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The album of dreams - 94%

scarsymmetry666, January 5th, 2016

Scar Symmetry is a band I became familiar with while I was growing up, around age 14. The infectious melody that was (unbeknownst to me) Christian Alvestam's vocals, was what kept drawing me back to discover more and more new songs by this band, until slowly but surely I became a fan. It took a while before I got used to the growling, but Scar Symmetry was my introduction to metal, and once I got a taste of this album, and the beauty of clean vocals combined with death metal, there was no stopping me, this is what I fell in love with. My first ever song by Scar Symmetry was Mind Machine, so it is fitting I review this album because I have heard it many, many times.

Pitch Black Progress presents us with a uniquely melodic approach to melodeath, similar to Soilwork or Sonic Syndicate. All songs feature both clean, melodic singing, and deep, dark death growling. The band has a "power metal" upbeat vibe to it, straying from the depressing tones of darker metal and instead choosing to enlighten our ear drums with a catchy and harmonious guitar and singing that contrasts perfectly with the opposite end of the coin, death growls and death metal influences. This is something hardly any band can boast, and the degree to which Scar Symmetry have mastered it is frightening. Christians death growls are much deeper than Soilwork's Bjorn Strid, and the contrast between clean vocal harmony and death growl is much more pronounced than any other band in the scene.

On the album itself, we are presented with a variety of tracks, many of them with a catchy chorus and jacked up with an interesting guitar solo. Each song feels like a fun ride, as the cleans and growls flow effortlessly in combination with the music. The musicianship and production is top notch, my only complaint being when Christian Alvestam decides to use his "talking vocals" or non-harmonious cleans, he can really detract from the overall sound of a song. No album is perfect, but Scar Symmetry certainly strives for it, and it is evident in Pitch Black Progress. Unforgettable tracks include Dreaming 24/7, which contains an infectious pop-metal-esque quality that is an infectiously catchy joy ride, Slaves To The Subliminal, which features a chorus of dreams that is reminiscent of power metal and sounds absolutely phenomenal, Deviate From The Form, which features vocals from Christian that alternates between a fearsome growling beast and crisp clean melody, and Carved In Stone which is a mystical song that bombards you with raw vocal talent and an incredibly well done guitar.

What is there to say about Pitch Black Progress? Not perfect, I will never rate any album an 100% unless it truly deserves it, but this is my favorite album by my favorite band, and they get everything right where it counts. Vocals, instrumentals, and overall sound is all nailed with a bullseye. If you don't mind clean vocals in metal, and are looking for a catchy band that will leave you singing along with the chorus and headbanging at the same time, these Swedes will surely give you a run for your money, and Pitch Black Progress deserves a listen.