My Dying Bride - Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium MLP (Black vinyl)
Brevity has its rewards and advantages. Not that My Dying Bride, even at this stage, weren't given to elaborate arrangements and lengthy running times, but this EP is just long enough to blow your head off with what was a completely innovative take on death metal in 1991. The guitar sound isn't as clean as it would be on their debut album ('As the Flower Withers'), having loads of fuzz and grit, while the drums rumble and spill out in the chaotic haze with a much more convincing sound that the feeble, thin slap heard on the debut album. And the material itself? Transcendental, esoteric doom-laden death metal majesty.
Indeed, this is death metal. Some of the paces stretch into the gloom of true doom, but behind even these passages lies a bloodthirsty intent that the band shoved away on future releases, trading them for romanticism and refinement. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but maybe they could have released a few more albums in this vein before leaving behind the murky, utterly sinister death heard here. It's just too damn good, and while 'As the Flower Withers' delivered what it set out to deliver, it wasn't as hellishly convincing as this gem of an EP.