VIRGIN BLACK — Requiem: Fortissimo (review)

VIRGIN BLACK — Requiem: Fortissimo album cover Album · 2008 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Virgin Black is still Black but no longer Virgin.

A promising first few seconds in this album made my heart rush. It starts with a bang, but then it recedes to Doom/Death metal realms. Early My Dying Bride comes to mind as a reference point (and all other imitators and practitioners of this style). But alas, Virgin Black have shed away here all that makes them special and have released a bland doom/death metal album at times bordering on the Funeral Doom style. A band I admire and love every release of theirs have released an album I don't like and which is a disappointment to me. The album has a few of the orchestra,operatic vocals and choir background vocals left but nothing of the special traits that made Virgin Black noticeable and distinguishable from other bands. Had I not known this is a Virgin Black album, I could be fooled to believe it is by some other Doom metal band. I understand that this was supposed to be their heaviest album of the trilogy but not only this is not what I was expecting (so lets leave my disappointment aside), this goes quite a long way from the Virgin Black style and sound. There are the familiar riffs and recognizable patterns (like in the beginning of In Winter's Ash) but other than that, I can't find much of the band I love and look up to.

It's not all bad or bland, but it is mostly not thrilling or has the quality I find in previous VB albums. One track that is quite good and does give me hope they have not abandoned their roots is Silent which does manage to combine their "usual" characteristics with the more brutal and heavy aspect of this album (with a glance at a musical line from the Mezzo Forte album). God In Dust is another decent track However with the other five tracks, there is the issue of not giving each track enough identity and differentiating them from the others, aside from the absence of the VB style. But all in all, there is too much of a "samey" feel in this album as I feel as if the music is repeated and rehashed.

Bottom line - I'm disappointed with this release and can't recommend to other Virgin Black fans like me. I can recommend it to folks into Doom/Death/Funeral Doom Metal and even then, it's not that good or impressive an album, but not a bad one in itself. Most of what makes Virgin Black unique is absent here. The bleakness is still here, but the magic is gone. I hope that the third and last installment in this Requiem trilogy will not disappoint me like this. The 3 stars is more to say that it's an ok release in itself, but as far as Virgin Black standards, this is a step down.
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