Em Sinfonia - _Intimate Portrait_
(Martyr Music, 2001)
by: Aaron McKay (
Usually it is safe to assume there is something profound about most bands that take time to issue forth an effort. Em Sinfonia seem to have captured more than their fair share without sacrificing a single thing when putting _Intimate Portrait_ on the market. With equal parts blood, sweat, tears and commitment, this release is light-years beyond most CDs out currently. Vocally, ES strikes a nearly unprecedented balanced between growling (Brian Griffin), rich, spritely female singing (Bunny) and lightly sampled material. If Griffin wasn't as an accomplished a guitarist (producer, bass player), I'd say he missed his calling as beguiling front-man. Recorded at Quali-Tone Studios, ES touts a clear and unencumbered sound as to awaking Anubis from a joyless slumber. What's more, this disc exploits the most awe-inspiring guitar I have heard worked into a release in a very long time. Not limited solely to the six string instrument, but instead encompassing the bass, the guitars sound as if Em Sinfonia dragged them through freshly poured concrete before belting out the heavier portions of this spectral album. Never having heard any other offerings from this band, _Intimate Portrait_ is more than a fine jumping off point. "Counting Shadows" and "Insatiable" represents my comments about Em Sinfonia as well as anything on _Intimate Portrait_. As a conspicuous bonus, ES saw their way clear to add a stupendous cover of "Revelations" for all of us out here that enjoy different takes on celebrated material from esteemed bands. A very nice touch to an already strong undertaking.
(article published 12/8/2001)
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