The Pitch: Symphony in Peril was a Christian metalcore group with some mathcore leanings a la Norma Jean from Columbus, Ohio. Shawn Jones, formerly of Zao, fronted the band, which sadly only ran from 2002 to 2005. This was the band's debut, one of just two releases.
What I Like: I came across Lost Memoirs & Faded Pictures in high school while perusing one of the few suburban record stores that carried more obscure metal releases. I was drawn to the promotional sticker mentioning the Zao connection, as well as the artwork which drew plenty of parallels to other popular 00's metalcore releases like Jane Doe and They're Only Chasing Safety. I swear every band in the scene around this time needed to have a woman's bust either straight on or in profile on their cover. Fortunately, pressing play on the store's sampling player proved that these guys had substance to back up the imagery.
Symphony In Peril, especially on this album, have a sound that I would describe as very bleak and isolated. Whereas bands like Poison The Well and Converge were going for a more energetic approach laced with D-beat, SIP prefered to deliver long, drawn-out breakdowns that in retrospect sound like a precursor to beatdown, downtempo groups like Traitors. These parts are offset by sporadic eruptions of mathy guitars and ferocious drumming. The vocals follow suit, alternating between brutal growls and manic shrieks. The ultimate effect is one that left me impressed by the group's technical side, but never so much as to make it feel flashy. The dynamics and desolate atmosphere are the real focus where often less is more.
Critiques: While this album does stand out from my early metalcore collection in some ways, the band didn't really employ any particularly fresh approaches. This somewhat lacking originality paired with the more stark approach to songwriting and production may have played a part in them being buried under more popular groups of the same style.
The Verdict: Lost Memoirs & Faded Pictures isn't generally remembered as one of the great metalcore albums of the 2000's, but I would argue that it is essential listening if you were into early Norma Jean or enjoy digging through the more esoteric bands in the genre. Outside of the typical classics, this is among my favorites.
Flight's Fav's: Shadow Over A Bleeding Heart, Letting Go Would Be An End, Unsteady Docks Along The Ohio
-Review by FlightOfIcarus
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