Devilishly Catchy

No matter what genre you’re into, there are always leaders, pioneers and those who come after them, seemingly copying or producing a variation on a successful formula. But it doesn’t always mean that pioneers have the best ideas, and this is the situation we have with Scar Symmetry. I am sure many metal fans would disagree, but Scar Symmetry, from a musical perspective, are on a par with Soilwork. The two bands are very close in both sound and creativity. The formula is the same; upbeat tune, shouted verse, light and fluffy chorus and the odd solo to give added dimension. The success of Soilwork, and also Inflames, suggest that this way of writing songs is well liked, and rightly so. It’s catchy, infectious and a little more traditional metal than the metal-cores of this world.

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I loved Scar Symmetry’s last album ‘Pitch Black Progress’ (although is wasn’t as strong towards the end of the disc). Yes, they mirror many Swedish bands, namely the aforementioned acts, but they have a couple of different aspects that sets them apart. Firstly their shouted verses are more gutteral. Christian Älvestam manages to get his voice astonishingly deep and astoundingly coherent. It makes the distance between the vocals styles even more extreme, but that only adds to their appeal. Secondly, their choruses are just a little bit lighter and fluffier. They are choruses even pop acts would kill for. Not that this is pop music, but they are extremely melodic and, more importantly, devilishly catchy.

Initially 'Holographic Universe' was a disappointment. It takes a while to get to the point. It’s not that 'Morphogenesis' and 'Artificial Sun Projection' are bad songs, on the contrary, but they lack that energy that littered the opening gambits on ‘Pitch Black Progress’. ‘QuantumLeaper’ aside, it's not until ‘The Missing Co-ordinates’ hits the speakers that this album really takes off. It is because of this that the repeat button will be pressed. After a while the first four tunes finally worm their way into your sub-concious and you realise the only thing wrong here is the track order. ‘The Missing Co-ordinates’ should be opening this album followed by 'QuantumLeaper', but that may not be the mood the band were hoping to create, who knows. But after a re-jig of the track listing, I found ‘Holographic Projection’ a more enjoyable listen.

Whereas their last album tailed off towards the end due to similarity, ‘Holographic Projection’ plays its full hand. On occasion, Scar Symmetry, demonstrate their Devin Townsend/SYL influence on the nine minute title epic ‘Holographic Universe’. It is this track as well as ‘Ghost Prototype II’ that suggest Scar Symmetry are willing to wrestle free of the musical shackles this type of music clamps on. The band do follow a formula, but its one they’re comfortable with, and one they’re trying to expand, and they should be commended for that. I don’t think ‘Holographic Universe’ is better than ‘Pitch Black Progress’, but it’s an enjoyable example of its genre, however, those tiring of the gruff/clean style of metal should steer clear.