In Fear And Faith

Symphonies EP

Written by: BL on 05/09/2011 23:53:56

In Fear And Faith has always had a pandering for doses of piano and orchestra to go with their clean cut modern post-hardcore. Guitarist Ramin Niroomand has a knack for the piano as evidence from their arrangements in particular, so much so that In Fear And Faith decided to create an entire EP of completely piano/orchestral based re-imaginings of some of their well known songs from their first EP "Voyage" to their last album "Imperial". "Symphonies" is probably only going to really appeal to fans of the band, but it's such a bold move that it's not out of the question for some of their fans may not all appreciate the songs they've gotten to know without the guitars in particular. Not only that but lead screamer Cody Anderson had left the band in 2010, so Scott Barnes who up til then did all the singing, now does the screaming too. Although he isn't alone, with the help of some of the guests they've had in the past such as Craig Owens (of D.R.U.G.S.) and Tyler "Telle" Smith (of The Word Alive) as well a few new ones, overall there's a lot of impressive vocal work for sure on this "Symphonies",

Most of the songs instrumentally focus on the piano leads that Ramin comes up with, which are either extended from the piano melodies that were there originally like on "The Taste Of Regret", transposing and modifying the original lead guitar melodies, or something completely new. While I do not play the piano, from a listener's perspective it's obvious the point isn't to showoff any piano technical skills here but more about texturing the pretty piano melodies with the orchestra, and the vocals to create a refreshing overall sound. The arrangements themselves are certainly faithful to how the original songs are laid out. A few twists with some additional samples here and there, changing the tempo as well as the vocals to better suit the softer instrumental accompaniment do mean that all the redone songs sound familiar yet quite new and different. "Bones" from "Imperial" (now featuring Nick Martin of D.R.U.G.S) is the first to get this treatment and is a good way to break listeners in. All of Cody's parts have either been given to Nick to scream or Scott to sing and I have to say the end result here is not bad, Nick particularly doing an okay job with his vocal parts, and the orchestra surprisingly not overbearing at all to keep a nimble yet theatrical feel to the song.

Well all know that Scott is a good singer, shown from how much he improved on "Imperial" particular, but those curious to hear what his screaming sounds like should check out the new version of "The High Life" also from "Imperial". However the next standout re-piece is one of my favourites from their album "Your World On Fire". The version of "The Taste Of Regret" here like mentioned before, takes the piano that was already there and keeps it going for a lot longer. Telle, being their old singer back on their first EP, really adds to the song with his new contributions. His heartfelt screams of "Worth it all" sound great and the slight electronic distortion on his screams at one moment is a cute little gimmick that for once isnt annoying but complementary. Next up is "The Solitary Life" from "Imperial" and now features a guest from Caleb Shomo of Attack Attack!. The new intro is delightfully soothing and uplifting with a gorgeous little melody, and there's actually a lot of good piano throughout here. The new verses sound good with Scott I have to say, but when Caleb cleverly steps in half way through for a short spot it's gets more interesting. He's actually a pretty good singer which may surprise those of you who haven't heard new Attack Attack! material (that was included on a re-release of their self titled album earlier this year) and his deeper voice creates an interesting contrast to Scott's soft higher voice, though his screaming probably needs a bit more work.

The version of "The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions" here starts off impressively, with the fast galloping guitars replaced with big and grand orchestral brass. The verses also keeps most of the uptempo feel of the original too, which leaves a greater sense of urgency the other songs perhaps lack. Craig Owens sounds quite different compared to his original guest from "Your World On Fire", his voice seemingly a bit more gruff. I don't think he sounds necessarily worse than before, just different. "Silence Is Screaming" is the last entry and from their first EP "Voyage" (bonus credit to those who knew it as "Bite The Bullet" from their demos). The arrangement here is a lot more intimate as it is just piano and Scott's voice. The lead piano melody that was remade from the guitars now sound a lot like "The Taste Of Regret", as it's the same kind of pattern and some of the notes used are the same. However that doesn't make it any less of a fine rendition and a fitting end to the record.

In Fear And Faith should be given a lot of credit for experimenting with themselves on "Symphonies". The songs feel well put together and the everything from the vocals to the instrumentation range from decent to a little above average to stellar in some moments. One of the only minor downsides that I can think of are mostly to do with the fact that, as piano/orchestral arrangements alone, the songs don't have a lot of variety compared to each other other than the lyrical content and perhaps a few different melodies or instruments. Also the strength of In Fear And Faith's sound is combining their melodic, orchestral side with the heavier guitars and screams, so when you take half of it away you do reduce how dramatic everything feels (though not entirely). Overall I really only see this EP as a sort of a gift to the more open minded fans of In Fear And Faith (since they've said their new album will be their usual heavier sound), although anyone with an ear for emotive piano rock might want to give it a chance as well.

Download: Bones (Featuring Nick Martin of D.R.U.G.S.), The Taste Of Regret (Featuring Tyler "Telle" Smith of The Word Alive), The Solitary Life (Featuring Caleb Shomo of Attack Attack!)
For the fans of: In Fear And Faith
Listen: Myspace, Facebook

Release Date 03.05.2011
Rise Records

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