Virgin Black - _Elegant... And Dying_
(The End Records, 2003)
by: Alvin Wee (7 out of 10)
Attempting to approximate the monstrous grandiloquence of early My Dying Bride, these Aussie doom-troopers have crafted a sophomore album brimming with musical refinement, if not innovation. Songwriting is heavy on orchestral elements (particularly the piano and cello) and, coupled with the obligatory steamroller riffs, creates a very elegant gothic ambience bordering on the sophisticated. Drawn-out phrases and minimalist acoustic sections make proceedings feel somewhat lethargic, but passages of magnificent orchestral bombast often come to the rescue at the right moment, drenching the listener in gothic veils of emotion.

Of particular note is guitarist Samantha Escarbe's poignant playing; her expressive lead passages a perfect unity of lachrymose passion and shimmering brilliance. Rowan London's lugubrious wailing might be an acquired taste, but his mediocre impersonation of Messiah Marcolin somehow seems to bolster the album's air of forsaken grandeur very well. It's a very atmospheric album overall, but its eccentricities make listening to it in anything other than the perfectly attuned state of mind futile.


(article published 19/10/2004)

2/16/2008 A McKay 8 Virgin Black - Requiem - Fortissimo
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