SCAR SYMMETRY is one of those bands that by all means should be one of the biggest names in Metal right now. Why bands like SONIC SYNDICATE are able to take the same ideas that SCAR SYMMETRY have been doing, water it down, and for some reason pull off more sales and hype is beyond me. Of course, being that SCAR SYMMETRY has a healthy dose of Modern Metal running through their veins tends to divide the camps; I can see how many people write them off as ‘too modern’. For me though, this band is one of the most talented groups to come around in the last decade and to see them struggle at all is beyond my belief. Their fourth album, “Dark Matter Dimensions” is another craftful Metal album from these Swedes.
Of course, the thought on everyone’s (at least the listeners) minds was whether or not SCAR SYMMETRY would be the same without Christian Ãlvestam on the vocal duties. To say that he was a tough vocalist to replace is a vastly understated concept, and I respect the band for having the balls to split ways with him if what they said went down was true. It may have taken two new singers to replace his massive range, but in all honestly, after listening to “Dark Matter Dimensions” I don’t miss him one bit. Not at all. Roberth "Robban" Karlsson (for the harsh vocals) and Lars Palmqvist (clean vocals) not only fill in for the massive dynamic that Christian brought to the band, but they even take it a step further by throwing in a few new things onto the table. Where SCAR SYMMETRY always had the Death Metal roars and the soaring croons, “Dark Matter Dimensions” has them try a few new things vocally like some screams, screeches, hisses, and layering between the singing and roaring that was never possible with their previous singer. It’s a deeper, wider, and even more dynamic display of vocal capabilities then they could have ever had. Not only was it a necessary decision to make but the perfectly precise and brilliant one to make too. It’s hard not to give this album a high score just on this factor alone.
To match their new singer’s massive talents and wonderful chemistry, the rest of the band also seem to have stepped up their writing a bit more. Although this is perhaps their most ‘Modern’ album to date, the influences and influxes of their Death Metal roots and Pop like tendencies to be catchy as hell still work in a wonderful mixture of both synthetic and raw sounds. The band always retains that hint of melody (I’m sure the Power Metal-esque opening guitar lead on “The Iconoclast” lets you know that upfront) and the leads and sick soloing that layer over the stop and go Modern Metal riffing give this album a nice kick in the ass of pure Metal. Throw on that some nice Prog like rhythm work to duel with the riffs and vocals from bass and drums and this is just a deep layered musical smorgasbord to chew on.
The last few years may have been a struggle for SCAR SYMMETRY, but the struggle was well worth it for the product that is “Dark Matter Dimensions”. Strong song writing, chemistry, performances, and production make this a must listen to for 2009. Some Metalheads may not like the Modern Metal elements of the album (I’m sure the synthetic and odd qualities of “Mechanical Soul Cybernetics” make a few cringe), but this is one for the books in my world and it will definitely be in my rotation for quite some time.
Songs to check out: “The Iconoclast”, “The Consciousness Eaters”, “A Parenthesis In Eternity”.
(Online October 30, 2009)