Concept albums always feel so hit or miss to me. Sometimes the story just doesn’t seem properly conveyed, or even all that interesting enough. Other times it feels like the music takes a bit of a backseat in favor for the story. So, when it was announced that Scar Symmetry is going to work on a 3-album concept trilogy based around a techno-apocalyptic sci-fi story, I was a little interested but still a little wary of what was to come. But even when embarking on an ambitious project, it’s pretty clear with the first installment that Scar Symmetry knows what they’re doing.
This trilogy is titled The Singularity, and each release is going to represent a new phase; the first of which being Neohumanity. The story of The Singularity revolves around the future, in a time where humanity has created “artilects”, or “artificial intellects” with capabilities that supersede any human capability in intellect. Artificial brains become a booming industry. But there will be those who embrace it, and those who oppose it, especially when different artilects can be added to human bodies, paving the way for the cyborg and human divide. It’s a pretty interesting sci-fi concept to dedicate a trilogy of albums around, and I feel it’s even deep enough to be able to devote 3 whole albums towards.
Being that Neohumanity, and the next two proceeding albums are heavy on the story, there needs to be a proper musical channel to move the story along. Progressive metal is a tried and true outlet for story-driven metal, and that is definitely the predominant style in Neohumanity. It’s mixed in with their style of melodic death metal, and at times even a little power metal flavors strewn about. “Limits To Infinity” begins quite bombastically with powerful drums and full guitars, and breakdowns pretty seamlessly to a much less aggressive and driving sound. This was also the first track I heard that gave me some of those power metal flavors that really got me interested in wanting to hear a lot more. However, you still have a good amount of heavy coming from Neohumanity. The closing track, “Technocalptic Cybergeddon”, is probably the most death metal the album ever gets. But it’s very clear that the distinctive melodic death metal moments are meant not to take predominance over those powerful and atmospheric melodic moments.
And to be honest, at first it was kind of difficult not to ride the album off upon first listen. I mean, when I think of Scar Symmetry, I’m thinking of a great balance between the melodic and the death. I wasn’t really into the more power metalish moments and was just going to call this album simply ok. But upon listening to it a lot more, Neohumanity just kept growing on me. The choruses got stuck in my head for hours on end, the atmosphere kept pulling me into their created apocalyptic future, and the blend of styles in their music eventually won me over completely. “Cryonic Harvest”, for example, begins on a very ethereal note with slow building drums under atmospheric guitars until everyone comes in full, and suddenly we’re brought back to the death metal sensibilities. And in the same song, we get the catchiest chorus on the whole album for me, definite progressive elements in the guitar solo, and vivid storytelling all in one package. “Cryonic Harvest” is almost the perfect amalgam of Scar Symmetry’s synthesis of these different styles of metal, and maybe even the strongest overall track on Neohumanity.
If Phase 1 – Neohumanity is the sign of things to come from Scar Symmetry and The Singularity trilogy, then we should be on the edges of our seats with anticipation. Melodic death metal fans should view this as a must, and anyone else who enjoys their metal a little on the progressive side. I am definitely looking forward to covering the future installments of The Singularity, and the bar has already been set quite high.
Posted by Sol on October 29, 2014