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Such a supergroup... - 58%

NocturneFreeze, September 10th, 2007

It’s 2007. Countless bands have popped out of the ground to hitchhike with the success of bands such as In Flames or Soilwork. Some bands put it out rather good, such as Insomnium and Skyfire. Others, however, aren’t able to put out quality songs, such as Blood Stain Child or Callenish Circle. All these bands, however, have one thing in common: none of them put out something extraordinary new. This is not bad, though, but sometimes that thing can kill a single album. Pitch Black Progress, Scar Symmetry’s new album, has a sound distinctive of Soilwork. Afraid to use melodies in verses, and to balance it out, an overload of melodies in the choruses.

Scar Symmetry’s sound is nothing new, but that doesn’t take away the talent they have. Again, their talent is remarkable of that from Soilwork. A strong drummer, nonexistent bass, two fairly fine guitarists and a decent vocalist. Of the latter one, I want to set a few words straight. His growl is immensely low. Low as in; low like the ex-bassist from Nile, maybe even lower. His clean vocals, on the other hand, are high, light and very dramatic. Almost like the standard power metal band. On most of the songs he uses the standard formula: growling at verses and singing at choruses. The exceptions are Mind Machine and Dreaming 24/7, which uses mostly clean vocals and Pitch Black Progress, where the lack of clean vocals gets an unexpectedly but warm applause. Mainly because of the fact that most of the songs uses the standard formula this band falls in the heavy-verse/light-chorus trap. The only song which avoids it with great success is the shining star of the album: Calculate the Apocalypse. A song on which I will get back on later.

The main goal, however, for melodic death metal band is to create the most beautiful or menacing melodies. Again, this band takes Soilwork as an influence. The verses barely have melodies in it. Add to that the growling vocals, and you have a rather monotone and unmemorable riff. The choruses are, on the other hand, quite melodic. This is however mainly because of the clean vocal technique of the vocalist. The guitarists still refrain to put out some real melodies, and mainly stick to power chords. Sometimes a keyboard-pad is set in the background to strengthen the melody, which is a good sign (hint towards the band: add a keyboardist to your band). It’s not that there are no melodies, however. In fact, if looked more subtle, there are quite a few of them. Slaves to the Subliminal features a beautiful lead riff in the chorus, and Calculate the Apocalypse has the good melodies all over the place. There are also a lot of solo’s on this album. Most of them are very enjoyable and really add to the songs. Fast and melodic. Exactly what these songs needed.

I have mainly talked negative about the songs, but it’s not all bad. What this album saves are three incredible songs. The first two are already the first two of the album. The Illusionist and Slaves to the Subliminal have from all the standard tracks the best melodic choruses and the most brutal verses. They are the best of the standard tracks. Only the standard tracks though, because the jewel of the album is track number 5: Calculate the Apocalypse. The different riffs on this song flow into each other like it’s nothing. The verses are as brutal as it can get. This is however not the high point of this song, of the album. There are two types of choruses. The first is a decent one, sung but without the melodies from guitars. The second, however, is the other way around, and much better. While the vocalist growls and grunts, the two guitars create one of the most subtle, beautiful yet brutal melodies, added with the perfect power chords. Fast, unstoppable but also hopeful and powerful. This is melodic death metal at it’s best.

Scar Symmetry’s main fault lies in it’s cliché songwriting. The talent is present, the band has proven to write some outstanding songs and the production is quite clear. If this band would experiment more instead of lending the idea’s from their idols, there could come some really good work out. They have the potential, they only need to learn to use it.

Top 3 tracks:

1. Calculate the Apocalypse
2. The Illusionist
3. Slaves of the Subliminal

Members:

Jonas Kjellgren - Guitar
Per Nilsson - Guitar
Kenneth Seil - Bass
Henrik Ohlsson - Drums
Christian Alvestam - Vocals

This review was originially written on www.sputnikmusic.com under the name TheHambugerman