Released: 2000, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Ever wonder what Dream Theater would sound like if they began playing black metal? Probably not, but to a certain extent, that’s what Symbyosis sounds like. Never hearing of this band before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I can say Crisis impresses the shit out of me. It’s progressive as hell, each song being an assembly of a multitude of riffs and dynamics. Symbyosis mixes everything into their music. From blackened blasting assaults, to straightforward mid-paced guitar chugging, to uplifting passages with soaring melodic guitar leads, to slow atmospheric doom, to early At The Gates-style riffing, to despondent landscapes of progressive insanity. Keyboards are used throughout the album and really have an immense effect on the overall atmosphere. This album is perfect to sit down and devote 52 minutes of your time listening to in total darkness. Vocals are closer to black metal than any other kind of metal, however scratchy vocal effects are employed. I usually hate this kind of vocal effect, considering it’s overused and just plain cheap. But Symbyosis managed to get a sound I haven’t heard before…a truly acidic one that, for some reason, gets me thinking “sci-fi”. To top things off, the production on Crisis is heavy and crushing yet crystal clear.
This trio from France has brought forth a new sound and style. Basically, Crisis totally fucking kicks ass. It is quite an exciting experience to listen to this album, as it grabs your attention and lets go only after the album has ended. Crisis should appeal to fans of progressive death/black metal and to metal fans that want something new and challenging to listen to with a great atmospheric quality.
Lastly, I would like to mention my one and only disappointment with this album: the drumming, or shall I say drum programming. I think anyone with a good ear can tell the drums are fake, a quality that I simply do not admire. It is truly unfortunate Symbyosis uses it too, considering their otherwise top-notch musicianship. But I will say, however, that whoever did the programming really understands drums. Although the drumming would be difficult to play, it wouldn’t be impossible, except in rare occasions (as exemplified by a tom roll occurring while the ride cymbal remains constant). Otherwise the drum programming is logical and impressive (for drum programming). But it’s the only thing keeping me from giving this album a full rating it would otherwise deserve. But I just received word that the band has recruited a drummer!
Symbyosis is working on a web site, whose address is http://www.symbyosis.net
For now, check out their label’s site at http://www.listenable.net
Do yourself a favor and listen to this band. Hopefully you’ll be impressed as much as I was. Crisis is their second release, following a mini-CD entitled The Fluid.