Sign of the times,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Symbol Of Life (Audio CD)This is usually extolled as the second coming of the band, praising the 'back to their roots' return of the heavy guitars and melodies, completely forgetting the perfectly nuanced triumph of experimentation that was Host and the very acceptably conventional, if not particularly groundbreaking, Believe in Nothing. Symbol of Life is another very good PL album. It is no better in quality than it's 2 most recent predecessors, just far more 'user-friendly' and overtly commercial. The first few years of the new millenium saw a resurgence and a new faith in 'proper' heavy metal. Yes the Nu-Metal scene had exploded but as the years ticked by it was obvious who would become the worthy veterans (Slipknot) and who were one-hit nobodies (cough - Linkin Park - cough - POD - wheeze). The last vestiges of the Britpop debacle and the dance-orientated take over of the music scene in the 90s gave way to folk going back to their roots, ie heavy metal, garage rock, and thus the renewal and return of many of the old guard forced new life into the once defunct genre. And it was with Symbol of Life that PL made their first statement of intent in the noughties on the back of this new interest. And it worked.
'Isolate' and 'Erased' are both 2 very similar but both very excellent ways to start a comeback album. Punchy, tuneful, hook-laden and heavy as an anvil fighting a wrecking ball. Unfortunately, 'Two Worlds' is not quite as good. It's ok but lacks a spark. 'Pray Nightfall' regains some kudos and is reminiscent of the old style of the band, a kind of amalgum of Gothic and Draconian Times with a bit of One Second vocals. 'Primal' is ok, not earth-shattering. And 'Perfect Mask' has an industrial feel to it, without it being particularly great, however it does a rousing job.
It's with 'Mystify' and 'No Celebration' where we return to the greatness of the opening tracks. Again they are conventional heavy rock tracks with hooks and choruses to die for but that's ok when they are this good. 'Self-Obsessed' is fast-paced and hard edged. The title tracks is very good but rather subtley so. 'Channel for the Pain' is an odd way to end. It's very upbeat and pacey with an infectiously catchy verse as opposed to chorus. It feels like a track that usually appears in the middle of an album after a slower song. But, hey, it's good so it's all fine.
Not a masterpiece, rarely PL albums are. But what they DO do is make consistently excellent music from album to album, from Gothic onwards. This is no exception and I suppose it does have a little bit of an edge over some as it sounds like they had regained some of their passion for writing and playing. Very much worth a try.