Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.
Scar Symmetry
Symmetric In Design
Nuclear Blast
10/4/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Scar Symmetry - Symmetric In Design - 2005 - Nuclear Blast

Track Listing
1. Chaosweaver
2. 2012 - The Demise Of The 5th Sun
3. Dominion
4. Underneath The Surface
5. Reborn
6. Veil Of Illusions
7. Obscure Alliance
8. Hybrid Cult
9. Orchestrate The Infinite
10. Detach From The Outcome
11. Seeds Of Rebellion
12. The Eleventh Sphere
Sweden's Scar Symmetry dare to do what most death metal bands refuse to do, that is simply creating catchy, innovative song structures that take into effect hook, diverse vocals, atmosphere, but not limiting the amount of force or aggression used to convey those elements to the casual death metal listener. Sure, it is a lot to take in based on that one sentence, but "Symmetric In Design" is based off of those blueprints, that set of building blocks that encourage more building and new heights.

The band was formed by Jonas Kjellgren (Carnal Forge, Centinex), Henrik Ohlsson (Theory In Practice, Mutant), Per Nillson (Altered Aeon), Christian Alvestam (Unmoored, Incapacity), and Kenneth Seil. The basic ideals set forth is to create intricate death metal patterns and structures but still make it easily acceptable to the general metal community. I believe they achive their goals, with the band's material easily merging the two parties together under one roof. On one side we easily have a solid death metal working form, a basis to build on and go forth. On the other side we have a more progressive, AOR flavor that uses clean vocals, pop-styled syths, and neo-classical styled guitar riffs. The two come together perfectly to create a stellar affair, a big flashy sound that is crunchy, brutal, unique, and mesmerizing, all draped in an original, experimental motion that dares to bend the rules and break down the many walls put into effect by the limited death genre.

Vocalist Christian Alvestam plays double-duty here, capturing that brutal, sadistic register made famous by legendary death singers like Dan Swano (Bloodbath, Edge Of Sanity) and Peter Tagtgren (Hypocrisy, Lock-Up). His clean voice is a progressive tone, a smooth delivery that is quite moving and emotional, almost bordering on the likes of AOR styled radio rock. It shouldn't fit into this band mold but it does perfectly. The only other time I can remember this working this well was Dan Swano's "Moontower" release, which used some clean singing, a majority of death growls, and the King Crimson styled keyboards. The keys that are in place on "Symmetric In Design" are very spacey, leaning more towards the "space rock" of the 70s.

With huge bombastic hooks running through brutal stomps like opener "Chaosweaver" and "Dominion", extreme fans will find plenty to sink into and indulge in. But other songs like "2012 - The Demise Of The 5th Sun" allow for so much room and experimentation. My favorite songs are the ones that mix both styles in perfectly, evident on "Orchestrate The Infinite" and "Hybrid Cult". Overall this is a monumental achievment and one that really beats to it's own drum. I for one can't remember any other albums that are quite on par with this. As I mentioned other bands have attempted to merge everything in but never have managed the task this well.

"Symmetric In Design" is one for the ages.

--EC 09.22.05

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