Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 5/2/2006
Pitch Black Progress
posted on 4/2006 By:
Last year, Scar Symmetry’s debut album Symmetric in Design topped my year-end list. Naturally, my expectations were pretty high for this new album, released so shortly after their last album. And I had a weird experience upon first listen, the album didn’t do anything for me, and sounded like they had been listening to too much prog metal. Must’ve been that crack I was smoking, as one or two listens later, the album was on “Repeat”.
They have expanded somewhat on their all-inclusive, modern, melodic death metal sound. Whereas before they sounded a lot like what Soilwork was going for (big solos and synthesizers, choppy riffs, clean/harsh singing), on this album, they stretch out the vocals a bit more. Alvestam’s clean vocal patterns are a bit more power/prog-ish, reminding me of Symphony X in spots, and he adds a harsh bark to go along with his ferocious death growls. Definitely one of the best vocalists in metal today. The song structures are certainly poppy, creating songs with unlimited Headbanger’s Ball potential, but the hooks and guitarwork are so solid that it doesn’t hold them back. A top-notch studio mix can’t hurt either.
The new influences can be heard on songs like “Dreaming 24/7”, where initial shredding turns into a clean guitar/clean vocal verse. Backing grunts add a small margin of testosterone to the chorus which sounds straight out of some of the prog I’ve reviewed here, like Stride and Space Odyssey. The songs seem built around the vocals, as most of the rhythm riffs complement the singing, rather than outshining Alvestam. In this way, some of the transitions can seem awkwards, as listening to a vocal-less copy of this album might leave some people scratching their heads, wondering about some of these abrupt transitions.
“The Illusionist” is the opening track and it enters under atmospheric synths, before kicking into a set of riffs that are instantly identifiable to owners of their last album. A sweet solo comes right where you’d expect it to. “Calculate the Apocalypse” is their heaviest song, with a monstrous opening growl over fearsome drumwork. Loud and boisterous, this song will definitely please the SYL fans. Finishing out our promo (which I think is missing a pair of songs), is the rocking “Path of Least Resistance”. They throw a changeup by pairing a serious throat-scarring chorus with fast and upbeat verses.
Scar Symmetry stay the course set by their stellar debut album, as I’d expect nothing less from a group of metal professionals. Coming from a set of guys with a metal pedigree of Carnal Forge, Theory in Practice, Unmoored, and Centinex, a high level of quality is assured, and they don’t disappoint. They combine many elements of modern metal, but pull it off with a flair and fluidity that few can match.
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