Greece's Heathendom falls into a sophisticated area regarding the group's peculiar take on power metal colliding vehemently into the arms of doom metal doctrines. The blueprint engaged throughout "The Symbolist" is simply an implausible display of pristine musicianship seared between a plethora of premium performances and ideas, which together manufacture a lightless abstraction of sheer mastery from each and every end of the metallic spectrum. Led by an incredibly versatile vocalist and a stormy atmosphere, "The Symbolist" generates a fresh blast of zealous ruin rooted deep in the stygian winds of traditional doom metal while eclipsing the norms of power metal, a combination not completely authentic from Heathendom's hand, yet one that finds itself in prime form throughout this magnificent experience.
As I said, Heathendom circulates between power metal and doom metal and frequently overlaps several aesthetics of both themes. The band's style of execution, however, is certainly rooted in the down-tempo, mid-paced side of the equation, with roasting riffs and crushing heaviness slowly rolling out of the guitars like a bulldozer. It's naturally a very heavy record; George Tsinanis' percussion is quite forceful and dominating, and the remaining production vitally drips loads of weight upon unanticipated ears. This material is more or less simplistic, but that's where Heathendom shines. The opening "Endistancement by the Null Position" sums up the impending onslaught quite well, its massive guitar work and militaristic rhythm section slamming over and over in brutal, poignant precision. And honestly, not a whole lot changes, but Heathendom knows exactly what works.
In regards to the record's atmosphere, "The Symbolist" could not provide a better emission of feeling. Most of this success comes from Dimitris Koutsouvelis' dexterous display of vocalizing various techniques and routines often untouched by the status quo of doom/power metal singers. His overall talent balances between high-flying falsettos and note control that would make Dio and Halford smile, yet at the same time, Koutsouvelis mends eerie choirs and child-like occurrences which conjure similarities to the creepy throat of King Diamond. His performance, despite its multifarious bloodline, plays out perfectly for what "The Symbolist" represents on a musical scope and lifts Heathendom from above-average territory to a top-tier of malevolent superiority.
Variety doesn't play an important role in Heathendom's crusade, but who cares, really? "The Symbolist" is immaculate material from its exciting beginning to the epic, brooding closer which once again provides a two-faced twist on both power and doom metal; it's such a brilliant mixture that I can't even think of a metaphor to compare it with. Not a single part of me finds Heathendom's exploration of dark-dipped metal to be feeble or remotely lacking in any sense, and "The Symbolist" will overthrow the vague, insipid releases coming from the bowels of powerless metal groups worldwide and reign through eternal glory in a place much more intelligent and acknowledgeable than ours. Kids, this is not to be avoided.