Scar Symmetry

The Unseen Empire

01. The Anomaly
02. Illuminoid Dream Sequence
03. Extinction Mantra
04. Seers of the Schaton
05. Domination Agenda
06. Astronomicon
07. Rise of the Reptilian Regime
08. The Draconian Arrival
09. Alpha and Omega

[05/17/11]
[Nuclear Blast]

Did you know the definition of insanity—according to Albert Einstein—is doing the same thing numerous times and expecting a different result? Interesting fact. I know a few people who were waiting out for the new Scar Symmetry and apparently expecting them to become a different band and were disappointed by The Unseen Empire. Really? Careers of metal bands tend to follow a trajectory that is easy to predict, and Scar Symmetry have always been remarkably consistent.

At its core, The Unseen Empire isn’t really any different from the Scar Symmetry we’ve come to expect. It’s pop metal through and through, combining technically proficient melodic death metal with 80’s pop rock; there’s a reason they’ve picked up the nickname ‘Death Jovi’. For some, the idea of blending the two styles may seem like a blasphemy, but it works quite well in context—especially when combined with phenomenal soloing and riffage. “Illuminoid Dream Sequence” features the best riff I’ve heard all year. You’ll know it when you hear it.

Dance beats, soulful singing, blistering solos, melodic layers of synth, ominous death growls—all come in spades and save The Unseen Empire from monotony. One of Scar Symmetry’s selling points lies in their preservation of technical bouts of showmanship. In that respect, the band is still going strong and keeping a few roots planted in death metal soul. There’s nary a technical flaw in place.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the album isn’t very memorable. Despite how catchy the tunes sound, they don’t exactly beg repeated listens. Unless you’re a huge Scar Symmetry fan, why would you? We’ve heard a majority of these songs countless times. Between Scar Symmetry’s past work, Soilwork, and Mercenary, there’s only so many songs in this style to be written. It’s not that the music is bad, because it’s theoretically quite good; Scar Symmetry seems to be that band everyone says I should like, but it doesn’t really work out much beyond a few select songs. The few songs that do stand out though are certainly ear worms that you’ll be singing along to for years to come. It’s a shame that the rest of the work is middle of the road modern metal.

Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire gets…

3/5

– JR

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