Terry Nikas’ impressively clean, flamboyant peacock vocal is both a blessing and a curse and with the wall of gritty sound that fires off behind it, you certainly won’t miss it’s impact. Neither will you miss the guest vocal from Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne – he does that guttural second vocal that pops up for the somewhat messy “Ode To A Failure” (several of the song-titles are charmingly self-deprecating, yet no less prophetic). When you consider the Greek’s natural affinity to bands like Paradise Lost and Katatonia, it’s not a surprise to hear the cleans, but the surprisingly tuneless, grizzly bear gargles you will struggle to comprehend. It’s perhaps their attempt to connect with bands like the aforementioned Dark Tranquillity and Sonic Syndicate but, without successfully having nailed down a more aggressive sound to back it, such theatrics come off sounding pretty dire.
With names like Rhys Fulber and Greg Reely (both notable for their work with Paradise Lost, Fear Factory and Machine Head) helping to monkey around with the sound of the album, it’s no surprise that the backline is so accurate. The smack of the snare, the rumbling kick pedal, the resonantly symphonic wash of the keyboards, the razor-sharp solos, gritty chugs and riffs are all dialed in beautifully. When they combine for a spot of gorilla-chest beating, Scar Of The Sun even begin to share character traits with Iced Earth and Grand Magus. There’s also plenty of centre-shifting as they make the music wrap itself around your head – it’s a great album to play through your headphones. Only that efficiently clean vocal struggles to consistently keep up with the punch. They’ve tried doubling it up as much as possible, adding reverb and dropping the bass down. They load it with effects for the title-track and the catchy “Gravity” with some neat programming touches and this is where it seems to hold it’s own, but on tracks that come in fits and starts (like the uber-thrashy “8th Ocean Dried”, “Disciple Of The Sun” and “A Pause In The Disaster” with it’s achingly slothful delivery and odd mid-track, half-beat lope) it feels too far detached from the music.
Despite this, the latter half of the album fares better than the first, and the emphatic rise and fall of “Burn The Memory” and the main bulk of “I Lost” go some way to crashing home just how effortlessly vast this band can sound when they don’t try to overcomplicate matters. Inevitably, their meddling with song structures is really where this crazy album falls down most obviously. Their tendency to ride roughshod over genres without genuinely getting to grips with any one of them is infuriating. It leads one to speculate that maybe this so-called “series of unfortunate concurrences” is Scar Of The Sun’s way of admitting this fact. If you still like the principle idea of a crossover band that provide a chameleon-like pacing, giving you both an instant hit and an emotive journey, there are so many better musical zoos you can visit than this one.
Also online @ The New Review = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/scar-of-the-sun-a-series-of-unfortunate-concurrencies