Requiem Pianissimo

Virgin Black

VIRGIN BLACK formed in Adelaide, Australia during 1995. Their musical style combines elements of Doom […]
By Louise Brown
January 8, 2019
Virgin Black - Requiem Pianissimo album cover

VIRGIN BLACK formed in Adelaide, Australia during 1995. Their musical style combines elements of Doom Metal with Classical music. They state that their primary musical influences are MY DYING BRIDE, SAVIOR MACHINE, and 19th century Classical music. Their music has a unique sound that makes them easy to recognize once you become familiar with it. The album "Requiem- Pianissimo" is the last part in a trilogy of albums that the band recorded, starting with 2007's "Requiem- Mezzo Forte" and continuing with "Requiem- Fortissimo" which was released in 2008. Unlike the previous two albums "Requiem- Pianissimo" is a Classical album with minimal Doom Metal elements.

Wait a minute! Not a Metal album?! Then why am I reviewing it? Because it's a Classical album by a METAL band. Think about that for minute. It's a pretty significant accomplishment and deserves some recognition for that alone. However, I'm here to tell you whether or not you should add it to your collection. So, let's have a listen, shall we?

"Requiem Aeternum" sets the tone of the album immediately as it opens dramatically then gradually descends into a series of mournful laments and wild violin passages. It's a chaotic piece of music that sweeps you away and leaves you wondering just where this journey will end. Track two, "Dies Irae[1]" is haunting in its' simplistic and stark beauty. You find yourself straining to hear it until the choir begins to sing. The sadness of their voices sets the somber mood even more as it settles over you like a cloud. The effect is quite impressive, but you do not want to listen to this song when you are sad. You will need plenty of tissues nearby if you do because you will weep. Absolutely magnificent composition that rivals any modern classical song with minimal effort.

The third track, "Until Death[1]" begins quietly. Then the tension increases as the violins begin to play ever so tentatively until the vocals begin. A duet between male and female winds throughout the song. It sounds like a discussion between lovers who have fallen away from each other, but I don't speak Italian so that is strictly a guess. At any rate, you get the distinct impression that one or both of the lovers are about to fall into darkness. Overall, another beautiful song, though not quite as much as to my liking as the previous ones. "Kyrie Eleison" is the fourth track. It is simplistic at first, almost soothing. Then a male voice emerges from the background and blends with the female lead into a series of chants and murmured lines that lend an air of resigned sorrow to the song. Deeply moving and hard to forget.

The fifth track is "Libera Eis Domine" and it's one of my favorites. It took me few seconds to get into it after it started, but once I realized what I was listening to I was intrigued. Even darker and more somber than the previous arrangements it will take you on another journey as you listen to it. Dramatic choral overtones along with solos that bring to mind Germanic and Italian operas from the late 19th century. The musical backdrop is stark at times, then filled with sound at others. The song is the eptiome of what classical music should sound like; dark, brooding, mysterious and powerful. "Libera Eis Domine" is my pick as far as a single track to recommend from this album. The sixth track, "Lacrimosa (I Walk Alone)" is also beautiful. A male voice sings of lament and sorrow while dramatic music builds in the background. Then it grows quiet again, leaving you to wonder what will happen next as that mournful voice begins again. A chorus sweeps in dramatically, taking the sorrow to new heights. It's another track that I would recommend, too.

The last two tracks are "Pie Jesu" and "Rememberance" which round out the album beautifully. Both continue the themes of loss and sorrow as well the sense that tragedy could take place at any moment. I can't deny that both of them made me weep as I listened to them. It's been ages since music has moved me so much. VIRGIN BLACK's "Requiem- Pianissimo" is a masterpiece. Well-written and beautifully produced it would make a fine addition to anyone's music collection, whether you're a Classical music fan or a metalhead.

10 / 10









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"Requiem Pianissimo" Track-listing:

1. Requiem Aeternum
2. Dies Irae[1]
3. Until Death[1]
4. Kyrie Eleison
5. Libera Eis Domine
6. Lacrimosa (I Tread Alone)
7. Pie Jesu
8. Rememberance

Virgin Black Lineup:

Samantha Escarbe- Guitars, Cello
Rowan London- Keyboards, Vocals
David Mason- Guitar
Matthew Enright- Drums

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