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Good Melo-Death, Bad Clean Vocals - 60%

FullMetalAttorney, November 19th, 2010

First off, the music is good. It's mostly very hard-driving, with some good guitar solos. There are some power metal moments too, which is just fine with me. It's nothing particularly unique, but it's very good.

What sets Scar Symmetry apart from the legion of other melodic death metal bands is the combination of death growls and a clean, power metal vocal style. Other bands in the genre (e.g. Soilwork or In Flames) use clean vocals, but not in the power metal vein of things. It's hard to imagine someone could do both styles, but when their vocalist left (after their third album), they decided to replace him with two guys.

What sets Scar Symmetry apart, though, is also their downfall. The death growls are top notch: It's a very rich, thick sound, and he does it in two distinct pitch ranges. The clean vocals, on the other hand, are bad. He can't do it well: It's obvious he's trying to get a bigger sound than he can achieve, when he tries to be soulful it sounds pathetic, and he is often off pitch.

On the more growl-based songs, like the title track and "Calculating the Apocalypse", everything works, and they sound amazing. But on the clean vocal-based songs, like "Mind Machine" and "Dreaming 24/7", they sound disjointed and awkward. The problem is most obvious on "The Kaleidoscopic God". They manage to overcome the problem at times (see "Carved In Stone"), and sometimes he can almost pull it off ("Deviate from the Form"), but they would have been better off going in a different direction.

The Verdict: They could have been a really great melodic death metal band without anything to distinguish them from the crowd besides their talent, but instead they set themselves apart in a bad way. Everything else about it is great, though.

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