The long-missing first section of Virgin Black’s requiem mass, recorded in 2006, Requiem – Pianissimo represents the all-orchestral stage of the full requiem’s 2.5 hour duration. Here, performing the score composed by Virgin Black’s Sesca Scaarba (formerly Samantha Escarbe) and Rowan London, is The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, with Adelaide Stamford Academy Choir giving voice to the choral arrangements – the ASO’s Bruce Stewart as conductor. A digital download card for bandcamp will be included in the shipment.

Expected shipping date November 30.2018

Track Listing:

1. Requiem Aeternum 8:10
2. Dies Irae 5:03
3. Until Death 4:27
4. Kyrie Eleison 6:51
5. Libera Eis Domine 9:01
6. Lacrimosa (I tread alone) 10:50
7. Pie Jesu 8:38
8. Remembrance 3:36

In describing Virgin Black’s Requiem, there is a tendency to want to match its grand scale with equally grandiose language. However, the project is outlandish and intriguing on such a level that an unadorned, and plainly factual description is paradoxically apt.

It is a requiem mass composed as one unfolding piece, progressing from the all-orchestral first stage, through to a balanced, collaborative orchestra/band middle section, concluding with the band coming to the fore in the final and heaviest section. Total duration at 2 hours 33 minutes.

Befitting “a mass for the dead”, the sounds, whether represented by orchestral or metal instrumentation, are ever-presently dirgeful and heartrending. On display is both an adherence to and an outright betrayal of the long-established tradition of requiem masses in classical music. Typifying that betrayal is the semi-atonal vocal barrage referred to as the “death choir” – a chorus of extreme voices employing a resonant undertone technique found most commonly in death metal. Musical elements such as a full string ensemble (with specifically requested low C-tuned basses), woodwinds, horns, brass, timpani, heavy A#-tuned guitars, drums, tenor/baritone and soprano solo voices, death solo voice, and full choir are at times dexterously interwoven and at other times deliberately thrust together for chaotic effect. 

Many passages for the words were reproduced from traditional religious mass texts and lend a ceremonial component offset by the far more personal and emotional words penned specifically for the project which interject throughout.

Six individual audio engineers were engaged to realise production, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra enlisted to perform the scores, and the Adelaide Stamford Academy Choir for performance of choral arrangements.

With an unerring artistic commitment, bordering on folly, composers Sesca Scaarba (formerly Samantha Escarbe) and Rowan London financially backed the project entirely themselves and notably – these many years later – still remain tens of thousands of dollars in debt to “incredibly generous and understanding people” as Rowan put it. 

With all ties to record labels now severed, supporters of Virgin Black can be assured that 100% of profits will go to the band.

Prices are in Australian Dollars.