Symbyosis - Crisis
Listenable Records
Extreme/Progressive Metal
13 songs (46:34)
Release year: 2000
Symbyosis, Listenable Records
Reviewed by Jason
Archive review

The way I came across Symbyosis was while interviewing Patrick Loiselle from Augury on my radio show a few weeks back. During the interview, when asked what band or bands have made a significant impact on the way Augury play Metal Pat immediately reached for Symbyosis’s Crisis, as of he were waiting to do so for a while, and insisted I play a tune off the album – “the lead guitarist gives Steve Vai a run for his money” he said. The track he requested was Ephemeral Life Conductor, and what consumed the airwaves seconds after I cued the track was a plethora psychedelic sounds followed by a rupture of stellar drumming and the powerful rasp emanating from lead singer “Corrosive Bob”. I indeed saw the connection, but what I didn’t understand is how such and amazing band such as Symbyosis seemed to have slipped through the cracks – I, certainly, had never heard of this band hailing from France, and was even more surprised to see that Crisis had been released on Listenable Records, who I know are home to prominent death metal acts such as Aborted and Immolation and old Soilwork. Nevertheless, it’s a great feeling to discover something that seemed to have slipped right past you, and relieving to know that there are still great bands that are yet undiscovered (by me atleast).

It takes way more than ambient keyboards and beat change-ups to earn the “progressive” title. Skyfire may have SOME progressive features, but if we were to compare the musical breadth and skill of Skyfire to Sybyosis, Skyfire would sound like The Ramones being compared to Liquid Tension Experiment. The musical skill and diversity on this album is absolutely stellar – The beats change-ups are impeccable and even though the tracks average 4 to 5 minutes, they have this incredibly epic sound which makes it feel as if each song is double its length.

The album kicks off with Opening Act, which is a short, one minute, instrumental prelude laden with keyboards and unpredictable riffs. The opener is quickly interrupted when To Decant Souls kicks in and, for the first ten seconds, the progressive sound is traded for a psycho blast beat and Bob’s vocals. Describing each song in detail would be futile simply because each song twists and turns so much that taking in the music is difficult enough.

Every tune on this album is absolutely killer, but my favorites would have to be Quest of the Dolphin and Acrid Nebula. These tracks are some of the longer and more progressive tunes, and relentlessly pulverize the listener with some of the most killer riffs and solos I’ve heard in a while. Don’t misunderstand my focus on the band’s superb musical ability and assume that this album is composed of only musical wankering - like I mentioned, each track bears an incredible epic feel which translates into an amazing musical depth that will have you listening to this album closely for a while.

If the extreme/ progressive tag on the previous page caught your eye alone, my only suggestion would be to pick up this album without thinking twice. Fans of aggressive music that enjoy a little more than the standard blast beat and run-of-the-mill solo will definitely hail this album. I have yet to hear the work the band has released after crisis, but my intuition tells me this band could only get better.

Killing Songs :
Killin' from start to finish... but Quest of the Dolphin and Acrid Nebula are worth noting
Jason quoted 93 / 100
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