Review: Virgin Black – Requiem – Mezzo Forte



Genre: , , ,
Overall Impression


Musical Quality


Total Score


Release Date

April 3, 2007



Posted November 16, 2018 by

The Review

Guess what? Why the hell did this band come to my mind all of a sudden? Well, for two reasons that are pretty coincidental: First of all, the silly reason, I was playing Australia mission on Civilization 6 and got in the national mood already (even though I am not even related to that feeling nor Australia), and secondly, they shared a visual today August 9th 2018, on Facebook and made me remember them (I do not know what they meant though, do they come up with a new album or are they completely disbanded? Because the visual has a gravestone, but then the ending year is erased. Vague).

It’s pretty common in the metal scene that when someone mentions symphonic metal, usually powerhouse bands like Therion and Haggard come to mind. Symphonia is occasionally used in a rather gothic and progressive manner by those bands, however, with Virgin Black, things are quite different. They use symphonic tunes sprinkled all over and in between the songs as transitions or as dramatic lines of gothic and doom taste. The soprano female vocal passages fit perfectly to the ambiance (by the way she is an amazing singer) and the unusual tone of male dramatic vocals make Virgin Black pretty unique, and to be honest with you, his voice may be found disturbing by some, but somehow goes awesome with this kind of subversively beautiful music (and I think his voice is pretty awesome otherwise).

This album is not their debut album, as a matter of fact; it is the album they released before their latest one as we speak. Therefore, they were already a known band for those who follow underground music of gothic taste. Though, they came up with a masterpiece I must say.

This seems like a conceptual album (duh!), same vocal lines can be heard throughout the album (the first song and the song Domine and even the outro for instance). The opener Requiem – Kyrie pretty much gave me the goosebumps. The male and female vocal sequences were just so dramatic along with the strings at the beginning. The second song comes to a unity with the first song, makes you aware that it is a continuation. Almost theatrical vocals and strings that sound like coming out of a thriller movie at the end are just so ineffable. Then comes my favorite of the album, the third song Midnight’s Hymn. The start with strings and piano sounds almost creepily beautiful. The vocals -yet again, and especially the male one this time- and chorus serve you a very authentic ambience of operatic, dark and at the same time ataraxic realm of music. I am not going to talk about the rest of the songs one by one, but just going to give you a slight view to keep it short enough. The album continues with chorus, sometimes guitar passages or piano in front, sometimes the vocals are underlined, but never giving up on the perfect ambiance they created which I mentioned above. I would only reduce one point though, because sometimes they get too repetitive. It would be better balanced if they kept some songs shorter, for instance, the 4th song, despite the awesome female vocals (you gotta check that out, and the ending is so cinematic). What about growls? Well, if you want to hear them, just continue listening, you will not be disappointed. Some energetic melodies are also there.

Virgin Black is definitely a unique band and this album is the proof. I do not see any band closer to this in what they do. With pretty vocals, but in general not too progressive, not purely metal, not purely symphonic, not purely slow or fast, nonetheless a unity that is purely magical and nocturnal.

Note: By the time I wrote this review, the situation about their Facebook post was unclear. Now it is clear that a new album is coming up and yes, I pre-ordered that one. I dropped a message as well for an autograph and we will see if they will be able to deliver my wish. They are supposed to mail the albums nowadays I guess. Look forward to it.

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Requiem, Kyrie 7:43
2 In Death 8:00
3 Midnight’s Hymn 4:57
4 …And I Am Suffering 10:56
5 Domine 8:07
6 Lacrimosa (I Am Blind With Weeping) 10:00
7 Rest Eternal 2:30

Line-up / Musicians

Dino Cielo – Drums
Rowan London – Keyboards, Vocals (tenor)
Samantha Escarbe – Guitars
Grayh – Bass, Vocals (choirs)




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