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Scar Symmetry – Holographic Universe

Label: Nuclear Blast USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

Due to my love of writing metal reviews, I feel as if I have been able to grow with Scar Symmetry since they made their mark in 2005. My interest was immediately sparked upon first listening to their debut album “Symmetric in Design”. I remember really digging what I was hearing but I was concerned that they may not be around for too long as there were so many bands at the time going for this type of melodic death metal with clean vocals sound. I had hopes that the band would carry on and be successful. Fast forward a year later to 2006 and their sophomore release “Pitch Black Progress” crushed me upon first listen. They proved on this album that they were not going anywhere and ready to take the metal world by storm. Now fast forward to 2008… the storm has arrived!

“Holographic Universe” is one of those albums that I dream of as a metalhead. From start to finish there is not a weak spot on this album. The band has raised the bar even higher and I feel that for them this is their “Number of the Beast” or “Master of Puppets”. This is the one album that all of the rest will be compared to. Scar Symmetry has without a doubt in my opinion the most perfect blend of death and clean vocals. Vocalist Christian Alvestam can go from a guttural death growl to soaring clean AOR styled vocals in a matter of seconds. For example, the death vocals in “Fear Catalyst” will have you feel as if you are in the depths of hell and Lucifer himself is speaking to you then the amazing clean vocals will have you feeling as if you are being lifted out of the burning pit and flying through the sky. Outer space is the major theme on this album as the band describes their vision of a holographic universe. Due to the topic of the music and the progressive touches throughout, a Pagan’s Mind influence can be heard at times. A high pitched background vocal over the death growls on “The Missing Coordinates” is reminiscent of a King Diamond falsetto which is just such a killer touch to the song. “Prism and Gate” goes straight for the throat with its opening arrangements calling to mind something you would hear on Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”. Other highlights on this album are “Ghost Prototype I – Measurement of Thought” (track 6) and “Ghost Prototype II – Deus Ex Machina” (track 12) as they highlight the band doing what they do best. The guitar solo halfway through “Artificial Sun Projection” has such a classic feel to it reminding me of something I would hear Warren De Martini (Ratt) or George Lynch (Dokken) play back in the day as it shreds in the shadow of the overall tone of the song.

I could go on forever talking about this album without falling short of great things to say. This is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. In my past reviews I wondered if Scar Symmetry would survive playing this type of metal and then said that they were among Sweden’s elite. At this stage of the game the band truly becomes one of Heavy Metal’s world wide masters and I truly mean that. The press release states that the band originally had 13 songs planned for this album but cut one to avoid bad luck. Pretty funny and incase you are superstitious perhaps this was a good move as “Holographic Universe” is the bands finest work to date. This is going to be a hard album to top but the band has outdone themselves before. I know that they can do it again. Remember, Iron Maiden made their true mark with “Number of the Beast” and then went on to release “Piece of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere In Time”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, all of which are regarded as masterpieces and timeless classics. If any band in the melodic Death Metal world has what it takes to have a long legacy like the mighty Iron Maiden did with traditional Heavy Metal Scar Symmetry are the guys to do it. Scar Symmetry are masters at their craft and have the metal world in the palm of their hands.

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