2016 press on black 180g vinyl
‘…my blood has learned what fear is…’
Brevity has its rewards and advantages. Not that My Dying Bride, even at this stage, weren’t given to elaborate arrangements and lengthy running times, but this EP is just long enough to blow your head off with what was a completely innovative take on death metal in 1991. The guitar sound isn’t as clean as it would be on their debut album (‘As the Flower Withers’), having loads of fuzz and grit, while the drums rumble and spill out in the chaotic haze with a much more convincing sound that the feeble, thin slap heard on the debut album. And the material itself? Transcendental, esoteric doom-laden death metal majesty. Indeed, this is death metal. Some of the paces stretch into the gloom of true doom, but behind even these passages lies a bloodthirsty intent that the band shoved away on future releases, trading them for romanticism and refinement. ‘Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium’ is clocking in at almost 12 minutes, the prominent violin and keyboards that open the track seem absolutely necessary to create a somber, medieval mood–no suspicion of novelty can be entertained by the listener. The violin dances and darts around the crushing doom that opens the track, achieving total purpose. Its effect is chilling, and an utterly convincing addition to the apocalyptic tone set by the other instruments. So the track weaves, slowly, through various corridors, as some cool subtleties engaged the ear with each change in mood and tone. The tolling bell that comes in and out of the song drapes yet another layer of dread on top of the experience. As for Aaron Stainthorpe’s vocals, this EP finds him at his absolute best. Death metal vocals should be otherworldly, inhuman, cruel and cosmic all at once, and Aaron achieves this here. Those who admire the powerful vocals in contemporary death metal band Necros Christos who are not familiar with Stainthorpe’s early work will be duly impressed–and I think he offers a greater dynamism than Mr. Mors Dalos Ra. The music-box chiming at the end of the track only stabs another knife of creepiness into the gut before bowing out. This track is beyond epic.
1. Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium Act 1
2. Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium Act 2