Monday, May 21, 2007

If Ever I Were To Weep On The Public Transit System ....

This here is my 100th post and I thought to myself ... that's it?!? Man! It's felt like a lot more. Ah well, but what better way to celebrate this milestone then with what clearly will be my number one album of 2007 (If I were to do such a list). Virgin Black's third opus and 1st release of their Requiem Trilogy (the second part of the trilogy though) is a gothic/doom symphonic masterpiece. The absolute most brilliant album I've heard in a long time. It's funny cause this album was released around the same time as Manowar's "God's Of War" which I picked up first and anticipated more, but where Manowar failed in trying to create a compelling blend of metal and orchestration, Virgin Black triumph's!

"Requiem: Mezzo Forte" is not as metal as "Sombre Romantic" nor is it as reflective as "Elegant...And Dying". What it is, however, is a perfect blend of "Sombre Romantic" and "Elegant...And Dying". The Requiem Trilogy will consist of "Requiem: Pianissimo" a fully orchestral album with vocals, "Requiem: Mezzo Forte" a blend of orchestra and band, and finally "Requiem: Fortissimo" just band, and is slated to be heavy then anything the band has done so far.

"Requiem: Mezzo Forte" starts off with the haunting and passionate "Requiem, Kyrie". This is an orchestral piece beginning with solo cello and Susan Johnson's brilliantly emotional soprano reminiscent of Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. The song builds as the full Adelaide Symphony Orchestra picks up and Rowan London enters in with his mournful wail that has never sounded this sorrowful. When I bought this album, I brought it home and transferred it to the iPod and listened to it on the subway to work. And as this song played on I was nearly driven to tears by the haunting vocals of Susan and mournful voice of Rowan which add such emotional depth to the orchestral sound.

As I dried my eyes "In Death" starts with with Rowan lamenting before a gothic keys and guitars kick in with crushing intensity. The new drummer Luk Faz marches his way through a brooding gothic interlude and dual vocals. The song builds into a metal/symphonic chaos without ever losing focus leading us into "Midnight Hymn" and it's haunting (Bram Stoker's Dracula soundtrack quality) orchestration. This is a remix of "Sombre Romantic"s brutally aggressive "Drink The Midnight Hymn". This is a more sinister and lamenting version far more suited to the album's Requiem Theme".

"... And I am Suffering" is a doom laden sorrow filled lament with passionate performances by Susan Johnson with vocals more passionate then I've heard by a soprano in long time. Also a mournful solo by guitarist Samantha Escarbe. A dark and powerful song.

The Heavenly opening of "Domine" gets crushed by some brutal death metal vocals (akin to early Antestor) the mix is killer. A pummelling riff kicks in underscoring Rowan's mournful wail in one of his most passionate performances since "Sombre Romantics, Museum Of Iscariot". The doom/death mix with the orchestral elements is brutal and powerful. This is my favourite track on the album.

"Lacrimosa (I Am Blind With Weeping)" is a crushing doomy gothic piece letting Samantha shine out again while the Death Choir (as they are called in the liner notes) belt out a melodic requiem-like hymn. The emotion just weeps out of every element on this track. The drums, orchestration, guitars and vocals are instruments of not just music, but passion here.

The album ends with a reprise of "Requiem, Kyrie" called "Rest Eternal". This is more uplifting and bombastic, though the vocals are just as powerful as the first version. The difference mostly is the addition of Samantha's brutal guitars that take the haunting melody into a majestic outro left only with an unsettling violin that taunts us with anticipation for the next 2 releases.

Words can't describe the emotional impact of this album and its utter brilliance. This is an album to be enjoyed by everyone. Everyone.

Up next I'm going to start exploring some hard rock "Hair" metal. It should be fun!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad you stopped by. I love to read and keep up with whats going on in the industry of metal music~It's broad and heavy sound, from goth metal to heavy metal, which is why I like it!!

I'll be back by your page again \m/

12:01 PM  

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