Scar Symmetry - The Unseen Empire review



Reviewer:
4.5

263 users:
7.90
Band: Scar Symmetry
Album: The Unseen Empire
Release date: April 2011


01. The Anomaly
02. Illuminoid Dream Sequence
03. Extinction Mantra
04. Seers Of The Eschaton
05. Domination Agenda
06. Astronomicon
07. Rise Of The Reptilian Regime
08. The Draconian Arrival
09. Alpha And Omega


So this is it, Scar Symmetry's second release without Christian Älvestam. Two albums in two years makes for a great opportunity to move on from the past and make yourself known to the metal community as a force to be reckoned with regardless of who your frontman is.

Or in this case, who your frontmen are.

Anyone familiar with the band's history knows Älvestam was replaced by two vocalists - one to handle cleans, the other to handle growls. Aside from that, the music hasn't changed all that much, although they did manage to experiment slightly with Dark Matter Dimensions in terms of songwriting, much to their fans' dismay.

The Unseen Empire, however, kicks off where Pitch Black Progress left off: bon cop, bad cop vocals; sweeping melodies; fast-paced, momentum-building songs; aggressive (albeit rather monotonous) drumming... but a pretty cheesy atmosphere. And that's what sets it apart from their earlier sound. Cheese. Not the good kind of setting apart either. I mean, it's hard not to feel like this is some kind of looped circus music, the kind you hear on a merry-go-round. And for some reason that makes me think of Katy Perry.

That leaves you kind of stuck between two worlds. One foot is stomping rapidly to the aggressive pace set forth by the drums, but the other just kind of taps lightly to the tune of the guitars. And it's one of those albums where you find yourself humming along to songs in the car on the drive to work. Not because of its super enjoyable funktastic songwriting, but because it's annoying. And then you're all "the new vocalists suck", and "no wait Älvestam's overrated anyway", and "come on Martha, I swear that hooker didn't have gonorrhea", and that nonsense carries on for a while and then the album's over and everyone in the crowd just stares at you screaming like a madman on a carousel.

Or at least that's where I woke up after this mess finally ended. Did you notice I used the word "and" a lot? If you're that attentive you'll probably be in the Katy Perry world. If you only noticed after I pointed it out, you'll probably be in Footstompville. But I only ever read Philosophy For Dummies. Am I rambling?


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Production: 5


 



Written on 14.11.2011 by Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.


Comments page 3 / 3

Comments: 71   Visited by: 428 users
17.11.2011 - 09:32
Angelic Storm
Melodious
I kinda agree with Troy about the production, although 5 may be a little overly harsh... I much prefer the production on "Pitch Black Progress", for while it's far from being raw and sounding cheaply produced, the sound has an edge, a punch, and just a touch of raw jaggedness that does make the songs sound heavier and a bit more "in your face" than the new album's sound.
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17.11.2011 - 09:36
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Angelic Storm on 17.11.2011 at 09:32
I kinda agree with Troy about the production, although 5 may be a little overly harsh...

I go by the MS rating scale. 5 = not good. If 7 was for "not good" then I'd give the production a 7.

I'd almost like to have little sentences for each category as opposed to numbers. A good example why would be my conversation with Garth Vader; you can't tell a story with just a number.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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17.11.2011 - 09:42
Angelic Storm
Melodious
Written by Troy Killjoy on 17.11.2011 at 09:36
I go by the MS rating scale. 5 = not good. If 7 was for "not good" then I'd give the production a 7.

I'd almost like to have little sentences for each category as opposed to numbers. A good example why would be my conversation with Garth Vader; you can't tell a story with just a number.


Well, I guess I just myself personally don't think it's THAT bad. I do prefer the production on the earlier SS albums... It's the same style of music, but the rawer and less plastic production gives the guitar sound a bit of bite, and the mainstream sounding melodies don't come off as being quite so poppy, even if in actual fact they are.

And yep, sometimes just a number can't give the full story on your opinion.
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17.11.2011 - 17:04
hadriel
Written by Troy Killjoy on 17.11.2011 at 09:36

Written by Angelic Storm on 17.11.2011 at 09:32
I kinda agree with Troy about the production, although 5 may be a little overly harsh...

I'd almost like to have little sentences for each category as opposed to numbers. A good example why would be my conversation with Garth Vader; you can't tell a story with just a number.


Isn't that what the review is for?

All told, can't argue with the review. Everything is justified (and the comment discussion/justification adds even more to this). The ratings are probably a little over-exaggerated, the album was filled with a lot of this 'cheese', but overall I still find SS's delivery to still be of a higher quality than 80% of the other bands out there that are similar to them... but I guess that's really not saying all too much good about them still. I still enjoy old SS because they were one of those 'gateway' bands that got me into the metal I listen to now and to a certain extent I think I still enjoy this album a little bit just due to that nostalgia... but Holographic Universe is really the only album I respect from a technical aspect; and even it still contains a pretty hefty amount of this so-called 'cheese' factor. I'm rambling now...great review as per usual.
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17.11.2011 - 19:43
psykometal
A staff guy...
I don't think Christian is a god but I am a fan (yes I do think Mikael Akerfeldt does it better) and I personally don't care much for the new guys. I would agree the music is the same and musically they were very "mid-range" and if they didn't have Christian I probably wouldn't have ever gotten into them. I wouldn't say that everything Christian has done is gold but I do think he is a very talented vocalist (imo he made SS) and I do enjoy everything I've listened to that features his vocals (Scar Symmetry, Solution .45, Miseration and his various guest work) so for me SS is just another "mid-range" [mediocre] "good cop/bad cop" melodeath band now. I always found it hilarious that SS had to replace Christian with 2 guys; guess they felt that Christian was some kind of god and no match could be found in any mere single mortal...
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~Zep, Database and Forum Moderation~

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17.11.2011 - 20:00
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by hadriel on 17.11.2011 at 17:04
Isn't that what the review is for?
I'm rambling now...great review as per usual.

You dick. Ya, I just don't like delving too much into technical aspects like that. I guess my review style has changed, I focus more on the implications that the album had on me and only mention the tech aspects to give the reader an idea of what it sounds like, as opposed to the opposite which is what I used to try and do.

And thanks! Didn't know you've been reading up on my stuff.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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18.11.2011 - 07:30
Grody2themax
Written by Troy Killjoy on 17.11.2011 at 09:36

Written by Angelic Storm on 17.11.2011 at 09:32
I kinda agree with Troy about the production, although 5 may be a little overly harsh...

I go by the MS rating scale. 5 = not good. If 7 was for "not good" then I'd give the production a 7.

I'd almost like to have little sentences for each category as opposed to numbers. A good example why would be my conversation with Garth Vader; you can't tell a story with just a number.


It's complicated though. The album production could be very good and professional technically speaking, which would make it better than a 5. But, if you're looking at it like "this shit sucks, it doesn't even sound like humans are playing it", or in other words it sounds too "plastic". Im with you on the over produced though, but I can like a well produced album just as much as long as the sound of the musicians and producer is authentic.
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18.11.2011 - 07:38
hadriel
Written by Troy Killjoy on 17.11.2011 at 20:00

Written by hadriel on 17.11.2011 at 17:04
Isn't that what the review is for?
I'm rambling now...great review as per usual.

You dick. Ya, I just don't like delving too much into technical aspects like that. I guess my review style has changed, I focus more on the implications that the album had on me and only mention the tech aspects to give the reader an idea of what it sounds like, as opposed to the opposite which is what I used to try and do.

And thanks! Didn't know you've been reading up on my stuff.


haha just being hard on ya. I prefer your newer review style too, it's what motivated me to check out some of my favorites this year like deafheaven and WoD. I think I started reading all of your reviews after the deafheaven one actually. Keep'em coming it's all good stuff.
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21.11.2011 - 05:22
Butters49
Gothernburg gets so repedative so fast...
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"Sataaaaaaaaan. Yeah yeah!"
-King Diamond
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23.11.2011 - 03:50
Kennoth
IDK... first three albums were golden. This albums isn't BAD per se, but I just can't really enjoy it. It gets too old, too fast.
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*insert something deep and profound*
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24.11.2011 - 04:44
stationarytravel
Account deleted
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.11.2011 at 07:49

Written by Angelic Storm on 16.11.2011 at 07:47
But I definitely smell a troll here...

Agreed, and ignored.


Your trawl detectors are failing bro.
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