Em Sinfonia In Mournings Symphony

With My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost offering up weak recent efforts, thankfully comes Em Sinfonia, the new band headed by Brian Griffin. When he wasn't grinding his axe with death metal mainstays Broken Hope, Griffin was busy assembling an impressive line-up for this outfit, drawing members from November's Doom, Fornever, Last Laugh and Suspiria. The opening track "Lost Hope Bellows" shifts between old MDB and old PL with superior kick drum work by Larry DeMumbrum and bass chords from ex-Mythic Mary Bielich; the strong yet heavenly female vocals of April Domet complement the deep, reverberating roars of Paul Kuhr. Then "The Ravens Eyes" showcases the expert vocal interplay (more like a growl-off) between Kuhr and Griffin. The title track commences with a piano in a noble-sounding march like Rick Wakeman's King Arthur album, but then falls in with the morose MDB doom shuffle with mournful violin and guttural growls. Amid sparing samples of rhetorical snippets, "To Silence The Laughter" lapses into delicately, ambient acoustic passages reminiscent of Tiamat's Wildhoney. The only problem? Only four tracks! More, please. (Martyr)