Published Apr 10, 2020It's almost unbelievable that Emergence is only Symbolik's debut record, even though it was nearly a decade in the making. While Symbolik's 2011 EP and only other release, Pathogenesis, has been highly acclaimed, Emergence is a whole new level for these California pulverizers.
The calibre of the songwriting and the musicianship displayed throughout Emergence is nothing short of astounding. Following a lyrical journey through a cycle of death and rebirth, the multifaceted music takes the listener along for the hypnotic voyage.
Emergence perfectly balances the sheer vigor of death and black metal with melodious instrumental work, with symphonic and neo-classical passages sticking out as the album's best bits. The record is progressive without being pretentious, and incredibly technical without sacrificing any soul. While "Invoking Oblivion" and "Corridors of the Consumed" were released as singles, and are good representations of what the album sounds like, there's so much more to hear on a cover-to-cover listen than from any one song.
The production is another of this album's strongest points. Mixed and mastered by Zach Ohren, the final mix gives each individual instrument all the attention it deserves, with nothing being lost, buried or overlooked. The crystal-clear quality lets the listener hear exactly what is going on in each of the labyrinthine compositions.
The breathtaking artwork by Mark Erskine is worth mentioning as well. Not only is the record's cover a beauty to behold, but it also perfectly captures the overall atmosphere of the record. Luckily, Emergence will be available on vinyl, the best format to fully appreciate both the music and artwork.
It would be a shock to not see this album on at least a few best-of lists at the end of 2020. Symbolik are just about to be unleashed into the larger-scale metal scene, but these talented musicians already have a magnum opus under their belts that will be difficult to top. (Artisan Era)