Album Details

Band: In Fear and Faith

Title: Symphonies (EP)

Released:  May 5th 2011

Label: Rise Records

Producer: Nick Sampson

Sounds like: Metal-core driven by piano arrangements, with guitars removed, electronic drum effects added and some synthesised strings

Symphonies consists of five piano-led remixes from In Fear and Faith’s two studio albums, a new song, and what these days has become the obligatory waste-of-space, disposable, introduction track. In Fear and Faith are a fairly generic metal-core band with screamed verses and cleanly sung choruses, down-tuned guitars with break-down sections and someone sat behind a piano/keyboard. The difference with this band though, is that Ramin Niroomand is actually rather proficient on the keys. I was looking forward to this EP because I wanted to hear Ramin’s talent shining through without the intrusive tones of over-zealous growling and down-tuned guitars.

Unfortunately, Symphonies doesn’t deliver on its promise. The most notable problem is the screaming. We have a collection of songs that showcases some impressive piano playing, and a few synthesised string sections for good measure, which is all very pleasant, but then you’re hit by some ill-placed barking that destroys the ‘symphonic’ effect. I know that the screaming serves its purpose on the standard versions of these songs, but I’d interpreted this EP as an attempt to come at these songs from a different angle. Screaming is effective in two cases: 1) when the emotion in the lyrical message manifests itself in the singer’s voice (e.g. Glassjaw, Refused) and 2) to supplement the aggression in heavier parts of the music for added effect. Neither of these cases applies to this EP.

The screaming isn’t the only issue though. On their social media sites, In Fear and Faith (in particular, Ramin) have made a big claims about their influence as real musicians in their scene and I think this EP is intended to accentuate this point. It feels though, like this is Ramin’s pet project alone. The piano arrangements seem to have been carefully considered, but the vocals are essentially the same patterns from the album versions, with a few inflections changed from high to low and vice-versa. They’ve removed the guitars, replaced the drums with electronic effects and mixed in some synthesised strings to accompany Ramin’s new piano tracks, but the pacing and feel is generally the same. As far as symphonic remixes go, they just didn’t go far enough with the whole composition.

New track, ‘Silence is Screaming’ is a stripped-down piano and vocal song and whilst I’m not fan of the vocal arrangement, the idea of this track is much more successful than the others on this EP. It shows what they are capable of when they consider the whole song, and not just focussing on adding more piano. The idea of this EP is excellent, but I don’t think the band have put enough thought into its execution. I was expecting to hear some well considered, new arrangements of these songs, but I don’t get that feeling. Instead, we have a series of songs that have been deconstructed and put back together with more emphasis on piano, and a few string effects for good measure. With all of the misplaced screaming and the electronic drum effects over the top though, it’s hard to pick out the piano lines at times.

This EP is neither In Fear and Faith’s core music, nor is it a truly ‘symphonic’ experience; it’s somewhere in between. They haven’t gone far enough with the transformation and for that reason Symphonies ends up being a very disappointing experience for me.

Score: 39%