Review Summary: A fantastic album filled with hooks and memorable moments all throughout the whole album. "Holographic Universe" remains to be Scar Symmetry's most mature and refined release to date and should be looked back on as a massive success for the band.
Over the years, melodic death metal has become one of metal’s most congested subgenres. With great bands such as Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, and In Flames, there is always a cluttered amount of crappier bands trying to create the closest watered down reproduction to the bands that rule the genre. Fortunately, Scar Symmetry has never been one of those bands. From the very beginning of their career, Scar Symmetry has merged beautiful melody with extremely heavy death metal. Up until recently with their newest release “Dark Matter Dimensions,” Scar Symmetry were at the top of their game and giving modern melodic death metal giants like Soilwork and others a run for their money. Most of this was due to their enigmatic and extremely talented lead vocalist, Christian Alvestam, whom they lost after their highly successful album “Holographic Universe.”
“Holographic Universe” is most likely Scar Symmetry’s deepest and most energetic album to date. The bands sound has never really evolved since their first album “Symmetric In Design,” but, with “Holographic Universe,” Scar Symmetry seemed to have finally perfected the sound that they had been working so hard to achieve. Everything on the album is spot on and no song really sounds like mere filler. Instead, the album is chock full of twists and turns, with extremely memorable vocal hooks, amazing guitar solo’s, and more mature and thought out song structures than have ever been featured on a Scar Symmetry release. This album seems to be everything Scar Symmetry ever worked to become and it set a very high expectation to rise above for the band, which, unfortunately, is still plaguing the band to this day.
The album starts off extremely strong with the opening tune “Morphogenesis,” which starts off with a very inspiring chord progression almost reminiscent of something from an 80’s hair metal band. As the song kicks in, it is easy to see that the album has already set a high standard for itself. Many will say that you can tell how good an album will be just by listening to the opening song, and, after listening to “Morphogenesis,” it’s quite easy to see that this album is not going to disappoint. Other songs like “Timewave Zero” and “Quantumleaper” keep the ball rolling by remaining extremely interesting and different. As a matter of fact, some of Alvestam’s best vocal melodies are featured on “Timewave Zero,” which happens to be one of the albums best tunes. The song starts out calm with Christian singing lightly over the heavy guitars and slowly the song evolves into some much heavier; however, the song retains a very epic feel to it, featuring an amazing solo section for the bands extremely talented guitarists, Per Nillson and Jonas Kjellgren .
Speaking of the instruments and such, I think before going much further into this review I must explain exactly how impressive this band is in this particular department. First off, Christian Alvestam was easily the best thing about Scar Symmetry. His range is unmatched within the Metal scene and, sadly, its possible his talent will never be truly recognized except by a mere few who happen to follow his career step by step. However, with Scar Symmetry, Alvestam made no hesitation to show every ounce of vocal talent that he possessed. His growls are phenomenal and extremely brutal at times, but his best talent is his amazing singing voice, which can actually be compared to an angel. His range is absolutely amazing and he can easily go from a gutteral growl to a high falsetto in the snap of a finger. On “Holographic Universe,” Alvestam creates some of the most memorable vocal hooks I have ever had the pleasure to hear. His performance is outstanding and, without question, cannot be matched.
However, Alvestam is not the only factor that makes Scar Symmetry an extremely talented band. All of the bands instrumentalists are quite simply amazing, especially lead guitarist, Per Nillson, whom, in my opinion, is one of the most talented guitarists in Metal today. While I must say that many of the riffs are not too memorable, the same cannot be said for the amazing solo’s scattered throughout this album. For those who want to see some of the finest guitar work displayed on a metal album this last decade, check out songs like “Prism and Gate,” “Trapezoid,” “Ghost Prototype I – Measurement Of Thought,” and the albums epic “Holographic Universe.” Also, the bits of synth leads scattered throughout the album really add to the spacey feel and give the album even more of an original sound. Drummer Henrik Ohlsson also adds a tremendous amount to Scar Symmtery’s music. He’s a fantastic drummer that can pound out the extremely heavy sections just as well as he can really drive the band on the slow more melodic sections. The only complaint I have is with the bassist, Kenneth Seil. The biggest issue with Seil is that he remains pretty inaudible throughout the whole album, which is something that is pretty common in melodic death metal, sadly. Other than that, everyone in this band plays their instruments fantastically!
Simply put, this album is by far Scar Symmetry’s finest release to date. It contains everything that made Scar Symmetry a great band before and just adds to it. No song on this album lacks at all. As a matter of fact, each song is memorable in it’s own way and I can guarantee most listeners will find something to absolutely love with this album. So if you are a melodic death metal fan or a metal fan in general, you have no reason to not have already listened to this fantastic album. However, if you indeed have not, I must press you to go give this a listen right away. Believe me, you won’t be sorry. There is something here for everyone and that is what makes Scar Symmetry such a fine band.