Scar Symmetry - _Pitch.Black.Progress_
(Nuclear Blast, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
As some of you may have noticed by now, the mere suggestion of the phrase "Swedish melodic death metal" on a band bio is enough to make me want to bin a promo these days. Not only is it frustrating to have to hear so many by-the-numbers bands being pushed by record companies as "the next big thing", but with so much dross being churned out on a monthly basis, I'm starting to feel like I'm repeating the same criticisms.

Nevertheless, the genre has had its moments -- even in recent months where Callenish Circle, for example, released a magnificent album that even a jaded old fool like myself could not ignore. Now Scar Symmetry join that club with their Nuclear Blast debut, and with an actively serving roster that includes members of Carnal Forge and the recently imploded Centinex, it's no great revelation to find that in addition to containing all the hallmarks of the typical melo-death outfit, _Pitch.Black.Progress_ also layers on the brutality in a big way. Juxtaposing death metal vocals that aren't at all very far removed from the low guttural roar of Dying Fetus' John Gallagher and clean vocals that could easily have been recorded by The Moody Blues, the follow-up to 2005's _Symmetric in Design_ weaves together thick grooves with impressively virtuous solos, and subtle synth lines that are given the perfect amount of breathing by the album's crisp production job. While that by no means represents any great creative shakes on paper at least, when Scar Symmetry put it into practice it is almost always interesting and challenging, with the record constantly shifting moods and avoiding any repetitive lulls.

It all comes to head on "Calculate the Apocalypse", perhaps the record's finest and most aggressive four minutes, and while elsewhere the album doesn't always hit the mark quite as hard, the band deserve no end of kudos for squeezing so much out of a blueprint that has been run ragged.


(article published 18/4/2006)

9/22/2005 A McKay 8 Scar Symmetry - Symmetric in Design
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