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4.8 out of 5 stars
Elegant...and Dying
Format: Audio CDChange
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Virgin Black leads us to a bottomless chasm and asks us to leap with them. The metal guitar and drums come in only after the singing and gentler music have brought hope and God into question. "Elegant...and dying" is a perfect example of using metal as a vehicle for sadness more than rage.
Rowan London's singing and Samantha Escarbe's lyrics express suffering and sorely tested hope. The rock is strong in a Saviour Machine/Opeth/Primordial fashion, but the piano is the most menacing thing about this album. While the bombast and cinematic style are very similar to Saviour Machine's "Legend" trilogy, Virgin Black focuses on the pain of faith instead of any peace or joy found in it.
"The Everlasting" is worth the price of the disc all by itself. At 17:13, the song alternates among every singing style and intensity of music used in the prior tracks. The third verse in "Beloved" sums up the whole CD: "Can anyone taste my blood? / I have clung, quivering, with bruised flesh / Christendom rise and dress yourself / What delicious tears you've made me shed."
There's a LOT of beauty and complex arrangements throughout the CD, but its strongest impact on me is how it romanticizes anguish, how it acknowledges God but challenges all hope equated with His name. "Elegant...and dying" is worth any three CDs of thorny-lettered Satanic speed metal. Plus, these songs are all pretty freakin' long; you get quality AND quantity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
My title sort of sums up my feelings about Virgin Black. Over the past 2 years they have become my favorite band, and I consider both full length CD's to be master pieces.

Like Sombre Romantic, Elegant ... and Dying is gothic-influenced doom metal, a mix of brooding piano, operatic baritone singing, usually slow but occassionally black inspired riffing, incredibly emotional lead guitar, with the occasional black shrieks thrown in for good measure. Rowan London's incredible baritone and Samantha Escarbe's meaningful leads deserve particular mention.

However, unlike many dark metal bands, these elements are not simply thrown together but are part of the emotional whole formed by each song along with the honest, painful lyrics. Elegant... and Dying takes this completeness a step further, as the entire album seems to be one complete work of separate parts, rather than 9 separate songs as with Sombre Romantic.

To the reviewer who called it a Rowan London solo album, besides the fact that Samantha handled most of the lyric writing this time around, there's plenty of distorted guitar, but its always the right amount for the song. Additionally, while there isn't a solo on each and every song, a lot of the rhythm parts are harmonized parts with two guitars. Finally, while Virgin Black IS far from being a Christian band, and are anti-established church style Christianity, they have never and don't plan on ever being anti-God. Elegant...and Dying portrays the painfulness of faith in God, but in the end, though our wings are burning, hope remains.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
If you know virgin black, all you need to know that it is generally better then their first full length, and is therefore deemed essential listening to any fan of doom metal, orchestral black metal, neoclassical, neofolk, etc...

If you dont know virgin black's sound, they make genuinly beautiful music. Whereas opeth, shape of despair etc.. make suffocating clostraphobic music, and agalloch make sparse cold music virgin black create an incredibly rich warm sound. It is, in their own words, "comfort in darkness" and no amount of reviewing could sum it up better then that. It is a dark album. a depressing album, but altogether a beautiful album. Comfortable, rather then desolate.

Piano, orchestras, timpanis, drums (with use of doube pedals) black metal inspired guitars, pianos, keyboards and classically trained vocals create a mixture of black metal, neoclassical, neofolk other genres.

on elagant and dying the band have a variaty of dynamics, from the double pedals in the 16 minute epic "the everlasting" to the timpani and brass driven beginning song.

The album can be heavy aswell, a stripped down black metal, which contrasts with the sparseness of the last song which i find the best on the album due to its desperate atmosphere.

this album however id not about individual tracks. It is a journey,an epic, a mood, an atmosphere, it is not sometihng to briefly listen to, it is something to get submerged in and is completely worth the time and money. I have been listening to metal sincei was 13 and this band are one of my favorites, and trust me when i say they are one of the most beautifel.

in short i would STRONGLY recommend this album to anyone who is into ;

green carnation

shape or despair

opeth

agalloch

neofolk

neoclassical

black metal

or anyone with some musical intelligence!

thankyou.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I bought this cd after hearing the clips on their main site. Amazing songs, all nine of them. A huge bang for your buck - this cd is 75 minutes of sheer melancholy. It's great. The 20-minute huge song 'The Everlasting' is one of the many highlights. Plus, a female lead guitarist. It doesn't get any better than this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is a very interesting band. They are pretty hard to classify and they are a variety of elements. This album composes operatic music, which at times reminds of the soundtrack of Phantom of the Opera. I wouldn't concider them full metal or full hard rock...or even full soft rock for that matter. They will blend some doom metal and a gothic atmosphere. But to me they are not fully either one of that either yet you can find them on doom-metal.com and also gothicmetal.net

Now that the subgenering titles are done with the music is invigerating. Rowen's chilling vocals range from low to high, whispering to crying with melacholic opera. Great piano parts all over and cool keys. Very creative drum patterns that play nicley to the guitar parts, especially during the doom parts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Simply one of the best and most beautiful albums I've ever heard. "Elegant and Dying" is typically dark and moody with moments of that feature a quickened pace. Recomended to those who enjoy black metal or gothic metal, or who enjoy exploring new regions in music.
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on January 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Gothic Metal band Virgin Black does it again. Another dark and captivating CD. On the Sombre Romantic the band took us to another world that left us weeping in joy at the harsh beauty that was laid before us. In 2003 one of the most underrated bands in all of music has finally graced us with a work of art that is almost too good to describe with mere words. Virgin Black totally lays their souls bare and creates a work that is utterly drenched in emotion. Elegant...and Dying is an astonishing journey that is nothing short of one of the most moving things you will ever hear in your life. It is so good! The album delves much more into calmer passages that include beautiful cello, flute, soft guitar, and piano. The lead guitar playing of Samantha Escarbe is so amazing on this disc. True elegant guitar playing. It totally mesmerizes you till you forget where you are. Sometimes it's as if the guitar is literally crying. Then Craig Edis' crushing riffs break the near silence with a mournful feel that tears at your soul. But it gets better as the vocals of Rowan London take this art to the next level and beyond. If you considered London's vocals great on their last album, this album will take your breath away. The band also incorporates many choir vocals that add to the already dreary atmosphere. I must say that this entire album is one of the most depressing and haunting albums I have ever heard. It's inconceivable how this band's music just takes on a life of it's own. This is one of the greatest musical pieces ever preformed! This is a must buy for everyone.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I never really knew what Gothic meant until I heard this CD. I always thought it referred to bands such as Coal Chamber and Acid Bath. And while I love those 2 bands, Virgin Black is an entirely different creature. Full of dark, moody moments and the amazing The Everlasting, which clocks in at about 20 minutes, this CD will astound you. Symphonies and choruses and certain places which are pure opera. You'll think you're listening to a movie soundtrack at times, only to next be blasted by hard, driving metal and screaming vocals. It doesn't get any darker than this, and I'm glad of it. Highly recommended.
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on April 7, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Ive just started to listen to Virgin Black and WOW WOW WOW.I dont know what to say that hasnt been said before.This group is absolutely delicious.Move over Saviour Machine theres a new kid on the block.......
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I did not think I would like this type of "Operatic" metal. An old girlfriend turned me on to this, and I thank her for this and many other wonderful things. Sorry, did'nt mean to go off topic. Elegant........ and Dying has to be one of the most beautiful recordings I have ever heard. The song structure and melodies are top-notch. Rowan London's vocals are sublime and scary at the same time. The guitar playing is like a woman crying, ethereal. 75 minutes of haunting, tragic sadness. But,strangely uplifting. The only qualm is the drumming, seems to miss certain beats. A perfect album for those dark, gray,rainy, snowy nights. The music will reach in and take hold of your soul. So, here is a good evening; buy this,sit in front of a warm fire, burn one end to end and sip your favorite whiskey. Then just let go.........
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