VIRGIN BLACK — Requiem: Fortissimo (review)

VIRGIN BLACK — Requiem: Fortissimo album cover Album · 2008 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
Conor Fynes
'Requiem Fortissimo' - Virgin Black (3/10)

While it might not be the most inspiring word-of-mouth introduction for a band to hear your friend tell you to give 'one of the worst albums he has ever listened to' a try, but as always, music is a very subjective experience and I like to treat it as such. While there are aspects of music that appeal to a majority of people, there will always be pieces of music that some may hate, and others love depending on their outlook and ear.

'Requiem Fortissimo' may well be one of those albums that could be perceived as a total masterpiece by one with an ear attuned enough to doom metal to appreciate it. While I have dabbled in the realm of doom before (from the likes of early Anathema and Katatonia to Shades Of Despair and Draconian) I've been able to see real beauty in some of the music the genre spits out, but above anything, its a real hit-or-miss deal. If something doesn't work, it really won't work. 'Requiem' definately had alot of thought put into it, but in the end; a few shortcomings in the work truly mar what might have been a landmark doom record.

When I speak of the 'thought' and effort put into the making of it, its important to know that the band went as far as to enlist the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (generally perceived to be Austrailia's flagship philharmonic) and choral sections to add to the sound. While this does certainly make 'Requiem' a much more worthy venture than other albums I've listened to, the rest of the mix hurts the orchestration alot. The guitar riffs are generally unimaginative save for a few precious arrangements, and the growl vocals are truly atrocious. While there are a few soprano operatic sections, and parts where the orchestra has room to breathe, these sections frankly aren't worth going through all of the monotonous guitar drone and grunting to get to them.

While it might be a suitable backdrop for a wintery, frostbitten evening, this depressing and dissapointing opus from Virgin Black will not appeal to many outside of the doom metal circle. I for one, can find stuff to appreciate here, and it's certainly not the worst album I've ever heard, but I would much rather delve into a more fulfilling record then this; as there are plenty out there that trump over this one.
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