Virgin Black

Requiem: Fortissimo

Written by: PP on 23/03/2008 17:12:02

More experimentalism on its way from The End Records. This time we\'re turning our heads to ultra heavy doom metal, and how the label has somehow found a band that puts its own unique twist to the daunting genre. The band is Virgin Black and the record is \"Requiem: Fortissimo\", a blackish doom metal album, but that you should have already guessed from the artwork posing an evil-looking Christ nailed on the cross. Just the appropriate review for Easter, eh?

So what\'s the unique twist? Well, I better start from describing how Virgin Black sounds like in the first place. Their songs are painstakingly slow, full of crushingly heavy down-tuned riffs that rumble in a massive atmosphere. The vocalist\'s growl is one of the deepest you\'ll hear, sounding more like the crackling of a thunderbolt than an actual voice. It all sounds indescribably evil, as if Satan himself was fronting the band on vocals, which suits the band\'s choice of genre pretty darn well.

In terms of the unique twist, Virgin Black also has the occasional operatic vocal in the vein of Tarja Turunen from Nightwish or Liv Kristine from Leaves\' Eyes. It adds some nice contrast to the songs, together with a few string instruments that suddenly appear from middle of nowhere into many of the songs, and disappear just as quickly as they appeared.

But that\'s about as interesting as Virgin Black ever gets. I don\'t discredit the band for songwriting at all, because many of the arrangements are grandeur full of instrumental complexity. But the growling vocals should be re-looked at. The constant monotonous rumble isn\'t something easy to become friends with, especially when it\'s so deep and low-tuned (like the guitars) that it fades to the background for the most part. You need a pair of really good quality headphones to extract everything out of \"Requiem: Fortissimo\", believe me. The melancholic doom atmosphere will please most black/doom/prog-death metal fans, but for us just outside those genres\' crust, the occasional listeners, Virgin Black offers not much more than a meticulous look at the inner darkness of doom metal.

Download: Silent, God In Dust
For the fans of: Draconian, My Dying Bride
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.02.2008
The End Records

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