Scar Symmetry

The Unseen Empire

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Scar Symmetry's fifth album, the second since replacing original vocalist Christian Älvestam with two other guys (Robert Karlsson growling and Lars Palmqvist singing), throws a lot of ideas at the listener. Sometimes, like on album-opener "The Anomaly," they're an AOR-prog rock band like Asia, with occasional guttural roars. But on the very next song ("Illuminoid Dream Sequence"), they're doing a semi-industrial thing, with keyboards slathered all over everything, at least until the squealing guitar solo, or another growled verse from Karlsson, comes in. "Seers of the Eschaton," meanwhile, is almost pure death metal, with a few keyboards here and there. The biggest problem the band has is vocalist Palmqvist; he sounds like Simon Le Bon on a latter-day Duran Duran album. Try imagining a Swedish melodic death metal act (Soilwork, for example) covering "Ordinary World"; that's what Palmqvist sounds like atop the music. And when you're writing a concept album about the reptilian overlords secretly ruling humanity (which is what The Unseen Empire is; it's straight from the writings of David Icke), you're gonna want to be as credible as possible. Scar Symmetry can write a melodic hook, and they can write a crunching death metal riff; they just need to choose which one they prefer to focus on, as they're frequently working against themselves here.

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