After almost 10 years of silence, gothic metal band Virgin Black has re-emerged with two new songs from their much-anticipated album Pianissimo. The tracks were uploaded to the band’s official YouTube account in the early hours of the morning, with no visuals—only a pitch black screen. Fans quickly flocked to social media to speculate that the releases signify the completion of the lauded trilogy, Requiem.

Since their inception in the early ’90s, Virgin Black has garnered a cult following not only in their hometown of Adelaide but across the globe. By 2008, they had released two parts of the Requiem trilogy; the highly regarded album Requiem – Mezzo Forte in 2007 and Requiem – Fortissimo the following year—both of which were recorded alongside the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. At their label’s request, the requiem’s second part was the first to be released, followed shortly thereafter by the third, as they believed it was a more appropriate representation of the band’s gothic metal sound. But their fans were left perplexed when Virgin Black completed a tour of the United States a decade ago, only to seemingly disappear into the nether, begging the question: where was the first part?

Reflective of the album’s name, the two tracks from Pianissimo are based in the classical tradition, whereas Mezzo Forte and Fortissimo draw heavily on the band’s blackened doom roots. Clocking in at a total of 13 minutes and 12 seconds, ‘Requiem Aeturnum’ and ‘Dies Irae’ have left audiences stunned and emotional.

The compositions, simply put, are epic. Both pieces make use of magnificent orchestral arrangements interspersed with ominous choral lines and haunting vocal solos. Dramatic dynamics and tempo changes expertly punctuate each movement, building upon an evocative soundscape of strings and vocals that results in a stirring, percussive climax. The choral harmonies are especially stunning in ‘Dies Irae,’ where they’re complemented by a delicate string arrangement and followed by a rousing crescendo that makes for the perfect segue into Mezzo Forte. This is gothic classical at its best; sorrowful, dark, melancholic, powerful, and gorgeous all at the same time.

Undoubtedly, the final note of the composition brought with it a bittersweet mixture of closure and apprehension for fans of Virgin Black. After years of hopeful longing, ‘Requiem Aeturnum’ and ‘Dies Irae’ have given us the first taste of Pianissimo and left us hungry for more. If the speculation turns out to be true, then judging by these tracks we can expect a highly polished body of work that has earned its place in the Requiem trilogy.

You can listen to ‘Requiem Aeturnum’ and ‘Dies Irae’ below.

Read more on Virgin Black here.

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