Patrick : Replacing a vocalist (m/f) within a band seems, no matter whatever a band tries to do, to lead to bickering among the fans. Just think of the posturing around Anette and Tarja or what of the bitterly complaining of the Judas Priest fans when Tim Owens had taken over the helm? A situation which might occur with Scar Symmetry, now Christian Älvestam has been replaced. Or are the newcomers Roberth Karlsson and Lars Palmqvist Älvestam good enough to forget about Älvestam?
It has to be said that both vocalists fit the sound of Scar Symmetry well, although the differences with Älvestam are definitely there. Roberth comes close to the brutal grunt of Älvestam, but the vocals of Lars are simply not as varied as those of his predecessor. His somewhat power metal-like voice do not suit the tracks that well everywhere and especially the choruses seem to be suffering from it. In short you could say that the new singers are presenting themselves well but the depth, force and variation, which Älvestam knew to give, is lacking.
Although the band itself indicated that they wanted to get away from the polished sound of 'Holographic Universe' and have sought a balance between brutality and a smooth, accessible sound at 'Dark Matter Dimensions', the six did not succeed. The new songs on the album seem to have shifted in a slightly more progressive direction with little less death metal elements than the previous material. At times the band sounds furious like before and bring backs the beautiful memories of 'Pitch Black Progress', but just as easily songs are pulled into forgetfulness by the sweet choruses and at times dominant clean vocals. 'Nonhuman Era' is an excellent example of this. Fortunately, the band - though to a lesser extent than before - still comes up with great compositions ('A Parenthesis In Eternity') what makes this album still rise above mediocrity, but the level of the previous three releases is, overall, not met.
Personally, the band has lost (a huge piece of) their brilliant touch with the loss of Älvestam. Nevertheless, the new singers fit the sound of the band well and this album is of good quality. Are you capable of forgetting about the quality of previous albums and will Scar Symmetry, with two new vocalists, get the time to prove themselves to you? A good change that in that case 'Dark Matter Dimensions' will be embraced by you.