1. Chaosweaver 2. 2012 - The Demise Of The 5th Sun 3. Dominion 4. Underneath The Surface 5. Reborn 6. Veil Of Illusions 7. Obscure Alliance 8. Hybrid Cult 9. Orchestrate The Infinite 10. Detach From The Outcome 11. Seeds Of Rebellion 12. The Eleventh Sphere
Sweden's Scar Symmetry dare to do what most death metal bands refuse to do, that is simply creating catchy, innovative song structures that take into effect hook, diverse vocals, atmosphere, but not limiting the amount of force or aggression used to convey those elements to the casual death metal listener. Sure, it is a lot to take in based on that one sentence, but "Symmetric In Design" is based off of those blueprints, that set of building blocks that encourage more building and new heights.
The band was formed by Jonas Kjellgren (Carnal Forge, Centinex), Henrik Ohlsson (Theory In Practice, Mutant), Per Nillson (Altered Aeon), Christian Alvestam (Unmoored, Incapacity), and Kenneth Seil. The basic ideals set forth is to create intricate death metal patterns and structures but still make it easily acceptable to the general metal community. I believe they achive their goals, with the band's material easily merging the two parties together under one roof. On one side we easily have a solid death metal working form, a basis to build on and go forth. On the other side we have a more progressive, AOR flavor that uses clean vocals, pop-styled syths, and neo-classical styled guitar riffs. The two come together perfectly to create a stellar affair, a big flashy sound that is crunchy, brutal, unique, and mesmerizing, all draped in an original, experimental motion that dares to bend the rules and break down the many walls put into effect by the limited death genre.
Vocalist Christian Alvestam plays double-duty here, capturing that brutal, sadistic register made famous by legendary death singers like Dan Swano (Bloodbath, Edge Of Sanity) and Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, Lock-Up). His clean voice is a progressive tone, a smooth delivery that is quite moving and emotional, almost bordering on the likes of AOR styled radio rock. It shouldn't fit into this band mold but it does perfectly. The only other time I can remember this working this well was Dan Swano's "Moontower" release, which used some clean singing, a majority of death growls, and the King Crimson styled keyboards. The keys that are in place on "Symmetric In Design" are very spacey, leaning more towards the "space rock" of the 70s.
With huge bombastic hooks running through brutal stomps like opener "Chaosweaver" and "Dominion", extreme fans will find plenty to sink into and indulge in. But other songs like "2012 - The Demise Of The 5th Sun" allow for so much room and experimentation. My favorite songs are the ones that mix both styles in perfectly, evident on "Orchestrate The Infinite" and "Hybrid Cult". Overall this is a monumental achievment and one that really beats to it's own drum. I for one can't remember any other albums that are quite on par with this. As I mentioned other bands have attempted to merge everything in but never have managed the task this well.
"Symmetric In Design" is one for the ages.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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