Scar Symmetry: The Singularity Phase II – Xenotaph – CD Review

Scar Symmetry: The Singularity Phase II – Xenotaph – CD Review

19th June 2023 1 By Owen Edmonds

Well it’s been a while since I’ve been able to review some new music. #reasons

And up now are Scar Symmetry, a melodic death metal band with a purpose and for the first time in nine years, a new album. Having recently re-signed with our friends at Nuclear Blast Records these Swedish rockers are going out on tour firstly supporting Meshuggah, then hitting some of the European festivals, sadly they don’t get anywhere near me. So until I can get my stuff in order and get over to the continent for a gig or two, I’ll have to make do with this new album. Sucks to be me I guess.

The Review

I’ve never been a massive fan of the growly singing you find with a lot of death metal bands. It’s not that it sounds sh1t or anything, I simply prefer a sung song if that makes any sort of sense. So I knew I would have to ensure that my own personal predilections wouldn’t influence this review. However, to be completely honest, I kinda think I failed a little in that goal. If you like melodic death metal, then this album could be for you.

‘Chrononautilus’ is pretty much full on from the first note with some really cool guitar pieces throughout. There is the typical harsh verse vocal and clean chorus vocal trope that I’ve heard many times before and for some reason I get a massive dose of Linkin Park from the chorus. Not sure where that came from, somewhere in the depths of my mind I guess I’m a Linkin Park fan. The chilled out break down half way through is lovely, good use of squealing guitar. One of the highlights of the album for me.

The first single from the album was ‘Scorched Quadrant’. Now I’ll be interested to find out if, like me, you think this sounds like a System of a Down song? Not necessarily all the way through, but there is something in the chorus that just moved my head into the SOAD space. It’s a very nice space, one that’s very comfortable for me, so the song works for me. It’s good. It isn’t playlist but I enjoyed it.

‘Hyperborean Plains’ starts off with a great guitar piece, before descending into the harsh vocals again. I enjoyed the first minute or so, but then I butt my head against these harsh vocals which just took me out of that head space I was in. I totally know that this is me, that it is my issue. Just look at it this way, if we all liked the same stuff, life would be pretty boring….. Unless you submitted to me choosing what we watched and listened too, then it would be great. 🙂

‘Gridworm’ is one of those songs that doesn’t quite work. Its heavy and intricate, then half way through it turns into a Tears for Fears record. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tears for Fears, but I don’t come to a melodic death metal band for that type of sound. The shift is really jarring, there’s no bridge. Thankfully, this is a one off.


I have an issue with harsh/growly vocals. This is my issue. There are many like it but this one is mine.  I’d probably say that I can live with (and even enjoy) maybe 25-30% of an album having those harsh, growly, guttural vocals. So if you take those away from this album then it would probably score higher. However, I can only give you my opinion, so here we go.

I really enjoy the music, the playing is superb. Really intricate and it kept me engaged throughout the album. If it was just the music, it’d be a strong 8/10. However, I have to contend with the vocals, the combination of harsh and clean doesn’t fully work for me. So if it was the vocals then it’d be a 6/10. I suppose giving it a 7/10 feels just about right. I’d like to see them live to see whether that would alter my opinion, but as I get older, I think I’m less inclined to change my mind about stuff.

I can well imagine someone really loving this album, it is well put together, the basics are done superbly. However, I can’t score it more. 

Score 7/10

Track Listing

  1. Chrononautilus
  2. Scorched Quadrant
  3. Overworld
  4. Altergeist
  5. Reichsfall
  6. Digiphrenia Dawn
  7. Hyperborean Plains
  8. Gridworm
  9. A Voyage With Tailed Meteors
  10. Soulscanner
  11. Xenotaph

Label – Nuclear Blast
Release – 9 June 2023

For all things Scar Symmetry, click HERE and to purchase the album, click HERE

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