Genre: Melodic Technical Death Metal
Label: The Artisan Era
Location: Stockton, California
FFO: The Black Dahlia Murder, Inferi, Alterbeast
After so long working on this album, I would hope Symbolik manages to find good production. They certainly have found it in quality but not perfectly in mix. Often, I find the lead guitar overtaking the vocals and most of everything else going on. Then there’s moments where it is balanced fine. An example of these overbearing leads can be heard in a song like ‘Invoking Oblivion’. Even when the instrumentals are balanced, it does seem like the vocals more often than not take a back seat unless they are doubled up or everything else calms down. Which is surprising for an album that is supposed to be very driven by story. These things aren’t an album ruiner, but it is something I can’t help but notice and sometimes take me out of the experience. When everything does come together nicely though, it’s a grade A sound.
Emergence pulled me in right away with the double bass and a strong, but light rhythm. The best way I can describe the sound this album embodies is the famous quote “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Although there is a technical side to things, I’m never buried in a thick atmosphere. There is undoubtedly a melodic taste to the technicalities of what Symbolik is doing here that is one of the prime reasons things manage to stay light. Oftentimes throughout the album, you’re just coasting on a certain groove while solos and lead melodies rain down on you. Like floating through space as meteors fly passed you. This sound remains the constant in all of Emergence. This is a good and bad thing. Good because who doesn’t love consistency? It’s great when an artist finds their sound and you know it’s them right when they come on. But it’s not executed in the best way from song to song. Each song may not have the same structure, but pretty much the same exact formula. There’s a rhythm guitar, lead, drums kinda follow along, and the vocals just go at it with a neutral tone majority of the time. The diversity in feel for each song almost doesn’t exist. So they have this great sound and talented members behind it, but any creativity outside of this formula struggles to be heard. In a sense, you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all. Something they did spend a lot of time on though to make sure it’s unique is the story behind it all. “Lyrically, this album is a tale of an individual who embarks on a journey of self-realization, death, and rebirth.” It takes you through a multi-layered story all backed by a wall of sound. I always appreciate when an artist takes that extra step to create an entire connected experience for the listener. This allows things to flow together more smoothly as one big wave. I just wish the songs instrumentally could have reflected this story in a better way. There’s no heavier moments, no softer moments, no change in formula. The album begins and ends with the same exact sound.
Due to the problem stated above, it can make listening to this album more than once a little pointless. Not because it sounds bad, but because it’d start getting way too repetitive. This wasn’t the case during their EP. The individual songs, for the most part, had new elements you didn’t hear prior, and actually shook things up a bit instead of the same exact sound for every song. What did improve was the general quality of course, and the talent presented. They are a much more of a complete package now, just with a couple flaws.
The amount of time and effort put into this LP is very obvious. The amount of unique leads and solid sound they have created for themselves is proof of a band that knows what they want and what they are doing. It’s a shame these things were too set in stone to give the songs any sort of identity away from each other. This drags down the replay value and overall experience once you get just a few songs in.
Strongest Song: Souls of Deception
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/emergence/1494200281