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 The Ultimate Review of The Singularity...

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Date d'inscription : 26/11/2013
Age : 26

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MessageSujet: The Ultimate Review of The Singularity...   The Ultimate Review of The Singularity... I_icon_minitimeSam 13 Déc - 20:20

I'm just going to throw this out there and get it out of the way: Scar Symmetry is the best metal band in the entire damn world. Sure, I'll sing praises to bands like Orphaned Land and Opeth as long as you let me, but there's no other band that manages to be so consistently amazing as Scar Symmetry does, except for maybe Voyager. Holographic Universe has long been considered Scar Symmetry's defining moment; indeed, it was an instant favorite for me as well, being a defining moment of my music evolution, one of the first "real" metal albums I fell in love with, and to this day one of my all time favorite albums. Every album since has always felt initially disappointing on first listen, but two, three, four, five listens roll around and hey, my doubts are quickly swept away as I realize the new album is as intense and epic as they've ever been - yes, Dark Matter Dimensions included. And The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity) included as well.

One will see the "melodic death metal" label slapped on Scar Symmetry and probably assume they're another derivative band rehashing a style Dark Tranquillity apparently perfected some 12 years ago. Make no mistake, though, Scar Symmetry have always had a unique take on the genre, seamlessly blending aggressive death metal and some of the poppiest "Top 40" hooks one's ever heard with an equal reliance on abrasive riffs, deep, guttural growls, and soaring, beautiful cleans expected more out of power metal than melodic death metal.

And while all that is present here, Scar Symmetry have been slowly bound for musical evolution since the beginning. Every album they've released has had them snailing towards a slightly new sound while still very much retaining the essence of their sound - and what you'll find is that sound they've been crawling towards is a heavily progressive influenced variation of the most catchy music you've ever heard. While The Unseen Empire was a quick sidestep that dialed back some of the progressive tendencies made subtly present on Holographic Universe and firmly established with Dark Matter Dimensions (the most blatantly techdeath melodic death metal album I've ever heard) - not that TUE isn't amazing, mind you - The Singularity reinvents that heavily progressive sound in what is easily Scar Symmetry's most progressive album to date; so much so, in fact, that it's easily equal parts prog and MDM. Tracks like "Cryonic Harvest" and "Neuromancers" are stuffed with complex rhythms, while the grand epics of the album - "Neohuman" and "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" are full of so many time changes and structure changes they've become what is easily the most unpredictable songs in the band's catalog - seriously, you can't say you saw the change around 6:19 into "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" coming the first listen. I'm well beyond that and it still surprises me.

That isn't to say the essence of the band has been removed; this is still very much an incredibly gorgeous album full of gorgeous vocal hooks, but I would consider this to no longer be the focal point of their music. The odd part about this is that there's a greater presence of clean vocals on this album than in past efforts, so one would expect everything to sound even more catchy. This leaves me with the feeling that the vocal lines are constructed with a more "intelligent" ear for melody rather than revolving around the formulaic catchy choruses of past work; furthermore, the clean vocals don't stand out the way they did previously as they're now made to simultaneously coexist with the increasingly complex arrangements and signatures. Still, however one wants to look at it, the vocals are consistently amazing and Lars' performance is as excellent as every other member's performance on the album. If you somehow weren't convinced of his talent in the last two albums, I'd find it hard to believe you wouldn't fall in love with his work in the choruses of "Neohuman," "The Spiral Timeshift," or the clean vocals throughout "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon." In addition, Per Nilsson contributes some lead vocals to the album, such as in the triumphant opener that proves if nothing else does no band can forge up amazing vocal lines the way this band can, and he sounds so damn majestic himself I'm left wondering why he didn't replace Christian back when Christian left.

So, in summary, this album is pretty much Scar Symmetry in their posthuman state, having surpassed the limits of their previous self while retaining the essence of who they are. If there was a single thing to nitpick about, I feel as if "Children of the Integrated Circuit" should've been the ending of "The Spiral Timeshift" instead of its own song. Scar Symmetry remains Scar Symmetry and remains as excellent as they've ever been, slowly reinventing their condition as to avoid being trapped in the evolutionary circle of bands rehashing the same album over and over and losing quality because of it (hi, Eluveitie), but trudging along the path to posthumanism cautiously as to allow their fanbase to cast aside their mental limitations with them, instead of leaving their fanbase in the previous pitstop of mental development, bewildered and agitated, rendered incapable of comprehending the ramblings of the band they once adored (hi, Opeth). If this album is the signpost of the trilogy, then I'll surely find myself on the side embracing this new technology. Now where's my damn artificial brain at?
Final Score: 5 / 100
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