Review: Symbolical “Igne” [Sarcophagus Records]

Review: Symbolical “Igne” [Sarcophagus Records]

- in Reviews

After three years and two full-length albums Polish death metal band Symbolical has returned with 25-minute long EP Igne, released on Christmas day by a young French label Sarcophagus Records. Actually, this band has gained their auditorium and reputation with their previous albums; yes, rather on the underground level, but still, many considered Symbolical as strong and perspective Polish metal band. And this is understandable, they don’t try to copy other death metal legends, on the contrary from the first songs they have shaped their own ideas into something special.

It seems like Poland is the richest Central European country in producing extreme metal bands, especially favoring death and black metal. It’s easy to get lost in loads of new names and to ever get an opportunity to be noticed by independent labels, more successful colleagues or music producers. Some bands are luckier than the others, and sometimes everything is about luck and happy accidents, but more often you just need to be punchy and cunning. And of course, you need to be original and creative to be noticed. These Polish deathsters seem very determined and their musical ideas are intelligent and fresh, and their latest work Igne just proved it, Symbolical is on the right track.

It’s no surprise that the music of Symbolic is often described as technical death metal, though this is like a half-truth, because the progressivity isn’t displayed in a direct way. But it isn’t also driven in the background, like constant humming backdrop. Technical elements can be traced in rather unobtrusive and occasional way, and that’s why the songs sound pretty smart and tangy. And something also moves them towards modern flows, a little bit closer to groove/death area. Due to ragged stylistic trajectories, the sound seems a little bit messy, but without chaotic gusts or impertinent moves. Symbolical also describe their music as mystic death metal, and that could not be further from the truth. The mystic aura often covers the music with its transparent beams, but without diving into the darkest depths of ritualistic spirit.

Three songs are relatively long for death metal, the first two last more than six minutes, and the final – twice as long. The first track “The Call of Nazareth” starts with an ambient intro, dark, psychedelic and monotonous. Then the song grows heavier, detouring around various angles of metal – from solid groove modernity to melancholic progressivity. And so the song flows within sophisticated prog waves and then returns back to the primitive. The second “Epiphany & Revival” is also inclined towards simple structures and designs, but the tranquil acoustic passage carries away this minimalistic mood. The final “Disciple of Death” is the most complicated and multi-layered on this EP. Intro and outro are of occult origin, again returning us back to monotonous mood. But here we can hear something atmospheric in death metal patterns, and though we are often going back to the primitive rhythmically, the guitar solo lines never allow us to forget about progressive elements. And again acoustic parts smooth away the heaviness, adding some tinges of sadness and dreaminess. But before it gets sentimental, still this record is a death metal; and all other stuff is just complementary.

Igne is only a first part of the EP trilogy, next chapter Natura will be released in August, celebrating a new round of mystic death metal. Perhaps, this continuation will be a matching reflection of Igne, but that’s unlikely. It seems like Symbolical has a lot of various ideas and non-standard moves. The artwork belongs to controversial artist William Blake, making symbolical allusions to music of Symbolical (sorry for this enforced tautology). There is not long to go before the release of the next EP, and then we’ll see which path these Polish metalheads have chosen for their evolution.

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About the author

I am into metal music from the school times, started from traditional genres, and now exploring the experimental scene. I'm also interested in modern architecture and contemporary art.