Therion, and about three dozen other bands over them any day.

    Now, this is the point when someone jumps in and says “but Human and Individual Thought Patterns and the birth of technical/progressive death metal lol…” but I say phooey to those records, too. Mostly snores. If I wanted to listen to old school progressive/technical DM (which I usually don’t; once in a blue moon it might tickle my fancy), I’ll gladly take Pestilence or Atheist–two bands that were doing the style as early (if not earlier) than Death, and doing it a fuck of a lot better.

    Death’s musical legacy has benefited tremendously from Chuck’s untimely passing.

    • God ov All

      My jimmies…this must be the rustling the prophecy foretold…the horror!

    • LobsterAttack

      “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Cheers.

    • calm down, dustin, everything’s gonna be okay. look at christina hendricks for a few minutes…

      • Reichsmarschall Dean von Steel

        JJM I passionately violated this here sassy lady whilst listening to Altars of Madness and shouting incorrigible blasphemies about how overrated Death and Chuck Shuldiner were.

        Come at me.

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    I only got into Death a few weeks ago, I’m a bad person. Symbolic is the first album I added to my collection, LOVE IT!

  • xengineofdeathx

    Dude not to sound all gay or anything, but the first time I heard the opening riff of Symbolic I was totally enchanted by this album, and all of Death’s discography. Every song just fucking rips, without sacrificing fun, or memorability. Few could bring the riffs (and leads) like Chuck, and everyone else killed it on this record too. Gene Hoglan absolutely destroyed during his time in this band, and that’s saying a lot considering the shoes he had to fill after Human. Indeed, this shit still holds up against anything that’s been released before or since. And I always get a little choked up when I hear Perennial quest.