1. The Illusionist 2. Slaves To The Subliminal 3. Mind Machine 4. Pitch Black Progress 5. Calculate The Apocalypse 6. Dreaming 24/7 7. Abstracted 8. The Kaleidoscopic God 9. Retaliator 10. Oscillation Point 11. The Path Of Least Resistance
I'm not sure what the fascination is with the words "Pitch Black". Callenish Circle just released "Pitch Black Effects". We've seen a Sarnath record entitled "Pitch Black Blues". Now Nuclear Blast has released Scar Symmetry's "Pitch Black Progress". Interesting choice of words. Many of you may have read my review for Scar Symmetry's impressive debut "Symmetric In Design", a dazzling and diverse piece of work that combined the strengths of the death metal genre with the melodic flare of hard rock music. Really an odd combination, possibly recalling the finer elements of Swedish death pioneers Edge Of Sanity, with Christian Alvestam displaying that unique ability to "soar and rumble" that only Dan Swano has pulled off thus far. Alvestam continues to impress with his ability to hit the low register with his deep growls and rumbles while still lighting up AOR channels with a fantastic and superb soulful voice that could fit any TNT record.
Musically the group is just as extraordinary and dynamic, choosing to chug away with no restraint or restrictions on groove stompers like "Calculate The Apocalypse" and "The Kaleidoscopic God", with each of those cuts displaying raw, in your face riffs that bottom out with aggressive appeal while still luring softer fans with melodic chorus parts that could be lifted from an AOR record. That same sort of formula wins me over on the strong opener "The Illusionist", sounding like Edge Of Sanity crossed with modern day Nocturnal Rites. The band is very rigid and harsh on their heavier material, really emphasizing machine-like intensity and precision on "Slaves To The Subliminal" while still soaring with progressive elements and surprises. Guitarists Jonas Kjellgren (also producing) and Per Nilsson are just madmen here, really flowing with a dark aura that illuminates through the chorus bits. The solos here are ridden with effects, each really setting in stone that this band is about experimentation and diversity, a much needed venture that goes against the grain in today's rather cookie-cutter mold.
Bottom Line - "Thinking man's metal" that should appeal to fans ranging from Opeth to Mercenary. Another strong outing that will hopefully get this band the much needed attention it deserves. It is records like this that keep metal burning with new ideas and efforts. Fantastic!
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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