Symbyosis - On The Wings Of Phoenix

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Hidden Association
Catalog Number: SYHID001
Format: CD
Total Time: 109:41:00


I have been waiting for this disc for over a year. When Symbyosis announced on their website that they were going to self-produce a double disc of material if they could sell enough of them as pre-orders, I immediately coughed up the euros. I've been a fan since I heard Crisis and The Fluid. At some point the band loaded several samples on to their site, which I dutifully downloaded. I waited anxiously for news that the discs had shipped.

Finally it arrived.

The artwork is glorious (as is the website that accompanies the storyline), and the entire package is a marvelous testament to the perseverance of the band. This is a concept gargantuan in scope, and the music is equally as magnificent...

Why hasn't this band been snapped up by a label?


The musicianship on display here is of the highest order. The song structures are narrative in nature, meaning that they don't conform to the spoon-feeding methods employed by so many other bands ? each piece draws you into a microcosm of harmonic development, rich with classical overtones ? voice-leading, parallel motion, synth-string orchestrations and choirs that lend harmonic support, fleshing out the chord sequences through extensions and contrary motion; incredible drumming (disc one), where blast beats, fusion-esque cymbal work and rhythmic displacement co-exist perfectly; incredible drum programming (disc two) and the magnificent guitar-work of Franck Kobalt and Nikos Kevorkian. Solos that transcend lick repetition to create little harmonic interludes, rich with technique and harmonic intent and direction, perfectly composed in their own right?.

This is what the term "progressive" is meant to define. On The Wings Of Phoenix is progressive death metal ? technically astonishing, compositionally unique and visionary (rife with classical influences and encapsulating much of the genre of guitar-oriented music within its parameters), and bristling with energy and life thanks to a superb (self) production?

I am again left wondering why such incredible music is deliberately marred by the vocal approach Symbyosis chooses to use. This is the same criticism I leveled at their previous works. Were the music simpler, more brutal and less evolved harmonically and compositionally, I could understand using a guttural approach. If these vocals were the best they could come up with, I could acquiesce, but Symbyosis are capable of tremendous lyricism, evidence throughout these compositions, particularly on "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner" where a strong male baritone (Greg Erb) ably demonstrates how beautifully clean vocals would work, and also throughout both discs where Noriq Recher's soprano adds a poignant dimension. I struggle with the cookie-cutter growls. This music deserves a melodic approach, because the compositions are so unique, and are such a breath of fresh air in the death metal genre, that to utilize anything other than composed vocal lines eclipses the intent of the music.

I wholeheartedly believe that Symbyosis needs a producer who can do for them what David Prater did for Dream Theater-produced their career-defining album.


5-/5 (you know what the minus is for)


The vocals war against the beauty and elegance of the music, denying symbiosis?

Disc One - ...Phoenix: The Arrival (4:57) / Truth (4:51) / The Venom (4:26) / Dilemma (3:02) / Seizure Of Power (3:39) / War Phenomenon (4:18) / Cupidity (2:38) / Famine (5:29) / Disease (3:12) / Death Apogee (6:05) / Peace (7:48)

Disc Two - Phoenix Ashes: Crusades IV: The Preach (5:14) / Crusades V: The Final Loss (4:25) / Crusades VI: Deus (4:03) / Life (Encomiastic ...) (6:24) / Dreamchild (5:12) / The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner (5:53) / Read Between The Lies (3:29) / Trail Of Tears (4:31) / Twisted Truth (4:34) / When Napalm Fits To Skin (2:22) / Quest Of The Dolphin (6:17) / Little Princess (4:21) / Princess Ending (2:31)

Franck Kobolt - rhythm guitar
Nikos Kevorkian - guitar
Antoine Rognon -bass
Tariq Zulficar - drums

The Fluid (ep) (2000)
Crisis (2000)
Life Is A Phoenix (ep) (2002)
On The Wings Of Phoenix (2005)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin FR

Added: January 20th 2006
Reviewer: Jan-Mikael Erakare
Artist website:
Hits: 529
Language: english


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