SCAR SYMMETRY – Pitch Black Progress

SCAR SYMMETRY - Pitch Black Progress


Nuclear Blast
Release date: May 2, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Symmetric in Design, the debut album from this Swedish band, was one of 2004’s very highlights. It is a pleasure to announce that this new effort is just as good –- again a blistering display of great melodies, phenomenal guitar work, great clean & growly vocals, all wrapped up in spotless production -– actually courtesy of guitarist Jonas Kjellgren.

Although the band’s debut sold quite well, some background info still could come in handy. Formed by members of such amazing bands as Carnal Forge, Mutant, and Theory in Practice, Scar Symmetry landed a deal after recording a one (!) song demo. The word spread fast, and after having existed barely a few months, the band had suddenly been taken under the wings of the mighty Nuclear Blast. The rest is, as they say, history.

The album’s obvious single choice, “The Illusionist,” opens the album, and immediately takes hold of the listener with a riveting beat and a great melody. It’s more than likely that this track will get l-o-t-s of airplay during the forthcoming weeks and months.

The title track is heavier, and being another highlight, it showcases the diversity of the band –- from Soilwork-ish “Pop” songs like “The Illusionist,” to far meatier numbers like “Slave to the Subliminal” and “Abstracted.” The band is still far from what usually goes under the Death Metal moniker, though, but at least the band is far more Metal than both In Flames and Soilwork these days.

Out of a very strong line-up of songs, “Retaliator” and “Mind Machine” should also be mentioned. Both songs are true pieces of melody-fuelled genius, and destined to bring the rather overexposed genre of “The Gothenburg Style” into the future.

In a genre featuring way too many bands and way too little talent, it’s also refreshing that the band members actually know their way around their instruments, featuring singer Christian Älvestam, guitarists Kjellgren and Per Nilsson, bassist Kenneth Seil, and drummer Henrik Ohlsson. The latter two make for a rock-solid and technically competent rhythm section –- anyone who’s heard Ohlsson’s previous work should know this to be true. The guitar work is far flashier than usual in this genre … actually flashier than Metal in general nowadays, and the full-on shred leads reminds one of both Joe Satriani and John Petrucci (in the days when he actually did some cool stuff). The guitar sound is very “Sans-amp,” though, and not too organic, but that’s not a bad thing for everyone.

Älvestam has yet to be mentioned, and this qualifies as a prime example of the old “last but definitely not least” saying. His voice is incredible, and the way he mixes crystal clear clean vocals with Åkerfeldt-style grunts is breathtaking. Dan Swanö be aware.

This review hasn’t focused on one single negative comment -– and there’s no need for one. Did you dig this style from before? Then buy this album. If you didn’t … buy it anyway.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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