While they toyed with it on their previous outings Scar Symmetry have now fully embraced the pomp that used to pepper their tracks. In turn, "Holographic Universe" is a rather bizarre album that can go anywhere from the oppressive symphonies one would almost expect of a non-corpse painted Dimmu Borgir all the way to progged out Dream Theater-like wankery.
This chaotic mixture, which is a lot like a beefed-up roid raging Soilwork, is a slave to its many mood swings and this is where the action heats up. However, for every somewhat trippy prog passage or downright brutal death/thrash-oriented lunge, there are rather fruity melodic choruses and cheesy moments that might as well have been done by a group like Journey. Furthermore, the gloss of an electronic edge is ever-prevalent, and while atmospheric, it can easily get in the way of the groups Meshuggah-like moments.
The odd thing is, despite all these odds and ends being utilized, there is a focus and ability to structure them in a way that is strangely somewhat natural. Still, this is an album that will require a considerable amount of open-mindedness. Even while prepared for it, it's surprisingly hard to fully absorb, and at times, even take serious. That said if you want more REO Speedwagon with your Swedish metal or you're a DragonForce fan wanting a bit more heaviness than power metal generally offers, "Holographic Universe" will readily become your new reality.
(3 / 5)