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A lot of critics will say that this album is a watered down Soilwork ripoff. Are they right? While I can't make that decision for you, I can certainly tell you mine - hell no. This album is the first of five from the mighty melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry, and this album certainly doesn't fail to interest newcomers and veteran fans alike.
Excellent guitar from Per Nilsson can be heard throughout the album and is very consistent with catchy, heavy, and melodic riffs. From the chugs of "Hybrid Cult" to the amazing leads in "Detach from the Outcome", anyone expecting Per to seem inexperienced compared to his more recent work are sorely mistaken.
Keyboards are a major powerhouse on this album with tracks like the very catchy and addicting "Dominion" and the beautiful and almost breathtaking "Orchestrate the Infinite"
The drums throughout this album are insane. No, really. Insanity really would be the word for just how technical and heavy-hitting Henrik Ohlsson can be in tracks like "Seeds of Rebellion" and "Underneath the Surface". Ohlsson also writes the majority of the lyrics throughout Scar Symmetry and this record is no exception. Very complex are the "space-like" lyrics that also make you think deeper, almost on a "spiritual" level:
"The silent scheming as night turns dark
Altering what's real
Awake they're dreaming
The lucid nightmares opening their gates
A light is gleaming
The blackened rain summoned forth this night by the hybrid cult"
You can't tell me that these lyrics aren't powerful.
And last but certainly not least, we have the King of Cleans (Pun on King of Queens) himself, Christian Alvestam. His growls are very deep and have a lot of power in them. They're not as vibrant as some of his later material, but it gets the job done. It's as simple as that. But wait a minute. What about his cleans? Don't a lot of bands (like Soilwork) start off with mostly growls with minimal to no cleans? Will this album be a major disappointment for fans of Alvestam's cleans on albums like "Holographic Universe" or Solution .45's "For Aeons Past"? Do you really have to ask that?
Alvestam delivers some of the best cleans in his career on this album. On tracks like "Chaosweaver" and "Dominion" he relies less on doing over the top vibrant singing and instead does simple, yet effective cleans that make these songs become instant favorites.
Then you have songs where he shows his talent even more with moments like the ungodly and damn near unbeatable chorus of "Hybrid Cult" and the touching cleans in both the chorus and bridge of "Orchestrate the Infinite".
All in all, this album really is one of a kind. Not my favorite Scar Symmetry release, but it's pretty damn good. Even the album art is great (though I personally prefer the alternate Japanese cover). It gives you that "god-like" feeling. Kind of like you're learning and understanding the secrets of reality. Yeah, I'm not kidding.
Favorite tracks (If you're interested): Chaosweaver, Dominion, Reborn, Hybrid Cult, and Orchestrate the Infinite
I recommend this album to fans of Soilwork-ish style melodeath, works of Christian Alvestam, and early Scar Symmetry (especially if you liked "Pitch Black Progress").