Interview with drummer Henrik Ohlsson from Scar Symmetry (April 12th 2006)

- Hi, first off all I want to congratulate you with your new album “Pitch Black Progress”. Awesome album, I can’t stop listening to it! Are you satisfied with it?
Henrik - Yeah, we’re very satisfied with this album. It`s the next logical step in our musical evolution and I think we managed to keep all our key ingredients from the first album as well.

- Where do you see the main difference between your debut album “Symmetric in Design” and your new album?
Henrik - I think that this album is perhaps a bit darker, it’s definitely more diverse and it has a more experimental feel to it compared to the debut album.

- How did you get your name, Scar Symmetry?
Henrik -
I came up with the name when we started thinking about what to call this band. Scar Symmetry sort of symbolizes the different aspects of human life, where you certainly get your share of emotional scars but also see synchronicity and symmetry in everything. The positive can’t exist without the negative and both are needed for anything to exist in the first place. So the band name reflects that.

- In what words would you describe the music and moods of Scar Symmetry for someone that has not heard you yet?
Henrik - Very emotional at times, very brutal at times. There’s a lot of melody in the music but also a fair share of brutality and some progressive elements, I think you can find pieces of every metal genre in our music even though we belong in the category “melodic death metal”.

- “Pitch Black Progress” is both “catchy” and aggressive. What, in your opinion, separates a good Thrash or Melodic Death Metal band from a bad one?
Henrik - The songs. I think the composition is the most important thing because everything stands and falls with that, you need to create songs that are memorable and that mean something to the listener. You gotta evoke feelings in the listener by using diversity and catchiness.

- What’s the song you consider most representative of the new album and why?
Henrik -
I don’t know if I can say that ONE song can define what “Pitch Black Progress” is all about because the songs differ quite a lot from each other in many ways. But if you hear a song like “Slaves to the Subliminal” I think you can catch most of the elements present in our music.

- Do you feel that your sound will evolve in some different direction, in the future, or you will still follow the same path?
Henrik - We will certainly evolve but it’s hard to say in which way. We want to keep the key ingredients of our sound but still go forward as a band, there’s no point in recording the same album over and over again. It’s hard to say anything valid and definite about the future because we sort of go with the stuff that comes up at the time and you never really know in detail what that will be.

- How long do you need to practice to feel comfortable with your songs before you record them?
Henrik -
We don’t practice our songs at all before recording them. They are always written right before or even during the recording sessions. Sometimes that means that it is awkward to record them but on the other hand the material feels really fresh when the album is finished.

- The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
Henrik - Music from the 80's, 90s and forwards has probably been our strongest influences and we are influenced by all genres of metal and even other forms of music. It’s hard to pinpoint anything specific because we’re so different from each other in terms of favourite bands and the influential spectrum is very broad for Scar Symmetry.

- Any plans to go on tour? If so, when and where?
Henrik - We’re actually going on tour in about one week from now! We will participate on the Neckbreaker`s Ball-tour with Hypocrisy, Soilwork, Amorphis and One Man Army. The tour begins at the 11th of April and we will go pretty much all over Europe .

- Who designs your CD artwork and who has the final word on what actually goes on the album cover?
Henrik - The artwork for the first album was designed by Pär Johansson of PJ Illustrations and the artwork for “Pitch Black Progress” was designed by Anthony Clarkson. Nuclear Blast has a lot to say regarding the quality of the artwork, the won’t use anything but the best in terms of quality. But the band definitely has the final saying regarding the image itself because it has to reflect the lyrical concepts of Scar Symmetry. So it’s a matter of discussion between the label and the band and unless both agree on the artwork we won’t use it.

- Let's speculate - you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice - who would be your ideal touring partners?
Henrik - For me personally it would be KISS, WASP and Morbid Angel.

- What are you doing besides Scar Symmetry, job wise as well as hobbies?
Henrik - I’m working at a steel factory to actually earn some money because music hasn’t really been generating a lot of money so far. Besides that I have a band called Altered Aeon and a family to take care of. Jonas has the Black Lounge studio where he works most of the time, he’s also a guitar teacher when time allows it and he plays with his bands World Below, Centinex and couple of more projects. Per works as a guitar teacher and a caretaker of old and/or disabled people, plus he has a couple of other music projects as well. Christian works as a nurse and he has a handful of bands besides Scar Symmetry, for example Incapacity, Angel Blake, Unmoored and Quest of Aidance. Kenneth works as a bass teacher and a gardener, plus he is active in a couple of other musical projects.

- What albums or bands do you believe have had the greatest impact on the history of metal?
Henrik -
I can only speak for myself and the albums that has meant the most to me are KISS - Alive!, Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness, W.A.S.P - WASP, King Diamond - Abigail, Confessor - Condemned, Cynic - Focus, Atheist - Unquestionable Presence and well…a lot of other albums. Too many to mention them all!

-Thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you…
Henrik - Visit our website at: and keep your eyes open for our latest video! We shot it recently in Serbia in collaboration with a company called iCode. The song we used is called “The Illusionist” off the new album. Thank you for the interview and take care, everyone!

All the best,

Scar Symmetry - Pitch Black Progress

Album available on Nuclear Blast GmbH.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Scar Symmetry.