I've quickly come to realize that Listenable Records is producing some of the finest Metal in existence. They, along with WAR Records, seem to be one of those labels that Century Media is always keeping a close eye on in order to find bands that the label deems worthy of having their albums distributed in America (though it seems certain folks aren't too fond of this business practice lately ;-)). I only wish that Listenable had the means to release albums like THIS on American shores (along with several others). SYMBYOSIS are a sadly overlooked band. On display on "Crisis" is some expertly crafted, highly varied, passionate and gifted Metal.
Every facet of this album is, for me, a savoury delicacy, even down to the cleverly programmed drums, which add an ever-so-slight "industrial" tinge to the band's sound, but mind you, this is FAR from being anything CLOSE to Industrial. Some discerning features are brutality and blast-beats, beautiful, rich harmonies that arouse the psyche, groovy/chunky riffs with expert double bass by John Q. Drum-Machine, rhythmically involving odd-meters (reminiscent of a heavier version of DREAM THEATER), and excellent Death/Black vocals that sound a bit like Vorphalack from SAMAEL - FINE by me! The overall mix of the album could've been lifted up a notch, because I always have to jack up the volume a bit more on this particular album, but the overall sound of "Crisis" is clear as a church bell! And the guitar lead tones even remind me of...are you sitting down?...Andy LaRocque's!!!!
...which brings me to my next compliment:
Those guitar solos are unadorned perfection! Not a note out of place! The guitar team of Franck Kobolt and this "Karl" fellow play lead lines that make me gasp in awe, wondering why in the hell guitarists like these are overlooked by the masses! Seriously, any lead on this album is like a wet dream... Of special note? Perhaps the hypnotizing lead harmonies of "Quest Of The Dolphin", the graceful whammy-bar dives found on "Ephemeral Life Conductor" (the standout track on the album), or the total shredding on "The Obscure Periplus Of Thanos".........Did I mention: cool song titles, too! (They just shouldn't have tried their luck on German here... - Alex) Except that "Little Princess" one, but listen to the SONG and you'll hear even more guitar wizardry...and when I say "guitar wizardry", I dare to say that I'm referring to it in the ORIGINAL sense!!! Yes, you read correctly! This is ORIGINAL Heavy Metal WITH shred guitar solos, a combination which I thought had long since run its course after those countless Shrapnel Records guys seemingly came-and-went...
I recommend this album to just about anyone, except to those who don't like good Metal.......YOU should probably stick with your ICED EARTH, leave the good stuff to your superiors ;-) (hehehe, I'm only SORT OF kidding there). For all worthy souls, this is a can't-miss! It's albums and bands like this that restore my faith in Metal's non-stagnation... ohh, and did I mention this band is from FRANCE (of all places)?!?!?! Add one-half point for THAT alone!
(NOTE: I now understand that the band has acquired a real "human" drummer, so the next album should be a total monster! That is, if the drummer can possibly pull off anything CLOSE to what the machine plays, I'd LOVE to see that!)