The Respect Chuck Deserves
Loogs | 04/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review is not intended to coerce, persuade, or influence newcomers of Death, Chuck Schuldiner, and the amazingly talented music inbetween the two. If one is interested in the basics of Symbolic, please refer to the original release ('95) page where many others can assist you with an abundance of reviews. My review is for the many fans of Death and/or Symbolic.
I am writing this review today (April 1st) because I managed to acquire a copy 3 days early and have been listening thoroughly, over and over. Symbolic was always a personal favorite; a benchmark of supreme technicality and beautiful melody. There is no other way to say it than with this new remaster release, what was/is great has now become greater.
Basically, compared to the original press, the back case art and the liner notes have been revised. New layout/photos with a special page dedicated to the memory of Chuck, photos courtesy of his mom, Beth. Don Kaye contributes a 3 page editorial covering the life of Death as a group, focusing extensively on Symbolic's development (obviously) while getting Gene Hoglan to comment quite a bit throughout. '"There have been countless hundreds with whom I've interacted who have said, 'Symbolic is the whole reason I picked up my instrument.'" says Gene proudly.' I myself as a percussionist/drummer look up to Gene and practice his material/methods weekly if not daily; the whole reason why I started playing double bass was listening to his consistency and understanding why he's called Gene "The Machine". You'll never hear a sloppy note. Don also comments that while we'll never know where Chuck would have gone musically, "...his legacy shows every indication of the true artist, craftsman and musician he was."
The new quality of the music is sheer grace. Who better for the remastering job than George Marino, the man who did the original mastering in '95. Mainly, the low and high ends have been polished and raised. Gene's bass drums and cymbal accents are more articulate and present, Chuck's vocals are more intense yet smoother, the bass stands out more than the original, and the solos are packed with more clarity and ear-piercing power. All of this is definitely prevalent within '1,000 Eyes', 'Crystal Mountain', and 'Symbolic'. I noticed the most change in those tracks, but it's apparent in the entire album. I was so overjoyed with the results I couldn't stop smiling to myself as I listened, thinking, "I can't believe it sounds this good! I never thought 'Symbolic' could EVER be better."
Ah yes, and the treat for us Death fans; the bonus tracks. Four standard demos without vocals and one 4-track demo made entirely by the man himself. I find them fascinating because done in '94, DiGiorgio contributed his whipping bass and Gene worked out complete drum programming. We get to see how the songs evolved, took form, and were original presented. Plus, they all have some variation of the album versions which is fresh air. 'Symbolic Acts' as it was originally named is actually the closest to the final cut of all, 'Zero Tolerance' helped me realize that the intro riff for the guitar is (a+1+e+&+a+2) that extra 'a' 16th note in front of 1, 'Crystal Mountain' is on fire, faster than the final cut, and even though it's a drum machine, it's still pretty awesome to listen to how fast the drum programming is along with faster guitar work, and 'Misanthrope' finds the greatest variation, treated by an enticing acoustic intro and the slower solo replaced by acoustic as well. These 4 demos also display DiGiorgio's flow and presence as a powerful fretless bassist, which is pretty apparent as well. The 4-track is all Chuck, the very first incarnation of 'Symbolic', which is awesome to hear how it all began...
I don't know what to say other than that 1) If you like/love Death, 2) Are a Schuldiner fan, 3) Want to be inspired by one of the most distinct, unmistakable, and unequalled metal albums, pick up this remaster. The drumming behind Death's albums constantly influences me with machine-like accuracy and perfection. One reason I love this remaster so much is I am able to hear more of what accents and articulations Gene is doing, especially on the cymbals (as I said earlier).
I've never had such a large emotional connection to a certain group ever. Chuck's lyrics can apply and relate to everyone (it's Symbolic to everybody). The true-to-life realistic approach in his words are the best I've heard in metal, and this album is definitely the pinnacle of his thoughts/feelings of life. Chuck deserves no less, this remaster is beautiful and a sentiment to his memory; as a passionate person and pioneering musician who accepted nothing but the best. This remaster represents what Chuck stood for, RIP"
Best metal album of all time gets remastered
Chase T. Hammond | Sandy, UT USA | 04/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This remaster sounds fantastic, if anyone out there is wondering if it's worth the upgrade, it is. The guitars are thicker and the bass is much more prominent, overall it's cleaner and louder (obviously). I love this album more than ever now, and it's still the best metal album of all time. There isn't much more to say since it's a remaster. buy it."
Absolutely flawless and fantastic record.
Puzzle box | Kuwait | 10/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow. Just wow. That's the reaction I get while listening to this album. Not to take away from the other Death albums but I do truly think that this is Chuck's finest hour, it took me ages to find this album since I was looking allover. Now that roadrunner finally released a remastered copy I finally had the chance to get my hands on this magnificent and epic death metal album. I started of by being told about them by one of my mates who praised this group and told me how talented Chuck Schuldiner, he made me listen to this album for a while and I was immediately hooked, after listening to them all the way through I just knew that this was a great band to listen to, with great riffs and good solos and the song writing was just mind blowing, there are also a couple of acoustic guitars riffs and neoclassical breaks that you might notice which puts this at the top of my favorite metal albums of all time. Death as you may or may not know are the pioneers of the death metal genre and every band that plays death metal music is influenced by them, so it's safe to say that they are a fairly important band.
Death began as amazingly brutal and raw and played extremely fast death metal. By Human they had changed into a more technical and mature beast. This trend has continued onto Symbolic which is amazingly technical and less brutal than previous outings. All styles are great and i really love this album. The riffs are great very catchy and quite technical and the vocals are pure Schuldiner even if they are less brutal than in the past. The songs are much longer than in the past but make perfect sense, they almost sound like prog but still different. Following from the wonderful Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic offered a slightly better lineup with the awesome Gene Hoglan on drums staying from Individual, his drumming patterns were just phenominal especially on Zero Tolerance (check out the awesome drum intro) and Empty Words which is one of my favorite Death songs ever with it's great and memorable melodic intro. The drumming was just relentless and the album showcases the wonderful ability of being technical and catchy at the same time. The lyric's themes were about aliens, the threat of too much CCTV type stuff, growing old and some less reality based ones like Crystal Mountain and Perennial Quest. Chucks guitar playing really dripped of Spanish style on this one and his solos are as good as ever, check out the great solo on Sacred Serenity where it changes mid tempo slows down in the middle then gets back to the heavy part, wow I just got chills running down my spine it's a very cool song.
His vocals got higher again and would show the progression that got them to their highest on The Sound Of Perseverance, as well as the more Heavy(True) Metal stylings of the album. This sort of gives the hint about Control Denied and is not as brutal as the earlier albums but still heavy enough and in my opinion was more enjoyable than Human, The album just works from beginning to end showing plenty of variation yet still sitting completely in the staccato thrash/death territory that Death has always used. If you have to just hear one song from this album make sure it's Zero Tolerance, a Death classic and the home of one of the best riffs ever. If you appreciate metal that's well played, powerful as much as it's brutal and deep then put Symbolic on the top of your list. Schuldiner had once again pushed his bandmembers as far as their musical abilities could take them which benefited from the dense harmonies contributed by the less flashy but equally effective Bobby Koelble, resulting in Death's most consistently melodic album ever and Gene Hoglan also lent his inimitable percussive talents to, forging an unlikely and awesome pairing with Chuck. This new re-release from Roadrunners has an additional number of demo tracks recorded during their Human and Individual Thought Pattern's tour, this album just sounds as good as ever. I also love how the band keeps improving in their styles that by now you could potentially call them progressive metal. The album includes everything that any type of metal fan can latch onto and enjoy. It's perfect for the progressive fans, the death metal heads and everyone in between. I can't get enough of this band you have to check this out R.I.P. Chuck you will be missed."