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Review: Virgin Black - Requiem - Mezzo Forte
Virgin Black
Requiem - Mezzo Forte

Label: The End Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 52:12
Tracks: 7
Genre: Gothic/Doom


Review online: June 15, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (7 Votes)

This release marks the latest effort from Australian majestic doom-meisters Virgin Black in the form of the first of a three part 'Requiem Trilogy' (the two soon to follow parts 'Requiem -Pianissimo' and 'Requiem - Fortissimo' were actually recorded simultaneously). The band is pretty much revered by everyone I've ever spoken to, although personally I've never actually managed to sit down and properly listen to an entire album of their material until now. I think that their tag of symphonic gothic doom is fitting, but that's just the beginning of it. It's doom Jim, but not as we know it.

Virgin black use symphonies to express the anguish and sorrow much more than any band I've ever heard before (even more so than their usage of dirge laden distorted guitars a lot of the time), and from the very off it almost sounds like a cross between an opera (replete with female operatic vocals) and a film score soundtrack. This won't be for you if you're expecting snarling vocals, trudging riffs or general slow-mo brutality – in fact, it'd be quite hard to actually class this as a metal album at all if it weren't for the occasional My Dying Bride-like woe filled moments, or the insane barks of a mad cleric over dark, Omen soundtrack styled symphonies. But yeah, all in all, it's all ridiculously overblown and extravagant (some of the arrangements would surely make Dimmu Borgir blush, such is their overall grandiose feel). There are some great repetitive guitar lines which remind me of earlier Paradise Lost which add to the air of longing, loss and sadness that saturates the album to its very core. However, the closest comparison is the previously mentioned My Dying Bride, albeit with a lot more gothic elements, and with an orchestra infusing their sound into an entirely different beast of its own.

If choirs chanting rumination of darkness and evil, clean male and female vocals coating dry guitars which pound at a snails pace to a full symphonic backing sounds your cup of tea, then this will undoubtedly be right up your street. I've been reliably informed that this is slower, and more deliberate than their previous releases, and although I'm impressed with the sheer magnitude of what the band have achieved, I personally prefer a little more muscle and a little less frill to my doom. Never-the-less, this is sure to impress a lot of people either way, and would undoubtedly be the perfect requiem for any party :).

More about Virgin Black...
Review: Sombre Romantic (reviewed by Adam McAuley)
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