Although a praised effort, it wasn´t long after the release of “Pitch Black Progress” before Sweden´s SCAR SYMMETRY turned into an endless debate on whether they were too pop oriented or simply straying away from their initial New Age Melodic Death Metal tag. I guess you´re bound to end up being the topic of the day (in this modern Metal community anyway) when you work with both light and dark tempos, atmospheres, vocals etc etc, you know, making fans/listeners unknowing and unsure on where you lie as a band, and just how Metal you really are.
There´s been talks of clean vocals dominating the band´s third longplayer, while others have stated that "Holographic Universe" would be lighter musicwise. I´ve got two words to sum up this album: natural progression! This is a logical follow up to “Pitch Black Progress”, that sees the guys widening their sound welcoming loads of progressive spectrums, even more aggression, breathtaking melodic complexity and increasing clean (experimental) vocals from Christian Ålvestam. Most of the twelve tracks have more clean singing, hell even some cool Halford like vocals appear in short stints on the awesome and extremely colourful “Quantumleaper” and elsewhere. Without going into too much depth here, I daresay the vocal aspects of the band´s sound remain classy and ever so catchy, while also maintaining those immense brutal death vox.
Musically there´s so much going on! It´s still heavy as in MESHUGGAH meets IN FLAMES greets CHILDREN OF BODOM runs into SOILWORK heavy, fast, polyrhythmic and melodic with tons of experimental keyboard sounds and godlike soloing. Tracks like “Timewave Zero”, “The Missing Coordinates”, and the nine minute epic miracle that is the title track, flow with such intensity, jaw dropping musicianship and songwriting harmonised. Seriously, if you liked their first two albums, you´ll get into this one as well, it might need that extra spin that´s all.
Both “Symmetric In Design” and “Pitch Black Progress” hinted at a band striving to harmonise two styles of music distant from each other. With “Holographic Universe”, that very same band is on the verge in merging popular music influences with a style heavy, fast, virtuosic and atmospheric. Catchy Intelligent Progressive Extreme Metal, that´s what it is hehe. Definitely worth trying out!
(Online July 19, 2008)