Well this is the latest attempt from the band known by the name of Virgin Black. Many fans might find this album quite different from the rest, seeing as the main genre surrounding it is very death metal influenced. Virgin Black had this crazy idea to do a trilogy following Pianissimo, Mezzo Forte, and Fortissimo. You may think to yourself is that possible? For many bands no, but Virgin Black has so far done an amazing job portraying them. The actual order is as follows: Requiem – Pianissimo, Requiem – Mezzo Forte, and Requiem – Fortissimo. The release orders are, Requiem – Mezzo Forte, Requiem – Fortissimo, and Requiem – Pianissimo is yet to be released, but I'm sure we can expect it sometime next year.
As stated earlier this is quite different than anything Virgin Black has previously released, it explores more into the death (and doom, touching on groups such as My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost) aspects of metal. I first read about it and what it was to sound like, I had mixed feelings towards it, loving the idea of a death/doom metal album from my favorite band, but at the same time fearing it would not be the Virgin Black that I knew. I was wrong. The album does lack the operatic clean male vocals we have grown to love, but that does not make it bad, not in the least bit. I wont walk you through all of the songs but I will point out some key ones, and also my favorites.
The first song "A Fragile Breath" starts the album off, opening up with pounding drums, and a very thrashy guitar riff. It slows down about twenty-two seconds into the song. The vocals come in about a minute and twenty seconds later, and they are basically death metal vocals, aside from the occasional background female vocals. If you have heard Requiem – Mezzo Forte, then a lot of the riffs played in this song should sound familiar…well in fact, a lot of riffs on the CD will sound familiar .
"Silent" is the third song on the CD, and is one that was put up on their myspace page quite a while ago. This is one of my favorites, the opening vocals start with quite a familiar line that was on Mezzo Forte, "Sorrow ever awaits joy and has rendered me to pieces". I think this is one of the reasons why this is one of my favorites, it gives a feeling that the previous album also gave. About three minutes and twenty seconds is my favorite part when the choir comes in, and then the female vocals, followed by death vocals. After that strings follow it. It truly is a great piece, and a pleasure to the ears.
There are a few more songs in between, but the album closes with "Forever", which is instrumental and all piano. Many of you probably can guess what the musical structure of the song follows, so I won't bother telling you. At first I thought this was a good way to close the album, but then I thought about it and this is how the trilogy will end once you listen to all three in order, and that kind of left me longing for more.
I gave this album a 95 out of 100 because, it was a great attempt, but on some songs like "God In Dust" I felt like the vocals didn't appropriately fit. At about fifty-four seconds Rowan says "Cover me with darkness" and takes a somewhat awkward pause right before he says darkness. There are also some other times on the album, that are not as noticeable, but kind of awkward. Besides that I think it was a great release from the band, and I can honestly not wait for Pianissimo to come out. For it will be the complete opposite, forsaking guitars and drums, but bringing in a full orchestra.