Released: 2011, Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Greece's own darkened power/progressive metallers (as they are often put in this category) Heathendom have made a mighty return. THE SYMBOLIST is the band´s 2nd long-awaited studio album – and damn it´s really worth the wait.
NESCIENCE, Heathendom´s debut album was originally released by Italian Metal On Metal Records in 2008 (and was later reissued in 2010 by the same label, with slightly different bonus tracks and reduced cover artwork), was a mind-blowing release. It truly took most of us by storm and was a release to be remembered. As if that particular storm of excellent musicianship raging back and forth on that release wasn´t enough, here´s more that should turn the ground upside down below your feet… and for good.
It would be almost too easy to say that THE SYMBOLIST continues where the band left off on NESCIENCE. Well, there´s actually lots of truth in it, excluding at least one thing though: THE SYMBOLIST could be considered a-near-perfect Metal album from Heathendom in my sincere opinion. It´s a more varied and refined album than its predecessor. Everything on this record sounds like the whole band has really challenged itself to come up with a record that satisfies both the band, the fans - leaving a clear trace on the metallic ground for many years ahead. It will be one of the most noteworthy Metal albums released since the change of millennium. On THE SYMBOLIST, Heathendom´s sort of King Diamond-meets-Candlemass-meets-Sanctuary-Judas Priest flavors come again even more shamelessly visible the same way they did on NESCIENCE. But this time the Heathendom camp have made their weapons even sharper and deadlier on their new lethally charged record to raise the songs instant value even higher. Once again, one cannot help admire the vocal performance of Dimitris ´The-Man-Has-Got-Some-Lungs´ Koutsouvelis on the band´s new record. He´s just phenomenal and capable of stretching his voice in any possible direction. This makes his vocals work for the best interest of the songs. He can sing very melodramatically like Messiah Marcolin (“Endistancement by the Null Position”); he can do his King Diamond-ish falsettos (“Sanctified”) and Halford type of screams (“The Symbolist”) beautifully yet so effortlessly. And when Dimitris´ vocal performance is accompanied by a very skillful yet catchy instrumentation by his 4 other talented band members, all is pretty much set for the kind of record that hardly will be left unnoticed. A combination of different Metal styles is obviously Heathendom´s primary asset to make THE SYMBOLIST a secure winner in the Metal markets, and there´s absolutely nothing there that could stop these guys any more to turn people´s curious ears to the band´s side from now on. They do deliver on all levels – and if you hesitate to check them out, then consider it your loss only.
So, do we have a somewhat, darn close perfect Metal here record? You bet we have.