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Scar Symmetry: The Singularity (Phase II: Xenotaph)

The Singularity (Phase II-Xenotaph) is the seventh album from Swedish melodic & progressive death metal act Scar Symmetry, and sequel to 2014's The Singularity (Phase I- Neohumanity). Yes, nearly a decade has passed since we last saw the band and they visited this storyline, but leader & guitar hero Per Nilsson has been busy as touring guitarist with Meshuggah since 2017, so this band sat on the backburner for a bit. Bassist/vocalist Andreas Holma left the band a few years, adding to what has seemed to be a revolving door of musicians over the years, but for this latest album, the line-up consists of:

Roberth Karlsson: harsh vocals
Lars Palmqvist: clean vocals
Per Nilsson: lead guitar, keyboards, bass, backing and clean vocals, production, mixing, mastering
Benjamin Ellis: rhythm guitar, backing and clean vocals
Henrik Ohlsson: drums

Though it's been nearly a decade, the Scar Symmetry remains the same; a battle between soaring clean vocals with death metal growls & screams, breathtaking lead guitar solos, intricate rhythms, and punishing riffs. It's not a unique style, as Scar Symmetry certainly weren't the first to start this, and plenty have come on the scene in the years they've been away, but what they do they do quite well. "Chrononautilus" crushes right out of the gate, Karlsson lending his deep growls and violent screams against the melodic voice of Palmqvist amid an onslaught of furious riffing and Nilsson's shredding solos. "Scorched Quadrant" is quite catchy at times, but still plenty of brutal, while the manic drumming and prog-metal tendencies of "Overworld" make it one of the most enjoyable tracks here. "Altergeist" and the title track are a couple more tracks to dive into here with positive results, but for the rest of the album, there's a sense of 'been there, done that' that I feel way too often. The musicianship is great, but at an hour long, The Singularity (Phase II: Xenotaph) just feels too long and too familiar. Some of the tracks here sound eerily similar to each other, and to other past Scar Symmetry material. It's not a deal breaker, but I'm left coming away from this latest release from them that what they did 10-15 years sounded quite fresh and exciting, but in 2023 the formula is in need of a re-do.

Track Listing
1. "Chrononautilus" 5:04
2. "Scorched Quadrant" 5:05
3. "Overworld" 3:51
4. "Altergeist" 6:12
5. "Reichsfall" 5:15
6. "Digiphrenia Dawn" 5:32
7. "Hyperborean Plains" 5:07
8. "Gridworm" 5:06
9. "A Voyage with Tailed Meteors" 4:55
10. "Soulscanner" 4:07
11. "Xenotaph" 7:51
Total length: 58:08

Added: October 15th 2023
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 329
Language: english

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