Virgin Black - Sombre Romantic - 2001


From Australia come Rowan London (vocals, piano, keyboards), Samantha Escarbe (guitars), Craig Edis (guitars, vocals), Ian Miller (bass, vocals), and Dino Cielo (drums), with their first CD after having opened in the land of kangaroos for bands such as Cathedral or Entombed. Now I´m going to comment you the details of "Sombre Romantic".


The opening track "Opera di Romanci" is simply masterful. Gregorian voices, soft strings, orchestral atmosphere, operatic choirs, etc... An impressive principle but that it decays after the pompous beginning of "Embraces", in which we can noticed that Virgin Black is more comfortable in epic-film ambiance than when they use electric parts, more repetitive, reminding bands such as My Dying Bride or Lacrimas Profundere. Nevertheless the violin interludes finally save the song. "Walk without limbs" is a hypnotic track with whispers, pianos, a strong rhythmic base and Therion-like choruses (it would be appropriate for the vampire party scene in Blade). "Of your beauty" is beautiful song with only voice and piano ending as a romantic ballad with a surprising end. "Drink the midnight hymn" is a mixture of Cradle of Filth and Therion that I don't like at all since, although it has some choirs and piano interludes, the black metal vocals and the decibels are very noisy. Fortunately, later on we have the best track in the whole CD. Almost 8 minutes of "Museum of Iscariot" divided in three parts: "Stagnation", with only voice, acoustic guitar and a melodic electric guitar solo. After that, the piano and all the rhythm section join the guitar in "Death", finally finishing with a great electric guitar solo in "Procession". A five stars song. The noise returns in "Lamenting Kiss", a curious song that combines a potent refrain with verses of souls in pain and electronic rhythms."Weep for me" is the sad and epic prelude to "I sleep with the Emperor", a short song with oriental taste, with a beautiful beginning (vocals a capella) and a shocking end. The last song "A Poet´s tear of porcelain" show us again that these Australians can make vibrate the listener's soul when they propose it.


Maybe the difference between Virgin Black and bands such as Saviour Machine is that the Australians maybe have not still known how to combine their electric moments with more calmed or orchestral moments. SM, Therion, etc. can conjugate all the styles inside the same song but Virgin Black can´t. Although they are very far from Saviour Machine or Penitent (Devil Doll is in another galaxy) I think that Virgin Black could be a good band in the future. This "Sombre Romantic" has 60% of brilliant ideas. Now only it is necessary to shake 40% remaining.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - July 2001 -   - Massacre Records