Wow. Just wow. That's the reaction I get while listening to this album. Not to take away from the other Death albums (sound of perseverance and individual thought patterns particularly) I do truly think that this is Chuck's finest hour. This is one of the few metal albums I know all the words to. Chuck attacks issues such as a 'big brother' society, the potential evil that power brings and more with the same intelligence and grace that he contemplates things such as the afterlife, mourning and nostalgia of past times. This intelligence and grace is portrayed back to the music. This album is everything. Beautiful, cathartic, heavy, deep. Even down to the subtleties of Gene Hoglan's amazing drum performance and the razor sharp, catchy riffs. The leadwork is beyond tasteful too, completely obliterating virtuoism and pomp with some of the most meaningful, yet still technical solos that have been spat from Mr Schuldiner and Bobby Koelble's fingers. The album just works from beginning to end, showing plenty of variation, yet still sitting completely in the stacatto thrash/death territory that Death has always employed as their primary weapon. If you have to just hear one song from this album, make it Zero Tolerance, a Death classic and the home of one of the best riffs ever. If you appreciate metal thats well played, powerful as much as it's brutal and deep then put Symbolic on the top of your list. I first heard this album the day before Chuck died. RIP.