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The Unseen Empire

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The old axiom seems fool-proof: When a genre seems to have hit a wall of mediocrity, along comes a young band to invigorate it. Hailing from Sweden - a mecca for melodic death metal - Scar Symmetry's music successfully merges harmony, melody, brutality, exceptional songwriting, and complex instrumentation. The Unseen Empire, the band's fifth release, maps the continual expansion of their hybrid brand of intoxicating, modern melodic death metal. The band's name - thought into existence by drummer Ohlsson - denotes a peculiar balance. A combination of a "hard" word (scar), and a "soft" word (symmetry), it symbolizes the emotional scars everyone harvests from living a human life and the symmetry we share with each other as a result. Scar Symmetry have proven to be an exceptional assemblage of talents able to produce an eccentric mixture of metal that can only be described as an intoxicating, modern hybrid of melodic death metal. With the two vocalists now well in sync, Scar Symmetry remain the new go-to guys for quality Swedish death metal. Having made quite a name for themselves in North America through tours with Hypocrisy, The Haunted, Dark Tranquillity, Into Eternity and Katatonia, Scar Symmetry hit the mark again with The Unseen Empire!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nuclear Blast America
  • ASIN: B004Q1DFWO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,904 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As much as I don't want to beat a dead horse, let's face it, 2009's "Dark Matter Dimensions" was not a huge success. This isn't just my opinion; it has been stated by many Scar Symmetry fans across the globe that the album was a disappointment, even though it did attain pretty decent ratings. "DMD," for sure, had some good tracks including "The Iconoclast," "Nonhuman Era," "The Consciousness Eaters," and even the bonus track "Pariah," but overall it caused me to question whether the post-Christian Alvestam Scar Symmetry could continue to be worth listening to. To the few people who really enjoyed the album, I don't mean to offend in the slightest...it just is what it is.

Moving on, this new album "The Unseen Empire" is a return to form for Scar Symmetry. Part of my problem with "DMD" was that aside from the new vocals which weren't by any means amazing, even the music itself seemed lackluster. Rest assured, if you felt the same way about the previous effort, then "The Unseen Empire" should renew your faith in the band.
As soon as the album opener, "The Anomaly," kicks in, you know that you're in for melodic death metal at its finest. There's something to be said about just how efficient and precise the band is in crafting a perfect blend of ball-busting chugging riffs and catchy, clean choruses. On that note, it becomes very apparent that "The Unseen Empire" is perhaps the "chuggiest" album of the five released so far as evidenced by many of the tracks. Aside from that, I don't want to spend any more time discussing the musical sound of the album. This isn't because I'm lazy, but rather because realistically, most people reading this will already be familiar with Scar Symmetry's sound and this album is not very innovative in that regard.
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Format: Audio CD
Dark Matter Dimensions was a throw back for most fans. While critically praised for its technicality and much stronger progressive approach when compared to their previous albums, most fans generally considered it a colossal flop. Christian had just left the band, they'd recruited two vocalists to replace him, and Dark Matter Dimensions was their album to show they had made the right choice. Unfortunately, it did little to help their cause. While I am one of the few fans who genuinely enjoyed Dark Matter Dimensions, and indeed liked its more technical approach, I must admit it left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. It was not the Scar Symmetry I loved. Holographic Universe had become my favorite album of all time (an honor it currently still holds), and Dark Matter Dimensions showed a fairly radical shift in sound.

This is not Dark Matter Dimensions. The Unseen Empire scores where Dark Matter Dimensions failed: powerful, melody-driven music with a brutal dynamic to somehow make it seem even heavier than it actually is. This is the album Scar Symmetry fans have been waiting for, and it showcases some monstrous talent from both vocalists. Lars sounds so amazing, the void left by Christian and felt during Dark Matter Dimensions is now filled to the point I don't even miss Christian anymore. The overall sound is much akin to their first three albums, though admittedly there are fewer progressive moments in here. Where the progressive tendencies kick in (strongly in "Illuminoid Dream Sequence," "Astronomicon," and "The Draconian Arrival"), however, they are used to amazing effect, conjuring some of the best moments of the album.

Most importantly, this album succeeds in the same areas that Holographic Universe succeeded in.
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Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: MP3 Music
(EDIT: I will leave this original review unedited (save this edit), but please also see my comment to it that I recently posted. Thanks.)

This is the first time that a Scar Symmetry album has grown on me. Everything up to DMD was an instant 5 star for me. DMD was somewhat of a disappointment, in hindsight, but I still think I gave it 5 stars at the time.

There are a few songs on this album that I give instant 5 stars to. "The Anomaly" and "Illuminoid Dream Sequence" namely. They sound so good that they initially cast some shame onto the other tracks I thought. I'd put this album away for a few weeks after the initial honeymoon. But recently I've pulled it out again, and listened to the tracks that didn't initially grab me. I have to say that they have more staying power than half the tracks on DMD. This is a new experience for me, having Scar Symmetry grow on me later.

Overall, I'd give the album 4 stars, but I gave it 5 to offset the 1 star "rant" review on here. Yes, this style has been done before, but it's definitely not one star. If you don't like it, don't listen to it. Should I go onto all the country artists' pages and give them all 1 star because I don't like the genre? No. This is a well done album that has potentially more staying power than some previous work.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
(I'm writing this review to balance out the previous one-star review because this CD is undeserving of a vague, harsh critique with little redeeming merit).

I have heard this genre many times, but it is still fresh and exciting. It remains brand new to me! Nuclear Blast is releasing quality music to please listeners everywhere! Buy this diamond in the rough!
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