Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire (2011)

Posted: May 6, 2011 in Music

Scar Symmetry is a strange band.

Strange, in the sense that they are critically adored and well-respected in the metal community, yet somehow aren’t getting the recognition from the “radio-metal” crowd. While the world is made subject to countless boring, uninspired and outright bad albums, Scar Symmetry has delivered four absolutely outstanding albums since 2004 – most recently 2009’s Dark Matter Dimension. Yet they remain relatively unheard of to most casual metal listeners.

It might be due to the fact that the group is hard to define. Officially, they are tabbed as “melodic death metal,” and I guess that’s closest to the truth. Their influences stretch much farther than that, though, as each of their albums have thrown in a bit of progressive-metal into the mix, which from a purist standpoint defies their labelling.

The band also incorporates the tag team clean/harsh vocal stylings that has become quite popular over the years. Robert Karlsson provides the grunts and growls, while Lars Palmqvist fires away with his clean, near-perfect vocals similar in style to Geoff Tate of Queensryche. Per Nilsson and Jonas Kjellgren handle the guitar duties, Kenneth Seil slaps the bass, and Henrik Ohlsson pounds away on the drums (and handles a majority of the lyrics). The unit together is well-produced and as tight as you’ve heard a metal band ever sound.

It was with much anticipation that The Nutwork gave the Swedish sextet’s new offering – The Unseen Empire – a healthy listen. Impressed is an understatement. The band has continued to mature and improve after every release, and this album falls right in line with that progression. The one notably difference this time around is that the clean vocals outweigh the harsh vocals, and while it may disappoint a few in their fanbase, it suites me just fine. The other obvious point is the further improvement of the band’s lyrics. It’s refreshing to listen to smart, scientific messages every so often as opposed to the “screaming about satan” lyrics that usually come with death metal.

The Unseen Empire contains nine amazing tracks of the band’s finest work. In a year with many great releases already out, and tons more slated for the remainder of the year, this album should find it’s way to the top of the heap. It’s flawless, it’s memorable, and it gets better every time you listen to it. Not much more you can ask for.

01. The Anomaly
02. Illuminoid Dream Sequence
03. Extinction Mantra
04. Seers of the Schaton
05. Domination Agenda
06. Astronomicon
07. Rise of the Reptilian Regime
08. The Draconian Arrival
09. Alpha and Omega

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link

  1. bradley says:

    you guys are the best i just got in hevy meatel its da best i really would like to say thanks scar symmetry you guys da best.

  2. Chaser says:

    You might wanna replace the band photo, it’s with the old line-up. And what is the improvement wit the lyrics? As far as I feel, the SS lyrics are inspiring & flawless from the very start and hold their peek at a constant height. Otherwise, nice review 🙂

    • randyr says:

      Thanks for the head’s up on the photo. It has been updated. As far as the lyrics – I found myself listening more to them this album than with previous albums. That by no means says that the lyrics from Dark Matter Dimension and prior lacked anything, I just was made more aware of them with this release. Might have been the mix, might have been the nod to the clean vocal stylings, might have been the content. I’ve always thought these guys to be great songwriters, I just feel that they have outdone themselves this time around. Thanks for the comments! – RR

  3. Michael says:

    I like the balance of the clean vocals and “harsh” vocals they had in Holographic Universe…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s