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Abiotic - "Symbiosis" (CD)

Abiotic - "Symbiosis" CD cover image

"Symbiosis" track listing:

1. Metamorphilia (0:56)
2. Vermosapien (4:57)
3. A Universal Plague (7:02)
4. To Burgeon and Languish (3:18)
5. Hegira (6:22)
6. Conquest of Gliese (4:33)
7. The Singe (4:06)
8. Exitus (1:27)
9. Facades (6:37)
10. The Graze of Locusts (5:03)

Reviewed by on September 30, 2012

"'Symbiosis' is a definite must-hear for fans of The Faceless or Augury, although unlike those tech/prog acts, there’s no downtime or clean singing here; just unending, top-tier death metal devastation."

An unexpected success story in the underground metal world, Abiotic only released a single EP and didn’t even bother sending out a press kit before managing to get scooped up by Metal Blade Records for a full-length release. The fact that a bigger name metal label sought these Floridians out after only hearing a few songs speaks to the quality of the music, which features outstanding song construction and relentless heaviness. Even fans of the band pre-signing will have a reason to add this album to their collection, as “Symbiosis” features re-recorded songs from the debut EP, as well as three additional tracks.

These ten tracks are incredibly technical and complex, but there’s also a handful of interesting prog elements thrown in, so the music ends up being more substantial than just showy playing. Don’t let that term “prog” scare you off if you don’t care about melodic bands though, as “Symbiosis” is almost shockingly unrelenting in its death metal assault, which just simply never lets up. There are only a brief few elements – placed at just the right times - added in to change up the feel, like the creepy atmospheric bits in “Metamorphilia” and “The Graze of Locusts,” or the industrial aspects on “Exitus” and other tracks.

As would be expected from the marriage of tech and prog metal, the bass has a larger presence here than on the average death metal disc, but it doesn’t come at the expense of the blazing dual guitars. The flashy guitar work often brings up an interesting take on that sound now dubbed “djent,” like with the stuttering guitar chords on “Hegira.” Combined with the absurdly brutal vocals, alternating between highs and lows, this ends up being one face-shredding, brain-melting, ear-destroying album.

The album does get a little repetitive if you listen all the way through in one sitting, but for something this non-stop brutal, it does a surprisingly good job of keeping the formula fresh overall. “Symbiosis” is a definite must-hear for fans of The Faceless or Augury, although unlike those tech/prog acts, there’s no downtime or clean singing here; just unending, top-tier death metal devastation.

Highs: Relentless brutality presented in a technical manner with a few prog twists

Lows: There's some repetition if you digest the whole thing in one sitting

Bottom line: Abiotic offers up unrelenting tech-death insanity with a strong bass presence and some interesting prog influences.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)