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Scar Symmetry: Pitch Black Progress

Sweden's Scar Symmetry offer up their sophomore release on Nuclear Blast titled Pitch Black Progress, a stellar concoction of melodic death and technical progressive metal. Honestly folks, this is the real deal here, and I haven't been hit this hard since Mercenary's 11 Dreams last year. Combining soaring clean vocals with lethal death metal growls, bone crunching guitar riffs, majestic keyboards, catchy hooks, and sledgehammer rhythms, Pitch Black Progress has it all.

The vocals of Christian Älvestam are so good, whether he is taking center stage with passionate clean melodies like on the opening "The Illusionist", or hitting deep growls like Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth, the guy gets noticed. In fact, both his clean and death vocals are so commanding, your first instinct is to overlook the magic that the rest of the band is creating. The twin guitar attack of Jonas Kjellgren and Per Nilsson really add plenty of mammoth metal riffage with just enough technicality, especially during the lead breaks, and the rhythm team of bassist Kenneth Seil and drummer Henrik Ohlsson are just extraordinary. Listen to their barreling and intricate fills on the raging death metal of the title track, complete with plenty of inhuman growls from Alvestam. "Dreaming 24/7" is a melodic and symphonic progressive metal gem, with plenty of clean vocals and ripping guitar work, while "The Kaleidoscopic God" sounds like a head on three-way collision between Opeth, Amorphis, and Mercenary. Melodies, complex arrangements, and brutality-you get plenty of each in every song, and for a band that has only been together a couple of years, Scar Symmetry really have hit a home run here. Never mind that the members have experience in other bands like Carnal Forge, Centinex, World Below, Theory in Practice, Mutant, Altered Aeon, and Torchbearer, it takes a lot to get players from different bands to come together and click so quickly like this band has.

So, if you are catching my drift here, yes, this is a remarkable release that is sure to be one of the most talked about albums of the year in the world of progressive and extreme metal. While recent years have seen Into Eternity and Mercenary strike gold with their sophomore releases, Scar Symmetry are now set to do the same here in 2006. Highly recommended!

Track Listing
1. The Illusionist
2. Slaves To The Subliminal
3. Mind Machine
4. Pitch Black Progress
5. Calculate The Apocalypse
6. Dreaming 24/7
7. Abstracted
8. The Kaleidoscopic God
9. Retaliator
10. Oscilliation
11. The Path Of Least Resistance
12. Carved In Stone
13. Deviate From The Form

Added: April 19th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Scar Symmetry Website
Hits: 4536
Language: english

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