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Christian Älvestam – Self 2.0

Christian Älvestam

Self 2.0

01. Once Adreamed
02. Time To Let Go
03. Origins
04. The Unforsaken
05. En Knippa Ljung

[10/19/12]
[Pivotal Rockordings]

Christian Älvestam’s name usually pops up in three separate categories of conversation; why Scar Symmetry was so much better or worse with him, how he manages to play a role in approximately four thousand good bands, or heated debates over his live performances. Now, surprisingly enough, his name can be safely worked into conversations dealing with pop music.

Despite clocking in at a little over 26 minutes, Self 2.0 manages to pack in more hooks than your average fishing trip, grabbing you right from the start with the synth-laden, twist-turn saxophone soloing, undeniably groovy ‘Once Adreamed.’  Much like the songs that come after it, the song provides memorable vocal melodies and well-thought out lyrics in the verses that gently push you along to the gargantuan chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for hours on end. The bonus about this seemingly formulaic approach to a pop song (and pop release) is that it never manages to rely on boring chord progressions, note choices, or instrumentation. Each song has its own unique signature that makes it stand out from the rest, but doesn’t set it too far apart where the release doesn’t flow as a singular work.

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Hell yeah!

Did you really expect Christian Älvestam (ex-vocalist of Scar Symmetry) to have done something that wasn’t fantastic? This is the man that had to have two vocalists fill his shoes in Scar Symmetry. The man who guests on every single album to ever be released and even manages to get a smash-hit electronica song in there with DJ Henrik B. The man with the most jealousy-inducing handlebar moustache ever. Now he’s cranking out astounding pop-flavored tunes on his solo EP, Self 2.0, which is for fans of artists like Michael Cretu (Enigma), Dead Letter Circus, Mute Math and Pendulum. If you’re still not convinced, here’s what Älvestam has to say-

It’s not exactly a secret that I have a weak spot for more pop-oriented stuff – especially in the vein of the sound of the ’80’s. In fact, I have always been listening to softer music, alongside the heavier stuff, which is probably why my own music so often, unintentionally, tends to end up being a mixture of the two. I simply can’t help myself when it comes to merging the aforesaid styles together, it seems. I’d like to call it unavoidable influence, as a direct result of having been indoctrinated with both, from childhood upwards. With that said, fighting against it is not an easy thing, whether you want to or not. At the same time, some would call it a mixed blessing I guess. Anyhow, I wanted to do something a bit different from what I usually do for a long time now and that is to make an all stripped-down and laidback album, where I use my clean vocals only. Those who have followed me since the early days know I’ve made brief digressions, musically, of that sort before, like the ‘Final State‘-trilogy (Unmoored) and ‘Lethean Tears‘ (Solution .45), to name a few, so it’s not like Self 2.0 is me heading out into completely unexplored territory. I’ve been there before, grubbing in its periphery. Then again, I guess you could see Self 2.0 as me going all the way for the first time, if you like!

Self 2.0 will be a digital-only release through Pivotal Rockordings on October 19th!

– GK

In light of  Scar Symmetry releasing a new track from their new album “The Unseen Empire”, some fans have expressed their desire to hear ex-vocalist Christian Alvestam (of Miseration and Solution .45) on vocals again. Guitarist Per Nilsson responded to comments, saying Christian was replaced because he can’t sing his clean vocals parts well enough live, among other personal reasons. Here’s an excerpt from his full statement:

“The main reason why we kicked Christian out of the band was him refusing to tour. After recording Holographic Universe, he told us that there was no way he would be able to perform most of the album live – because the melodies were to high-pitched for him and the transitions between growls and cleans too complex to reproduce live. During the tours we did with him in support of Pitch Black Progress he had a really hard time singing his parts – sure he had a few decent nights but most of the time he was waaaaay off pitch-wise, to the point where people around us, like the crew and the other bands, suggested we should have someone else sing the clean parts.

[...]

Lars and Roberth [the new vocalists replacing Alvestam] sound great live – very close to what they do on the albums. To tell you the truth, we didn’t have to use anything near as much pitch-correction in the studio with Lars than we had to with Christian. While some people might not fancy Lars’ voice, I’ve gotta tell you, he is the real deal. Sure he’s had some off nights too, especially the first shows we did with him, but he has grown a lot since joining the band. When you get to hear the new album in it’s entirety you’ll hear for yourselves the progress he’s made.”

Personally, I like both Alvestam’s voice and the new duo, but not being able to sing well live is not cool at all. Of course, this is just a statement by one person, but I am inclined to believe him.

Here’s the new song again, in case you missed it the first time it was posted:

- N.

Omnium Gatherum

New World Shadows

01. Everfields
02. Ego
03. New World Shadows
04. Soul Journeys
05. Nova Flame
06. An Infinite Mind
07. Watcher of the Skies
08. The Distance
09. Deep Cold

[03/01/11]
[Lifeforce Records]

Disclaimer:  Omnium Gatherum is a band I’ve loved for forever, it seems.  But much like my Evergrey review, I entered this review completely free of bias or favoritism.  Let’s not waste any time, shall we?

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