STYLE: Hard Music RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 44408-13663 LABEL: Massacre FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
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Reviewed by Greg Sammons
If someone had explained to the likes of Chopin or Wagner just how loud and intense music could get, they'd almost feel ashamed by their efforts. But they shouldn't; instead they should be proud that bands like Australia's Virgin Black don't just want to make doom metal but they want to create something so big, something with such a richness and intensity that only with the accompaniment of a full symphonic orchestra and choir can it be realised. Luckily Adelaide's finest metal outfit and that city's symphony orchestra didn't just agree to collaborate on this CD but embarked on an ambitious trilogy of albums entitled Requiem. 'Mezzo Forte' is the middle piece of a trilogy and apparently will act as a bridge between the softer 'Pianissimo' and the bombastic 'Fortissimo'. The nearest band by comparison (both musically and lyrically) would be Saviour Machine and their Legend series. Musically, the band are gothic doom/death metal with nods to My Dying Bride and sonically not far off Britain's very own My Silent Wake. But that description just doesn't do justice to the range of emotions the album provokes; the depth of the quieter times, the eloquence of Susan Johnson's voice and the grandiose vibe that only a string-heavy orchestra and "death choir" can provide. In the midst of this near perfection Rowan London's vocals do at times seem a little strained but I can forgive that as he's written an amazingly complex piece of music, a metal symphony that is nowhere near as cheesy as the concept sounds. Like Virgin Black's previous albums, this one expresses feelings of anguish, grief and tortured spirit throughout the music and lyrics. To the uninitiated it may seem a little overwhelmingly doom laden. But repeated listens WILL win you round.