Vera : Strange that you instantly get a feeling with some CD's that it is going to be something special and occasionally it turns out really special. For this is so much more than gothic; this is - I make an effort - slow gothic doom metal with tons of classical influences and opera, emotive sublime guitar leads with a wonderful sound and very sporadically a growling outburst I would not label as grunts in this case. Why not? Because words fail to describe this unqualified masterpiece. You have to here this and preferable as a whole. Drop the idea that metal is only based on the heaviness of guitars and have a seat.
Who are we dealing with? Virgin Black is an Australian quartet that does quite eccentric live shows, but in their musical concept they are exceptional too. 'Requiem - Mezzo Forte' is the first album of a "Requiem trilogy”. The other two simultaneously written albums will be revealed later on this year. Actually 'Requiem - Mezzo Forte' is the second album of that trilogy and it is the transition from the entirely classical 'Requiem - Pianissimo' (which will be released as the last one) and the extremely heavy 'Requiem - Fortissimo'. On this album the music of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and operatic vocals are slowly relished with more and more metal elements. It is a very ambitious project of the band with the accomplished songwriters Rowan London and Samantha Escarbe.
Does Virgin Black suddenly come out of nowhere? Of course not. The band exists since 1995 when the creative chemistry between Rowan and Samantha began to work. They earlier released two albums - 'Sombre Romantic' and 'Elegant… And Dying' - having the world press unanimously stumbling over superlatives. Let me tell you straight that this is no music for the masses, but for the connoisseurs among us. This may sound a bit pedantic, I know, but you are warned. What else can I say of this music that combines the sacred weightiness of My Dying Bride with the devote dignity of Saviour Machine, but above all expresses something extraordinary, a true challenge beyond comparison.
A requiem is written as a funeral rite, that's why the main atmosphere is heavy, mournful and respectful. Not earlier than the second track, heavy guitars join in and we have some clean vocals and an incidental growl of Rowan instead of solemn choral chants. And it takes '…And I Am Suffering' until ponderous doom riffs in the vein of My Dying Bride resound and metal is definitely infiltrated in the classical music. From then on we have some magnificent guitar solos and we notice some repetitive themes. We can say that this album gets slowly heavier in its run towards the third part 'Requiem - Fortissimo'. This is a sanguine descending into the dungeons of the darkest delight. Eventually here comes a clever tip: the limited edition includes a retrospective bonus CD and video.