Elegant… And Dying
Review by Jack on July 1, 2003.
Straight off, I would like to mention that I wasn’t a huge fan of “Sombre Romantic.” it was a good album in many respects but I thought it was a too theatrical at the best of times, suffocating the music’s ability to breathe and open up. While some people dug the combination of slow orchestra and shambling avant-garde material with the whole goth thing happening, I found that Virgin Black tried to float into uncharted waters with only a dingy to battle the seven seas.
For those of you familiar with “Sombre Romantic,” “Elegant…and Dying” is more a continuation of ‘Walk without Limbs’ in terms of its intensity and metal-ness. It is still full of the theatrics and symphonic elements that made “Sombre Romantic” what it is, but they aren’t anywhere near as boisterous, proving more of a second fiddle to the metal this time around, rather than vice-versa.
Rowan London has really let loose on “Elegant…and Dying” improving his vocals from “Sombre Romantic” ten fold and providing each track with far more substance and variety. He does it all: haunting and fragile whispers, dark crooning from the shadows, energetic rasps and the trademark Gregorian choirs.
One of the most significant improvements I have cited with “Elegant…and Dying” is the apparent simplicity of each song and its ability to stir up torrid amounts of emotion and atmosphere. Be it from the sprawling grandiose piece in ‘The Everlasting’ (aptly titled, as it runs around at 20 minutes) or the heartfelt and solemn closer ‘Our Wings are Burning.’
Overall, “Elegant…and Dying” is a far more successful venture into the world of depression and angst, which should appeal to a bigger audience due to its sparse, vivid landscapes and captivating sentiments.
Bottom Line: Mark “Elegant…and Dying” down for one of the most moving and heartfelt pieces of art this year. Virgin Black has delivered a sterling follow up to “Sombre Romantic.”
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.3 out of 10