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Virgin Black
Requiem: Fortissimo

Company: The End Records
Release: 2008
Genre: Doom
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Weighty, seamless piece of misery



  • Virgin Black's beautifully brutal Requiem: Fortissimo has dropped to earth like a bank safe filled with anvils off Ayers Rock (they are from Australia after all!). This is actually the second album to be released as part of a trilogy entitled Requiem, but it's the third in the trilogy proper! Confused? Ok, here's the scoop, Part one, entitled Requiem: Pianissimo has been recorded but has yet to be released. Its focus, compositionally speaking, is orchestration with drums and guitars completely forgone. Part two, entitled Requiem: Mezzo Forte was released in 2007 and is in the traditional Virgin Black sound. For those not familiar, think early My Dying Bride ala The Angel and the Dark River but maybe with a bit more gothic/atmospheric overtones. Finally, at hand we have part three, Requiem: Fortissimo, released early in 2008, and what a weighty album it is.

    Winter or Evoken immediately jump to mind when describing this slab of funeral doom. But whilst those bands strictly stay at the death end of the grave, Virgin Black still mixes in atmospheric choruses and orchestrations. The point of this effort, according to the band, was to end the trilogy heavy as hell and man have they succeeded. Founder/keyboardist Rowan London's guttural death vocals reach deep under the trampled earth and bestialize the listener while gorgeous and depressing female vocals move in and out of the background. I assume this is guitarist/cellist Samantha Escarbe doing the female vox but nothing in the booklet hints as to who is actually singing. A number of bands have attempted this style and succeeded to various degrees, but nothing I've heard in recent memory mixes these variant styles into exceptional dynamics to create such a seamless piece of misery as this.

    Another bit of grace to be found here is the length of the album. Such excursions can carry on well past the hour mark and leave the listener bewildered in bleakness, but here things are mercifully cut short at the 44 minute mark. Now we're just waiting for the first part of this trilogy to be released to complete the entire triptych, then may we all find a dark corner to brood in, no wrist cutting please!


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: VIRGIN BLACK
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Requiem: FortissimoVirgin Black
    2008
    Raising Iron12/12/2008


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: VIRGIN BLACK

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