Monday, October 6, 2014

Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity) (2014)

The metal world has seen many ambitious concept albums before. Albums that take on a grand and epic voyage that is almost too big for some to comprehend, or just a story that is told in more than one album. The next band that is trying out such a huge project is the Swedish melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry. "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)" is the first out of three albums about transhumanism, which is the development of technology and how it can improve the life of human beings. This first album revolve over the rise of artificial intellects and about the debate between those who oppose it and those who embrace it. An interesting concept that could possibly be a heads up for what will happen in the future.

As complex and diverse the concept was, I was hoping for the same with the music. There is no doubt that this is Scar Symmetry playing since the album is filled with their patented type of melodies, structure and singing styles, but there is nothing there that feels fresh or innovative. You have heard it before, and even if you do like it, it will leave a sour after taste. A song like "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" is the perfect example of this, since there is so much in this song that the band has done before in one way or another. Especially the song structure and the riff structures are very much alike several other previous Scar Symmetry offerings. Recycling at its finest.

But I cannot stop myself from head banging with the rhythm, even though I know it is the same old situation, and that is because the music still has a strong attraction towards it. The groovy "Neohuman" and the apocalyptic "The Spiral Timeshift" are some of the front runners in this album, and there are certainly several other good songs in this record. However, I cannot leave the fact that this album is missing a strong, catchy chorus. A chorus that takes a hold of your brain and does not let go for quite some time. The chorus to "Limits To Infinity" could have had that ability, but the end result is just flat and drags down an otherwise good song.

The strong suit of Scar symmetry has always been Per Nilsson's guitar playing, and he definitely delivers in this album. He mixes simple and complex riffs that fits perfectly with what is played on the keyboard, and the solos he does are well fitted into the songs. He just does a hell of a good job on every album, and so does the rest of the band. The mix between clean and harsh vocals are well balanced and the drums holds a good rhythm together with the bass. So despite that Jonas Kjellgren left the band in 2013, the band still have a good chemistry that creates a comforting harmony that is really reflective in the end product.

Still no word on when the upcoming two parts of the trilogy is coming out, which is a little sad since this album got me hooked. "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)" is a good offering from Scar Symmetry that displays both strength and melody together with a en capturing concept. But the band still has some way to go to make me love this concept series, because the music is not very original and the lack of a very strong chorus is hurting the album. I set my hopes high before Phase 2 and I am sure that the Swedes will conceive another great metal album, and hopefully not just take out a album clone from its cryogenic sleep. The future sure looks good.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Spiral Timeshift, Neohuman, Cryonic Harvest

Rating: 7,5/10 Neuromancers

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