Scar Symmetry
The Singularity (Phase I - Neohumanity)

The new Scar Symmetry isn’t just an ambitious sci-fi concept album – the first in a planned trilogy – it’s also the extreme metal equivalent of Voltron. Melodic death combines with progressive metal, fuses with classic 70s radio-rock, and then activates with a core of pure Transformers-soundtrack awesomeness.

Stan Bush and Vince DiCola: “Form feet and legs!”
KansasStyx, and Foreigner: “Form arms and body!”
Scar Symmetry: “And I’ll form the head!”

Yes, it is that badass. And being a sci-fi concept metal album, that naturally suggests lots of complex, swirling synths and electronic ambience along with pulse-rifle guitars and planet-cracking percussion, but The Singularity (Phase I – Neohumanity) is more than just Scar Symmetry’s version of Somewhere in Time. The band has always been a bit of a metal cyborg – steel skeleton outside, soft and squishy inside – and now that duality between heavy and hooky is more exhilarating than ever. There’s a confident embrace of clean vocals and gorgeous, sugary-sweet choruses on every track here – even more than on previous albums. It’s as if Per Nilsson built a portal into the writing room, punched straight into 1978, and blasted the band with a dose of AOR radiation.

This bold new sound launches with a grandiose 8-minute overture called “Neohuman,” which pulls crunchy melodic death, soaring clean choruses, and a debris cloud of pulsing electronics into its orbit before it goes supernova with a cosmic off-time prog odyssey. It’s unpredictable and inventive and was probably insanely complex to write and record, and yet it soars and shines like pure starlight. I can’t get enough of it.

The next three tracks are more streamlined starfighters, built for speed and armed with even catchier choruses. Good luck dodging the ear-candy asteroid of “Limits to Infinity,” it’s been stuck in my head for weeks. “Cryonic Harvest” and “Spiral Timeshift” each have a heavier dose of death vocals, but are also brightened by stunning melodies and progressive pyrotechnics. Then comes “Children of the Integrated Circuits,” an instrumental interlude that sounds like a Phantasy Star dungeon crawl, and another album standout called “Neuromancers,” with an arpeggiated opening that sounds like a 16-bit shmup boss battle set to metal. Album closer “Technocalyptic Cybergeddon” is aptly named, as it’s not just the fastest all-out assault, but also the most hybridized and keyboard-driven composition on the album.

What’s most amazing about The Singularity isn’t just its ultra-polished sound, or its complex compositions, or even those sugary, catchy, radio-rock choruses, but the fact that it’s the fastest 45 minutes I’ve heard all year. This album is so listenable it moves at lightspeed, and then it’s gone – or at least until Phase II makes skyfall, hopefully sometime in the not too-far future. I’m an absolute sucker for melody and this has all the overpowering force of Interstellar‘s black hole: in other words, prepare to lose hours of your life to The Singularity.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
November 10th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Guilliame

    I like this review!


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