Stunning solos and overlapping vocals combine on a strong Swedish metal release.
Raziq Rauf 2009
The fourth album from melodic death metallers Scar Symmetry features two vocalists for the price of one. Having parted ways with founder member Christian Älvestam after over four years – but only months after the release of their third album, Holographic Universe – the Swedes announced the introduction of two vocalists to replace him. Clearly, he was quite a man.
Robert Karlsson and Lars Palmqvist perform the growls and clean vocals respectively – Älvestam had handled both himself, and if there was any dynamic missing from previous albums it seems the band has found it with Dark Matter Dimensions. Any fears that the duo might not be able to emulate their predecessor can quite firmly be put to rest as their ability to overlap their vocals adds further depth to the complex, aggressive melodies that Scar Symmetry fans have come to expect.
While there is the occasional cheesy clean vocal laid here and there, the dazzling riffs that pop up and linger more than make up for them. The thunderous title track features guitars that seem to bend around corners, while the vocalists really come into their own with some soaring choruses and truly menacing undertones.
Some of the guitar solos from Jonas Kjellgren are truly stunning. The languid opening to the album serves to deceive as The Iconoclast soon picks up speed as the guitarist flexes his carpal aptitude and performs some wonderful guitar work which flits from gentle and soothing to frenetic and threatening in a couple of bars. If you wish to fully fathom the wonders of a top-drawer guitarist, however, you may need to listen to Sculptor Void. It’ll leave you wondering how many fingers the chap has.
The Swedish metal scene has always been strong and with Dark Matter Dimensions – despite having to start afresh with a new two-pronged vocal attack – Scar Symmetry have ensured that nothing will change in that respect. It’s the solid release that they really needed and with some equally solid touring to back it up, they could well be back on track.