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3.54 | 5 ratings | 4 reviews
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EP · 1992


1. Symphonaire infernus et spera empyrium (11:38)
2. God Is Alone (4:50)
3. De Sade Soliloquay (3:42)

Total Time: 20:11


- Andrew Craighan / Guitars
- Aaron Stainthorpe / Vocals
- Rick Miah / Drums
- Calvin Robertshaw / Guitars
- Adrian "Ade" Jackson / Bass

- Martin Powell / Violin

About this release

EP, Peaceville Records, March 1992

Recorded at Academy Studios in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, August / September 1991.

Thanks to TheHeavyMetalCat, UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" is an EP release by UK death/doom metal act My Dying Bride. The EP was released in March 1992 and it was the band´s first release on the Peaceville Records label. My Dying Bride were signed to the label on the grounds of the "God is Alone (1991)" EP/single. The 11:38 minutes long title track was made into a video (in an edited version). It had some showings on the MTV Headbanger´s Ball show, which was the most important heavy metal video media in those days, if you wanted your music to reach a bigger audience. There´s been one lineup change since "God is Alone (1991)" as Adrian "Ade" Jackson was added to the ranks as the band´s permanent bassist, making My Dying Bride a five-piece for the recording of "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium".

"Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" features three tracks and a full playing time of 20:12 minutes. The 11:39 minutes long title track fills up the whole of the A-side and the two shorter tracks "God is Alone" and "De Sade Soliloquay" fill up the B-side (on the original vinyl version of the release). All three tracks had seen a release in other versions before being released on "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium". The title track was released in a shorter and not as developed version on the "Towards the Sinister (1990)" demo tape while the other two tracks are available on the "God is Alone (1991)" EP/single. They appear here in re-recorded versions.

Stylistically the two shorter tracks are fairly standard and predominantly mid-paced old school death metal. They really aren´t anything out of the ordinary, but it´s with the title track that My Dying Bride made their mark on the early death/doom metal scene. We´re invited into the doomy and melancholic world of My Dying Bride complete with extremely heavy distorted guitar riffs, growling vocals, and melancholic violin playing. The song structure is quite interesting too as the song shifts style a couple of times throughout the playing time from gloomy doom to mid-paced death metal brutality.

The sound production is decent, but not really great sounding, and it´s also audible the band either didn´t have much time to record in the studio or didn´t quite have the necessary playing skills yet, because it´s all slightly untight. So while "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" definitely should be counted among the seminal death/doom metal releases from the early 90s, it´s not a perfect release by any means, but it is an interesting glimpse into what My Dying Bride would become on their debut album. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
siLLy puPPy
SYMPHONAIRE INFERNUS ET SPERA EMPYRIUM is the very first release from MY DYING BRIDE released as an EP way back in 1991 as well as their first on their long lasting Peaceville Records label. While the 12 “ vinyl edition released in 1991 consisted only of the 11:38 title track, the CD edition released the following year contained the tracks “God Is Alone” and “De Sade Soliloquay” which were released as a two sided 7” vinyl single limited to 1000 copies the year before. Due to startling originality of the inclusion of the melancholic session violin contributions of Martin Powell on the title track, MY DYING BRIDE gained instant recognition as a major innovator in the nascent death-doom metal sound that only Anathema and Paradise Lost were also developing at the same time period.

It’s no doubt that MY DYING BRIDE caught the attention of the world with the track “Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium” as it remains one of their most masterful compositions of their entire career exquisitely melding the elements of doom and death metal along with neoclassical darkwave with the addition of the soul piercing violin and highly sophisticated compositional conceptualization. With its humble intro it almost sounds like we’re going to the Renaissance fair with its medieval violin setup but soon the down-tuned doomed distortion of heavy guitar riffs enter as does the death growls of Aaron Stainthorpe. The track deftly walks the tightrope of the classical and metal worlds with grace but also carefully paces the fusion effect with pure down and dirty death metal outbursts however the violin never strays too far for too long and always brings the listener into the eternal cauldrons of dread.

The remaining tracks are less symphonically complex and are rooted more in heavier death metal with elements of doom percolating through. “God Is Alone” and “De Sade Soliloquay” are perhaps the heaviest tracks that MY DYING BRIDE has ever released as they are blistering fast in tempo and eschew the violin trademark sound that pretty much defines them on every full length album that follows. These were siphoned from the cauldrons of their earliest demo material therefore sounds as primeval and raw as could be expected. SYMPHONAIRE INFERNUS ET SPERA EMPYRIUM is an excellent debut from MY DYING BRIDE and only one of two where Stainthorpe exclusively utilizes his death growls (the other being the following full-length “As The Flowers Wither.” While the title track has gotten around on many of the compilations, the other two have not and can only be found on this EP as well as the collection of the first three EPs “Trinity.” This debut release showed great talent that has been successfully in staying relevant for decades after this first hit the market.
My Dying Bride's first release for Peaceville is this EP, rerecording some material from their early demo and independent releases. God Is Alone and De Sade Soliloquay are probably the most traditional death metal songs that My Dying Bride ever put out through Peaceville, and are competent but not enormously interesting. The real treat here is Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium, an early expression of the band's death-doom style, with its extended running time and mournful violin contributions making it clear that this right here was no simple rehash of early Paradise Lost but an intriguing new take on death-doom in its own right. On balance, I'd say that this EP constitutes a four star title track backed up by some three star B-sides.

Members reviews

This EP gets a 3 1/2-star rating from me. MY DYING BRIDE is one of my favorite bands. Their music is a very interesting combination of death metal trappings with violins, keyboards, and sophisticated song structures. That being said, the Symphonaire EP is a good example of the band's music. The lyrics, like on My Dying Bride's early output generally, are far-fetched. They're gothic and violent, but they seem like scattered images without a framework.

The title track is definitely the best of the three. I especially like the bells at the end. There is some variety here, although the song overstays its 11 minutes a bit. "God is Alone" and "De Sade Soliloquay" don't have that problem. They are pretty standard death metal tracks. I'm not a big fan of death/doom metal generally; the parameters are too limited. Symphonaire is an early EP by the band, which is evident when you listen to it. They haven't fully developed the distinctive sound that makes them so listenable. However, the title track does point to the variety of instrumentation and songwriting that makes the band's later records so interesting.

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