Scar Symmetry
Dark Matter Dimensions


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthew Roe USER (4 Reviews)
September 16th, 2010 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just how do you go about replacing one of Metal's strongest vocalists? Why, you get two of course!

Replacing lead singer Christian Alvestam, was always going to be, at best one hell of a struggle. The man who shot Scar Symmetry from obscurity to fame in 2004 with "Symmetric in Design" left the band in 2008, sighting "creative differences" and "touring conflicts" as the reasons. So, how do you manage to replace such a guy, one who could convert between growling and pretty good singing with such apparent ease? The answer in Scar Symmetry's eyes was, of course get two vocalists in, Roberth Karlsson on the nasty stuff, and Lars Palmqvist on the cleans. And, to their credit they have managed to produce a good album, especially considering it only took them 14 months or so to produce it.

Lets get this straight right from the start-Lars Palmqvist is not going to become Metal's best melodic singer over night, and occasionally sounds a tad pale in comparison to Christian. But, as a whole this doesn't detract from the sound of the album, because his other half, Roberth, is fantastic. He elevates the album to a whole new level, helping it sound somewhere in-between a Meshuggah and Hammerfall lock of the horns and a fight to the death.

The album kicks into life with "The Iconoclast" featuring some good, but not spectacular guitar harmonies. But all this does is lead you into a false sense of security, for what follows is a true Scar Symmetry anthem in its own right. Containing the jarring, spasmodic guitars akin to Meshuggah's 2008 opus "Obzen", a classic, beautiful chorus and sledgehammer drumming, this is a great song and reassures you as a listener this is no barrel-bottom stinker of a album desperate to prove its doubters wrong. This thread continues into "The Consciousness Eaters", but this track for me lacks the consistency of its predecessor, partially due to a very strange wail at the end of each chorus from Palmqvist. Unfortunately, the song after, "Noumenon and Phenomenon" is simply fodder, starting out with a promising steam-roller of a riff, before giving into an obviously American inspired verse and chorus, sounding akin to "Five Finger Death Punch's" studio off cuts.

Lets not despair though, for "Ascension Chamber" redeems the album and considerably sets it back on track. This contains probably the strongest instrumental performance from Scar Symmetry in a long while, with Henrik Ohlssen absolutely destroying his kit, and a phenomenal breakdown mid-song, opening with another great guitar harmony. This is followed, again with another strong song "Mechanical Soul Cybernetics" (what a bloody name!) that does exactly what it says on the tin, producing machine gun drums, relentless guitars and gut churning vocals only some programmed machine would be capable of. The story continues for much of this album, although one song in particular deserves a mention. "A Parenthesis in Eternity" does nothing but display just how tight a unit Scar Symmetry are, even after just one album with the new vocalists. It displays the band members on top of their game, and it gives particular emphasis upon Lars Palmqvist. Like any good metal vocalist, he rises to the challenge, his voice perfectly suiting the truly soaring chorus and even sounding here like Christian.

The album really does show us that an old dog really can learn new tricks. But just before I praise the band too much, one or two points really should be highlighted. Despite shining on one or two songs, Palmqvist is by far the weaker vocalist out of the two. While his counter part churns out the vocals, song after song, there is nothing here to distinguish Lars above any other clean vocalist in the genre, or business right now. He also never seems to truly push his vocal abilities to the max, most of his vocals start to blend together after several repeated listens. Another gripe here, and its only a small one is that after a while, the instrumentation starts to sound like the same riff with an extra rhythmic twist added.

However, this is still a really strong effort from Scar Symmetry. They have, at least in my eyes managed to prove many a doubter wrong, producing an album that is truly worthy of a "Kings of the Comeback" status. Perhaps even Christian could admit that leaving the band was a bad idea.

Recommended Tracks:
1. The Iconoclast
2. Ascension Chamber
3. Mechanical Soul Cybernetics
4. A Parenthesis in Eternity


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Comments:Add a Comment 
BeardedIdiot
September 16th 2010


643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"they have managed to produce a damn decent album"
"this is still a really strong effort from Scar Symmetry"
Contradiction much? Sorry man, but couldn't disagree anymore. I like SS and this album is pretty meh in my opinion, but you're giving them waaaaay too much credit.


bloc
September 16th 2010


34873 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Best song is Transportation Communication or whatever it's called

Flamingabdabs
September 16th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not really man, but then again its your opinion. For me, it was a good listen

BeardedIdiot
September 16th 2010


643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not saying I didn't liked it, but it just wore off so fast. I actually have a review for this, collecting dust in my hard drive, might post it someday

Flamingabdabs
September 16th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Should do dude, your reviews are pretty good. Anyway, what did you think of the review? I did it in a really short time, so thats perhaps why its not so good

BeardedIdiot
September 16th 2010


643 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a good review imo, even though I disagree with it. Pos'd

TheFantasticDangler
September 16th 2010


1159 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

there is no song with Transportation or Communication in the title... or was that a joke bloc...

Digging: Finch (US) - Say Hello to Sunshine

bloc
September 16th 2010


34873 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It was a bad joke, I meant Noumenon and Phenomenon ;)

FlexOink
September 16th 2010


6 Comments


Agree with Bearded idiot, album is pretty meh.

I absolutely adore Pitch Black Progress, songs stuck in my head for weeks. With this one, none did.

HumanGenome
September 16th 2010


195 Comments


i like the first 2 seconds of that song where they sound like behold, the arctopus

but the rest sucks

jingledeath
September 16th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

terrible album

RippingCorpse
September 16th 2010


1086 Comments


my fav part was when i took the disc out of the case and did a huge shit on it

Xenorazr
September 16th 2010


445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Underwhelming album with little stay power, if at all. Review itself isn't too shabby though.

DrNeoCortex
September 16th 2010


12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think this is as bad as you people are making it out to be. Sure its no Pitch Black Progress, but its basically the same shtick they've been doing now for 3 albums, just with different vocalists. So how can it be that bad? " The Consciousness Eaters" " The Iconoclast" " Dark Matter Dimensions" "A Parenthesis In Eternity" and " Non-Human Era" are all quality catchy standouts, the rest of the songs are a bit fillerish but there's enough good stuff going on here to make me happy.

Xenorazr
September 16th 2010


445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The reasons it's inferior to their first three albums is that the music feels so dull and uninteresting, the overall vocal performances aren't on-par with Alvestam, the themes and lyrics are cheesy and nonsensical, respectively (and so forth). It just feels passionless and like an attempt to see how they'd sound with the new vocalists with, as you pointed out, filler material. Would have been better of re-recording a few older songs with the new vocalists as an EP.

botb
September 16th 2010


9689 Comments


this band just isn't the same without alvestam.

HellToupee
September 17th 2010


39 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is boring
so apparently the old singer took most of the fun melodies with him aswell

Raz0rGrind23
September 17th 2010


423 Comments


@RippingCorpse

lol so I can see that you absolutely hate melodic death



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