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A small step forward, still mostly forgottable - 43%

stefan86, May 31st, 2006

After doing a somewhat slagging review of Scar Symmetry's debut I decided to take on their second album "Pitch Black Progress" with an open mind. I've never had a doubt that this band contains some very capable musicians. Guitars and especially drums are played with great precision.

The problem is that most of the songs are once again total "Natural Born Chaos"-era Soilwork. "Mind Machine" sounds like a carbon imitation of their formula. This band just doesn't have much creativity or vitality to offer beyond being another At The Gates-derivative and polished swedish group.

Vocally, we once again have a mix between a pretty good growl and some almost Power Metal-like clean vocals. While they're okay on its own, it fails to form an entity. Many times the shifts between growl and clean seem awkward and out of place rather than intertwined. Credits to the growling for often being Death Metal instead of screeching or belting though.

A question that often rises is, "do we really need more groups like this?". The quantity of groovy, pleasant and slick bands like this tend to surface by the minute. Now I know I enjoy somewhat aimless classic Death Metal bands like Kaamos and Abysmal Dawn, so I don't know if that stops me from using that card here.

Anyways, the grand total of this is a CD a bit better than the average Swedish melo stuff. It's not really a pain to listen to, it's just streamlined. Most of the melodies are infectious and accessible but not very interesting or engaging. They've lost some mallcore chugging and added a less Gothenburg production, making it marginally better than the debut.