Scar Symmetry - Holographic Universe review



Reviewer:
9.4

486 users:
8.61
Band: Scar Symmetry
Album: Holographic Universe
Release date: June 2008


01. Morphogenesis
02. Timewave Zero
03. Quantumleaper
04. Artificial Sun Projection
05. The Missing Coordinates
06. Ghost Prototype I - Measurement Of Thought
07. Fear Catalyst
08. Trapezoid
09. Prism And Gate
10. Holographic Universe
11. The Three-Dimensional Shadow
12. Ghost Prototype II - Deus Ex Machina


Theme-wise, Holographic Universe is a continuation of Scar Symmetry's exploration of 'time and space' and which also turns out to be vocal extraordinaire, Christian Älvestam's swansong with the band.

At face value the album sleeve compliments the title of the album well, the music and lyrics are very well integrated within the entire concept of the album and in turn beautifully incorporated within the artwork.

The 'electronic' sounding keyboard at the beginning of album opener, "Morphogenesis" definitely ties in with the 80's 'Synth/Electronic-era' and gives Scar Symmetry's music that breath of fresh air. The precise playing of the instruments provides a machine-like/ constructed sound, yet it's freed up by flowing guitar melodies and Älvestam's voice which becomes the beating heart of this 'mechanized' vessel.

Throughout the album the keyboard is used well as an extra layer and creates a fuller, more atmospheric dimension which is typical of Scar Symmetry. As usual the production of the album is massive, top-notch musicianship and more mature song writing experience this time around. Experimentation is kept to a minimum, however the touches of progression are done in a very professional and considered manner.

In general the album flows well together with the odd recycled song thrown in the mix (for example, "Quantumleaper") it does not however deter from the overall feel of the album since these moments are few and soon replaced by interesting and fresh elements (for example the intro of "Artificial Sun Projector" and soaring choruses such as "Prism And Gate"). The fragmented way in which the title track has been dissected results in an entertaining listen with surprising elements keeping you hooked. It serves as a coherent whole and free-flowing experience. Overall the machine-like rhythmic precision continues smoothly until the listener receives a 'wake-up call' with "Three-dimensional Shadow's" factory-like 'hole-punching' opening riff. Guitar solos blend well within the songs and form a perfect bridging element between passages.

Älvestam's years of experimenting with and refining his voice proves to be successful as the contrast between the clean/heavy vocals are perfectly balanced. They compliment each other and can be considered as his best performance to date. Holographic Universe is not easily digested in one listen and I would urge the listener to invest a good amount of time in discovering the deeper aspects of each song individually (revealing 'hidden' elements not picked up by merely skimming through them).

After the success of the first two albums, Holographic Universe cements the band's reputation as an undeniable entity within their respective genre.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10

Written by Valaskjalf | 09.10.2009


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 17   Visited by: 197 users
09.10.2009 - 13:08
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
This was a hollow release that turned me off Scar Symmetry and put me to sleep during my varied attempts at listening to it in its entirety. 4.5/10
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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09.10.2009 - 15:13
Valaskjalf
TheImperturbable
Strange....I felt it was stronger than Pitch Black Progress. Not as "heavy" but musically better and more diverse with more layers to it. But generally a similar feel to the previous two.

Would be cool if you could describe why you felt it was hollow.
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IF THE MILK IS SOUR...I AINT THE KINDA PUSSY TO DRINK IT
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09.10.2009 - 17:03
MétalNoir
Fils du Lys
Great album, but 9.4 is too high IMO...I'd give it 8.5 or something like that. The vocals and overall atmosphere are very strong, but many songs sound too similar. I love the keyboards on it.
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Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
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09.10.2009 - 19:41
Valaskjalf
TheImperturbable
Written by MétalNoir on 09.10.2009 at 17:03

Great album, but 9.4 is too high IMO...I'd give it 8.5 or something like that. The vocals and overall atmosphere are very strong, but many songs sound too similar. I love the keyboards on it.


Yeah Im usually not one to give very high ratings, and Im pretty hard to please and it took me a while to get totally into this album. At first I didnt even like it at all, but the more i listened to it the more I could see the differences between the "similar" songs. But again its just a matter of opinion hehe Ive given my 9.4/10, other dude who posted first 4.5/10 and you with 8.5/10....I stick to my rating though, to me its stronger than Pitch Black and close to Symmetric In Design - I just prefer the good balance beween the catchiness and heavier parts a lot and the close relation to its concept. When I listen to the album I can really get a feeling of the whole "holographic" vibe.
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IF THE MILK IS SOUR...I AINT THE KINDA PUSSY TO DRINK IT
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09.10.2009 - 20:22
Aeox
The 'formula' for every Scar Symmetry album has been the same, since Symmetric in Design it's been a progression - if you like the first album, I can't see why you wouldn't like any of the other or rate it poorly. Every album has had it's strong and weaker songs.
The quality of the production has improved, as well as some of the arrangements... either you like Scar Symmetry, or you don't - they haven't changed their sound or even their song quality enough so that you can rate it a lot lower then the other albums.
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09.10.2009 - 20:32
Valaskjalf
TheImperturbable
Exactly...all the albums are more or less the same theyve never veered off from their original sound and when you hear Scar Symmetry in 2004 or 2009 with their new vocalists you know its them. Inherently they've always been the same with subtle differences between each album. I happen to think the progression which lead to Holographic Universe turned out to be their strongest
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IF THE MILK IS SOUR...I AINT THE KINDA PUSSY TO DRINK IT
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10.10.2009 - 00:40
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Wow I feel like an idiot after reading over my previous comment. Clearly this is their 2008 release...

Those comments were under the impression that this was their 2009 release. I haven't actually listened to this album yet... My bad.

But to answer in regards to my statement on the album being hollow (Dark Matter Dimensions), I just felt like the entire album lacked any "kick". It was just riff, riff, riff and then it ended. The vocals are horrendous as well, but that's another story.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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10.10.2009 - 03:24
Vitriolic Hate
Chaos Reaper
Excelent review totally agreed!!!
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10.10.2009 - 06:49
VanHelsing
I wholeheartedly agree, although I still like Pitch Black Progress better . Nice review!
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-V
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22.10.2010 - 01:48
RockeRoy
Good review, good album:)
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You found god? If nobody claims him in thirty days, he's yours

Walk with me in hell
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29.10.2010 - 02:15
freakymrq
Chaosweaver!!!!! enough said but seriously holographic universe is awesome like quantom leaper
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Life......
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07.01.2011 - 14:18
ShadowKind
These guys are the reason I started up a band, I love Holographic Universe but I'm not a massive fan of there new singers but they are getting better.
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Metal is my life (ShadowKind www.last.fm/music/shadowkind/delusion
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10.01.2011 - 14:45
Angelic Storm
Melodious
Definitely overall, the band's most melodic album. It contains a couple of weak-ish tracks, and is definitely eclipsed by its awesome predecessor, but its still a mostly great album filled with catchy, hooky melodies, and the occassional barracking riff. "Quantumleaper" is probably my fave song, although "Timewave Zero", "Ghost Prototype 1" and "Trapezoid" are also amazing tracks. xD
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05.05.2011 - 19:47
FrozenJoy
I found this album somehow weird the first time I listened to it, maybe because of the electronic parts... And it took me some time to get into it, but now, I really like the album... It's a pity I haven't listened to any other Scar Symmetry album yet...
Morphogenesis, Quantumleaper, Artificial Sun Projection, The Missing Coordinates, and Holographic Universe are awesome
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18.06.2012 - 21:20
GrayWiZZarD
Account deleted
I love Morphogenesis, Timewave Zero, Quantumleaper and Artificial Sun Projection always makes me to bang my head.

By far the best MeloDeath album....
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20.06.2012 - 04:50
Necrox
Last track is amazing. This is one of the best melodeath albums I've heard; deeper and more distinct than their latest
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08.10.2012 - 05:29
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
I got this one based on the high rating on this site but I have odd feelings about the album. I think they've taken the melodic component a bit too far. It just sounds like pop metal to me. Easy listening pop metal. The harsh vocals don't sound convincing to me - there just doesn't appear to be any real aggression. Don't get me wrong, I think it's an okay album but nowhere near the class of other melodic death metal (or Gothenberg) albums. I know this might get a few noses out of joint because there appears to be some big fans of this one. Sorry guys, this is lame.
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The sun shines over The Fool...
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