Scar Symmetry is a newcomer to the metal scene. Hailing from Sweden, this five piece exploded on the melodic metal scene with their debut album entitled "Symmetric In Design." They quickly proved that they were a force to be reckoned with in the metal scene. They have nearly everything needed to create heavy metal; amazing guitarists, vocal diversity, solid percussion and bass. These guys hit hard. From brutal riffs, grand soloing, growls that echo throughout your skull, and they're VERY catchy.
As a band, yes, Scar Symmetry is new, the members however, have been in the metal scene for a while now. Vocalist Christian Alvestam works with the likes of Incapacity and Angel Black, guitarist Jonas was a member of great bands such as Centinex and Carnal Forge, Per Nilsson and drummer Henrik both came from the band Altered Aeon, and if you're familiar with any of those bands, think of the possibilites that Scar Symmetry has.
As for myself, I got into them after hearing the song "Chaosweaver" from their MySpace page (which I urge anyone to check out for more samples). I was IMMEDIATELY hooked, and seeing as melodic death metal is one of my favorite genres, I was happy I found a new band that actually adds something new to the genre. Alrighty then enough of all of that. Let's get on with the review of Scar Symmetry's "Pitch Black Progress."
Christian Alvestam - Vocals
Per Nilsson - Guitar
Jonas Kjellgren - Guitar
Kenneth Seil - Bass
Henrik Ohlsson - Drums
1. "The Illusionist"
"Those who call me avatar
Knows not what they're looking for
They just feed their flames with miracles
Just so you know
If you bathe within my light
You diminish your own might
The Illusionist in everyone."
The album starts off with a fantastic opener; "The Illusionist." This was the first song I heard from the album and was blown away. It easily stacks up to the opener "Chaosweaver" from "Symmetric In Design." You are greeted with some cool synth and knocked flat on the ground with a very cool riff. Christian completely shines on this song, and shows you that death/clean mix that really highlights Scar Symmetry. The drumming and bass is solid and the guitars chug and chug creating an aura of heaviness. Weird synth comes in about halfway through and then a some really cool soloing by both guitarists. Repeat in chorus, and closing with very low and heavy vocals. Great opener. [4.5/5]
2. "Slaves To The Subliminal"
This one comes at you like a freight train. Heavy riffing right off the bat and low growls by Christian. A really uplifiting chorus comes in as you scramble for the booklet so you can sing along. Creepy part comes in when "We are slaves to the subliminal" is chanted. Christian changes his voice up a bit and it becomes much more...gutteral and almost nasty sounding. Really cool. Overall it's a solid track, and quite catchy. [4/5]
3. "Mind Machine"
Oh man! Very cool track here. I actually heard a sample of this on the Nuclear Blast website and could not get over the opening riff. The song doesn't have that much growling in it and wouldn't know whether to classify it as heavy or a ballad. haha. I'll say that's a good thing. It's definitely one of the slower songs on the album and really focuses on the clean side of the vocal work. Definitely the sing along track on the album, in my opinion, and may be one of the catchies Scar Symmetry songs to date. Great song, and a cool uplifting solo at the end. This definitely shows that the band can write some slow stuff that still make you headbang your butt off. The vocals are quite like the band Soilwork, especially the vocal section at the end. Good song. [4.5/5]
4. "Pitch Black Progress"
Okay, back into the heaviness, that's what I'm talking about! For some reason, the intro reminded me of Nevermore, which is awesome. This is another somewhat straightforward song, with some catchy riffing and cool drumming. I really like Henrik's use of cymbals in this song. The song slows a bit toward the middle and a really awesome solo Nilsson. I love his tone, so clean sounding. One of my least favorite tracks on the album, but still solid. It ends with some dialogue, not sure if it's from anything in particular or who it is, but it's eerie. [3.5/5]
"Introducing a pitch black progress
Taste the horns of the future
Swallow the sulphur of the new order
To resist is to non-exist"
5. "Calculate The Apocalypse"
This is a thrashy, Slayer-like song, at least the introduction. It swells into something bigger and more melodic. I'm not really sure what the song is about, the themes Scar Symmetry uses deals with technology and the future. About halfway through the song this REALLY awesome chorus comes in with some cool lead work in the background (sort of reminded me of the Power Rangers theme song). haha. Anyways, the song progresses and a pretty technical riff comes in followed by some more amazing fretwork. A sweet tapping number shows its face and the song repeats the verse and ends. Such a cool track highlighting the lead work of both guitars. [4.5/5]
6. "Dreaming 24/7"
This song is incredible. Cool, almost egyptian sounding introduction that morphs into something Symphony X would create. The lyrics are really cool for the song and the softer parts create a dream-like state of mind. The guitar work isn't too fast and the bass is pretty noticable on the track. This was the first song on the album I repeated a couple times through. Solo by Nilsson comes in (which reminds me a bit of something John Petrucci from Dream Theater would write) and then closely followed by Kjellgrens mastery, which made my jaw drop immediately because I had no idea it was even coming. One of the better tracks on the album. [4.5/5]
This song can only be summed up in one word; HEAVY! I absolutely love the opening riff, which again somehow reminds me of Nevermore. It is an assault on your ears and they may bleed from the heaviness. At this point in the album I sort of noticed that the songs keep getting heavier and heavier. I noticed it in my car for some reason, not sure if anyone else notices it yet. Technical solos throughtout the song, and there Christian blares out some REALLY low vocals. For anyone wanting a good headbang, this is the song for you. [4/5]
8. "The Kaleidoscopic God"
See what I'm saying how it just keeps getting heavier and heavier" This song starts off with a fast riff, with some synth in the background. It picks up the pace even FASTER and at this point you probably have scrambled brains. This one of the heaviest Scar Symmetry songs to date, I think. I love the chorus Christian puts on his voice in some parts during the song. It keeps up the pace throughout and keeps the melodic side in place along the way. About halfway through it slows down a bit and lead work ensues. Really emotional. This is the longest song on the album clocking in at about 7 mins. It gets back into it's aggressiveness and some really cool black metal like synth comes in that makes you think you're listening to a Dimmu Borgir song. After that part Christian scares the crap out of the listener with a deep growl that sends chills up your spine.
The cool part that happens during this song is that they turn it into a complete 80's like rock song with some fast and fiery solo battling to it, REALLY cool and shows how multi-talented and genre breaking they can be. The bass is really cool in this song and keeps that groove to it. The orchestration comes back in with that fast picking riff in the background and then the song ends abrutly with you repeating the track a good five times. God I love this song, my favorite on the album, by far. [5/5]
This song is very different than many of the other songs presented in the album thus far. It starts of a bit slower, almost ballad like, but then you hear it get fast and Christian comes in with some awesomely weird effects that distorts his voice, really neat treat for the listener. This is one of those sing along songs as well which is cool. Before I had a chance to by this album, a friend of mine said I HAD to listen to this track, he was correct to the fullest, as it cages what Scar Symmetry is known for. Great song overall and a song you definitely should listen to. [4.5/5]
10. "Oscillation Point"
Another one of the favored tracks on the album for me. Very catchy, very heavy, you know the drill by now. I don't know what it is about this song that I love so much. The intro is really uplifting and makes me feel like I just won a battle or something. Like "Mind Machine," I think it focuses on the softer side of Scar Symmetry, though it's still a heavy song at parts. It has a REALLY catchy chorus.
"Caged inside, I cannot seem to end the battles
Breaking down, I worship the insane."
Really neat song. Again, uplifting with some cool Dream Theater like soloing in it. I like what happens after when the vocals change a bit and are like a stop start type of thing. At the very end that same catchy verse is re-used with something new in the background...acoustic guitar. Really nice ending. [4.5/5]
11. "Path of Least Resistance"
Back into a heavy beast, "Path of Least Resistance" opens up and kicks you and your mom in the face Chuck Norris style. Double bass pedals are on fire in this song and the bass is pretty noticable which is always good. A rock like portion comes into the song and you are greeted by clean vocals. Again, Scar Symmetry prove that they are grand melody masters and show it off well in this song. Pretty straightforward track with your blast beats, growling, soloing, and melancholy. The solo towards the end shows Kjellgren's use of the Wah pedal that may even closely rival that of Michael Amott's of Arch Enemy. [4/5]
12. "Carved In Stone"
The first of two bonus tracks from the album. This song is really sad sounding at first and really focuses on the vocal and bass work during that period. Heaviness is soon created afterwards. I love the vocals in this song and not that they sound too much different than many other songs, I love them. It breaks up into another rock n' roll riff with a Slash-like lead thrown in for good measure. I still can't get over the tone of both these guitarists, incredible. A cool bass part is tossed in and a technical solo by Nilsson that puts the cherry on top of the song. It keeps the groove going and ends with a cool synth part in the background along with those trademarked vocal chords. [4/5]
13. "Deviate From The Form"
The last song on the album and final bonus track. This has to be the oddest song by Scar Symmetry it has a techno like feel to it with the synths, and dare I say, almost makes you want to do the robot" hahaha. Anyways the drumming here is cool and has some cool double pass rolls in there. This song focuses on the synth and vocals in my opinion, and the guitars are lowered a bit which is good for people wanting to hear something not so guitar based. Weird solo at the end with drumming and synth in the background. I like it a lot and thought it fit the ending of the album REALLY well. The last half of this song is almost completely lead based and ends with some cool guitarwork and synth intertwining. Thus putting this "Pitch Black Progress" to a sudden decline. [4/5]
+ Step up from their first album.
+ Great production.
+ Heavy/Melodic/Fast/Slow - everything.
+ ALL aspects of the band have improved.
+ Diverse; a bit of everything from the genre.
- Maybe one or two filler tracks.
- Not everyone likes the use of synth, though there's not much of it anyways.
- You want more after listening to it.
"Calculate The Apocalypse"
"pro·gress (pr-grs) pro·gressed, pro·gress·ing, pro·gress·es
1. To advance; proceed: Work on the new building progressed at a rapid rate.
2. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily: as medical technology progresses."
With this album, Scar Symmetry definitely puts the word progress to good use in showing you how they've OBVIOUSLY progressed as a band since their previous achievements. This album is wonderful and I believe it has something for everyone. Solos" Check. Awesome brutal/clean combination of vocals" Check. Catchy choruses" Check. It's a brilliant album and Scar Symmetry have definitely outdone themselves with what could be the best melodic death metal out this year. I definitely urge anyone that likes bands like Soilwork, for instance, to check this band out. I hope this review was to everyone's like, and as always keep on headbanging!