Recommended Aussie Tunes:Psycroptic | The new single "A Fragile Existence" | Listen

Album Reviews : Scar Symmetry – Dark Matter Dimensions

By on September 17, 2009

Dark_Matter_DimensionsThe surprise departure of Christian Alvestam in 2008 raised quite a few doubts about Scar Symmetry’s future, particularly given the integral part his dual vocal attack played on their previous releases such as “Holographic Universe” which was released on Nuclear Blast only last year. When it was announced that his replacement would be, not one, but two vocalists it was almost the ultimate acknowledgement of just how important their predecessor was to the bands overall sound. Yet the big questions remained, how well would they both do and what impact would the new blood have on the overall sound?

The two gentlemen faced with such a daunting task, Roberth Karlsson (Devian, Edge of Sanity, Solar Dawn among others) on harsh vocals and Lars Palmqvist on clean vocals, do a commendable job and at times you really would be hard pressed to identify that the line-up change has even occurred.

Otherwise, it really is a case of business as usual for Scar Symmetry on “Dark Matter Dimensions” as the trademark sound of heavy, yet melodic, death metal with contrasting vocals and extremely catchy choruses remains intact. Of course, why would anyone change when they’re onto such a good thing?

This shouldn’t be taken as meaning that there has been no development between this album and the last, whilst there is a clear formula at work it is anything but formulaic. Any changes are subtle, very much different utilisation of the key elements, yet the music still manages to sound fresh and dynamic to the ear.

Whilst such a formula is not necessarily unique, Mercenary are another band that successfully do this albeit with less of a death metal edge, I would suggest that Scar Symmetry remain one of the best at melding these contrasts into a complete package. The songs always manage to seamlessly balance aggression and tasteful technicality with melody yet make it all seem like a natural union, unlike some bands who can make it sound forced or disjointed.

Perhaps that is something that was overlooked on previous releases, or at the very least wasn’t acknowledged, the musicianship is immaculate on all levels. Every member is precise and fulfils a role in the overall wall of sound, the guitars are thick and driving, the keyboards are used to embellish rather than overwhelm and the powerful vocals are the final piece of the puzzle that obviously gain the most attention. Wrap this all up in a balanced, powerful production courtesy of guitarist Jonas Kjellgren, the driving force behind the band, and the immaculate, futuristic artwork shown above and there is no weak link to be found anywhere.

If you enjoyed Scar Symmetry’s previous releases such as “Pitch Black Progress” and “Holographic Universe” there is absolutely no reason why that shouldn’t continue here. “Dark Matter Dimensions” is a great CD that will not only pummel you with accomplished ferocity but also find a way to stick in your head afterwards and it certainly deserves to be included in a list of the best albums of 2009. 9/10

Band: Scar Symmetry
Album: Dark Matter Dimensions
Year: 2009
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot!
Origin: Sweden

Track Listing:
1. The Iconoclast
2. The Consciousness Eaters
3. Noumenon and Phenomenon
4. Ascension Chamber
5. Mechanical Soul Cybernetics
6. Nonhuman Era
7. Dark Matter Dimensions
8. Sculpture Void
9. A Paranthesis In Eternity
10. Frequencyshifter
11. Radiant Strain

Reviewed by Peter Schulz


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.