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Holographic Universe

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Album Review

With their daunting versatility, sheer instrumental prowess, and prolific songwriting talents, Sweden's Scar Symmetry must drive other heavy metal bands absolutely crazy with envy! Ever since their entirely unpublicized, or at least unexpected, emergence via 2005's impressive Symmetric in Design, and its even more undeniable follow-up, Pitch Black Progress, released just one year later, the quintet made up of spare parts left over from other bands, looked capable of trouncing any competitor, and possibly blazing a future trail for technical, yet accessible heavy metal. Unfortunately, record sales didn't respond in kind to this widespread critical acclaim, and although the band's core strengths remain as sharp and potent as ever on their third album, 2008's Holographic Universe, you can't help but wonder whether a broader heavy metal audience will ever get the band, in the end. If anything, Holographic Universe is their most commercially focused album yet, and the band appears more serious than ever about contrasting super melodic choruses, guitar harmonies, and even intermittent synths, against aesthetic "evil twins" like furious death metal growls, aggressive riffing, and torrential drumming. Sure enough, spectacular examples like "Morphogenesis," "Timewave Zero," "The Missing Coordinates," and "Trapezoid," mesh improbable extremes of light and dark into astonishingly fluid combinations, making them sound natural when by all rights they should repel like oil and water. This also makes it easy to overlook the band's ultra-complex, prog metal-level musicianship throughout; a tendency that they could probably explore to Dream Theater heights of indulgence, but whose whims they only really succumb to on the stunning nine-minute title track, and the memorably capricious, two-part "Ghost Prototype." The only question left, then, is whether this insistent songwriting audacity will finally reward Scar Symmetry (and the other, rare bands of their ilk, such as Canada's Into Eternity and Divinity) at a time when "safer," more predictable heavy metal bands like Soilwork and Children of Bodom seem to be floundering in a baby pool of stylistic repetition. All it would take is a generation of fans with somewhat more sophisticated palates, ready for something a little more challenging and adventurous, yet still enticingly infectious.

Customer Reviews

Amazing...pure genius!

This CD is unbelievably good! They still have all the old stuff that makes them Scar Symmetry (brutal growls, epic singing, and of course ridiculous instrumentals) and add a few new twists. Some of their songs even show a...I don't want to say slow side, but less straight up in your face, and it shows they have really matured and continue producing music of the highest quality. I personally think it's the best CD to come out so far in 2008. Do yourself a favor and just buy it now! If only we could get Symmetric in Design on here too...

Takes Melodic Death Metal to the Next Level

This album is mind-bogglingly good. I recently found Scar Symmetry and quickly became a fan, but this album makes me a devotee. The composition and general musicianship displayed on "Holographic Universe" is superb, and the balance between clean vocals and death growl has been executed perfectly. The sci-fi theming also lends a nice undercurrent to the album and suitably underscores the synthesizer elements and epic feel of the songs. To me, this album puts Scar Symmetry on the road to be on par with bands like Soilwork and In Flames. Really incredible, awesome work!

Holographic Universe gets 6 Stars!!

Thank God there are still some bands keeping the melodic death metal tradition alive. Scar Symmetry ranks right up there with Soilwork's and In Flames' old albums (the good ones). Holographic Universe brings emotion while keeping to heavy/melodic guitar solos and blastbeat drums. Look for other bands to take the hint that this is the new direction of melodic death metal.


Formed: 2004 in Sweden

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

Sweden's Scar Symmetry was founded in 2004 by vocalist Christian Älvestam, guitarists Jonas Kjellgren and Per Nilsson, bassist Kenneth Seil, and drummer Henrik Ohlsson -- all of them veterans of numerous prior heavy metal bands (Carnal Forge, Centinex, Altered Aeon, Incapacity, etc.) -- whose diverse gamut of styles ultimately influenced the new project's own eclectic sound. Presented to the masses via 2005's Symmetric in Design debut album, Scar Symmetry's material combines death and power...
Full Bio
Holographic Universe, Scar Symmetry
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Customer Ratings