Symbiosis - _Crisis_
(Listenable Records, 2000)
by: David Rocher (9 out of 10)
Listenable's newest release on the slate, _Crisis_ is the French trio Symbiosis' first full-length album -- thirteen intricate tracks of extreme metal, atmospheric and aggressive, brutal and progressive, frightfully complex yet unbelievably catchy. Spin _Crisis_ once, and within just a few seconds, Symbiosis will blow you away in an almighty maelstrom of mind-blowing, shape-shifting metal assaults -- oozing with _Heartwork_-era Carcass-style riffing, crushing rhythms and supremely powerful and enrapturing guitar work, godly orchestral arrangements in the vein of Samael's majestic _Passage_ and insanely complex structures and breaks which Dream Theater could not possibly sneer at. Symbiosis' first onslaught is also pervaded by extremist speed, heavy and even black metal dirges and segues, through which it grows and mutates into a screaming whirlwind of jaw-dropping musical maestria, all sealed within this newly arisen Trinity's powerful and distressing musical malpractice. Graced with an ample production, _Crisis_ is one -hell- of an album, considering it is Symbiosis' first offering to date; in fact, this rather exemplary portrait is only shaded by two mildly irritating drawbacks. The first is the rather uneventful and repetitive vocals -- although they are actually quite efficient and rabid in the making, they actually don't prove much more than to be rather run-of-the-mill distorted blackish screams. The second, and by far most unnerving, is the presence of electronic drums. Actually, to be fair, Symbiosis' utilisation of this artefact is more than precise and impressive, but during the numerous blasting segues this element becomes just that bit too invasive and overwhelming. Besides, it burdens Symbiosis' flowing, varied work with a clinical, robotic feel which it could definitely do without. All in all, however, with flamebearers such as these, it seems that the healthy French scene has more than what it takes to contend with the Scandinavian masters of the genre -- make sure to keep your eyes wide open for these merciless metalheads, because the monstrous rush they deal will be way ahead of what you can cope with before you even feel it coming!

(article published 20/11/2000)


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