I think that it is pretty commonly known that Australian VIRGIN BLACK are not your every day generic band, they proved this with their previous efforts “Sombre Romantic” and “Elegant…And Dying”, and they definitely have outdone themselves with “Requiem – Mezzo Forte”, no doubt, this is not just an album, this is an experience!
It is the first installment of a trilogy (which has been created simultaneously), which will continue later on this year, and given the quality of what we can find on this CD, I can hardly await to hear the next one, which is supposed to be “Pianissimo”, so my guess would be a quiet album. The trilogy basically is a Requiem Mass and it shows that they paid a lot of attention to details to ensure an incredible dense and intense atmosphere worthy of the ambitious foundation, because on top of the usual Metal instruments we are getting treated to a full orchestra and a choir, making this one of the most intense musical experiences of 2007 so far!
It is very hard, if not impossible to fully envelope the scope of this album in mere words, as the Australians embrace such a wide approach, combining (Doom) Metal with lush orchestra passages, grand vocal arrangements and an atmosphere so dense that it is almost palpable, you basically would have to hear to be fully able to understand the grandeur of this album! “Requiem, Kyrie” is a relatively quiet song, but puts you into a concert hall alongside people in suit and tie, but even though you wear your jeans and Metal shirts, you do not feel out of place, such is the sheer majesty of this song. And not all is quiet and symphonic, the 11-minute monster “…And I Am Suffering” and the 10-minute epos “Lacrimosa (I Am Blind With Weeping)” are both masterpieces, combining Doom, choir and symphonic arrangements into something truly bigger than words!
As you can see, I am struggling to find words to do this album justice and I feel as if I am failing. If you like intense, symphonic, often dark music off the beaten path, by ALL means go and get “Requiem-Mezzo Forte”, the maybe best album ever to come out of Australia!
(Online April 16, 2007)