Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity) (2014)
Like a lot of Scar Symmetry fans, I was massively disappointed when Christian Alvestam left after the monumental "Holographic Universe" album in 2007 (still my all-time favorite melodeath album). His growls and clean vocals are simply some of the best I've ever heard and I doubted the band could be any good after that or, indeed, that it could even continue. The next two releases, "Dark Matter Dimensions" and "The Unseen Empire," somewhat reassured me of the band's vitality by featuring choice cuts such as "Sculptor Void" and "The Anomaly." However, up until this album, the first three albums with Alvestam were still my go-to Scar Symmetry albums.

"Neohumanity" is undoubtedly the band's best release since "Holographic Universe." The songwriting is superb and the songs are all catchy and exciting. This is arguably the band's most "progressive" album with two songs that reach past the 8-minute mark. The lyrical content is really interesting (I've always loved the bands sci-fi/philosophical themes) and the album is simply more memorable as a whole than the previous two. The growls are actually better than Alvestam's and make a fantastic contrast with the improved clean vocals. The cleans are still not quite as good as Alvestam's perfect, polished crooning, but they're more than good enough to get the job done and don't detract from the songs' catchiness at all.

If I had to pick a favorite song it would probably be "Neohuman." It's ambitious, bold, and holds my attention throughout. The riffs, solos, and keyboards are all fantastic, especially the Haken-esque circus bit. It's just a fantastic piece overall.

The award for best chorus though would probably go to "Neuromancers." Something about the melody just makes it really stick out.

The album ends with the supremely epic "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" which sounds like it could have fit on "Holographic Universe." The calm ending of the song is the perfect way to close out the album. 

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this record. I have a feeling that fans like myself who were lukewarm about the last two albums will really get into this one. I absolutely can't wait for Phases II and III. 

(Special thanks to Nuclear Blast Records for providing me an advanced copy.)


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