I have to admit that the debut “Lost Memoirs And Faded Pictures“ from the year of 2003 already pleased me very much and that to this day I count this work among my favourites in the Metalcore genre. That’s why one the one hand the expectations were higher compared to various other bands, but on the other hand you could confidently expect SYMPHONY IN PERIL not to fool around and release a mediocre work by any means. What was expected happened, so you could get to the point with this review shortly and concisely without wasting any more lines. But stop, you cannot put off SYMPHONY IN PERIL this quickly, as “The Whore’s Trophy” is much more than a usual follow-up album with all the features to be expected, such as evolution, technical development or similar things.
Where they often tangled in fuddle passages and progressive trips that were too much for many listeners with the debut, SYMPHONY IN PERIL shine through razor-sharp and catchy killer riffs and inimitable melodies this time around. All this in amounts so vast that they instantly catapult themselves into the first league of technically challenging Metalcore bands with “The Whore’s Trophy”, even for those who were still doubtful due to too high complexity with the debut. Even though the difference between these two masterpieces is by far not as big as with a band of EIGHTEEN VISIONS’ kind, who tore open a huge gap between the latest work “Obsession” and their early noise excesses, SMYPHONY IN PERIL undeniably use their high technical knowledge more positively for the respective song instead of having to prove to the audience how quickly and perfectly they handle their instruments. As I mentioned above, this was proved sufficiently on the debut and doesn’t need any further evidence.
For all that SYMPHONY IN PERIL will completely satisfy each of their loyal fans with the second work and will not evoke the thought with anyone that they cotton up in a commercial respect and thus betray themselves and their ideals. No f***ing way! Instead fans of bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, UNEARTH, … that are praised in the press have to watch out and welcome a potential candidate for the throne of the Metalcore genre. You doubt it? Well, then imagine that a band would manage to combine the raw violence of HATEBREED, the unreached intensity of SLAYER, the devastating pressure of PANTERA, the oppressing depth of CROWBAR and the unique sense for melodies of AT THE GATES. Hard to imagine, no doubt, and basically just an outline of what SYMPHONY IN PERIL have done on “The Whore’s Trophy”.
Although the album begins rather soft and calm with the half a minute acoustic intro “Perelandra“. This changes rapidly with the use of the brutish Thrash hammer “For Now We See In A Mirror, …”, though. Numerous breaks and tempo changes lead to quenching breakdowns which leave nothing of any sort to be desired in terms of heaviness. Added to this are the rude vocals by Shawn Jonas, which constantly change from furious snarling and hateful howling and make the level of sharpness rise time and time again. “Stiletto” is interlaced by wonderful melodies which evoke parallels to various famous Gothenburg formations, and the seamless transition to “Seduction By Design” which never calms down takes place without really being noticed by the listener. Actually the twelve songs in total form a closed unity and the variation, which is always in the fore and also expected by the fan, is come up to at any time. “…And She Was Drunk With The Blood Of The Saints” can be labelled an absolutely heavy instrumental bullet, because this song rolls through the room almost doomily and consecutively serves as a perfect opening to “Revolving Door Romance”. Here the vocal chords have to be mistreated again to do justice to the rock-hard efforts of the other musicians. In this track the borders between Hardcore, Thrash and Death Metal blur irresistibly, too, which is why SYMPHONY IN PERIL withdraw from any thinking in categories on principle. What is most important is that it is hard as granite and effective as a well-placed uppercut out of nowhere by a professional boxer in the first round. Consequently this is supposed to mean that SYMPHONY IN PERIL always come to the point without beating around the bush for too long.
The first part of the title track “The Whore’s Trophy“ is no exception here and the following second part, which was somewhat decreased in tempo, can only be endowed with superlatives like sensational, breath-taking or essential. Once again precisely set time changes, simply destructive breakdowns and loads of insane vocals dominate the overall picture. What crime did man commit when a band like SYMPHONY IN PERIL unleashes their emotions so bitterly and sends such a brutal piece of music for the inhabitants of this planet? A lot, for sure, however, in contrast to many other representatives of this scene the five Americans know perfectly well how to channel these emotions without ever seeming clumsy or artificial. Everything makes sense here and “Waiting To Breathe” and “This Flame Breeds Disbelief” are no exceptions here either but provide the listener with solemn acoustic guitars before they head for the finish line with dragging tempo and rude screaming. The ending point is set by the equally rock-hard “Aborting The Fabricated” and it makes “The Whore’s Trophy” a complete highlight.
Yet to be mentioned would only be the fact that there was a line-up change between the debut and the latest work, which concerned drummer Schawn Seippel. The vacant job behind the drumkit was simply occupied anew within the band and thus Collin Simula changed from bass to drums. Consecutively one Andy Richards could be hired for the four strings, whom filled the gap that had appeared. However it is dubious if this was one of the reasons for the slight change in direction. As the production and the cover also live up to all expectations nothing could prevent the top score and is justified in every case from my point of view. Everything else is up to you, but follow my well-meant advice and buy this album, you will certainly not regret it. (Online April 14, 2005)