Sound — 8
While Scar Symmetry have very cheesy name, there is nothing cheesy about their music. Stylistically, they are a Melodic Death Metal band, but in my opinion they are one of the purest forms of this genre out there. When they want to be melodic, they are melodic; when they want to be deathy, they kick your teeth in. Pitch Black Progress is their second album, following up last years phenomenal Symmetric in Design. The opening song, "The Illusionist" is a great representation of the band as a whole. It starts off with a short organ intro, but is quickly interrupted by an abrupt guitar slide into a mid-paced melodic rhythm part. Next they flawlessly weave in between a death metal verse and anthem-like chorus. Oh yea, I forgot to mention: these guitarists can play their instruments! Searing solos appear in every song, and it is not uncommon to hear two solos in quite a few songs. These guys don't mess around. As one goes delves deeper into the album, a few surprises come up. The song "Dreaming 24/7", is Scar Symmetry's 'ballad', and it only has clean vocals from Christian. I hated the song at first, but it has grown on me. Also, "The Kaleidoscope God" is a searing riff-fest with a chorus that is almost impossible to imitate. Just when the listener thinks the song is over, the organ comes in and a bonecrushing breakdown shatters the speakers. The song does become a bit tedious at the end, but that is about the only negative thing about the album.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics, although somewhat indecipherable (some death metal parts, at least), are crisp and in the front of the mix. Lead singer Christian lvestam's death growl sounds a lot like Mikael kerfeldt (Opeth). Clean vox are smooth and catchy as hell. I don't know any other metal singer who can belt out melody like this guy. Lyrical content the mind, astronomy, and machines. Some of the lyrical content is in the vein of Fear Factory, conveying a struggle between man and technology.
Overall Impression — 9
Definetley in my Top 5 for albums of the year. Standout songs are "The Illusionist", "Mind Machine", and "The Kaleidoscope God."