VIRGIN BLACK ??” Elegant…and Dying

VIRGIN BLACK picks up where the classic sound of UK doom metal (i.e. MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST) left off. However, the band puts their own spin on it with the incorporation of a variety of classical influences and a unique dramatic delivery. Each of the songs possess a variety of different faces from heavy, chugging riffs to somber guitar melodies to classical string orchestration to quiet piano interludes. The common thread is the dark and bleak feel. Rowan London’s dramatic vocal performance is the sound of a tortured soul looking for an out. His repertoire includes quiet whispers, monk-like choirs/chants, and clean, almost operatic vocals. London‘s eloquent lyrics further support the album’s tone. “And The Kiss of God’s Mouth Part 2” has one of the catchiest melodic doom riffs in recent memory. However, the album’s best track is the epic, “The Everlasting.” This monster of a 17-minute song starts off with quiet pianos and then builds into a more dramatic, affair akin to a classical opera or play. But things soon reach a climax with a heavy, galloping Viking metal deluge that would make BATHORY proud. Elegant…and Dying never reaches this level of intensity again as thing rest of the songs revert to a more subdued feel. VIRGIN BLACK clearly demonstrate the ability to write brilliant, gothic doom metal but at times can be guilty of losing the listener in the dramatics of their songs. The listener’s level of interest in these intense dramatics is the criterion on which the level of enjoyment of this album can be determined. Overall, Elegant…and Dying is a good record that demonstrates flashes of brilliance that will hopefully be built upon in the future. (The End Records)

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