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Album Reviews : Scar Symmetry – Holographic Universe

By on September 12, 2008

I’d never heard these guys before but from all the press I had read I was expecting some heavy yet epic, Gothenburg death metal. Other than the occasional growls and heavy riffs, there isn’t really much death metal here at all. ‘Holographic Universe’ is a squeaky clean, textbook melodic metal album with a few heavier sections and growls thrown in for the sake of sticking to the melodic death metal genre title. The band sound confused, as if they wanted to go poppy and commercial but weren’t sure whether to completely leave the death metal element behind, so they just wrote two, different, short albums and combined them.

“Prism and Gate” has some very heavy (although cliché) riffing and drumming, with some guttural growls over the top which doesn’t sound half bad. But then all of a sudden, these horrible, high-pitched vocals come in that honestly could fit into a Justin Timberlake song. “Artificial Sun Projection” is simply a horrible pop ballad with the melodies changed from computerised beats to guitars and if you had a female singing the clean parts on “Quantumleaper” it’s sound like snippets of a Christina Aguilera track have been thrown in for laughs. Although the heavier parts of that song are actually really good.

There are a few moments throughout where they managed to work the balance a bit better. The album opener, “Morphogenesis” blends the heavier material with clean vocals nicely. The vocal melodies here are more on the melodic metal side rather than the pop side of the rest of the album. Some of the choruses sound pretty good, they definitely stand out as an improvement over the rest of the clean vocals, however they aren’t quite good enough to reach the catchy stage. Like much of the music, they just sound a bit too processed and end up being quite flat. The thick, epic sound saves them a little bit, but not much.

If you can’t tell already, I much prefer the heavier bits of the album. Sure, it’s mostly standard melodeath riffage and drumming, really nothing interesting, but it’s still better. It does get boring by the end though because each song follows the same, textbook formula.

There are a few moments of simple but good melodic metal in there, but they are few and far between. And they’re really not worth sorting through all the crap to find. This is just a case of a band going too clean and polished. 3.5/10

Band: Scar Symmetry
Album: Holographic Universe
Year: 2008
Genre: Melodic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Sweden
www.myspace.com/scarsymmetry

Track listing:
1. Morphogenesis <- Reviewers Choice
2. Timewave Zero
3. Quantumleaper
4. Artificial Sun Projection
5. The Missing Coordinates
6. Ghost Prototype I – Measurement Of Thought
7. Fear Catalyst
8. Trapezoid
9. Prism and Gate
10. Holographic Universe
11. The Three-Dimensional Shadow
12. Ghost Prototype II – Deus Ex Machina

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.