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Virgin Black : Elegant...And Dying

The phrase 'virgin black' is explained on the band's webpage as "An anomalous harmony between the juxtapositions of purity and humanity’s darkness". In other words it's an expression for the combination of purity and the dark side of human nature. And as Virgin Black is a mixture between the purity of an opera and doom metal (which almost without exception is a portrayal of human darkness), perhaps a better choice of name doesn't exist.

Calling this a unique band is hardly an exaggeration. The doom sections are best described as being a mixture of gothic/doom, Candlemass style traditional doom and occasional black metal elements. This is countered by long darkwave sections with both powerful symphonic elements and ambient parts. Expect a wide range of instruments including synths, piano, horns, choirs and violins as basic parts of the darkwave. For those who have heard Midnight Syndicate you'll know what to expect. But the most impressive and powerful part of the music is the tenor vocals by Rowan London. I'm sure this guy doesn't need a microphone on stage to be heard in the back.

The track lengths vary between the 1 and a half minute-long 'And The Kiss Of Gods Mouth part 1' and the nearly 20 minute-long track with a very fitting name: 'The Everlasting'. 'The Everlasting' is perhaps one of the most noteworthy tracks as well because the moods change throughout the track, just like it often does on classical symphonies. So although the classical influences aren't put into use too often on the instruments themselves, the structure of some of the tracks clearly indicates classical influences.

'Elegant...And Dying' has an incredibly large fanbase in mind. Fans of awesome riffage in the style of Candlemass or other epic traditional doom bands would love this. In particular I enjoyed the intro riff on the second part of 'And The Kiss Of God's Mouth...'. Fans of melodic and mourning doom, like Chalice, My Dying Bride and The 3rd and the Mortal would all be interested in hearing this. Since the music is a bit chaotic and hard to get into, it might take some time before you get to enjoy the album. But don't let that stop you. This album can be explained as nothing less than an experience all doom fans must have.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Adorned In Ashes
2. Velvet Tongue
3. And The Kiss Of God's Mouth part 1
4. part 2
5. Renaissance
6. The Everlasting
7. Cult Of Crucifixion
8. Beloved
9. Our Wings Are Burning

Duration : Approx. 74 minutes.

Visit the Virgin Black bandpage.

Reviewed on 09-02-2006 by Arnstein Petersen
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