Scar Symmetry Holographic Universe

At one level, Holographic Universe is typical Scar Symmetry (or as typical as a band’s third album can be): a solid, prog-inflected, melodic death metal record punctuated with tight vocal harmonies. But the deeper you get into this 12-track outing, the greater difference the details make in a cumulative effect — more smooth singing, flashy guitar work, synth flourishes, even a soft rock intro and interlude toward the end. None of this disrupts the balanced song structures or the basic equation of pounding, groove and flow that holds Scar Symmetry’s material together. But the ornamentation doesn’t all fit into place, and though it showcases the band’s skill, it does nothing for the record’s sense of depth. Some songs are more memorable than others but the package is just a little too showy and a little too pristine. (Nuclear Blast)