Musically speaking, songs like "Empty Words", "1000 Eyes", "Crystal Mountain" and the title track, are the most melodic and memorable. The riffs are amazing on those songs. Those happen to be my favorite tracks. The other ones are just average. Death has always been a growing band and "Symbolic" shows that and features a more progressive metal album. The rhythms are highly innovative and original, but the album as a whole is a disappointment to me. I can't see why people deem this to be their best album. The songwriting isn't at its greatest.
If Chuck would've designed the songs (all of them) to be more up to par, I would've given this one a higher rating. Sure there are those songs that I mentioned which are designed amazingly with riff structures that are very imaginative. I'd say out of 9 songs, 4 of them are good. The rest I don't really care for. That's just my personal opinion. I don't care for most of them because I just don't think that the music on those tracks are very good. There is variety though featuring some clean and acoustic guitars. It enhances the melodic distorted rhythms.
A less than aggressive and angry Death album, "Symbolic" is their second most progressive metal output. "The Sound of Perseverance" is probably their most progressive and last Death release. The music on "Symbolic" is just not my favorite. The guitar solos, the riffs, the tempos, and the vocals didn't strike me the same way that "Human" did. The mixing was good though like I previously mentioned. Everything can be heard well. The guitars, vocals, drums and bass are mixed in there good. The lead guitar is a little bit hard to hear however.
After repeated listens to, "Symbolic" is still not my favorite Death album. Yes it is creative and progressive, but still is highly overrated. Again out of 9 tracks, 4 to me are good. The rest of the release just didn't interest me. Musically Death has always been a growing band like I said, but Chuck could've made the whole album worthy of praise. The music, guitar solos and vocals aren't at their best. I think that if you want a quality Death release, pick up "Human" and you'll find that album to be musically their best. "Symbolic" to me was a big disappointment.