Scar Symmetry unfold their utopian story
Three years have passed since the release of Scar Symmetry’s critically acclaimed album ‘The Unseen Empire’. Since then founding member, guitarist, producer and composer Jonas Kjellgren has left the band. It is now up to guitarist Per Nilsson to fill the role as sole composer and producer. This is certainly a big role to take on especially under the consideration that the new album is the first part of a trilogy of concept albums.
The concept behind ‘The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)’, the first of three albums of the trilogy, is set in a futuristic world in which artificial intelligence exceeds the capabilities of human intelligence. Amongst others the resulting technological advancements allow the transfer of the human mind to computers thus allowing digital immortality. The creation of a new human race called neohumans, who use all sorts of bio-enhancements, causes social unrest. As the events unfold an all-out war starts by the end of the record.
The short intro ‘The Shape Of Things To Come’ acts as preamble for the remaining eight songs. The almost nine-minute long ‘Neohuman’ is then the opener to the trilogy itself. The song starts with keyboards that are in between Queen’s ‘Flash Gordon’ and a video game sound. This works in the context of the futuristic topic. Luckily this style of keyboards is used sparsely throughout the album so that it remains an interesting feature to emphasise the setting of the scene. Other than that ‘Neohuman’ is based around the typical features of Scar Symmetry. The music is mainly melodic death metal. The refrains include the Scar Symmetry-typical larger than life melodies that are catchy and border to pop. The constant change between the clean vocals of Lars Palmqvist and the harsh vocals of Robert Karlsson keeps the songs diversified and interesting. The structure of each and every song contributes to this diversification. The band can change from one second to another from full-steam-ahead death metal to melodic refrains and guitar parts.
Overall the songs on ‘The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity) are the most technical and progressive tracks Scar Symmetry has released so far. The fact that all tracks have been composed by Per Nilsson creates a uniting sound and feeling throughout the album. On the other hand, the technicality of the songs, the play between harsh and clean vocals and the change between death metal parts and progressive metal parts keep the album interesting at every second. The highlight and climax of the album is the ten-minute song ‘Technocalyptic Cybergeddon’. The track starts with a 30-second guitar/keyboard intro that reminds you of a David Lee Roth solo album before the band breaks into a fast blackened death metal riff. The song stays intense at every turn and twist, playing between melodic parts and death metal parts. A big break in the middle slows down the track just in order to slowly turn up the heat again.
‘The Singularity (Phase I: Neohumanity)’ is a strong, coherent album. After the loss of the influential band member that Jonas Kjellgren was it stood to reason whether Scar Symmetry could create another great record. Per Nilsson has pulled it off. The album pushes Scar Symmetry into a more progressive direction without leaving the band’s roots out of sight.
8.5 of 10