VIRGIN BLACK – ELEGANT…AND DYING
The End Records - 2003
By Rodrigo Escandon
have returned with another romantic, symphonic and operatic musical journey with Elegant…and Dying
that definitely sets it apart from most bands but I am not too convinced that it totally works out.
I was not too impressed with Sombre Romantic
but I had big hopes for this one, especially after a mesmerizing performance in Hollywood in the middle of May. So when it finally arrived in the mail, I just could not wait to listen to it. On the first listen I was not floored, I was not bored, I did not hate it but I did not like it too much either, it just felt OK. Subsequent listens made me realize that the overall pace of the album was much too slow for my taste and that at 75 minutes long it was seriously a long journey to take if I listened to the album from start to finish.
This sort of feeling is kind of odd for me because of my enjoyment of albums from bands like Elend
that are similar in tempo and style. The majority of the nine (or eight if you combine the two parts of “And the Kiss of God’s Mouth”) songs are over 6 minutes long and one even reaches the length of 17 minutes which is cleverly titled “The Everlasting” because it feels everlasting when listening to it. If you are going to do a song of that length please make it interesting. For a lot of parts of the song and in many other parts of the album, there are quiet lulls with a somber piano or guitar melody here and there with Rowan’s very mournful type of singing and very sporadic parts where the tempo and heavier sections come in. However, the one song that does make it work and clearly the best one in the album is “And the Kiss of God’s Mouth” because it combines those lulls with a heavier guitar driven part in the end. Comparing this song with the rest of the album, I wished the band had used this songwriting style more throughout the album. I feel the emotions the band wants to convey are better expressed this way, with a little aggression added and not having everything be so somber.
has seriously been the only band out of the excellent line-up that The End offers that I have not really enjoyed, I guess you can not like them all. If you enjoyed Sombre Romantic
then you will surely enjoy Elegant…and Dying
but this is not an album for everyone as evidenced by this review.
The End Records Website
Virgin Black Official Website