Scar Symmetry Holographic Universe

Fresh off touring with fellow Scandinavians Katatonia and Insomnium, Sweden’s Scar Symmetry look to take the next step towards recognition with their third full-length. Such recognition is due, as this is a great album. Pinning down their sound is difficult, as Scar Symmetry take bits and pieces from all corners of the melodic death metal universe. Clean vocals from Soilwork, the electronic excellence of Dark Tranquillity and a surprisingly ear-friendly mix akin to newer In Flames coalesce and leave the listener with what is basically a brutal buffet (or smorgasbord, since they’re Swedish) of wonderful metal magic. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Holographic Universe is the performance of vocalist Christian Älvestam. Älvestam sings with a cleaner, more comprehensible style most of the time, and he sings well. The lighter side of the singing doesn’t come off as being over-the-top or out of key, fitting right in with the general mood of the songs. These vocals are contrasted with some vicious growls that add effective grit atop some of the chugging. This should have a spot on many year-end top ten lists. (Nuclear Blast)