Symmetry - Watching The Unseen

Year of Release: 2000
Label: HP Music
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:06:00

One of the main obstacles facing new bands, as time passes by uncontrollably, is the fact that it becomes harder and harder to do something original, let alone revolutionary. As reasonable compensation, however, one knows that some bands choose instead to draw from the main exponents of a trend and begin developing from there, thus choosing to discover new possibilities within the trend or simply deliver it with the best of 'em. With the tricks and turns of progressive metal under close scrutiny for years now, however, a good tune or two just don't cut it anymore, that is, if they ever did.

It was therefore that when Symmetry's debut full-length album, Watching The Unseen, kicked off with an accessible epic quality reminiscent of mid-period Queensrÿche in an intelligent heavy metal approach of majestic riffs and memorable choruses, only to insert an interestingly tension-building odd time signature switch right in the middle, I wasn't about to give my heart in. At least not yet, my cynical self still holding the bar by which Symmetry was to be measured. However, when the album's second track, "The Circle," started with one of the hookiest metal riffs I've heard in a while and abruptly came across a vast and empty void underneath a gigantic cliff, on which Eric Masselink delivered desperate chorus line after chorus line, I had to surrender.

Symmetry (great name, by the way) is one of those acts with an uncanny sense of melody and emotional timing that are firmly rooted in rich heavy metal tradition, with Masselink recalling a more direct Geoff Tate at times, the twin attack of guitarists Franc Tiehuis and Frank Schiphorst revealing an undeniable knack for classy guitar complementation, and the general songwriting being well high above the murk and confusion of its competitors. Basically, choosing song over flash, and relegating the latter to timely incursions, has given this Dutch act the true gift of songcraft surrounded by able complexity. Moreover, the listener gets a particularly nice surprise as the album progresses: one can actually hear the bass!

What might also be interesting for you to know is that, when I surrendered after the awesome "The Circle" had ended, I was doing it on my seventh or eighth listen, which was forced by my knowing intuitively that the album was better than I initially had appraised, and that I was just missing something. It therefore might not be immediately obvious why Symmetry has the mettle necessary to see its fan base proliferate while progressive metal becomes more and more a popular phenomenon; something that even fans of Queensrÿche are likely to miss at first glance. As time passes by and the quality of Watching The Unseen sinks in, however, one finally realizes that, although not terribly original, this is the way progressive metal is supposed to be done.

[In 1998, Symmetry released an EP To Divinity -ed.]

Similar artists: Queensrÿche, Fates Warning

Mission (5:16) / The Circle (6:48) / The Letters (7:12) / Burning Bridges (5:48) / Slave (7:21) / In Your World (4:43) / Land Evermore (7:03) / Chaos Of Birth (7:31) / Raging Planet (8:24) - I. Tribulation - II. To Eden

Erik Masselink - vocals
Franc Tiehuis - guitar
Frank Schiphorst - guitars
Bas Hoebink - bass
Marcel Heitmann - drums

To Divinity (1999)
Watching The Unseen (2000)
A Soul's Roadmap (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 601
Language: english


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