It begins beautifully with a strange wisp of a synth that explodes in a full-bloodied metal harmony, and then the groove locks in. The vocals and riffing place this firmly in the extreme metal camp, but it is the drum machine (which may have benefited from a better kit sound), strange feedback noises and those bizarre synths that truly propel this beyond into something else. This is way ahead of the Obituary meets Ministry via Killing Joke styling of the debut. It has a strange atmosphere: obviously apocalyptic yet somehow enchanting, kind of like post-black death metal without resorting to any of the clichés of that much flogged dead horse. Do not get me wrong – the sound is too wholesome to be black metal. Just the mood is wistful, anthemic and magical in places. And when it’s coupled with the more typical disjointed death metal riffing and vocals it just gets unstoppable. Instead of going for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-trick of most modern bands of this ilk, Symptoms stay true to a strong songwriting tradition, while utilizing the avant garde tendencies as hooks to great effect.
The interludes are plain bizarre, going much further than the standard few samples and beeps, to actually be complete entities in themselves, with totally involving atmospherics and intricate rhythms at play. There is even a strange gap in the opener “Dead for 30 Seconds” that I’m still not sure is intentional.
But the way the dreamy soundscapes are ripped apart by brutal death metal guitars is strange juxtaposition and may even be too much for some. When it all comes together (the afore mentioned ‘hooks’ of the songs) there’s just plain jaw-dropping: the choir-synth-guitar /double bass culmination in “City Lights” or the way the outro of said song leads right into the harmonic intro of the manic, driving “Mental Disorder”. You really will drift of to strange places as the album progresses. There is this truly unique sounding lead (synth or guitar?) that is overlaid over the more traditional aggro-riffing in a lot of songs that puts the entire thing into a new perspective.
All in all, this is a welcome addition to a growing army of new cyber-avant bands that are pushing the boundaries of metal into inner and outer space. Do yourself a favour and get it now directly from the band.
01 – Dead For 30 Seconds
02 – Symptoms That You Are Alive
03 – Coma
04 – City Lights
05 – Mental Disorder
06 – A Moment For Self Analysis
07 – Life Regained
08 – Awake
09 – Finding Peace
10 – Coming Back Home
11 – Just Noise…