Great metal songwriters typically come in 2 forms. One's who craft the songs to fit a certain ambiance(Black Sabbath, Katatonia, Tool, Emperor...) and ones who achieve greatness through the exhibition of mastery of the instrument.(Randy Rhoades, Children of Bodom, In Flames, Slayer...) I'm a fan of both types of songwriting and it is extremly rare that a cd will satisfy my taste for both. Death's Symbolic is one of those rare albums that does. This is damn near perfect, and while there is a great deal of showmanship, it never goes over the top and over shadows the music. Chuck's growling is the best it's ever been and this album can single handedly be used as the case for including him among the best death metal vocalists ever. There's plently of amazing solo's among a somewhat progressive rhythem section. Gene Hoglan's drums are well done and drive the album along nicely. While Hoglan does hold back a bit, it's done with the purpose of playing what the songs require. This album is what pure death metal should strive to be: Intelligent and aggressive, heavy yet focused and just melodic enough to make it fun to listen to. Defitintly one of the top 20 albums of all time. Would recommend this to any death or melodic death fan. I also recommend checking out In Flames(lunar strain/subterrianian), Cynic, Mithras, Hate Eternal and Amon Amarth in addition to this.
On a different note, check out Within the Mind: In homage to the musical legacy of Chuck Schuliner, coming out later this year. It's directed by former Death guitarist James Murphy and features people from Six Feet Under to Mudvayne paying their respects. Proceeds go to help James Murphy who has a brain tumor.