Release DetailsLABEL Facedown Records
RELEASED ON 11/4/2003
Symphony In Peril
Lost Memoirs and Faded Pictures
posted on 2/2004 By:
Never that enamored with Zao, I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of a project from the former Zao frontman Shawn Jonas. I keep waiting to get a metalcore album that stinks so I can bury the genre, but truth be told this was actually close to being one of my top 10 albums of 2003. While being a band member that’s trying come out from his former band’s shadow is a hard prospect, it’s even harder for a revered act such as Zao, but Jonas has done it admirably with a supporting cast that has helped produce this beautifully crushing album. Jonas’s massive bellow is still a force, but with the assembled members around him, the song writing is more memorable than anything Zao produced and has an increased split personality that shows a repressed aggression that Zao’s overly religious overtones never allowed to breath.
With Lost Pictures… Jonas has allowed his anger to explode without restraint, and has joined with some harmonious passages more fitting of the band's Christian beliefs. The end result could be construed as a continuation of Poison the Well meets Blood Has Been Shed if PTW had not strayed into the mainstream. Where some bands simply employ dual musical personalities to simply attract two groups of fans, Symphony In Peril’s amalgamation of sonorous interludes and mammoth riffs is a symbiotic fusion with no visible seams or breaks. At its metallic height, Lost Memoirs… favors the discordant, frenzied stylings of the genre’s sudden popular acts, but are mindful to never stray too far from simplistic pummeling riffs, always reverting to some lumbering segment or crushing pace to even out the chaos. Still, though even the frenetic strands of tracks like album opener “Shadow Over a Bleeding Heart”, “Unsteady Docks Along the Ohio” or “Portrait”, are always in control and moderately restrained compared to overly noted heavy acts such as Forever is Forgotten or A Life Once Lost. But despite all the sonic insanity that seeps from the album's every note, it’s the quieter more introspective moments that arise in the middle of the album's most chaotic moments like the eye of a storm, uplifting harmonies and melodies will bring the most crushing riff to its needs. “Letting Go Would Be an End”, defines this ‘calm before the storm’ phenomenon perfectly. As does the transition that ends the lurching “The Quotidian Succession”, giving way to “Sifting Through These Ashes”. Jonas’s heartfelt “let’s not let the sun go down” tirade that ends “Beauty Forgotten” and flows into the massive “Lament” are sonic mood swings equivalent to Bi-polar behavior on a musical level.
Lost Memoirs... is all about polar opposites that attract and repulse each other creating a musical vortex that’s as emotional as it is tactile. Thanks in part to the band's religious approach (barely detectable musically-you’d have to read the thank yous and the lyrics to cull any Christian motivation from the music alone), the lyrics are steadfast and penned with conviction rather than littered with emotional hardcore cliches and trend heavy bandwagoneers. When Jonas articulates “I would still frame this moment to obtain beauty forever, I would crawl through thorns to possess autumn” (from “Can One Possess Autumn?”), you sincerely get the impression he means it; something the minions and scensters would be hard pressed to convey with their stolen love and pierced heart rhetoric. I’m still waiting for a melodic hardcore/metalcore album that signifies the genre’s death knell as the genre’s flagbearers Poison The Well, Shai Hulud and From Autumn to Ashes fade (or break up), but when bands like Symphony In Peril, My Bitter End and Between the Buried and Me release consistently quality material, it's hard not to think that metalcore may yet see better days.
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