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An Essential Melodic Death Metal Album - 92%

Cravinov13, March 11th, 2007

I had a hard time getting into Scar Symmetry’s ‘Symmetric In Design’ when I first blasted it through my stereo speakers. I’m glad I got into that album enough to buy this, their second offering. The best way for me to describe ‘Pitch Black Progress’ is dynamic, catchy, powerful, and perfect for any fan of the melodic death metal genre. The album has great consistency, atmosphere, and is fueled with beautiful melodies mixed with scorching brutality.

Musically, Scar Symmetry’s sound is very straightforward. The guitars are usually mid to moderately fast in pace and follow standard riffs backed by a sweeping guitar solo or two in almost every song. The keyboard helps give the guitars a balanced since of melody with brutality. The bass gives each song a strong, consistent atmosphere throughout and is actually audible (rare for a lot of typical death metal bands). The drums also have a solid consistency and help maintain the album’s solid flow. The vocals are the real standout though, since the vocalist can reach both gut churning death grunts to scorching screeches and beautiful mellow singing to powerful clean vocals.

The only downsides I could find on this album are two things. 1) Almost every song follows a very typical song structure that can seem repetitive at times; and 2) The vocalist tends to go over the top with his singing sometimes which can get very annoying (specifically on the song Calculate The Apocalypse).

Although it was a really difficult task, I managed to choose the four best tracks on the album. The first track, The Illusionist, being a perfect example of guitar and keyboard melody, both brutal and clean vocals, and an excellent track to set the standards for most of the album. Mind Machine is another major standout track, being the most melodic (almost all clean singing) and possibly one of the most catchiest songs on the album. Dreaming 24/7 really shows the guitarist’s skills and speed, but also has a great, slow paced, atmospheric melody that is the most dominate on the album. The last track that stands higher then the others is Oscillation Point, which has amazing melodies and crushing heaviness and also an abnormal song structure that separates it from most other tracks.

Overall, the album is a solid, underrated release that will not fail to entertain and will surely leave an impact on it’s listener after only the first listen. For fans of: Opeth, (old) In Flames, Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, and (Empiricism-era) Borknagar.