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#TBT: Kickin' Off MeloDeath March with SCAR SYMMETRY's Holographic Universe

Posted by on March 7, 2019 at 10:37 am

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. TBT number 62 kicks off a month featuring one of my favorite genres in the metalverse: Melodeath. It should come as no surprise that an act from metal-mother country Sweden kicks off Melodeath March for us. The sweet, black soil of the Nordic land has sprouted some of the best acts in metal history. Scar Symmetry is no exception – especially when we consider their third studio album release Holographic Universe.

SCAR SYMMETRY'S HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE

Release Date: June 2008

Record Label: Nuclear Blast 

If early Soilwork and In Flames had a baby, Scar Symmetry would be their deathy, melodic child. Because their music embodies many popular stylings of the turn-of-the-century Gothenburg sound, Scar Symmetry's Holographic Universe serves up some of the best highlights that Scandinavian melodeath has to offer. Album opener "Morphogenesis" is chuggy, melody intense, and a damn good time. And, there's an OFFICAL VIDEO for the song:

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Boy howdy do I love official music videos, and if you're new here to TBT, here's my reasoning: Usually, these kinds of videos are bloated, clunky, and awkward – but I appreciate the effort. In an era of dead MTV, music videos are something a fan has to seek out and in terms of the modern metal head, we don't need these pieces of art to enjoy a band any more than we already do. In that light, official music videos are sort of a dead art so whenever they're done, I'm all giddy with excitement.

Despite the sheer talent of Scar Symmetry, Holographic Universe isn't album isn't for everyone. For the uninitiated, Holographic Universe is a bit one-note throughout. Bright and expressive distortion, tight drums, and fast, bendy, wandering, scale-clad solos infiltrate almost every track. Holographic Universe pushes vocal performances and element layering to a whole new level. In fact, each piece of the band pushes harder in this album, more fully realizing their potential – and for that reason, Holographic Universe is an outstanding selection not only in terms of  Scar Symmetry's career – but also in terms of melodic death metal in general. Check out the track "The Missing Coordinates":

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One of the things that sets Holographic Universe apart from other like-offerings is the aforementioned vocal performance. The growls are balls of deep, black static, and the clean vocal melodies feel capable and impassioned while they explore new heights of emotional expression. "Ghost Prototype 1 – Measurement of Thought" is a great example of this:

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The formula that the band has been creating for themselves over their previous two albums solidifies into a focus and precision in Holographic Universe. The album, as a whole, doesn't leave any stone unturned. Each track is a banger, and the coursing energy that penetrates each song is infectious. Upon re-listening to this album, I am really impressed by the precision in the song writing and how, despite the dynamics of each part, such complicated pieces can weave together so gorgeously. There is a lot going on with each instrument and to produce an album that sounds so cohesive is an impressive feat.  This is the last album of Scar Symmetry to feature vocalist Christian Älvestam, and his range shines on songs like "Prism and Gate":

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In terms of melodeath, Holographic Universe is all the dancy, heavy, juicy, lick-laden, speedy, cacophonous parts of metal in one supremely satisfying listen. If you're looking for something lush and melodic to motivate your Thursday, Holographic Universe is the shot of adrenaline you're looking for.

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