Reviews : Albums : Scar Symmetry, "Symmetric in Design"

Scar Symmetry, "Symmetric in Design"

I used to be fucking furious at Soilwork for throwing all their efforts away on the trash they’re making these days. I used to listen to their more recent work over and over just to see if I wasn’t getting it. I was, and it became clear that they had fallen hard. Soilwork attempted to take melodic death metal in a new direction by simplifying their music, adding heavy-handed, trite keyboards, and overly predictable cleanly-sung choruses. Since their bad example, many other bands have failed in their attempts to do better than Soilwork; In Flames and Dark Tranquillity included.

Now Scar Symmetry join the fold and try to achieve the seemingly impossible with their bold debut, Symmetric in Design. The disc is unabashedly attempting to meld melodic death metal with clean vocal passages and keyboards. The difference between this new band and all the rest so far, is quite simply that this disc succeeds.

“How?” you ask. Simple, Scar Symmetry bites off less of the dynamic approach and keeps far more of the heavy death metal backing necessary to keep the music from sounding like watered-down radio metal. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt at all that the group is made up of some of the best musicians currently in the Swedish metal scene. Boasting of Theory In Practice’s drummer (who is a goddamn wizard, mind you) one of Carnal Forge’s guitarists, etc., you can tell from first listen that the music on Symmetric in Design is top-flight amid new releases these days.

Most importantly, Christian Alvestam of Unmoored and Solar Dawn heads up the vocals. His death metal bellow sounds powerful like Mikael Akerfeldt or Dan Swano on a good day. More importantly, his range and ability when singing cleanly is nearly on par with the aforementioned masters as well. If the clean passages on this disc were instead sung by lesser singers (not lesser vocalists, lesser SINGERS), such as Speed Strid or Mikael Stanne, Scar Symmetry would be an utter failure. Instead, Symmetric in Design is a masterful disc full of creative guitar work, melodic heroics in both the music and the vocals and enough metal to satisfy the generally hungry Swedish death metal fan. If you want to hear the album that will prove to you that Soilwork and the like are failing at what they’re doing these days, check out Scar Symmetry’s debut.

Standout Tracks

   2012 -- The Demise of the 5th Sun
   Hybrid Cult
   Seeds of Rebellion

Peter Johnston