Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 2/19/2008
Requiem - Fortissimo
posted on 2/2008 By:
For those who follow Australia’s blackened doom/deathsters Virgin Black, you’ll notice that we at MetalReview.com didn’t receive a copy of the first installment of the Requiem trilogy, entitled Mezzo Forte, so to read my thoughts on it, visit UM. At any rate, Fortissimo has been deemed the heaviest of the three, and like the band’s previous efforts, it stays true to their trademark sound. What’s up for grabs is a blackened doom/death mix – filled with orchestral accompaniment, growls, haunting female vocals, and operatic male vocals – that is finely executed. While this may not be their greatest accomplishment, it’s yet another disc worth adding to your collection.
Fortissimo is shorter than Mezzo Forte, however, and wastes little time delivering the first few minutes of its total 44. Forerunner “The Fragile Breath” gets off to a rip-roaring start before slowing to a doom pace, which brings with it the imminent entry of growls and soaring, high-pitched female wails. Utilizing the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was a nice move since the classical elements are particularly striking, especially when used in a sporadic fashion as they are here. “The Fragile Breath” speeds up near the five-minute mark, creating a full circle effect, but “In Winter’s Ash” begins in an opposite manner, using a foreboding orchestral opening for good measure. It eventually settles into the dirge pattern heard earlier, though it marks the spot at which operatic vocals momentarily occupy the forefront. With that said, “Silent” could actually be the most menacing of the seven because its dissonant opening quickly morphs into a sweeping, double-bass-laden assault, and the crashing midsection (2:47-3:20) is nothing if not incredibly gratifying. “God in Dust” also features tasteful double-bass, piano, and string work, but the brief “Lacrimosa (Gather Me)” seems intended as an interlude simply because successor “Darkness” is by far the longest track at 11:45. And it’s merely good until it reaches 8:49 at which point it ascends to greatness – the piano and subsequent choir parts lift the song to moving, heartwrenching heights. Fittingly, whether it warrants inclusion or not, “Forever” is a sorrowful piano-led outro.
Though Fortissimo may not be quite up to par with Mezzo Forte – the latter evokes emotions more often, I think, but also drags at times and isn’t for the everyman – the former remains a notable entry in the Virgin Black discography. Also worth mentioning is that their full-lengths stand up to each other to the degree that it becomes difficult to choose the favorite of the bunch. In any case, it’s the job of Pianissimo to bring the trilogy to a close with verve, and knowing Virgin Black, that seems a likely outcome.
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